We were impressed by the high level of interactivity at W’s AWAY Spa, from the LED screens displayed below the treatment beds to the oxygen masks visitors could use while they waited, even a collection of prayer stones at reception allowing guests to make a wish as they tossed it into the water on their way out.
SPA+CLINIC had the incredible opportunity to visit ‘the island of the gods’ during November 2019 so we could delve into the 5-star spa and wellness culture, bringing back with us the inside scoop on what we truly believe may be some of the best spa locations in the world. This week, Online Editor Mala McAlpin and Editor Nadine Dilong bring you the details of the bright, beautiful and interactive AWAY Spa at Bali’s W Hotel.
There is no other hotel quite like a W hotel. Born in New York City in 1998, the Marriot owned hotel chain has taken the world by storm targeting a younger crowd that wants to travel in style and be offered more than ‘just’ a hotel room. From the eclectic art to bright colours and dance music at every corner, it’s very clear that this isn’t your average luxury hotel. W Bali Seminyak is no exception – you will experience personalisation and the celebration of individuality. Want to choose your own coffee mug for breakfast? You can. Want a specific type of pillow for your bed? You’ll get it. Would you prefer a vanilla or lavender scented cold towel at reception? The choice is yours.
Carrying on the main hotel’s quirkiness, AWAY Spa has boundless personality, with bright pops of colour and incandescent lighting, which doesn’t detract from its ability to inspire ultimate relaxation. Entrants follow a winding pathway across a tranquil pond, which features tiles lit with glowing inspirational words like ‘bright’, ‘joy’ ‘energise’ and ‘detox’. The reception space is clean, white and bright (but not clinical) with smooth curves and contours throughout its furniture and textured walls. Signature fragranced mists are stationed at reception for guests to refresh themselves as they pass by.
AWAY Spa is open 24/7, meaning hotel guests can literally book a massage at 3am if the feeling strikes. We are assured by the team that this service is regularly utilised, and more often than not, the spa will be busy in the middle of the night due to jetlagged travellers unable to sleep, or party-goers coming back from a night out wanting to detox and relax. After completing our consults we are shown throughout the spa’s facilities. There is a well-appointed dressing room, fabulously lit with ceiling high Hollywood mirrors and bulbs, hair curler, straightener and dryer, hairspray, body lotion, moisturiser and deodorant. There is also a wet area with spa and plunge pool plus a steam room. We spend several minutes back outside in another waiting lounge, where two oxygen masks (and alcohol wipes for cleaning) are available for spa patrons to use to improve circulation. The oxygen flow can be turned on and off via a switch on the wall, and so we sit and breathe in the goodness for a few minutes while awaiting our therapists.
My therapist guides me through long hallways of AWAY Spa, past the Chill Bar where spa goers can re-tox (ordering cocktails) after detoxing and several lounge areas. My treatment room would be better described as an apartment, comprised of three large rooms and bathroom. The first features a sofa and foot scrub bowls waiting for me to dip my feet in. The second features two massage beds, complete with purple neon light coming from beneath in true W style, and the third room includes a stone bath tub and two more treatment beds reserved for the first part of my treatment, a full body scrub. A fine powder made from honey and mango is used to rub all over my body, not only lifting dead skin, but also replenishing my skin with some much needed moisture after a day in the Bali sun. I can feel the exfoliation, but it is one of the least abrasive scrubs I have had – perfect for sensitive skin. After the thorough scrub, I am guided towards the shower to rinse it off before returning to a fresh set of satin sheets. My therapist applies a hydrating coconut mask all over my body, starting with my back and continuing with my arms, legs, stomach, and chest. The mask is clay based but quite thin and feels very refreshing, and I can see and feel pieces of coconut flesh in it. I am wrapped in several layers of sheets while the mask is nurturing my skin, and to make the time even more pleasant I enjoy a scalp, neck and shoulder massage for a few minutes, before returning to the shower to wash off the clay, which has since dried on my skin. I am guided to the other room with two massage beds in it and lie face down on one of them, only to discover cleverly placed screens in the floor directly under my face showing a slideshow of beautiful calming images of several natural landscapes. I then indulge in a 60-minute full body massage – so blissful that I nod off several times.
My treatment begins in the pedicure area, with the foot cleansing ritual that offers a quick, firm pressure massage and a beautiful rinse using clean hot water poured gently from a large pre-prepared jug. The room’s four beds are dressed in deep purple satin which feels incredible against my skin as I take my place face down on the bed. After the usual checks of comfort, room temperature and music volume are complete, my full body scrub begins. It’s a buttery salt and sugar scrub, firm and rich. My therapist performs a deep sloughing of my legs followed by my back before I turn over. After permission to cover my eyes had been granted, my therapist begins brow, forehead, temple and scalp pressures, even a super quick scalp massage, before gently sliding an eye pillow over my face. This little ritual is carried out every time my eye pillow is used throughout the treatment, which is an incredibly nice touch. My fronts-of-legs, arms, stomach and décolletage are given a buff, including (as per my previous body scrub) my arms raised above my head in order to thoroughly scrub the underarm area. I am gently helped upward so I can rinse off the scrub, and head to another bed for a body wrap.
The liquid detox body wrap has been slightly warmed, and my therapist applies it by hand to my back as she supports. I am slowly lowered down, with wrap then applied to my legs, arms, stomach and décolletage. I’m wrapped up tightly and comfortably in a cocoon, with additional blanket and eye mask added, then treated to a deep scalp massage. Once my metamorphosis is complete and I am removed from my cocoon, I head once again to the shower, rinse the wrap, and lie face down ready for a blissful full body massage, using an earthy jojoba, sandalwood and gardenia body oil. I’m gently awoken at the end of my massage to be told my revitalising bath is now ready, and that I can enjoy the room for 25 minutes longer. My therapist shows me where a fresh robe, disposable underwear and slippers are waiting when finished, and bids me farewell for now. The giant stone bath that is in my room is filled with fresh lime slices, rosemary sprigs and mint leaves, and is accompanied by a platter of fruit, banana chips, colourful candy and the spa’s signature refreshment beverage, pineapple coconut and ginger juice. The fragrant water is the perfect temperature, and I enjoy a deep sense of relaxation before meeting my therapist back outside, only to be led to another post-treatment relaxation lounge to indulge in more refreshment beverage, fresh fruit, banana chips and a fabulous red lip-shaped shortbread cookie.