Kelly Allen checks into Bali’s new Revivo Wellness Resort, a luxe retreat where health and relaxation reign supreme
Perhaps it’s the mass of white bougainvillea that cascades over the stone walls, the whisper of the ever-present breeze through the forest, or the weightlessness of lying on my back in the saltwater float pool, but I haven’t felt this relaxed in a very long time.
Revivo, which translates to “I’ll live again”, is a boutique wellness retreat located in the hilltops of Nusa Dua in southern Bali. Launched in April, the resort is nestled in almost three hectares of teak forest far from Bali’s major tourist centres, yet only 25 minutes by road from Denpasar International Airport.
The retreat’s 16 Balinese-style rooms, designed by the late and great Australian architect Kerry Hill, feature exquisite freestanding villas and two sprawling four-bedroom residences.
My courtyard pool villa has a four-poster bed, a sunken tub that looks out to a private koi pond, indoor and alfresco showers and an oversized daybed that’s perfect for indulgent afternoon naps.
Opening the closet, I realise I could have packed a carry-on as the wardrobe is thoughtfully stocked with a sunhat, beach bag, sarong, and even yoga gear to use during my stay.
The resort was originally designed as a private villa for Adrian Zecha, the founder of Aman Resorts, and the lush gardens have had plenty of time to proliferate with mature trees providing a cool and protective natural canopy from the heat of the sun.
Vast Balinese carvings and several Buddha statues are scattered throughout the property, while the stone walls are swathed in emerald moss and decked with bougainvillea.
There is a beach with sun loungers only a few minutes’ drive away, but I must admit that during my three-day stay, I never venture down the hill as the resort is so delightful.
Health and wellness are cornerstones of the Revivo ethos, and the resort wastes no time pointing me in the right direction. At 7.30am on my first day, one of the ever-smiling staff knocks gently on my door to deliver a trio of healthy shots: a traditional turmeric jamu (a famed local elixir), warm lemon juice with sea salt and a ginger kombucha. This delicious daily ritual helps the liver detox and gets the digestive system ready for the day ahead.
After morning yoga, I meet Kathy Cook, one of Revivo’s expert wellness consultants, to go over my retreat. After reviewing my pre-arrival health questionnaire – which is both extensive and incredibly well thought out – she gives me a tailor-made program to suit my needs.
I’ll be experiencing the “Emotional Balance and Mind Training” program and Kathy incorporates the most appropriate fitness classes, diet and spa treatments aimed at restoring mind and body balance as well as achieving my retreat objectives.
There are six programs on offer, from detox and weight loss to anti-ageing and de-stressing, all of which can be easily adjusted to suit your personal needs.
The consultation also includes a body analysis which measures key statistics like BMI (body mass index), muscle and fat ratios, visceral fat and metabolic age (which I’m delighted to learn finds me seven years younger).
I’m given a take-home journal that outlines the program and my daily schedule as well as tips on mindfulness, lots of healthy recipes and a section for self-reflection.
My days are spent between fitness classes, healthy meals and soothing spa treatments. At the fitness centre, Moveo, I experience hammock yoga for the first time, and despite not looking quite like a Cirque du Soleil performer, I love the feeling of being suspended upside down with my legs wrapped around the parachute-like hammock and decide I will try this again at home.
I am pushed to my limit with kickboxing, TRX and high intensity interval training (HIIT) classes, all of which make the subsequent spa sessions that much better. The afternoons are slower paced with gentle classes like qi gong, yin yoga and a daily spa treatment.
Remissio Spa has five double treatment rooms and more than 50 therapy options. My program delivers an aromatherapy massage, a rejuvenating facial, as well as my favourite – a deeply relaxing Ayurvedic treatment called shirodhara that involves oil slowly drizzled on my third eye and onto my scalp.
I’m especially impressed with spa therapist Ratih and her vast knowledge of traditional Balinese medicine and healing, all of which she learned from her mother and grandmother.
Our session goes way over time as I ask her question after question, and she generously gives me answers, never rushing me along.
The meals enjoyed at Revivo’s Nutrio restaurant are created by Spanish chef Aliwalu using local organic ingredients, mostly plant- based with no additives, preservatives or processed ingredients.
Meals are generous and lunch and dinner comprise several courses, meaning I never feel hungry. I especially love the kitchari, made with lentils, red rice, coriander, kimchee and vegetables, and the “La Vie en Rose”, a soup made from beetroot, sweet potato, roasted onions and grilled shitake with rosemary and probiotic herbs and spices.
Downtime is spent enjoying Revivo’s infrared sauna and steam room, and trying to conquer the cold-water plunge, which at six degrees is very difficult. Reportedly great for inflammation and circulation, I persevere each day but my longest stint is only 90 seconds before I numbly climb out and jump in the adjacent warm pool.
There’s also a 25-metre lap pool, surrounded by four-poster daybeds and ample sun loungers for afternoon lazing.
On my final day, I’m given an unexpected opportunity to nurture my spiritual side and invited to experience the Balinese Hindu offering of canang sari.
As one of several daily offering ceremonies, it involves small fresh flower baskets with incense sticks being placed on Hindu shrines. Blessings and prayers of thanks are sung to the many Hindu gods and I follow along as best as I can.
It’s a beautiful way to take a few moments to express gratitude, and I feel a rush of emotion as we finish with our hands pressed together in prayer under the towering stone temple adorned with flowers. I leave Revivo with a renewed sense of body, mind and spirit – just as this special retreat intended.