Translated from German, Zeitgeist means "the spirit of the moment", and is the key principle underpinning AYANA's service philosophy. Here, we share our inside tips and favorite haunts to help you experience the AYANA Zeitgeist.
Let me start by saying I am not your typical spa junkie. In my time off, I’d rather do something more active like play tennis or other sports. But since so many men seem to be showing more interest in spas than ever before, I decide to see what all the fuss is about. After all, I am in Bali which is one of the spa capitals of the world.
The spa at AYANA is considered to be one of the best on earth. In 2010, it was voted by Conde Nast Traveller readers as the #1 Spa in the World. Seems to me, there is no better place to embark on my first ever spa adventure.
I am feeling a little uncomfortable thinking I will be the only man there. But the opposite seems to be true: men almost outnumber women in the reception area when I arrive and I start to feel more comfortable. But have I missed something, I always thought the spa was a ladies thing? (Later, I jump on the internet to do some research and learn that men actually account for 35% of the entire spa-going population, making them the fastest growing segment according to Conde Nast Traveler, and that number is expected to increase further in coming years.)
As soon as I arrive, the very-friendly staff offer me their signature welcome drink of ginger and lemongrass tea. This drink is a perfect reflection of what a spa experience is all about: it’s healthy, refreshing, unique, and makes you feel like you’re treating your body well, summarizing the reasons why you are probably there in the first place.
My first treatment is the Detox Body Treatment, which comprises a seaweed body mask to release toxins. My therapist wraps a warm blanket around me for 25-minutes while the mask does its work, during which time she gives me a facial massage. Afterwards, I shower and then enjoy a full body massage that leaves me feeling completely cleansed and re-energized.
The second treatment is the Men’s Facial. Now, I know the word facial sounds very feminine but this is actually a facial developed especially for men, and incorporates a full body massage to make it as attractive as possible to men. I am not used to the sensation of someone cleaning, scrubbing, moisturizing and applying a mask that makes my face feel frozen, but I am convinced of the benefits of this, as I did feel a big improvement in my skin and very refreshed afterwards.
My last treatment is the Exotic Bamboo Massage, which is a very firm (ie. manly!) massage based on a technique that uses different types of heated bamboo tools. The therapist shows great skill in using her hands, elbows and the bamboo tools in long strokes to release knots and tension. I fall into a deep state of relaxation (and may have drooled into the flower bowl just a little).
After experiencing all three treatments, I can now say I am a spa-convert and believe it is far more effective in reducing stress levels than having a drink after work. Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting you exchange your nightly aperitif for a spa treatment, but why not benefit from both? The spa is more than just women’s beauty treatments, the focus is not really on how you look at all, but on how you feel. And men like to feel good too, simple as that. Another round of pampering please!
Edward and Rachel Scheibler were the first couple to ever marry at this resort back in 1996 (when it was The Ritz-Carlton Bali, Resort & Spa). They recently returned with their two sons to show them the place where their lifelong commitment was made. In this blog post, they share some of their memories and wedding photos from both the original ceremony and their latest visit with us – a beautiful reminder of the legacy of Bali’s eternally romantic spirit!
I guess our wedding made history. We were the first ever couple to get married at AYANA when we eloped in December 1996, soon after the hotel opened. It’s been almost 15 years and we’re still going strong! This is our first trip back to Bali since. We now have two children: William, 11, and George, 9. We have told the kids so many times how special Bali is to us and how special the hotel is, and how much we’ve anticipated coming back here. We really wanted to show them the place where we got married, and we ended up having an informal ceremony to relive the moment, this time with our children in attendance. The pier was decorated in similar style to our original ceremony, with white flowers, a Balinese ringgit musician, Balinese traditional decorations, and glasses of champagne for our toast. It was magical!
Our original Balinese wedding wasn’t really planned; we were supposed to get married in New York with all of our family and friends but it was turning into a circus! We were travelling around Tokyo, Koh Samui and Bangkok, and when we came to Bali, the resort was so beautiful and relaxed, we just said, ‘This is the perfect place, let’s get married here’. We chose to get married on the jetty, surrounded by the ocean and dramatic cliff scenery.
We were meant to check out on Christmas Eve, but extended another three days. The resort handled all of the wedding arrangements at very short notice. Rachel is Catholic and I am Prodestant, but we had an Episcopalian minister and a Balinese civil servant who administered the civil ceremony. The staff from the hotel were our substitute family, so coming back here this time, we really feel like we came home to family. We have met staff who were here at that time and are still working for the hotel.
We were staying in a normal room but the hotel upgraded us to a villa for the wedding night. After the ceremony on the jetty, we had a traditional Balinese wedding dinner on our bale beside the villa pool, under the stars. We still remember that meal so fondly, the food was delicious and it was a very memorable experience. Back in New York, our families were very happy for us and we had a big party.
We have had a fantastic time coming back and the boys have both said they want to get married here when their time comes. They are thinking maybe on the waterslides. Who knows, stranger things could happen!
We are all still drying off after annual training with a Thermes Marins Hydrotherapy trainer this month! Nine of our therapists took part in 6 days of intensive training to review techniques, skills, products and facilities for our hydrotherapy treatments, including Underwater Massage, Aqua Exercise, Sea Breeze Massage and Oceanic Ritual package (my personal favorite). The trainer, who is based at Thermes Marins headquarters in St Malo, France – nice spot to be living but then Bali’s not too bad either! – also checked and approved the temperature and water quality in the Aquatonic Seawater Therapy Pool, which contains 700 million liters of seawater pumped in from the Indian Ocean. Everybody raves about Rock Bar, but personally I think sunset in the Aquatonic Pool is not-to-be-missed ;-) It’s even better if you follow it up with a Rock Bar cocktail afterwards – when the crowds have died down a bit and you can enjoy your beverage under a star-lit sky listening to the waves of the spot-lit ocean. That’s why we call this package the Perfectonic! Sundowner anyone?
PS – Happy Second Anniversary for AYANA! It’s now been 2 years since we rebranded as an independent resort. Another reason to celebrate :-)