Ubud is without doubt Bali’s spiritual hub, making it also one of the best spots on the island to indulge in self-care at numerous idyllic spas and wellness centers. In Ubud you’re guaranteed to find the treatment you seek–whether you’re craving a reflexology session, detoxifying body-mask, stress relieving Balinese massage, reiki healing, sound therapy, salt room soaks, and just about any other holistic therapy. I did the very difficult job of testing out a few spas to divulge this list of the best spa experiences in Ubud. You can thank me later, for now, go get than zen.
BEST AMBIANCE: SPA AT MAYA
Tucked away outside the hectic Ubud city center awaits a sustainable oasis complete with one of the most beautiful spas in the world at Maya Ubud Resort. The luxury property operates a variety of sustainable practices and has obtained the prestigious Green Globe certification. Green Globe was the premier certification program with a rigorous eco-friendly standard in the travel industry. The Spa at Maya hanging thatch pavilion is enclosed by lush rainforest. Each treatment villa is open air which allows for soft sunlight to bathe the room while the jungle breeze circulates with lingering natural scents as the soothing sound of the Petanu river in the valley below hangs in the air accompanied by sweet calls from exotic birds. Naturally, Spa at Maya wins my bid for the best ambiance at a spa in Ubud.
I was invited to experience the signature spa treatment. From the moment I arrived, I received extraordinary service. I was escorted to the spa where and greeted with chilled towelettes infused with green tea. Immediately my stress began to fade as I took in the incredible surroundings. After testing various natural massage oils and bath salts I selected jasmine for the aromatherapy Balinese massage portion of my treatment and my bath salt was citrus bergamot orange.
Once I arrived at the secluded treatment room I was greeted by my skilled therapists who’d be attending to my every need. Spa at Maya treated me to the most glorious Balinese massage I’ve ever experienced. I drifted into a deep trance as she renewed every aspect of my body with a strong precise touch. Feeling entirely revitalized I slipped into the most beautiful floral bath I’d ever seen. The silver tub oozed with the holistic bath salts as hundreds of Frangipani blooms floated in the soft jungle light. These sacred flowers are used in Balinese prayer rituals and smell absolutely heavenly. The tub overlooked the dense valley, an enchanting view with endless palm trees and the occasional vibrant Kingfisher passing by.
BEST SAUNA: DRAGONFLY
You probably are questioning my sanity suggesting a sauna evening in the tropical heat that usually simmers in Bali. Regardless of the weather, a herbal steam sauna is always a good idea–they allow the body to sweat out toxins, promote healthy blood circulation, open the airways in the lungs, regulate the immune system, and so much more. After a day of sightseeing around Ubud nothing could be more refreshing than a rotation of steam baths in a sauna and soaks in a salt water pool. If that sounds deliriously delicious then head to Dragonfly Village where they operate a herbal steam sauna night complete with a cozy bonfire on Wednesday, Thursday (silent), Saturday, and Sunday from 6-9pm.
Located on a ridge surrounded by panoramic rice terraces the conscious haven is entirely enchanting with recycled teak wood houses with traditional structures surrounded by water lily ponds. The retreat is entirely organic, from building materials, ingredients in the cafe, and herbs used in the sauna. A dragonfly was chosen to symbolize the space as the beautiful insect represents metamorphosis. The namesake creature scurries around the retreat often throughout the day and its counterpart fireflies make appearances in the evening.
I was invited to partake in the sauna night on the eve of my birthday. It was raining throughout the evening but the soft sprinkle of water added to the euphoria of the evening by awakening my senses through the scent of wet grass and the cool sensation of the raindrops hitting my warm skin after sitting in the sauna. As the evening went on there was enough dry wood to start a bonfire which was the perfect addition to the tranquil setting.
Guests have a choice of organic body scrubs to use in order to open up their pores and have the most euphoric results from the sauna night. I chose the Balinese sea salt and Javanese volcanic clay scrub which was enhanced with lemongrass and mint essential oils. The mixture was very intense in the sauna but made my skin ultra smooth. This particular combination of ingredients exfoliates while energizing and firming the skin. Other scrubs include a coconut sugar and wild cinnamon, coffee and coconut milk, and oats with lavender. Each are made with organic matter and extra toxins while nurturing the skin.
Once the scrub had been applied I enter the silent sauna and sunk into complete bliss. The sauna is infused with a precise mix of herbs meant to further aid the body in detox. After sweating out a dose of toxins I rinsed off in the outdoor bamboo shower streaming with refreshingly cool water. It’s crucial to shower before entering the saltwater pool as no chemicals like chlorine is used. It can be a bit dizzying to sit in the heat for extended periods of time so be sure to drink plenty of the provided herbal tea and pick up a refreshment at the vegan Dragonfly Café.
BEST LOCATION: TAKSU SPA
Imagine my surprise when I strolled into a world class day spa in the heart of Ubud. Magically the jungle filtered out the chaos and racket of the city as I entered a rejuvenating oasis a mere stone’s throw away. Taksu is a Balinese word that embraces those moments in life that are increasingly rare yet widely recognizable, but impossible to describe. Know what I mean? If not pay a visit to the Taksu Spa and you might just have an inkling after an enticing treatment.
Taksu Spa is committed to conserving Bali’s natural beauty and maintains varied eco-friendly practices in waste management, solar-heated water, made to use organic oils and lotions, and ceramic containers for the fragrance-free soap, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. All of the products used at Taksu Spa are made daily with organic locally-sourced ingredients and blended by the Taksu master aromatherapist. Taksu Spa formulates products based on skin type, and season. For instance, during humid months lighter oils are used to guarantee comfort. This sustainable mindset carries over to staffing and training principles. The team at Taksu spa are mostly Indonesian, with just four upper management leaders who’ve brought their hospitality experience from other parts of the globe. All of the therapists are Balinese and receive training in Anatomy and Physiology. The local staff open their hearts to share the beauty of Bali with guests as they are the experts in the Balinese culture–the heartfelt healing energy is palpable. Taksu Spa operates a social welfare initiative to provide additional education for staff and waste management awareness for the neighborhood.
I was invited to the zen sanctuary to experience the newly created soothing therapy treatment package to cleanse and soften my body and soul. I began the invigorating treatment with a 30-minute session in the Far Infrared sauna. Taksu explains this procedure by encouraging guests to “picture yourself outdoors on a summer day with the sun beaming overhead. Your body feels warm from the sun and you become hot. Then a cloud passes overhead, blocking out the sun. The temperature outside has not changed, but you feel cooler in the shade. The sun’s infrared rays were heating your body.” Taksu harness this resonant absorption practice in order to allow the body to feel pain relief, reduce cellulite, and lower blood pressure. I was provided lemon water and cold towelettes to stay hydrated and refreshed during the lovely spa experience.
Then I was escorted to my stunning private therapy villa and indulged in a cold shower helped to open my pores. Thus began the stimulating 90-minute aromatherapy massage. The treatment was a sensory journey as the therapist lovingly placed the oil of my choice, dubbed play too hard, in her palms and rubs them together vigorously to open the aroma. She held her hands beneath my nose and encouraged me to inhale deeply. I had never had such a personalized experience before and started the massage off on a deeply relaxing note, which continued throughout the session. The therapist expertly applied long strokes and rhythmically worked out all the tense and tender spots across my body. As the massage concluded I was covered in fresh aloe vera from head to toe. I allowed the natural moisturizer to soak into my skin for 30-minutes of blissful pampering. After rinsing off I was amazed by how luscious my skin felt! I had never considered using aloe for anything beyond burns.
Tea was served in the dining pavilion after the treatment and I slowly made my way there across the natural river and through the virgin forest stopping along the way to admire the peaceful Balinese statues. It is entirely impossible not to relax in this environment. I felt completely connected, balanced, and nourished after my experience at Taksu Spa. Indeed, there is tranquility to be found in the center of Ubud.
BEST WELLNESS: UBUD BODYWORKS
Ubud Bodyworks was founded by local Mahatma therapist Master Ketut Arsana as a sacred space for bodywork and healing through expert massage techniques that enhance health and overall wellbeing. Master Arsana is an expert in Buddha Kecapi therapy and has a knowledgeable understanding of the human body and uses Ayurveda and Bali Usadha treatments to heal guests. He trains his staff in the holistic regimen personally and each therapist lives up to his standards of service, technique, and healing. The treatments at Ubud Bodyworks aim to aid the lymphatic system aka the lymphoid organs, nodes, ducts, capillaries, and vessels which function as the circulatory system.
Ubud bodyworks is located in a traditional Balinese family compound which has been renovated to create simple treatment rooms. An array of spices throughout leaving an intoxicating scent lingering in the air. These bowls of herbs, spices, fruits, and flowers reflect the exact natural ingredients that were used for the various essential oils, natural fiber scrubs, and lotions used during my massage. I was treated to the exfoliation massage with a coconut fiber scrub. The treatment I received focused on balancing, revitalizing, and rejuvenating my lymphatic system. The process enhances the immune system in its ability to removes excess fluid from tissues and absorb fatty acids.
My therapist was incredibly kind and professional. They even surprised me by letting me keep the extra organic jasmine essential oil that they hadn’t used during the spa experience. The transformative and healing event ended with a delicious platter of fresh papaya served with homemade spicy tamarind sauce and ginger tea. I left the realm of wellness feeling cleansed and centered. The lymphatic treatment left my body feeling lighter, skin brighter, and mind clearer. But most importantly it supported and enhanced my immune system, which is crucial when you’re a full-time traveler like me!
If you’re in Seminyak don’t miss out on a divine spa experience at the Spa Alila. I also rounded up my favorite spa experiences in Kuala Lumpur! Where have you had the best massage in Southeast Asia? Tell me in the comments so I can go check it out!
Thank you to each of these incredible Ubud spas for offering me your delightful spa experiences. All opinions and photos are my own. This post contains affiliate links, please read the Miss Filatelista disclosure policy for more information.