The whole purpose of my holiday in Bali was to do nothing, and least of all to do work, but reviewing spas is one of my most favourite past times so I allowed myself to do just one. That is fair, isn’t it? Picking one wasn’t easy but when I heard from the team at the shiny new Le Méridien Bali Jimbaran about their signature treatments I couldn’t pass up the chance to give them a try. I selected the Cradle & Expand Treatment based on this interesting blurb in the menu:
The cradle-and-expand massage is performed to one guest by two of our therapists working in a rhythmic harmony method inspired by traditional Thai massage. Engage through the power of deep breathing and stretching to lengthen your spine and relax the tired muscles.
It is definitely not a regular treatment you would expect to see in a spa menu, so in my eyes that makes it the ultimate tester for this spa. How did I go? Read my review to find out!
Le Méridien Bali Jimbaran Resort is situated at the heart of the picturesque fishing village of Jimbaran, just minutes from the beautiful white sand of Jimbaran beach. It is an area renowned for seafood restaurants and water fun.
The resort design is impressive. Consisting of 118 spacious rooms, suites, rooftop penthouses and private pool villas in Bali Jimbaran that are complemented with modern Balinese décor, chic touches and indulgent amenities. Entry to the hotel is via their main driveway, where you are transported from your vehicle to the lobby up a steep slope in a golf cart. It is quite novel and fun the first few times. The lobby is open and breeze thanks to the gigantic open-air water feature that sits on the far wall and hangs directly over the hotel below it. The compound is shaped like a horseshoe, so from the lobby you can see across to some of the rooms on the other side and below you is the crystal clear pools, their Bamboo Chic Pan Asian restaurant, Lagoon Pool bar and WaLa ice cream bar. If you are afraid of heights I suggest you don’t walk too close to the water feature because the Lobby is sitting atop the rest of the hotel.
Serenity Spa is accessed via the lifts in the lobby just a couple of floors below. The spa also has a salon which offers hair and nail treatments.
Serenity Spa Reception & Change Rooms
A dimly lit reception looked like most spas I have seen in western hotels but accented with pieces of traditional Balinese woodwork, decorative wallpaper and some flowers for colour. The polished floorboards and air conditioning gave the space a cool but welcoming feel. I was greeted by a soft spoken gentleman behind the reception desk who showed me over to a comfortable chair in the waiting area. I completed my details on an information sheet while I was served a cool compress and some iced peppermint tea with honey. Both were extremely refreshing having just escaped the sweaty heat outside.
There were no change rooms at this spa as guests were able to change into the required attire once in their treatment room. They do have bathrooms and showers which were fitted out with large mirrors and basic amenities such as hand wash and hand cream. If you weren’t staying at the hotel and planned to have a shower before heading out I would recommend bringing your own toiletries as I was unable to locate any within the area itself.
I was escorted directly to my treatment room with the two therapists who would be performing the service. As I had arrived a little early for my appointment, I was asked if I would mind having one male and one female do the treatment as the previously scheduled second female was still in with a client. I had no problem with a male doing a spa treatment but I love that they were considerate enough to ask just in case I was sensitive to the idea. They gave me the option of waiting until the original therapist was finished but I am not very good at sitting around so I was happy to proceed.
The therapists explained to me that there is a lot of stretching involved and asked if I had done a similar treatment before. I hadn’t but they didn’t seem to fazed. I guess it was just a warning in case I thought the treatment would be something else but I was prepared based on the blurb in the menu. I was more than happy to be stretched because I do not do it nearly enough.
Entering the treatment room was like escaping to a little quiet oasis. On the floor there were towels laid out in a cross (t) shape. Just on the floor. No bed. I was asked to change into a white cotton outfit of pants and a top – they reminded me of orderly outfits you see in hospitals. I was concerned lying on the floor for this 45minute treatment would be a little uncomfortable but surprisingly it was actually quite pleasant. The towels were soft and the carpet was a nice quality.
I lay face down on the towels as the therapists took their positions, the female at my feet and the male at my head. A chime was played over my head and moved closer to my ear. I am not exactly sure what this was for but it was interesting nevertheless. The therapists than commenced placing pressure on my body in a kneading motion, working from their points towards the middle and back to the start again. This was repeated a few times to loosen me up prior to the stretching.
The first stretch was a little difficult for me to relax in to and I think it was just a matter of learning to let the therapists manipulate my body into the correct positions. In the first stretch, while I still lay on my stomach, my arms were lifted and taken behind my back, my ankles were held together – both limbs were pulled for three long stretches before they lifted me in the air allowing my body to sway in the position. This was done twice and the second time really let my arm muscles to release some tension. I then lay flat on my stomach again and more kneading massage was repeated.
Rolling over on to my back, we moved to a bit of leg work commencing with my legs being lifted and stretched over my head. I could really feel this in my lower back which had been crying for a good stretch for some time. More kneading massage followed and it came to be something I would look forward to after the extreme stretching. It was then time for a full body stretch, with my arms and legs being pulled in the opposite direction like you would imagine a torture device did in medieval times. The stretch was done three times before I was lifted off the ground and swayed like a baby cradle. The following stretches were focused on my back mostly by moving my arms and legs in different directions. It had become crystal clear to me just how out of shape my body was but at the same time it was a little relaxing to have the therapists do most of the work.
The treatment was finished with a relaxing pressure massage on my head and I really didn’t want that one to end. They found all the tensions spots of my skull and applied pressure, magically vanishing any sign of a headache I had been living with for months. All three of us then sat up and placed our legs in a butterfly shape, with our feet together. I followed my therapists rhythm of taping at my body and felt like I was preparing to learn some exotic foreign dancing. They then bowed to me and said the treatment had finished. I was a little relieved.
I redressed myself and made my way to reception where I enjoyed a glass of cold water. I was surprised that I felt a tad exhausted but at the same time really refreshed. The treatment was like a mix of torture and relief. They pushed my body to a point it would just start to hurt and when they would release me it was like the most amazing rush of relief took over my body. My muscles and joints felt looser – capable of more movement. The rest of the day I felt like my body had relaxed. Like it had really exhaled properly, a feeling I am not overly familiar with but very happy to have had it.
The Cradle and Expand treatment runs for 45 minutes and costs IDR 500.000 (approximately AUS $50). Serenity Spa & Salon is located at Le Meridien Bali Jimbaran, Jalan Bukit Permai · Jimbaran, IDB 80361, Indonesia.
Do you like the sound of this treatment? Have you experienced anything similar? Let me know by commenting below!