Spa Village Resort Tembok is a luxurious 31-room resort in Singaraja, in northern Bali, far away from the hustle and bustle of Ubud and Seminyak. Despite being the second largest city on the island, the palm-tree-lined streets here are quiet and peaceful.
The resort itself is also peppered with palm trees and has a breathtaking infinity pool overlooking the ocean. Those who stay here have a calendar of free activities to sign up to – from Hatha yoga on the lawn and healthy cooking classes to stargazing in the pool after dinner and sunset cruises in a traditional Jukong. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is included with delicious, daily menus served up by the resort’s only restaurant, The Wantilan.
The beautiful infinity pool at Spa Village Resort Tembok
TIME TO RELAX!
A tranquil retreat dedicated to relaxation, we were encouraged to unwind upon arrival with a welcome massage and foot soak in the lobby, as hotel staff checked us in. We were given a suggested itinerary for our stay to help us make the most out of our time at the resort, too – everything is tailormade so you can do as much, or as little, as you want.
With no children, no wifi (except in the lobby) and no TVs in the rooms, everything is geared towards switching off. But that isn’t difficult here; one look at the infinity pool overlooking the Indian Ocean is enough to make anyone feel like a castaway.
Steph, chilling out on her sun lounger and enjoying the view
The resort is about a 3.5-hour drive from Denpasar airport; the roads in Bali are narrow and busy (traffic jams are likely), and some taxis can overcharge, so arranging a transfer with the hotel is your best bet. The drive might be long, but it’s also beautiful. We followed the winding roads surrounded by lush rainforest, past the active volcano Mount Batur, and through quaint villages, before we arrived at the resort.
There are three options here when it comes to accommodation: the Kamar Rooms are complementary of Balinese traditions with understated features. They each have a marble bathroom and a wide balcony or terrace with views over the infinity pool and ocean. There are also suites set on the upper levels with a generous living area and stunning garden or sea views. Then there are the villas, which are sanctuaries of peace, each with their own private entry, outdoor pavilion and plunge pool, complete with sea views.
The garden-view Kamar Rooms
The wellness experience at Tembok is less about visiting an extravagant spa with lots of facilities and more about taking time out to look after yourself. It’s personalised and authentic, and the treatment menu is vast and impressive.
We tried the Penganten Melukat treatment, inspired by the traditional Balinese cleansing ritual for brides and grooms before their wedding day. The ritual begins with a relaxing Balinese massage, followed by a body scrub (heated cloves, then fresh milk, is smothered on the skin) and ending with a floral bath.
The food here is excellent. Perched high above the sea with views over the volcanic beach, The Wantilan restaurant offers a daily à la carte menu, serving up locally sourced, organic ingredients and mixes Indonesian with light, Western cuisine. Like everything else here, the menu is all about wellbeing and balance; expect modest portion sizes (not a problem when you’re eating three courses) and endless tasty, yet healthy, options.
OUT AND ABOUT
If you can tear yourself away from the spa or that infinity pool, there are plenty of things to see and do. For adventure-seekers, the resort can organise a sunrise trek up Mount Batur.
We met a tour guide at the base of the mountain at 2am, and then began the two-hour trek up the mountain before reaching the summit and waiting for the sun to rise. The hotel sent us off with picnic-style breakfast boxes, which we ate while we waited. Just be sure to book this on a clear day for the best views.
Another must-book excursion is a guided sunrise bike ride to Les Waterfall in Tejakula. We cycled for 45 minutes from the resort to the waterfall – when we arrived, we tucked into a picnic and then went for a swim. Definitely a bucket list-worthy experience.
Les Waterfall in Tejakula
If you’re after sightseeing, it’s definitely worth organising a trip to Ubud, which is a two-hour drive from the resort. Here, you can visit the famous terraced, rice paddy fields (stop at Boni restaurant for excellent Balinese food and the best rice paddy views).
Visit the famous terraced rice paddy fields in Ubud
Steph’s fiancé Jack stops to refuel – Ubud style – at Boni restaurant
Also worth a visit is Bali Pulina; a coffee plantation (again, with breathtaking views of the rice paddies). Here you can try Kopi LuWak; the most expensive coffee in the world, made with coffee beans that are digested by a civet cat, collected from the faeces and then processed into coffee. A small bag to take home will set you back £20.
Sampling the coffees at Bali Pulina coffee plantation
In Ubud you can also visit one of the many Hindu temples and shrines: ancient holy sites include the intricately carved Goa Gajah (“Elephant Cave”) and Gunung Kawi, with its rock-cut shrines. And for those who love to shop, you can spend hours pottering around the markets, picking up silk scarves and handmade woven bags.
Singaraja is the place to go for relaxation; but if you want to be in the thick of it and crave the buzz of Bali, staying somewhere more central, such as Ubud, would make sightseeing easier.
That being said, Ubud isn’t too far from the resort – and personally, I enjoyed being able to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
Spa Village Resort Tembok is a great place to unwind and unplug. I would recommend that travellers split their trip to Bali in two; start with a stay in Ubud to really soak up the culture and see the sights. Then, when you’re ready to switch off, come here.
For me, swimming in the Spa Village infinity pool and enjoying the cool breeze, while watching the sunset, was one of the most memorable moments of the entire trip.
TAKE ME THERE…
Garuda Indonesia flies three times a week from London Heathrow to Denpasar, Bali, with the outbound journey via Jakarta and the return journey via Singapore. Flights cost from £698 return. Book a stay at Spa Village Resort Tembok with Small Luxury Hotels of the World from £187 per night (two sharing) on a full-board basis (0800 0482 314).
Author: Stephanie Stafford
Steph formerly worked as a Features Writer on Boots Health & Beauty magazine, where she became something of a knowledge on all things wellbeing related. She has always had a passion for travel and has written destination and hotel reviews for Cosmopolitan and the Daily Express. Currently, she works at fashion website IntuDigital, producing lifestyle content on everything from style, beauty and health, to travel, culture and family.