Winding stone and wooden pathways lead you through lush lawns speckled with organic produce gardens, charming little lounging huts, and restored antique wooden homes collected from various Indonesian Islands.
TEXT BY JESSICA BLACKMUN // IMAGES BY JACKSON GROVES
This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own.
Entering the threshold of Desa Seni in Bali, Indonesia was literally like walking into a dream. In a world where so many hotels and resorts push towards being more sterile and minimalist, Desa Seni stands out as a paradise for yoga lovers and wellness appreciators. I was in heaven.
DESA SENI RESORT: THE GROUNDS
The first taste of the magic that is Desa Seni is the check-in hut. The small set of steps lead to an open air wooden room bursting with a beautiful contrast between the natural timber and bright cheerful colors. Each time a guest or visitor comes through this checkpoint, the guards hit a giant gong to welcome them and alert the front desk staff to ensure that each guest is warmly received. This genuine sentiment of special care and attention to detail is woven throughout the entire resort and the Desa Seni experience.
A feeling of childhood wonder and whimsy await each guest as they proceed through to the rest of this stunningly aesthetic eco resort. Winding stone and wooden pathways lead you through lush lawns speckled with organic produce gardens, charming little lounging huts, and restored antique wooden homes collected from various Indonesian Islands.
The main path takes you to the heart of Desa Seni where the Rumah Makan restaurant, the second gorgeous yoga studio, the spa, and the 15 meter pool are located. Even though Desa Seni is a mere 5 minutes away from the beach, many of the guests take advantage of the pool and the clusters of comfy oversized lounging chairs.
Beyond this point there are numerous paths that take you on winding walks to the rest of the accommodation, the gardens, and to the small tucked in sitting areas spread out around the grounds. Our accommodation for this blissful weekend was Rumah Wungsu, a quaint hut tucked in the quiet back corner of the Desa Seni property.
THE VILLAGE HOUSES: DESA SENI ACCOMMODATION
Rumah Wungsu is named after King Anak Wungsu, who during the 8th century was one of the first in his station to record written documentation about society at the time. The traditional dwelling house or Numah Tinggal was collected from the Java dating back to the 1900’s.
In each room, there is a carefully written history of the renovated village house and a description of many of the antiques inside that give light to the true Indonesian culture and heritage. Many of the artifacts that Desa Seni has used to decorate Rumah Wungsu are not only aesthetically pleasing, but also have a cool history. For example the chairs and oval table on the left side of the terrace are village furniture that dates back nearly 100 years! Inside the Rumah Wungsu, from everything to the headboard to the sink, there are plenty more examples of how Desa Seni goes above and beyond to make the living space both beautiful and historically interesting. While the keys to the room are far from the keycards that many modern chain hotels provide, they held true to the authentic theme of the resort.
The amount of care and attention to detail that was put into not only the room, but the entire experience was astounding. In addition to the gorgeous interior, each room has mosquito nets, rain showers, and peaceful and comfortable sitting areas both in and outside of the multiple housing options. Whilst being surrounded by the magic and beauty of indonesian culture, Desa Seni also provides the western comforts of air conditioning, modernized private bathrooms, and security. The toiletries are organic, all natural, and made onsite! They even include an all natural mosquito repellant! In each room there is also a small box with postcards, seeds to plant, earplugs, power outlet adapters, incense sticks, and a flashlight for walking to and from your Balinese-style village house at night.
Each evening the staff comes and lets down your mosquito net, shuts the shutters on the windows of your village home, and leaves a small note with a nice quote of wisdom before turning on the porch light so that you are greeted each night with a little light instead of trying to fumble around to find the terrace steps in the dark.
Once you’ve woken up in the morning they open all the shutters, put up the mosquito nets, and do a light cleaning. They then invite you to join in on tradition by leaving a daily offering. It is these little details that make staying at Desa Seni so special.
RUMAH MAKAN: THE DESA SENI RESTAURANT
We had so many beautiful meals during our weekend at Desa Seni! While there is a main eating hall, you also have the option of ordering room service or enjoying your meal by the pool or in any of the small huts placed around the main area.
As someone who definitely gets over-excited by food I’ve found Bali to have a lot more health food options than I had anticipated! There were so many nutritious and delicious options and even with all of my food allergies and restricted diet it took me a while to decide what to get at each meal. Also 80% of the produce used for Desa Seni’s menu comes from their own organic gardens! Talk about keeping it local!
The staff was amazing and so filled with joy. We would often catch them laughing and singing spontaneously. From our first day, they remembered our names and would always give us a warm smile and ask us how we were doing. They were also super knowledgeable on dietary restrictions and even went above and beyond to alter dishes so that I could enjoy them (e.g. The amazing vegan and gluten free banana milkshake)!
ALL THE AMAZING FOOD I ATE:
Drink: Banana Blueberry Juice
Appetizer: Sawi Spring Rolls
Main: Blackened Tofu Tempe Bali Red Rice Bowl
Dessert: Vegan Ice Cream: Chocolate Cinnamon + Salted Caramel
Drink: Lemongrass Ginger Tea
Meal: Blueberry Mango Pancakes, fruit starter
Drink: Green Juice
Meal: Tofu Burger on GF Bread, veggie and hummus starter
Dessert: Raw Chocolate Torte (GF Vegan)
Appetizer: Bruschetta on GF Bread
Drink: Specially made Vegan GF Banana Milkshake (almond milk and vegan coconut ice cream)
Main: Seafood Special (chilli marinated fish and prawns over rice with salad)
Dessert: GF Jackfruit Kue (I was so full that we took to go!)
Drink: Green Juice, French press Coffee with Almond Milk, comp juice
Main: Blueberry Mango Pancakes, with comp fruit
Another great little detail that Desa Seni includes is unlimited free drinking water! The water in Bali isn’t safe for drinking for most people from Western Countries, but the staff at Desa Seni make sure you stay hydrated! There were filtered water jugs in the rooms, around the yoga studios, and in public areas. And any time you sat down at the restaurant or near the pool you would be brought a fresh cucumber water!
DESA SENI YOGA
Desa Seni is known for yoga, as it holds many retreats each year and even has 200 hr yoga teacher trainings! There are two beautiful outdoor studios on the grounds of Desa Seni. Each one is equipped with complimentary mats, blocks, blankets, and yoga straps. Any of the regularly scheduled classes are complimentary to anyone staying at Desa Seni. During my wonderful weekend at Desa Seni I took three classes. I started my Saturday morning off with an hour of Sunrise Hatha with Antonio then at midday I took an 90 minute class of L2 Vinyasa Flow with Jess. Both classes were great; the instructors were extremely knowledgeable and had a sense of peace that was just radiating off them. They did a great job of keeping the atmosphere positive while still stopping every so often to demonstrate proper alignment and share more information about what certain postures did to improve various aspects of our well being.
The next morning I signed up for a FlyHigh Yoga class with Angela. The front studio at Desa Seni is set up so that a group of 20 can comfortably take part in this exciting and challenging class. Angela did an amazing job of encouraging all of the people in the class to try new postures and get out of their comfort zone while still making sure that everyone was being safe.
I would definitely recommend this class and any of the classes at Desa Seni to anyone visiting Bali!
MERAPU SVAASTHYA SPA
Like the rest of Desa Seni, the Merapu Svaasthya Spa goes above and beyond any expectations. During my stay I had two Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) appointments with Andy Taylor, a USA Licensed Acupuncturist (LAc.) with a Masters of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine. Andy did a great job of pinpointing what was causing me physical discomfort and struggle and offered suggestions of how I could go about fixing it.
In my sessions we focused mainly on my back/skeletal issues (I have scoliosis which throws off the alignment of my whole body) and my digestion problems. I’m allergic to gluten, lactose intolerant, and just have a very sensitive stomach in general, so when I travel and change up my diet, my digestion and overall stomach comfort really struggles.
Andy treated me with acupuncture, osteopathic therapy, and then finished up by using moxa- a herb that can be burned to create deep heat- to help relieve some of the stagnant toxins built up in my back and right shoulder.
Even with my fear of needles and constant questions, Andy made me feel completely comfortable and helped me to better understand how I can improve my overall wellbeing!
DESA SENI COMMUNITY VIBES
Desa Seni is much more than just a place for yoga and wellness in Bali. It is a creative and sustainable community of creators who are ready to share their art, ideas, and good energy with guests, visitors, and anyone else that they can reach.
I like to support places, companies, and people who are trying to do their part in making the world a better, more positive, and healthy place. Desa Seni is doing just that.
- They give people a place where they can set aside the time to work on themselves and in turn go out and be better humans.
- Being an eco resort, they are environmentally conscious and are taking the time to teach each guest a little bit about Balinese culture while keeping the environment in mind.
- They also work with the local community on various projects to improve the health and wellbeing of the local people of Bali.
What I cherish most about my time here is the time to recharge and refresh. When you walk into Desa Seni you are able to escape all the business and stresses of life and truly relax. So far in my travels, I have yet to find a place that I feel so comfortable, peaceful, and free to be myself. As soon as I left the confines of Desa Seni, I was already looking forward to the next time I could visit.
To check out the amazing Desa Seni Eco Village Resort, click here!