If you are looking for total relaxation, luxury, wholesome food and a new challenge all rolled into one then Bali’s Surf Goddess Retreat should be next on your list. From the moment the arrival car turns off the busy streets of Seminyak and into a little lane and you step into the retreat, a wave of relaxation washes over you. A tropical iced welcome drink will be in your hand before you know it and you will be escorted to your villa and given a brief introduction of what the following week will hold for you.
From the booking process we knew airport transfers, accommodation, surf lessons, yoga lessons, spa treatments, meals, snacks and drinks by the pool were included but no one could prepare us for this. The Surf Goddess Retreat has thought of everything, down to the smallest and most thoughtful details that make all the difference and give you the relaxing sensation of feeling right at home.
To start, the room is spectacular. Usually shared with one other lady from the retreat (unless you upgrade to a single room) you will each get a big, four-poster bed complete with canopy mosquito nets, an indulgent bathroom fit with a sky-light and an ‘outdoor feel’ oversized shower, individual sinks and cotton robes.
It’s in the name so when you’re here you are going to go surfing! When sitting on the beach surfing looks like a pretty effortless sport but from the moment a surfboard is put in our hands the workout starts. Surfing has many benefits including an arm workout (paddling and lifting the board), core work out (the balancing) and leg workout (from the stand up squat position to keep your balance). It is a major cardio workout and usually we don’t last longer than an hour but it is a fun sport that we love doing. It’s one of those sports where you don’t feel the workout until the next day (thank goodness for the included spa treatments).
We’ve already told you how amazing yoga is here, but the correlation between surfing and yoga movements are unbelievable – it is no jinx that yoga is on the menu at the Surf Goddess Retreat. From yoga in the evenings to then returning to the water and back on the board you can feel the difference: in strength, stretching, balancing and inner soul power. Not only do the yoga sessions focus on muscle control but meditation and soul searching is key. Many women who come to the retreat are going through personal life issues or are at a new chapter in life so recognizing how yoga practice can help with all aspects of their wellness and lifestyle is very important.
It’s worth pointing out the food as it is absolutely delicious. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks are all included. There is plenty of food to go around, and all is made in-house by the local retreat chef. Wherever possible the ingredients are sourced locally which means meals are always fresh, homemade and predominately raw so you are slowly detoxifying your system (without even realizing). There is no red meat on the menu – just seafood and chicken and catering for gluten free, vegetarians and vegans is no hassle at all.
Last and never least, included in your package is five hours of total bliss at the in-house spa. On offer are massages, hair cream baths (our absolute favourite and an Indonesian specialty), facials, mani-pedi’s plus so much more. The ladies at the villa spa are so lovely and will make you feel like a true goddess.
A typical day in paradise…
6:30am – 7:30am: Breakfast at the Villa. It may seem early, especially when you’re on holiday, but when fresh green juice, homemade bircher muesli and ginger and banana pancakes are on the menu it won’t be hard to drag yourself out of bed.
8:00am – 9:30am: Surfing lesson. The lessons are conducted through the Rip Curl School of Surf at Seminyak Beach, so they are completely accredited and safe. The instructors are local boys who know the water like the back of their hand and they are more than happy to give an extra helping hand to beginners and will probably laugh with you when you inevitably fall off. But it is all good fun in the name of surfing.
10:00am – 11:30am: A little personal time. You can either stay down at the beach longer to practice your newly learnt skills, go shopping or simply relax/recover by the villa pool.
11:30am – 12:00pm: Lunchtime. Our favourite for the week was the raw energy pita pocket with roasted sweet potato chips, but others on the menu are nasi campur or edamame and brown rice salad. It is a great time to look back on moments with the other girls from the morning surf lesson and to plan afternoon adventures.
12:00pm – 5:30pm: Personal time. Hit the beach (again), spend up big in the countless boutiques just minutes from the villa, book yourself in for a spa treatment, read a book by the pool or have the friendly staff plan an afternoon trip somewhere else on the island.
5:30pm – 7:00pm: Yoga. Every day you focus on something different depending on what the group wants but in general it is Vinyasa flow style and is suitable for all experience levels. We found it was the perfect way to wind down from the day and prepare your body for the next.
7:00pm – 8:30pm: Dinner. It’s surprising how a full day of relaxation makes you build up such an appetite! Breakfast and lunch set up pretty high expectations for dinner and thank goodness we were never disappointed. The stand outs were the red curry with green papaya salad, chargrilled tiger prawns on lemon grass skewers and banana wrapped steamed snapper with coconut sauce. And we can’t forget to mention dessert! The tamarillo crumble with homemade ice-cream and the banana split with homemade coconut sorbet and caramel sauce were at the top our list.
The Surf Goddess Retreat is absolute bliss and if you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to go then do not hesitate. Each night you’re there you’ll crawl into your cosy bed, realise how blessed you are and drift into a deep, rejuvenating sleep ready for another day in heaven. Trust us when we say you won’t ever want to leave!