In which I am blessed by fire like the Mother of Dragons I am but I really just get pampered, eat a bunch of Insta-worthy healthy meals and get an even Insta-worthier flower bath at Fivelements Bali.
About half an hour away from the bustling, exquisitely chaotic and characteristic Ubud, Fivelements is a healing spa where white girls go to Instagram. As my friend Emma joked in her Sporteluxe article, it sounds like rehab – and we said yes, yes, yes.
Defying TLC, the Fivelements team put us in the Waterfall 2 villa right in front of – you guessed it – a waterfall and the pleasantly loud Ayung river. Covered in bamboo, our villa featured a canopy bed and the way-too-pretty flower bath you have probably already seen all over my Insta.
The estate itself is nothing short of stunning. Aside from the quaint little villas, it featured a classy St. Tropez meets the rainforest type swimming pool, a wellness centre, a number of yoga pavilions and worship centres.
In the morning, we had a 90-minute private yoga session with Savitri Ingga Talahatu, a lovely Balinese hardcore yogi who teaches all over the world. Our class with Savitri was like nothing I have ever experienced before. She said: “Yoga is about being humble about yourself and what your body can do. Because our bodies are different, we have different capabilities.” Never have I ever heard a yoga teacher say during a class that a movement, even an apparently easy one, hurts her because of an operation she had. Or that she feared she wore her vest inside out. Savitri was able to make our session intimate, humble and spiritual all at once, without relinquishing her humanity and assuming that aura of untouchability I have seen in other classes.
The food at Fivelements can only be described as healthy, vegan fine dining. Made by chef Joao Ricardo Alves, all our meals were beautifully presented, nutritious and tasty. As a picky Italian who loves her cheese and makes a not bad risotto, I was blown away by the chef’s risotto with cashew cheese, or by the raw zucchini lasagna. Other highlights included a sweet potato hash skillet with coconut bacon, jackfruit tacos, potato gnocchi, dragonfruit smoothie bowl, raw banana pancakes, coconut pannacotta and a coconut milk cheesecake with dragonfruit.
Even the treatments at Fivelements were excellent and based on natural ingredients and superfoods. My favourite was the superfood facial, done using Bali-grown neem, pineapple serum, crystals, aloe vera, a spirulina and seaweed mask. All treatments lasted about 90 minutes and were followed by a river-facing tea in our luscious bath robes.
The real highlight of our Fivelements stay however came during our last day in the shape of the Fire Blessing ceremony, held at the Fire centre by Fivelements High Priest Nyoman Sudanta. With his piercing blue eyes and his deep singing voice, the high priest let us in into this typically Balinese ceremony where we got to make our offering to the gods to relinquish our negative feelings and energies. The ceremony included the cracking of a coconut (I did it with my bare hands! #win) representing our negative ego, the offering of lentils and ghee and of various cakes to the gods and drinking and being blessed by holy water through the priest while chanting. By the end we were blessed by fire, super hyped about the whole thing and ready to win the battle of the Seven Kingdoms like Targaryens, born of fire and blood. JK but it was really cool. Especially when the otherwise super traditional-looking priest started the fire with a gun-shaped lighter.
During my stay at Fivelements I also got to do some pretty cool things in the surrounding area. Check me out swinging onto rice fields under the notes of a reggae remix to Rihanna and Drake’s “Work” at the Ubud swing – how about this, Theresa May? Some next level naughtiness right here.
I also got to visit Ubud’s centre, with its beautiful palace, its temples, its chaotic streets filled with scooters and the monkey forest where luckily I did not get bitten or get rabies.
Aaanyway, back to Fivelements. It’s fair to say that after a weekend this I feel my expectations about life have risen up to a ridiculously demanding standard. Where is my daily 90-minute massage? Where is my raw coconut milk pannacotta? Where is my flower bath and where is my daily private yoga? Going back to real life – and to the internet – will hit me hard.
Pictures: Carolina Are