Count Your Blessings
Head to the divine and spiritually-inclined Hotel Tugu Bali to incorporate ancient Balinese traditions and rituals to your spa and wellness regime...
Dedicated to preserving and celebrating Javanese and Balinese spirituality and their old artistic cultural heritage and traditions, Hotel Tugu Bali is set to be a unique, living-breathing museum hotel, home to its Indonesian proprietor’s vast personal collection of artworks, antiquities and vintage furnishings from across the archipelago. Amongst the rapid development in Canggu, this internationally-acclaimed boutique hotel is one of the originals and evocative of bygone times that rests alongside Canggu’s surf beach. Hotel Tugu Bali is standing on a sacred blessed ground and neighbouring a revered temple.
Nestled within the hotel is a spa sanctuary that is equally wildly atmospheric and mystical, like none other on the island. Waroeng Djamoe Spa – the name is derived from ancient Javanese for traditional apothecary – connects with ancient mystical East rituals, focusing on centuries-old authentic Javanese, Peranakan and Balinese therapies and health treatments; traditions that combine spirituality with physical healing to achieve the ultimate harmony of mind, body and soul and enhance total deep relaxation and state of peacefulness.
Waroeng Djamoe Spa is comprised of six intoxicatingly charming garden kamar (chambers), individually spaced out amongst the pretty beachside gardens and linked by stone walkways dissecting manicured lawns. Each offers a different theme and ambiance specific to certain treatments and a natural setting for relaxing the mind, meditating, awakening the consciousness, and finding unexpected sources of inner power. Like the rest of the property, these chambers are littered with old objects and artworks, recounting stories from the archipelago’s rich cultural heritage.
Chamber of Secret
Waroeng Djamoe Spa has two stand-out rituals that are intrinsic to ancient Balinese Hindu traditions. One is “Purnama (Full Moon) and Tilem (New Moon) Massage Energy of the Bali Moon” that celebrates the highly significant and sacred Full and New Moon days and the good fortunes and energies emitting from these magical rays. It incorporates a rhythmic hand massage and moon-lit sunken bath strewn with frangipani petals, ended with a Hindu beachside cleansing ritual and blessing ceremony at Tugu’s sacred Barong Temple which makes it more of a spiritual experience rather than a spa treatment. The other one is “Pijitan” Mantra or Eastern Spirituality Massage (available for 90 minutes at Rp. 874,500++) which is a part of the spa’s “Pijitan” Eastern Massages series. This ritual is a must-try and for that reason, I opted for this treatment on my last visit to the spa.
This profoundly meditative and blissful therapy must be administered in the Kamar Mantra; a spiritually charged, exquisite chamber inspired by Hindu mantras – multifaceted expressions of enlightened awareness, achieved through a verbal formula repeated in a meditation or incantation. “Good” Gods and spirits are believed to reside in this room, maybe within the several Hindu stone statues standing here. The walls are adorned with ancient artworks, a sunken stone bath is edged with candles, and Tibetan red box lanterns hang from the ceiling. Traditional gamelan music plays softly in the background and balcony doors are left open, allowing natural ocean breeze to flow in. The stage is set.
As for all treatments, my therapist collects me from the hotel lobby – which is another sensational, historically-charged kamar – to lead me to Kamar Mantra that is secluded away on the first floor of an outer wing. Once changed into my sarong, I found my therapist slowly pan-frying locally grown, organic herbs, roots and spices – galangal, ginger, lemon grass and cloves to name a few – over a gas flame on the floor. This natural concoction, blessed beforehand by a local Mangku (priest), is then poured into cotton pouches, kept warmed and administered as heated herbal compresses, and finally repeatedly massaged in a circular motion over my entire body. This is alternated with a firm hand massage using warmed cold-pressed virgin coconut oil, freshly made in-house using cooking and extraction methods handed down from village grandmothers. The wafting aromas of sweet incense, aromatic fresh herbs and coconut oil is additionally sensuous.
This deep healing tissue massage is simultaneously combined with the therapist chanting ancient eastern mantras – soft mesmerizing and mystic incantations repeated during the massage, believed to infiltrate into the spirit and soul and improve well-being through the unconscious mind. In Balinese culture, mantras are believed to be the conduit connecting to the Gods and direct energy powers and a traditional way of healing practiced in the villages. These prayers are chanted in slow, elongated and articulated verses repeated three times, almost making my hairs stand on end, but along with the blissfully soothing massage, they help balance my mind and soul and open up my chakras. Apparently, my therapist has been given special powers from the local Mangku to administer these Hindu mantras, formulated specifically for this Tugu ritual.
Afterwards I was given a Balinese Hindu blessing on a narrow wooden balcony, overlooking lovely manicured gardens. The therapist guided me through this ritual – my head was first sprinkled with holy water before I drank the pure rice wine from cupped hands (which was then smeared over my face and hair). Rice grains then deposited on my throat chakra and Third Eye, while a Frangipani flower was tucked behind one of my ears. I was then instructed to chant three times, “Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om” which means “peace in your heart, on earth and always” with my hands clasped and raised to my forehead.
Be sure, as I do, to book this divine treatment for late afternoon so you can enjoy your post-treatment blessing while watching the sun sink behind coconut palms and experience the enchanting Kamar Mantra aglow with candles and red lanterns. I feel totally relaxed and calmed, and physically and spiritually recharged – at the very least, my skin is super-soft and well-nourished from the lusciously rich coconut oil.
Before the day ended, I was handed a souvenir gift of the sacred Mantras spoken that afternoon, printed on faux old scroll papers. On those papers written uplifting mantras for me to chant at home, like, “Ong Purnamabhuantu Tatatuastu” that means “bliss and contentment, be with you and of everything that you experience in life.” Seems I really am truly blessed!
Waroeng Djamoe Spa
Hotel Tugu Bali
Jalan Pantai Batu Bolong, Canggu
Contributor : Katie Truman
Magazine issue > Invite&Indulge