Spa Village Resort in Tembok, Bali has to be one of Bali's Best Kept Secret to date as I never imagined the place so far away could be so surreal, peaceful and unique in its special way. As a frequent resort and hotel guest to many countries, this has to be one of the most interesting stays to date for me. For those who have only visited Kuta and the general popular places in the south, you have yet to fully visit Bali and experience this mystical island. The Spa Village is located way up north of the island near the town of Tejakula and Tembok and is one of the most secluded and private resorts in the vicinity. As I visited this place alone, I would stress that this experience would be best if you were planning a honeymoon, romantic getaway, escape from the city or just wanting something different from the usual.
To begin my experience here, I had absolutely no idea on what to expect at this place apart from knowing it was a resort with spa facilities. My journey from Kuta took about four hours by taxi and I paid about US$45 for a very scenic drive there making various stops at interesting sites. On arrival at the Spa Village Resort in Tembok, I was greeted by the resident manager - Sharron Hopley who led me to have a seat at the welcoming chair where a nice cold herbal drink, cold towel was handed to me. Next, a traditional black sand foot scrub, back and neck massage was prepared for me. Asking if it was something special, I was informed that this was the normal treatment given to all guest checking in at the resort. How impressive!
Wantilan Restaurant at night
While the arrival experience was extra ordinary compared to the normal resorts I have visited over the years, I would have to say that these people know how to pamper guest and make them feel at ease. That welcoming massage really made me forget about the long journey there. As it was late in the evening, I had a scheduled traditional massage under the stars which could not be executed due to my late arrival. But the good news was it has been rescheduled for the following day and I could choose something different. Without hesitation, I was introduced to an amazing dinner at the Wantilan Restaurant.
Polite and well trained local staff attended to our table and a simple one page menu was handed to us. Looking at it, there were not much choices on it and I immediately asked Sharron about it only to be surprised that the dinner menu was changed daily by the head chef. What a nice touch indeed and having ordered the full course of starter, main and dessert, I can only praise the chef for his creativity and experience as the dishes were excellent and I did not see any of the common resort-style dishes on it. I was also informed that the ingredients for the food is purchased from the locals making this a very sustainable resort. Fish is bought from the local fishermen who go out to sea daily while greens and herbs are purchased from the villagers who grow them organically.
From a lovely dinner here, I choose to retire early as I wanted to experience the amazing sunrise on the Northern part of Bali which I have heard so much about. Just so you know, the sun rises at 6am and sets at about 6pm in Bali therefore, I had to be up by 5am. To speed things up, I got up on time, dragged my groggy self out of bed, camera and tripod in my hand minus the usual cup of coffee, I staggered half eyed to the beach which was a five minute walk from the rooms. I seldom do sunrise photos due to the extra early mornings but the north of Bali is indeed one of the best places to catch this and the result - just take a look at the following picture below. I walked back to my bed a very happy photographer that morning.
Sunrise at Northern Bali
While many may have the impression that the Spa Village Resort Tembok is some sort of health spa escape, I can assure you that it is not what you may think. This place is more of a sanctuary away from the common resorts and targeted to those looking for a place to totally chill out, have some personal rest and relax time without the typical kids running around. The thing here that caught my attention was the age limit for children which is set to 16 years and above so you can only imagine the total freedom enjoyed here.
Manicured gardens at Spa Village Resort in Tembok Bali
The landscape surrounding the entire resort is beautifully manicured and taken care by local staff on a daily basis. Walking around the resort brings your mind to a total calmness as on a quiet day, all you hear are the sound of waves beating up on the shore. A total of 31 room units make the place simply peaceful and quiet as many people come here to escape the hustle and bustle of the fast paced lives most of us live. You can be assured of peace of mind as the place sits right at the end of a slip road in a secluded area by the beach without any neighbors in sight apart from the local villages.
One of the Balinese huts facing the sea
Black sand beach
The beach here is a unique black sand beach, not the one you would usually come across on your holidays. I was told by my taxi driver that black sand from the northern shores of Bali was used in mixing of the cement for making the Puras (Temples) in Bali. Anyway, in the picture above, I took it after my sunrise photo at about 6.30am. Local fishermen are seen going out to sea in their little boats while the waves come in hard and settle on the black sand beach here. A great place to simply do a morning walk as it stretches for a few kilometers both ways.
Tall coconut palms line the beach at the resort
On a side note, I would have loved to include my room and spa review here but there is just too many pictures so I will have that done in another article which will be linked here. Therefore, in this article, I am generally sharing with you the beautiful pictures and an overview of the Spa Village Resort Tembok. Everywhere I walked, there was something unique that caught my eye. One of the must do things here is simply lazying on one of the hammocks by the sea and dozing of to the sound of the waves. In the night, they have a special 20 minute Stargazing while floating on a pool bed. This was one of the highlights during my stay here.
Giant bougainvillea pots decorate the infinity pool
Apart from the beautiful landscaping, a lot of attention was paid to the overall structure as the owners wanted guests to feel comfortable in a traditional Balinese look and feel. Some of the water features simply stand out and you cannot help but notice them whenever you pass by. Trees are carefully planted not to overcrowd the area while native coconut palms are seen throughout the place.
Water features in a multi-layered lily pond
Gym and activity area at the resort
The resort caters to a number of local and traditional activities which are conducted by the local people of Tembok who work here. What I admired about the place is that all the staff are hired locally from around the village here resulting in giving back to the economy which is a great deed in practicing Sustainable Tourism. Balinese people are hired and given English lessons by the management and to my surprise, they spoke really good English.
Zen Garden at the resort
While here, I found one of the decorations along the main walkway very intriguing and captivating. A rock garden in the shape of a large circle was made with red leaf plants surrounding it. Smack in the middle, a Buddha head is seen on top of a little rock mount. On top, a unique glass wind chime is hung from a branch giving a reflective shine whenever the sunlight hits it. Surreal and yet, very zen and peaceful. I stopped and looked at this for a few minutes absorbing whatever energy this gave out.
Balinese Huts by the pool at night
Apart from the perception of the resort being a health type sanctuary, I can assure you that this is not what you may think but only better. Judging from the pictures above, you can see that this place is indeed one of a kind but yet different from the usual resort. Having said that, if you are looking for a beach resort with loud crowds, kid running around and people puffing cigarettes and drinking beer all day, this is not your place.
Spa Village Resort Tembok is more for those seeking something different away from the normal resorts. Being taken care of in a less crowded environment by local staff that are polite and courteous are some of the highlights here while the spa facilities are above the average expectations. No doubt the resort is located away from the main areas, you are still in reach to touristic sites like Ubud and other places. The resort has private cars and vans that take guests to these places. Usually I never make a second intention to revisit a place unless it absolutely stands out and this is one of them. I would most probably come back here in a years time to spend a few days more instead of just 2 days on my last visit.
For more information, you can contact;
Spa Village Resort Tembok, Bali
Jalan Singaraja-Amlapura No. 100,
Desa Tembok, Tekajula Buleleng
Telephone: +60 3 2783 1000
Website: Spa Village Tembok Bali
GPS Coordinates: S 8 18' 36.84", E 115 37' 19.05"
Room Prices: USD$400-$600 per night
Prices include full board meals plus one massage a day per person. There is one main restaurant here while a gym and souvenir shop is available. A number of local activities are available too. Must Try: The Jamu and Boreh Making Class. Trips to various tourist attractions are available on request. No smoking throughout the resort but there is a small section on the beach where you can do so. Age limit is 16 years and above so you will have some peace and quiet. There is no TV or WiFi in your room except in the main lobby area as the concept is to take you away from the daily grind and relax here. Another Must Try: Stargazing while floating on the pool.
From the above, you will find that the place is a wonderful escape that suits just about anyone. This is one of those places that is completely shut out from the world and possibly one of Bali's Best Kept Secret. Most honeymooners seem to like coming here as it is peaceful and you get to spend quality time together without the general distractions. Singles who seek solitude and some time for themselves would love staying here while couples looking for a very romantic getaway will find this possible at the Spa Village Resort in Tembok Bali.