Of the thousands of beachside spas clamoring for your attention in Bali, the Thalasso Spa Bali at Grand Mirage Resort largely manages to rise above the hype. Here, the sparkling waters of the Indian Ocean serve as both picturesque backdrop and therapeutic accomplice in one’s quest to rebalance and revive stressed, travel-worn bodies and souls.
Not 24 hours after our arrival, I treated myself to a few hours of pampering to take the edge off a day’s worth of travel. I was looking to get into a proper Bali holiday frame of mind, so I booked a spa session within the resort premises.
About Thalasso Bali
"Thalassotherapy" is the Thalasso Spa Bali's main selling point: the use of seawater and other marine elements for therapeutic purposes. Thalassotherapy advocates ascribe powerful curative properties to seawater: the literature mentions its similarity to human blood plasma, and the presence of key mineral salts in seawater.
- For more information, read this primer on Thalassotherapy.
When it was first conceived in the late 1800s, thalassotherapy was used to treat serious ailments like rheumatism, arthritis, and lumbar problems. Today's regimens claim to relieve more modern conditions - nervous tension, back pains, even excess body weight can be addressed with Thalasso treatments.
All the treatments offered by Thalasso Spa Bali are grounded in ingredients harvested from the sea: apart from the Aquamedic pool (more on that later), the treatments involve sea salts from the Indian ocean, as well as marine clay and seaweed from coastal regions in France.
The Thalasso Bali Treatment
Thalasso Bali offers a wealth of packages and therapies, but the therapists make it a point to customize your treatments. They'll refuse to provide treatments deemed unsuitable to your needs (like getting a body scrub when you're nursing a nasty sunburn), but they'll always recommend a fitting replacement.
- Read up on Spa Treatments.
The reception area that greets you as you open the door is all about luxury and warmth. Cool marble floors are countered by warm wood details and recessed mood lighting. Receptionists greet you in hushed tones so as not to disturb other guests.
When I arrived, the receptionist offered a welcome drink of ginger and lime tea, then did a quick check of my wellness concerns and preferences. After a short interview, she recommended a three-hour session that included a dip in the Aquamedic Pool; an Abhayanga Massage; their signature Mint Sea Salt Scrub; and the Fangotherapy Mud Wrap.
Before you begin your treatment, you are requested to stay in the waiting area as they prepare your session. The waiting area echoes the seaside, in a way: the sand-and-tile floor resembles a manicured Japanese sand garden. Shells, stones, corals and sculptures dot the spa landscape. The ceiling is generously dotted with glass beads, reminding one of the undulating surface of the sea as seen from below the surface.
I was then ushered into the changing room, where I was asked to get into my swimsuit. In the changing room, you are reminded of the strict no mobile phone policy, so you better leave your mobile in the locker turned off or on silent mode.
The Aquamedic Pool
The Thalasso Bali's signature Aquamedic Pool is filled with fresh, filtered sea water that is also temperature-controlled at an ideal 38°C. Strategically placed geysers, jets and micro-bubbles pound, knead and tickle to relieve stress and induce relaxation.
An attendant stands by to guide you throughout the circuit of streams, beginning with some light stretching at the exercise bar. This is followed by a foot massage courtesy of a powerful geyser flowing against your feet.
You then go through a series of jets pulsing on the ankles reaching up to the hips. Powerful waterfalls pound on the shoulders and back for an invigorating massage. Finally, millions of tiny bubbles tickle your skin as you wind down the session on an underwater bed.
Pro tip: do wear a swimsuit that provides solid coverage and hold in the Aquamedic pool. The strong jets may dislodge bikini tops, as one of my fellow pool patients realized.
Oil, Mint, Salt
If the Aquamedic pool concentrates on limited pressure points, like a form of water shiatsu, the Abhyanga massage takes the form of soothing long strokes: a deeply relaxing whole body massage using warm oil.
Away from the open-air Aquamedic pool, massage treatments take place in one of the Thalasso Bali's themed treatment rooms. The Cinnamon Clouds room has cinnamon sticks embedded in the walls; the Sandalwood room is lined with blocks of the eponymous wood. The Cave room is ingeniously designed to look like the interior of a cavern, albeit one with a Vichy shower installed.
I was taken to the Cinnamon Clouds room, where my therapist Mira masterfully pushed away aches and pains balled up in the legs, lower back and shoulders. Her light, soothing hands encouraged sleep as I found myself dozing off twice during the massage.
Her warming attentions were followed by a bracing Mint Sea Salt Scrub. This is one of Thalasso Bali's signature treatments: the salt is ground into a paste and rubbed on your skin. The salt's exfoliating effects leave the skin noticeably smoother and softer, while the mint cools and leaves a slight tingle on the skin.
We concluded the indulgence with a French Warm Fangotherapy, a body wrap that uses sea mud to revitalize skin. Generous dollops of mud are brushed onto the body, after which a warming blanket is wrapped around you. It's more than just a body treatment that revives the skin; It's a form of adult swaddling, calming and deeply satisfying.
As I got dressed to return to my room, an attendant served a refreshing green smoothie in a tall glass. I sipped on it slowly, trying to postpone the end of this heavenly experience.
Thalasso Bali Spa at a Glance
Location: Grounds of the Grand Mirage Resort, Jalan Pratama No. 74, Tanjung Benoa, PO Box 43, Nusa Dua 80363, Bali, Indonesia. Location of the Grand Mirage Resort (Google Maps). Thirty minute drive from the Ngurah Rai International Airport.
Facilities: Aquamedic Pool, 22 themed spa rooms, sauna, spa café. Treatments include thalassotherapy, hydrotherapy, massages, body wraps, body scrubs, and beauty treatments. Rooms and Aquamedic pool offer a relaxing sea view. Open from 9am to 11pm.