Yoga in a cultural village
Desa Seni abounds with charm and authenticity with a fairytale village collection of restored and refurbished antique Indonesian houses sourced from all over the archipelago interspersed with yoga pavilions, vegetable gardens, a welcoming tea room, restaurant, spa, gift shop and salt-water swimming pool.
Their central focus is sustainability, yoga and wellbeing and room rates include daily yoga and meditation classes. The only problem being as a potential walk-in guest we were unable to view any rooms although they stated that they weren’t full: “check the website” was the response we were given as we sat in the reception (they even opened the site for us to look there).
While Travelfish has stayed here a few years ago, this time around we were unable to see a room unless we booked a yoga retreat. After our initial frustration, they agreed to show us around the public areas of the resort, and the staff member who accompanied us was truly sweet, charming, and accommodating.
So we can’t honestly report on room interiors here (at least not not off a recent stay anyway) or tell you if the bathrooms smell like roses or something less desirable (although we can tell you what’s presented on their website), but from our experience, we still think this is a delightful hotel and well worth considering.
Peppered amongst the tropical flora, the rustic wooden houses are decked with an assortment of thatched or tiled roofs, climbing creepers, comfortable furnished verandas and are spread far enough apart to offer privacy and peace. The houses range from teeny-weeny Village Cabins for singles to large Village Homes with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and living and dining areas suitable for four guests.
Rooms are air-con cooled and beds are mosquito-netted and all are equipped with hot-water bathrooms. Interiors are as unique as the exteriors and have been refurbished for modern comfort.
Aside from enjoying Desa Seni’s wonderful collection of Indonesian architecture, antiques and miscellany of rustic farming implements, cow bells and tasteful what-nots, you can take yoga classes from the regular daily selection as well as join private retreats. After a stretch, take a refreshing dip in the decent-sized delightfully shady pool, or simply laze in a sun lounge, then head to the restaurant housed in a larger semi-open house serving farm to table organic meals—your included breakfast is served here and some packages include lunch and dinner too.
The lovely in-house spa provides all sorts of holistic treatments and a gift shop offers art-inspired gifts from antiques to yoga wear. We enjoyed the relaxing organic style at Desa Seni and the beautiful grounds certainly give us the confidence to recommend a stay here, but be warned, these comforts do not come cheap. The best deals are the longer stay packages, however outside guests are welcome to join yoga classes, eat in the restaurant or indulge in a spa treatment.
If you’re looking for a yoga retreat in Bali and Desa Seni meets your budget, it would be our first pick in Canggu and if yoga’s not your thing, it’s still a delightful environment to relax and enjoy the tranquillity. If your taste is less rustic, for yoga packages consider Samadi or The Chillhouse, and if your budget is more flashpacker (and your taste more organic), Serenity.
By Sally Arnold
Last updated on 15th March, 2017.
The Travelfish newsletter is sent out every Monday and is jammed full of free advice for travel in Southeast Asia. You can see past issues here.