I am often asked by friends and ikatan Day Spa, Noosa clients to recommend ‘good’ day spas. They ask for recommendations in Bali particularly, since ikatan is a Balinese day spa, but also in Australia and around the world.

What defines ‘good’ is hard to determine and I’ve always been reluctant to recommend day spas because they change frequently and everyone has a different expectation and budget for their ideal day spa experience.

However, my recommendations are based on quality, service and experience. I hope this helps you find a ‘good’ day spa.

Booking treatments at Maya Spa

We booked a couples massage in a double room for our first visit to the spa and when we arrive for a couples massage they only had my husband booked! (maybe they thought he wanted a couple of Therapist)? We then had to wait 30 minutes for my Therapist to arrive. Apologies were made and accepted as we were in no rush and happy to wait.

Welcome drink – a delicious lemongrass iced tea, little if any sugar. Big tick for this one as most spas in Asia serve up a sugary concoction that is not drinkable.

I had a female therapist and my husband was given a male therapist. Sometimes male Therapists are booked for male clients in Bali, if you’re male and prefer a female Therapist, request a female therapist at time to booking. In Australia we find that most men prefer female, but in Asia, particularly Japan, male Therapists care for men.

Before we left the Maya spa I booked for a spa package a few days later, planned for when my husband was booked to play golf.

Selecting treatments

I like to select treatments that we don’t have at ikatan Spa, always in search of inspiration for something new or a different.

At the Maya Spa, Sanur I opted for putting together my own package as I could not understand what was included in the package descriptions, full of fluffy and vague text with no mention of a massage or facial. My pet hate for spa menus, is confusing the guest as I think the customer should understand what they are booking, paying for and receiving. I selected a Rejuvenating Anti-ageing massage, Organic facial and a Citrus Body Polish.

Service with care and a smile

After a welcome drink my friendly Balinese therapist escorts me upstairs to a nice treatment room and explains to put on the disposable undies, sarong and hotel slippers.

The spa undies in Bali always make me smile as they fit no-one but are meant to fit everyone. I must remember to bring a few pairs of the boy pant undies we use at ikatan Spa, they are so comfortable that ikatan guests wear them home or buy a few pairs for travelling after their massage.

After I show off my sarong skills with a stylish twist and wrap and put on the enormous slippers that my feet slide straight through, I shuffle across the floor a few metres away to My Therapist where a foot bowl, with hot water for my feet awaits.

Spa package

I am so ready for my massage, but no, I sit on the tiny stool in the corner of the room while my therapists scrubs my feet with salt, I am thinking, how do bigger or taller people sit on this stool. I love a foot treatment, however when it comes out of your massage time, it really annoys me, as I want the full massage time I am lead to believe I have booked and will pay for. I find spa menus rarely say ’60 minute massage including foot soak’ but before you know it you have your feet in a bowl.

Rejuvenating Anti-ageing massage 60 minute $120

This massage was everything I had hoped it would be. Relaxing, medium to firm pressure with traditional Balinese long flowing, palming strokes of my skilled Therapist’s hands.

I drifted off with the sweet perfume of the anti-ageing balm soothing my skin. Let’s hope I have found the answer to younger skin combined with a massage, my idea of perfection. I lay there enjoying the massage as my mind ticks over as to how I will add an improved version of anti-ageing massage to the treatment menu at ikatan Spa.

A completely Anti-ageing focused massage is now available at ikatan spa Noosa.

Citrus Body Polish 45 minutes $80

While this body treatment was included in facial time, I loved the feel of the cool white clay on my body, but I don’t think it did much for my skin. It had a hint of orange aroma and was applied over my entire body. I believe a body treatment should always include the breast and stomach, which are very important parts of our body for stress relief, skin conditioning or therapeutic treatments and are always included in Balinese Spa treatments.

While cocooned with the citrus clay over my entire body, in a soft disposable fabric, which was like a giant chux super wipe, the clay began to dry on my skin. As soon as a product dries it is no longer actively doing anything unless the intention is to have it buffed from your skin, which didn’t happen, so I didn’t see the purpose of this treatment and it had no effect on my skin, however I enjoyed the aroma.

Organic Facial 60 minutes $120

I usually shy away from facials in Bali as the Therapist’s training is not of the same standard as Australia, but at a good day spa in a luxury resort I thought why not add a facial, plus it was Pevonia skincare, a brand I knew and trusted.

I had no facial consultation as to what my skin needed, so I am not sure how the Therapist knew what products to prepare. There were so many little glass bowls with carefully measured quantities of product.

Many spas and salons prepare treatments in this way to prevent having to carry a lot of stock or guests helping themselves to products by popping them in their hand bag before they leave the room.

Each time a product was applied to my skin, my therapist would then leave me while she loudly washed the bowl, ran the hot water, forever, to wash out the facial sponges and towels, all of which was noisy, annoying and far from relaxing. I know it is time saving and cost effective for the resort but I am paying a lot of money for this time and experience to de-stress, yet the entire facial felt rushed, noisy and far from relaxing.

Washing up in the treatment room and preparing facial towels with a guest on a a bed is rude and not necessary, but it seems to be the norm in Bali. If this ever happens to you tell the spa receptionist on the way out, that it was not relaxing. By giving feedback, you can help me with the day spa silent treatment movement.

There’s always a positive with every negative.

However, I try to see the positive and lay there thinking that I’m so pleased at ikatan Spa that we offer facials that are fully prepared before the treatment, so that ikatan Spa guests have only the sound of music to help them drift off to sleep during treatments.

Lessons learned

For me to have a less than an enjoyable treatment, well there are always lessons to be learned and ideas of things not to do in my business, but I think to myself, this day spa treatment could be a person’s first spa experience and would it inspire them to book another spa treatment somewhere else? Not likely.

I believe people like to have a facial to see a difference in their skin, enjoy an extensive face and scalp massage and relax. There was nothing about this facial that I could not have done myself and I was particularly disappointed that I received hardly any face or scalp massage, the most relaxing part of a facial and you can’t do this yourself at home.

Back to the body treatment

After a shower to wash off the dry citrus body polish I lay on the bed naked all but a little hand towel on my bottom, that made me feel like my bum can’t be that big if she just grabbed a hand towel!

Then my Therapist applied a cool body cream over the back of my body, turned me over with a quick, unique hand towel transition to cover me across the bikini line while more body cream smothers the front of my body, cool but nice.

I love the way a body, my body, is treated by a Spa Therapist, as the most natural way to be and taken for granted that all is exposed to the professional who takes no notice of shape, size, colour or individuality of each body, it’s the Balinese way and it’s accepted, just as it is at ikatan Spa and most other day spas.

If your body conscious, tell your therapist or don’t book a body treatment.

My Therapist wipes my feet and says ‘excuse me Ibu (Mrs, Ms, Miss) your treatment is finished’. I get dressed and she takes me down to the reception area where I am served another drink and some average looking fruit which I didn’t eat.

There was no relaxation area but I was in a resort so I don’t feel it was required as the main pool is close by and a non-smoking area. Perfect for relaxation.

Would I have another treatment at Maya Spa?

 Yes, I would have the Rejuvenating Anti-ageing massage or a Balinese massage as they were both eexcellent treatments. I would not have the body treatment and definitely not have a facial

More often than not people think Day Spas in Bali are cheap, however you get what you pay for in Day Spas, just as you do in a hotel, no matter where in the world you are.

I am a paying client at all day spas reviewed as Day Spa Oracle and they are not aware of who I am, what I do or where I come from. I like it this way, it’s nice to just be me.

I hope this helps you select day spas and treatments when you travel to the same places I do. I have a list a mile long of spas I have been to and will be posting my reviews about for you to be able to have a relaxing spa experience.

Experiences are how we get to know ourselves and others.

Let me know of any places or day spas you like or would like to know about.