REVIVO Wellness Resort, Nusa Dua, Bali: Finding peace isn't such a stretch here

They hang from the rafters in twos and threes, their wings tucked against their sides, mouths agape. I step closer, intrigued by the high-pitched sounds coming from their throats.

Are they a flock of wounded birds, a colony of bats?

No, these stretch fabric-clad contortionists are my fellow guests at REVIVO Wellness Resort, mid-way through an aerial flow yoga session.

I give them a wave, and continue on my walk – past rice terraces to the giant tree swing perched at the edge of the forest-like foliage. Wellness comes in many guises, but for me a morning swing amid frangipanis is my idea of heaven.

Surrounded by tropical teak forest in the Nusa Dua region of southern Bali, REVIVO exudes a sense of peace from every corner – from the luxurious Balinese-designed villas to the extensive gardens and walking paths that lead past small temples.

"No one is going to put demands on you," says Kathy Cook, during my initial wellness consultation. "You are your own best teacher and know instinctively what is right for you."

I break it to her slowly that I'm not much into yoga, have an aversion to meditation and was planning on spending a lot of my time at REVIVO relaxing by the pool with a book. The less said about the chocolate bar in my handbag the better.

Kathy doesn't bat an eyelid; instead she brings the conversation around, ever so gently, as to why I don't like yoga. My standard answer is that I find it boring, but it doesn't take her long to uncover the truth – I'm embarrassed. My body doesn't bend like others, and I always feel like a stick insect amid a room of graceful swans.

"Other people's bodies are not better than yours, she says. "They are just built differently." After discussing my preference for outdoor and water-based activities we swap the aerial flow yoga for aqua yoga fitmat, while freeing some time so I can swim daily laps.


We spend the next hour tailoring my three-day program, working through the list of treatments and fitness classes that will help me achieve my goals. Out of REVIVO's six retreat programs, covering everything from detox to weight management, sleeping well to de-stressing I've chosen ''Emotional balance and mind training''.

"We make and keep our promises to other people," says Kathy. "But for some reason it's easier to break promises we make with ourselves." I make a silent vow to become more self-disciplined.

The activities menu has something for everyone, including pranayama yoga, Tibetan meditation, tai chi, aqua sculpt, body pump and pole dancing. I like the fact that different activities have their own specific spaces from the yoga barn to the Pilates studio, meditation room to fitness centre, and that each has been selected for me based on mdy program. There's also an expansive outdoor space and 25-metre lap pool.

REMISSIO Spa is the heart of the resort, a collection of five treatment rooms, floating salt pool, Vichy shower and hydrotherapy circuit set amid tropical greenery. I count no fewer than 52 treatment options in its large compendium.

As part of the consultation I'm given a ''body analysis'', my face is ''mapped'' and we talk about my objectives for the retreat. A take-home folder outlines my bespoke program and there's a journal for recording mindfulness activities.

After all this self-scrutiny I head back to my room for the type of wellness only a ''luxury suite with pool'' can invoke.

Comprising just 16 private suites across three main villas, including two four-suite villas available for private hire, the resort was built ten years ago as a holiday house for Adrian Zecha, the innovative founder of Aman Resorts. Designed by Australian architect Kerry Hill, the complex is modelled on traditional Balinese design using local wood and stone.

The property was subsequently sold, remodelled and reopened in April 2018 as REVIVO Wellness Resort. My courtyard suite has an alang-alang roof, four-poster bed, indoor and outdoor shower, sunken bath and outdoor day bed all set in a private 142 square metres. Thoughtful touches include yoga gear, sarong, hat and beach bag for use during my stay. I share the sparkling pool with just one other suite, some 50 metres away.

The first morning, after a trio of health shots – kombucha, lemon and salt, and ginger and turmeric – is delivered to my door it's time for aqua yoga fitmat, a type of yoga on floating exercise mats tethered in the pool. While this yoga-loather hates the downward dog as much as ever, the exercises are just as much about balance and core strength as flexibility. The best part (apart from watching others fall in) is that even the yoga-pros struggled, which levelled the playing field and made me feel less grasshopper and more warrior princess.

During a meditation class the instructor's words resonate strongly –" Give thanks to those who have helped you," she says. "Also give thanks to those who have hurt you, because they have made you stronger."

A HIIT (high intensity interval training) cardio class pushes me to my physical limits, while an oil-on-the-forehead shirodhara treatment puts me to sleep like a baby. An ancient Chinese breathing class called has qi gong has me trotting about and snorting like a dragon. In between I dine on an expansive selection of gourmet meals made from locally sourced produce structured to support my specific program.

With a menu designed by Aliwalu, the Spanish ''Vital Chef'', the focus is on serving ingredients as close to their natural state, with small amounts of eggs, chicken or beef, low in carbs and free from gluten – with a Balinese twist. A nutritious breakfast, three-course lunches and dinners and two wholesome snacks each day ensure I'm never hungry or have cravings for lollies or chocolates (my weakness).

Other guests, many of whom have stayed at big name resorts in Thailand, Vietnam and Australia, say REVIVO serves the best cuisine they've eaten in a retreat. I love the soups such as ''green dream'' and ''la vie en rose'', but my favourite dish is the ''funlafel'' served with three dips and pita, best enjoyed in my suite.

The food and beverage service includes three sites – an open-air restaurant Nu, a bar, Tri, and poolside lounge O. Alcohol is available (although hidden from sight) you just have to order it. I decide to test my self-control and not drink wine the entire time. Funnily enough, with all the delicious teas, juices and fruits on offer I don't miss it.

On my final morning I skip yoga for the opportunity to accompany a staff member to the on-site temple to make the first Canang Sari offering of the day. In Balinese Hinduism, these flower-filled baskets are offered to the gods as a symbol of thanks for peace and balance on earth. As she chants her prayer, a sense of energy and gratitude steals over me. Yes, wellness can be delivered in many forms.


Kerry van der Jagt was a guest of REVIVO Wellness Resorts.



Qantas Airways flies daily from Sydney and Melbourne to Denpasar, Bali. See Nusa Dua is a further 30-minute transfer by car.


A three night ''Emotional balance and mind training'' program staying in a courtyard suite costs $US1977 a person, twin share. This includes accommodation, full board, airport transfers, consultation with wellness coach, one daily treatment, three daily classes, use of all facilities and all taxes. See