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Eco Luxury Resort in Bali: Fivelements Puri Ahimsa
By Quinn Russell
Feb 21, 2014 - 8:05:52 AM

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Hidden in the Balinese jungle and enveloped by the sacred Ayung River, Fivelements Puri Ahimasa, an Eco-Luxury wellness retreat is quickly becoming the model for Sustainable Tourism. Meditation in...1..2...GO

It was the midnight hour, the air was balmy, and a gentle breeze could be felt. You could hear the powerful sound of water all around and smell the distinct scent of dew forming over river rock and moss. Nature ruled this mystical world. I stepped forward onto a meandering path, it led to a dimly lit bamboo pavilion. I paused and drifted into thought, "Where am I, is this really happening?"

Back to the present moment, I was at Fivelements Puri Ahimsa, a holistic wellness retreat that aims to share the Balinese way of life, nurturing a greater harmony with spirit, the environment, and one another.Fivelements is located in Mambal, a story-book village twenty minutes outside of Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. That pavilion was the hotel's open-air lobby, and the powerful sound of water was the sacred Ayung River. I checked in and continued down the path, surrounded by whispering bamboo, moon-lit koi ponds, and fragrant frangipani blossoms.

A staff attendant joined me on the pathway and guided me across the grounds to my jungle abode, 'Villa Waterfall.'I walked into the curvilinear bamboo structure, beautiful zen music played, and the intense scent of Balinese incense remained; my heart began to smile.The attendant showed me the ins and outs of the villa, and how to work its wirelesstablet controls. The instant he left, I dropped everything and did a ten-second freak out dance! In that present moment, my inner child could not be contained!

The villa was a reflection of Johann Wyss' novel, Swiss Family Robinson; it was a fantasy bamboo structure with a conical roof that rose some 15 feet! It featured a circular floor plan designed in respect to the golden ratio Phi, at its centre a king size bed draped in white netting laid low to the rich cocoa coloured floor. I would quickly learn this netting was both atheistically pleasing, and functional!Like the remaining eight villas, mine faced the sacred Ayung River,the darkness of night hid it from my eyes, but its songwas ever present. After collecting myself, I went to take a bath, but had a hard time choosing over my options.Each villa features an open-air soaking tub carved out of a riverstone, these al fresco bathhouses include chromotherapy lighting fashioned after the seven chakras. The villas also include separate outdoor rain shower areas that let you gaze towards the skies while remaining in complete privacy. I resolved my choices by showering first, while the soaking tub filled up. This was a perfect ending to my 35 hour journey to Bali. Sweet slumber ensued.

Morning had come. I felt a warm gentleness nudging at my shoulders, it was the sun inviting me to rise. I opened my eyes to an explosive array of colour; exotic croton, frangipani, orchids, bromeliads, and towering palms seen through the villas expansive windows beckoned me to explore! I hurried into my clothes and complimentary thatch slippers provided by the hotel. I began surveying the grounds and immediately noticed the resorts three multi-functional spaces known as Mandalas. These towering bamboo pavilions with intricate oculus openings dominate the tree line of Fivelements. The largest venue, Mandala Agung is 250 m2, while Mandala Alit and Madya are both 65 m2, each can host up to 300 people and can be used for the sacred arts of yoga, martial arts, visual arts, dance, music, writing, expressive arts and healing, as well as for exhibitions, workshops, retreats, weddings/special occasions, company meetings and more; all are equipped with sound systems. Continuing my walk, I was transfixed by the retreats 'Sacred Spaces,' these are garden areas used for meditation, peace dialogue, blessing ceremonies, and celebrations. The Balinese ‘Padma Sana’ temple is a 100 m²Sacred Space, designed with 14 river stones in a circle and the 50 m²‘Agni Hotra’ Sacred Space is a bamboo pavilion used for performing ancient Vedic fire purification ceremonies.


It was clear that Fivelements was a beautiful resort, but what captivated me was its successful architectural execution, merging luxury design, eco-consciousness, spiritual life, and cultural representation. Some of the resorts notable sustainable initiatives include rainwater storage, bog pond filtration, passively cooled structures, vernacular architecture, LED lighting, the support of land stewardship through village waste management programs, local village road upgrades, locally sourced foods, building materials, and spa botanical ingredients, and a guiding spiritual philosophy of 'Tri Kaya Parisudha:' clean mind, clean speech, and clean action.

I had marveled at the grounds for what seemed likefive minutes, but in actuality two hours had passed by! Realizing this I ran to catch my spa appointment at the Fivelements 'Healing Village.' I certainly was not going to miss this moment. Fivelements was awarded "Spa Retreat of the Year" at Asia Spa Awards 2013! The spa is based on a village concept, it includes eight private riverside healing rooms for Balinese therapies, complete with en suite bathrooms, and bathhouses with river stone healing bathtubs.I was penned in forthe 'Bali Boreh' treatment,it began with a Fivelements foot bath ritual, afterwards I had to choose from local herb selections of sacred spice, cinnamon-coffee, and authentic Balinese. I chose cinnamon-coffee which was then combined with powdered rice and applied to my skin to free it of dead cells and promote circulation. Did I feel rejuvenated? Certainly. To complete this moment of zen, my masseuse served fresh loose-leaf tea, and prepared an inspiring aromatic bath by the sacred Ayung River.

I could have stayed in that soaking tub until kingdom come, but I was here to explore the island so I headed into Ubud for the day. I visited the Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest which was such a treat. Imagine a 'lost jungle' with inquisitive monkeys and century old banyan trees; it was an incredible setting! Each time I thought the jungle path was ending, I turned a corner onto scenery that continued to inspire me.Hours had passed and It was time to head back to Fivelements for dinner at its award-winning all-vegan restaurant, the Sakti Dining Room. The architectural form of the open-air bamboo restaurant was inspired by the banana leaf. The menu offers a gastronomical journey abundant in fresh, innovative cuisine aimed to nurture body, mind and soul. The majority of the dishes are living food options, these tasty plant-based meals are in their original, uncooked state. The orders are prepared in a special dehydrating food dryer at less than 48 °C / 118°F. I am not a vegetarian nor am I a vegan, but the mushroom coconut soup, stuffed zucchini blossoms, live lasagna, and 'Himalaya Uplift' smoothie (Goji berries, coconut milk, vanilla, bananas, ginger) was so pure, I'm intrigued to convert. I left the Sakti Dining Room smiling, food certainly is the quickest way to my heart!

I left Fivelements Puri Ahimsa refreshed, calm, and centered. I highly recommend this resort for anyone looking to experience the best ineco-luxury, sustainable tourism,vegan cuisine, jungle living, and authentic Balinese culture. Fivelements gets to the core of who you are, their guiding spiritual philosophy of 'Tri Kaya Parisudha:' clean mind, clean speech, and clean action, helps to reveal your true self.

Mambal, Bali, Indonesia
62-361/469-206; fivelements.org; doubles from US $425
All-vegan and raw living foods only / coffee & alcohol are prohibited

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About the Author: Quinn Russell is the founder of TravellersBazaar.com ,, which focuses on luxury travel, architecture, art, style, people, and all that is beautiful around the globe. Contact Quinn at: thetravelbazar@yahoo.com


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