Four Seasons Launches $1.3M Spa Expansion at Bali Resorts

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Reed Travel Features

JIMBARAN BAY, Indonesia -- Four Seasons is on the march in Bali, greatly expanding its spa facilities here and gearing up for a fall opening of a major resort in Sayan near the Balinese art center of Ubud.

According to Neil Jacobs, former manager of the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay and recently promoted to regional vice president and general manager of the Four Seasons Hotel Singapore, an emphasis on state-of-the-art spa facilities is a major selling point in attracting repeat guests to its Bali properties.

The Jimbaran Bay resort's spa is in the process of a $1.3 million upgrade that will increase its area to 27,000 square feet.

"We really underestimated the demand," Jacobs said of the need to expand the spa facilities. "So we're going to end up with nine treatment rooms and a gym."

It seems having ambitious spa facilities is becoming the new standard of excellence at upscale properties on the resort-crowded island.

LeMeridien, for example, is set to open a 284-room hotel and a Thermes Marins de St. Malo-designed spa featuring treatments of warm seawater and marine products inside its sprawling Nirwana Bali Resort June 1.

According to Four Seasons' Jacobs, "We're getting so much repeat business now that we feel we need to keep adding things to create a new dimension to the resort.

"The demand on our facility in Jimbaran was so enormous. In fact, we're tripling the size of our treatment areas."

Jacobs also will oversee operations at the Jimbaran property as well as the Regent Jakarta, the new Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan (due to open in August) and all future Four Seasons and Regent properties in the region.

The expanded spa at the Jimbaran, due to open in September, will have nine rooms for Indonesian-style treatments concentrating on natural elements from the sea.

Three of the treatment rooms are Spa Suites, where guests enjoy a private steam bath and a Swiss shower; a Balinese stone bath; wet and dry body treatment areas; a relaxation bale (an indigenous raised wooden platform with a thatched roof); a changing area, and sliding glass doors that open into a garden with a rinse shower and a waterfall.

Other features of the spa include: an herbal steam room, a cold-dip pool, a garden rinse shower, an aerobic studio with a sprung timber floor and a separate gym area with treadmills, step machines, a rowing machine, a stationary bike, Cybex weight stations and free weights.

According to Chris Norton, who was named the general manager of the Jimbaran property after Jacobs' promotion, there has been minimal interruption at the resort during the upgrades.

"A lot of treatments are happening now in the rooms and in a [dedicated] two-room villa," Norton said, adding that the tennis court remained open during the project.

Rack rates at the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay are $475 per night for a one-bedroom villa, not including 11% tax and 10% service charge. The price is expected to hold until Dec. 18.

The Sayan property also will feature extensive spa facilities, Jacobs said, but instead of concentrating on sea-based treatments, its spa will utilize volcanic mud and mountain clay due to its upcountry locale.

"We'll promote the two spas jointly," Jacobs said. "Maybe spend four nights at the beach and three nights in the hills. The two spas will be quite different but will draw on the location of each one."

The 46-unit Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan is set on 17 acres of terraced slopes, rice fields and palm trees on the Ayung River Valley in the highlands of central Bali.

Jacobs said that the Sayan property is being designed so it will not be a mirror image of the Jimbaran Bay resort.

That property follows the concept of a traditional Balinese village, distinguished by its colorful bougainvillea and architectural elements such as stone structures from local quarries and thatched-roof villas, all with a heavy emphasis on romance, seclusion and Balinese ritualism.

"We did not want to re-create what we did at Jimbaran," Jacobs said.

"We really wanted to create two different feelings. The architecture at Ubud is really more contemporary. The lines are a little cleaner -- they aren't quite as rustic as the villas at Jimbaran. [But] once it's finished it will blend into the environment quite well."

One interesting aspect of the resort's three-story main building is its roof, which is a 9,170-square-foot, elliptical lotus pond.

"You don't actually see [the main building] because it's tucked into a hillside," Jacobs said.

"All you see is a lily pond."

The Sayan resort has 28 one-, two- and three-bedroom freestanding villas with private plunge pools and entrances via rooftop stone stairs surrounded by lotus ponds.

There also are five deluxe suites and 13 terrace suites that face the Ayung River.

If the interior design of the units, which is planned to combine antique furniture, handmade fabrics and other Indonesian artifacts, is anything like the Jimbaran Bay resort, it will be both luxurious and tasteful with a great attention to cultural detail.

Activities at the mountainside resort include river rafting, kayaking, hiking, nature walks, bird watching and cycling through rice paddies.

Rack rates at the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay are $475 per night for a one-bedroom villa.

Introductory rates at the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan are $275 per night for a Deluxe Suite or Terrace Suite ($375 is the rack rate); $350 per night for a one-bedroom villa ($475 rack rate); $1,300 per night for a two-bedroom villa, and $3,000 per night for the three-bedroom Royal Sayan Villa.

The introductory rates are valid from the opening of the Sayan property through Dec. 20.

All rates are subject to a 21% tax and service charge.

For more information or to make reservations, call (800) 545-4000.

Four Seasons has a Web site at http://www.fsrb.com.

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