Call it the Instagram Effect—now more so than ever, couples are looking to pack their honeymoons with multi-stop itineraries and photo-ready experiences rather than jet off to a faraway beach and do absolutely nothing. Same goes for how they approach healthy living on their post-wedding journey. Few brides and grooms who make diet and exercise a priority leading up to the big day want to throw it all away with a week of endless indulgence. Enter the "wellness honeymoon"—a growing trend in which couples choose destinations for their healthy, wholesome cuisines, heart-pumping outdoor activities, and traditional spa-centric R&R.
One such place with the above: Bali, the 90-mile Indonesian island known for its laid-back surfing beaches, centuries-old temples, picturesque rice terraces, and traditional arts heritage (wood carving, metalwork, textile crafts, sculpture, et cetera). Also found across the island? Over-the-top resorts that make the perfect base camp for immersion in the local culture and mindful yet indulgent experiences.
Here, two of our favorite Bali honeymoon resorts that offer the best of both worlds:
The Mulia, Mulia Resort and Mulia Villas, Nusa Dua
There is no shortage of stunning beachfront locales to choose from on Bali—Seminyak, Legian, Ungasan, Jimbaran Bay, Uluwatu. The island’s southeastern tip, however, is famed for its popular stretch of golden shore, Nusa Dua. This picturesque setting is home to outposts by classic hotel brands (Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, Westin, Marriott) and one-off independents like the Mulia. This editor's-pick, opened in 2012, consists of three separate resorts—the Mulia, the Mulia Resort and Spa, and the Mulia Villas—that attract a loyal following from the world over.
It's easy to love the Mulia for it's full-service amenities—five restaurants and lounges, a state-of-the-art gym with daily yoga and fitness classes, butler service for guests at the Mulia and Mulia Villas, chauffeured golf-cart transport around the property, and more pools than you can count—but the reason why it’s the perfect wellness honeymoon destination is for the Mulia Spa's Lifestyle Wellness Programs.
These full- or half-day spa experiences begin with a consultation prior to your chosen day, during which time you'll hand-select four treatments, plus meals from a special a là carte menu of healthy choices and a morning workout class and/or salon services (for those who choose the full-day experience).
The day begins with breakfast, which we recommend opting for alfresco on your en-suite balcony overlooking the ocean (if staying at the Mulia) or private pool-front pavilion (at the Mulia Villas). Then, your butler will escort you by buggy (a.k.a. golf cart) to the gym for a studio workout class or one of the resort pools for aqua aerobics. After, it's on to the Spa, where you and your hubs will soak in outdoor cold, warm, and hot hydrotonic pools, followed by sessions in the steam shower, Finnish sauna, and ice room (the only one in Asia Pacific). This hydrotherapy circuit is intended not only to relax the body, but also improve circulation—and you can expect to feel the effects immediately.
Next, it's on to your couples' treatment room for a pre-massage foot cleansing ritual and light snack. There are a number of massage options from which to choose, but we recommend the Asian Blend, which melds Balinese stretching therapy with deep-tissue tension-relief (perhaps the best 90-minutes known to man).
After all that R&R, you'll have worked up an appetite, so time for lunch at The Lounge, followed by downtime in the room before returning to the spa for your afternoon treatments. Facial choices include both Caviar and Hydration, coupled with either the Himalayan Salt Scrub or Slim & Sculpt Wrap. If you opt for the full-day experience, you'll finish up with a blowout or mani-pedi (and a grooming service for him) at the full-service salon. When it comes to honeymoon indulgences—which leave you relaxed, primped, and pampered—there's truly none better.
A wellness honeymoon on Bali wouldn’t be complete without a stay in the island’s cultural heart: Ubud. With its jungles, rivers, temples, rice paddies, elephant sanctuaries, and traditional crafts hubs, Ubud is sensory overload in its truest (and most welcome) form.
And when it comes to Bali honeymoon hotels that indulge the senses, it's hard to compete with the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan, one of Ubud’s most luxurious and historic properties. With 18 suites and 42 private villas, set on the banks of the Ayung River and surrounded by lush forest, this jungle sanctuary has everything a wellness honeymooner could ask for—world-class yoga and spa programming, healthy cuisine at both restaurants (Ayung Terrace and the Riverside Café), numerous areas for relaxation (you’ll want to post up all-day by the riverfront infinity pools), and heart-pumping outdoor activities (try the private whitewater rafting experience).
One of the hallmarks of Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan—beyond the spaceship-like design of the main building—is its outdoor yoga pavilion, the Dharma Shanti Yoga Bale. Whether you’re a total novice or a full-on yogi, there’s something for everyone to try at this stunning studio. The resort hosts daily classes in Power Yoga, Laughter Yoga, Full Moon Yoga, and Night Fire Yoga as well as scheduled retreats taught by visiting experts in such disciplines as Iyengar, Vinyasa, and Namaha Yoga. One class that's not to be missed: daily AntiGravity Yoga. It's not only comical watching each other twist, turn, and invert upside-down in a stretchy hammock (especially challenging for ill-balanced gents), but also immediately health benefits of inverted postures, which promote increased blood circulation to the muscles and brain.
Now that your bodies are primed for intense relaxation, it’s time to move on to the Sacred River Spa for one of the most enlightening experiences honeymooners can find in Bali: the Swadhisthana Chakra Ceremony. This 120-minute couples’ treatment, which takes place in a gorgeous pavilion with a private plunge pool, starts with a foot cleansing ritual, followed by a himalayan salt scrub, which is washed off with a Vichy shower (there's a metal arm above your bed that sprays the warm water from multiple shower heads in a massaging sequence). Afterward, you'll soak in a scented bath and then receive a superb full-body massage. Needless to say you'll both sleep well that night—and every night thereafter.
Denpasar International Airport, Bali’s main hub, is serviced by a number of major airlines that offer one-stop itineraries connecting in either the Middle East (ideal for passengers traveling from the East Coast) or Asia (West Coast). Qatar Airways, for example, has a daily evening departure from New York City to Doha, Qatar. Economy-class passengers can purchase access to a lounge at Doha Hamad International airport for $55, honeymooners should splurge on business class, which affords automatic lounge access, comfortable lie-flat seats, and impeccable on-board service (keep the Champagne flowing, please). Not to mention you get to experience the latest aircraft innovations aboard the airline's brand-new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which features aisle-only Business Class seating, jet-lag-reducing LED lighting, touch-screen entertainment systems, air that's re-circulated with humidifiers—meaning you return home feeling rested and healthy.