Nothing strikes travel envy in the hearts of frenemies like an upcoming spa stay at Amanusa. A Bali institution known for fortress-thick walls framed by fragrant frangipani, flour-fine white beaches and seamless service, Amanusa sets the gold standard for peaceful, island getaways.
The spa's Vanilla Pandan Chill Out experience is a sweet escape on a hot day. Senior therapist Leki starts me off with a green tea and lavender foot bath, where every centimetre of arch is tended to in a most delightful way. An affair lasting three glorious hours, it unfolds as any great spoilfest should – long and deliciously drawn out, a trail of goose bumps from head to toe. She works in a scrub of local vanilla and mint in a rice-and-fresh-yogurt base to slough off dry skin. Next, Leki bundles me in a white clay wrap and then cradles my face, fluttering her fingertips to comfort my thoughts.
Hundreds of facials to date and I'm still in awe of this humble ritual. In true Aman fashion, after the facial she surprises me with a fresh fruit smoothie while I soak in a warm herbal bath of dried ginger, lemon grass, cloves and star anise. The treatment finishes with an aromatic massage.
Aman spas boast the most desired skin care on the spa circuit – handmade essential oils and elixirs derived from organically grown plants. Soothing rhythmic movements enliven the skin while a proprietary blend of plant essences deeply nourish.
Tucked away in the lush greenery of Nusa Dua, Amanusa's intimate spa gets straight to the karmic point, leaving you feeling at the centre of the universe. The panoramic feast sweeps from the indigo nuances of the Indian Ocean to sacred Mount Agung dominating the far horizon. The lobby, a soaring open-air hall lined with urns of fresh white tuberoses, leads to just 35 thatched-roof villas linked by discreet walkways and set behind mossy stone walls for added privacy. The resort's strongest suit is arguably its attentive staff, especially intrepid executive chef Hamish Lindsay, whose crispy soft-shell crab salad with spicy pink pomelo and lime leaf oil utterly bewitched me with its perfection. It has been weeks since my stay and I still nurse midnight cravings for both the tang of Amanusa's tamarind dishes and the touch of the spa's achingly sublime healers. Talk about a lasting impression.
Amanusa at Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia; 011-800-2255-2626; amanresorts.com; 180 minutes for $250.
Special to The Globe and Mail