Bali is famous for its beaches, volcanoes and temples. Another of its defining images is a warm bath scattered with petals, steam lifting their fragrance into the air.
Flower baths are a great way to relax – and look particularly idyllic on Instagram – but the idea of using natural ingredients to connect people to a more spiritual world goes back a long way, and is tied to Bali’s Buddhist traditions.
Numerous spas and hotels across Bali offer flower baths, in which fresh or dried petals are arranged in warm tubs, mixed with oils and herb extracts. Different plants are claimed to help the body in different ways, and the baths are often beautifully set, with views across gardens or the landscape around.
At Fivelements, in the south of the island, you can gaze out over the forested banks of the Ayung River while bathing in red hibiscus, mixed petals or lemongrass and orange. A salt-crystal bath with fresh seaweed and crushed juniper berries, and a coconut milk bath with frangipani flowers, are also available.
The baths can be taken as part of bathing rituals and wider treatments that also include massages, scrubs, pedicures and plant-based cuisine. There’s also a focus on meditation and learning, and yoga sessions take place in a huge wooden dome. There are riverside suites for guests seeking a multi-day retreat.
Nearby Ubud – a hill town renowned for its spiritual retreats – is home to a cluster of places where you can relax amid petals. There are budget as well as high-end luxury options here, with approaches taking in Chinese medicine, ayurvedic treatments and organic pampering. In the country’s capital, Denpasar, Prana Spa is based in an ornate Moroccan- and North Indian-inspired complex, and out in quieter eastern Bali, Wapa di Ume Sidemen has views of mountains and rice fields.