Welcome to VOYAGES, our monthly guide to Julie Elliott's most-loved cities and spa destinations. Learn how she unwinds, indulges, and explores—and discover which In Fiore products she carries with her.
Bali is one of my favorite destinations for wellness—of the body, mind, and spirit. (And skin.) COMO Shambhala Estate, which is located in the lush jungle only 15 minutes north of Ubud, feels entirely removed from anything that could possibly resemble stress, chaos, or any of those other “real life” afflictions we sometimes need an escape from. This peaceful retreat was on my wish list for a long time, and my experience there far exceeded my expectations. In my opinion, this is one of the most extraordinarily beautiful luxury wellness properties in the world. And if you choose, you can have a full, immersive experience without ever leaving the estate.
I visited COMO Shambhala for a tropical reboot, to explore the local culture, and, potentially, to find a shaman. (I'm always looking for teachers). Rather than choosing one of the resort’s existing Ayurvedic wellness programs, which last anywhere from five days to three weeks, I decided to map out my own experience. It began, unexpectedly, with a doctor’s visit—I arrived from a long-haul flight with an earache and a cough. But within 20 minutes, they had a naturopathic physician in my room and I was on the road to recovery.
Being a self-proclaimed spa connoisseur (also known as a junkie, depending on who you’re talking to), I was eager to dive right into their program of body care therapies; my favorite was a hydro jet massage, which was phenomenal. But I found early morning guided meditative walks around rice fields on the property to be equally relaxing. And simply lounging next to one of their many rock pools, quietly nestled along a descending path down the side of a mountain, evokes an unmatched sense of peace, tranquility, and natural wonder.
As you feel your brain power off—and it will—just embrace it.
As you feel your brain power off—and it will—just embrace it; a personal butler will anticipate your every need. "Madame Julie, may I bring you a fresh pressed juice before you head up to breakfast?" "Shall I schedule your spa treatments and excursions for the day?" "Would you like a bath ready when you return from dinner?” I literally cried when it was time to go home.
The main restaurant on the property is raw vegan, which I am personally not a huge proponent of, but it works in this context—I felt surprisingly nourished. Perhaps that’s because most of the fruits and vegetables used are grown on the property. They also have a restaurant with a more traditional menu with cooked foods and clean proteins.
Recreate these juice blends at home:
Free Flow: Hibiscus flower, Aloe vera, tangerine, passion fruit, and cantaloupe to open the respiratory channels and promote circulation
Beta Clarity: Carrot, papaya, sweet pepper, and coconut oil to clarify the skin and improve vision
Breakfast, served in the open-air restaurant with panoramic views of the jungle, was by far my favorite meal of the day. It begins with a fruit plate and a choice of 20 fresh pressed juices (they offer a juicing class so you can learn to recreate these gems at home) followed by poached eggs, medicinal broths, or nourishing congees. No matter your regimen, it sets the day off on the right foot.
If you want to leave the property (no pressure!) COMO Shambhala has the outside world dialed. When I expressed interest in finding a shaman, they knew exactly where to take me and pulled strings to get me a meeting. We arrived at the beautiful overgrown estate of a Brahman healer in Negari. To say it was an authentic experience is an understatement: he shooed chickens away from a concrete slab in his garden, then invited me to lie on it for my treatment. He didn’t take payment; only donations. And he sent me on my way with a muslin cloth soaked in a turmeric concoction to be used as a compress after my evening bath.
I love poking around the bath, body, and wellness sections of local pharmacies when
I travel, but my request to be taken to the nearest one resulted in a lost-in-translation moment. Finally, I was let in on a little secret: nature is their medicine cabinet. The prized kitchen tool is a mortar and pestle, and every home has a garden with several varietals of turmeric, ginger, and other medicinal plants. Every day, families pull from the garden to make pastes for their food and tonics.
I was, however, taken to a traditional Jamu herbal medicine shop where I learned of the many virtues of sandalwood powder, and then off to a secret spot called Inus where I experienced my first Jamu Kunyit. This turmeric and galangal juice with tamarind, lime, and honey is the medicinal tonic of Indonesia. Everyone seems to have their secret recipe.
When I travel, I roll deep with my remedies. But COMO Shambhala comes well-equipped with their own handcrafted, homeopathic products, so I knew I could travel light. Indonesia is the perfect environment to choose products based on deepening your connection to a place. For Bali, that means Vetiver and Jasmine.
Vetivert Baume Pour Le Corps & Vetiver Sambac Parfum Solide
Vetiver, known as the “oil of tranquility,” is grounding, calming, strengthening, and uplifting. Its powers emanate from its balanced polarity between the nerve-sense system and metabolic-limb system, and the inner and outer worlds. On a spiritual level, it is thought to strengthen the invisible aural self-defense shield, impart spiritual calmness, and aid in finding our purpose in life. A woman’s remedy, Vetiver supports the growth and absorption power of body cells and promotes the feminine characteristics of the skin, replenishing her juices and restoring her inherent lushness.
Restore Your Body and Mind
Dayala Baume Pour Le Corps & Night Queen Parfum Solide
Jasmine is considered to be warming, relaxing, and restorative. It promotes tissue repair, relieves pain, strengthens the nerves, and moistens the skin. On the psycho-spiritual level, it is thought to restore our capacity for creativity and enhance intuition. Jasmine is one of Indonesia’s best-loved flowers, revered for its lush, fruity essence and its pure white color which symbolizes life’s fragility. It is often used to adorn temples and homes, and many Indonesians use it as a tea or food garnish due to its anti-parasitic properties.
Vetivert Baume Pour Le Corps
Vetiver Sambac Parfum Solide
Dayala Baume Pour Le Corps
Night Queen Parfum Solide