The speech of the river is steady and low, like the chanting of forest elves. You imagine that it is speaking of sunlight and giant ferns, perhaps because this is what you see outside the open window of your quiet spa villa. You are at the Wana Jiwa Spa at the edge of the Campuhan River, at Komaneka Bisma. Wana Jiwa means ‘soul of the forest.’
The river is a branch of the sacred Wos River that originates in Lake Batur and that irrigates much of the rice-growing land on the southern slopes of the Batur caldera. The Wos River has many branches. Two of them meet at the confluence in Ubud called Campuhan, the site of many holy springs. The healing properties of these springs give Ubud its name (ubad means medicine). Just above this meeting of the rivers is the temple Pura Gunung Lebah (‘temple of the low mountain’), an important temple in the subak system for sharing irrigation water.
Perhaps the river is singing a mantra of healing as you lie back and surrender yourself into the gentle and skillful hands of your spa therapist. The treatment rooms are individual villas —giving absolute privacy — built of volcanic stone with ironwood tile roofs and marble floors, and furnished with the greatest concern for quality and fine detail.
The spa is reached by descending a series of gentle stairs, passing by the resort’s iconic infinity pool. When you arrive for a treatment, you are escorted to a large and beautiful reception pavilion where the floor-to-ceiling windows open onto views of the river jungle. There you are served a refreshing herbal drink of tamarind, Java brown sugar, and a pinch of sea salt. If you don’t know what tamarind is, your hostess will break open a pod and offer it to you to nibble: its dark pulp is slightly sweet and mildly tart. Tamarind is an acidic ingredient used in Balinese cooking and is said to aid digestion.
Recently the Komaneka spas have introduced Babor Spa products, imported from Germany. These are plant-based products developed with scrupulous scientific research to deliver nourishment and revitalizing power into the cells of the skin. Here expertise, natural beauty, and the song of the river assure you an experience of extraordinary calm and rejuvenation. Details of the spa and beauty treatments may be found at Wana Jiwa Spa