Spa Village Resort Tembok, Bali: Lapis-Lapis spicy herbal wrap

Josephine Price feels the heat in a Lapis-Lapis spicy herbal body wrap

By Josephine Price
Published 14 Jan 2016, 11:11 GMT

After a gruelling sunrise hike to the top of Mount Batur — Bali's most active volcano — we arrived at Spa Village Resort Tembok, Bali, dusty, drained and fully deserving of some R&R.

Tembok is an all-inclusive spa hotel on the untouristy northern coast of Bali — even our driver struggled to find it, merging with the verdant coastline and nestled behind a bamboo-lined driveway. However, he didn't have many to choose from; hotels here are few and far between.

Almost as soon as we'd sat down in reception our feet were being bathed and soothed in a warm bath decorated with frangipane flowers. There's no denying guests here are spoiled from the minute they arrive.

Shortly after, Nesti, our therapist for the day, welcomes us into the spa with frozen strawberries and a floral drink to cool us from the blazing heat of the morning. We'd been warned that it was hotter in the north and I soon realise I haven't picked the most cooling of treatments to start the day: the fiery Lapis-Lapis Malay herbal body wrap. As the mixture of ginger, galangal, lemongrass and rice flour was smoothed over us, I knew we'd have no respite from the heat here.

This treatment claims to detoxify, reduce water retention and relieve joint and muscle pain, and after our five-hour hike, I thought it was well-deserved. It's also said to be an excellent precedent to a Malay or Balinese massage, which we had planned for the evening.

After being slathered in the mixture we were wrapped separately in plastic sheets and a warm towel was laid over us to speed up the heating process. A heat reflective foil blanket next, and then a final layer of thick sheets, cocooning us for the next 30 minutes. Once ensconced in the wrap, the spicy ginger ignites and every square inch of my body — even my head, which is now enjoying a strong-pressured head massage — heats up. The heat prickles — the sensation is on the borderline between enjoyable and uncomfortable.

After 30 minutes and a cool shower, we're given some fresh aloe vera gel to soothe us before being led out to the terrace for a post-treatment drink of jamu (an Indonesian herbal tonic). We're asked to choose from two versions. I opt for both — the tamarind and turmeric tonic, to aid digestion, and the rice and finger root tonic, to energise. They're both served warm — continuing the heated theme of the treatment.

It's nearing the end of the day as we lounge in the seafront pagoda to read before our sunset hatha yoga class on the lawn by the pool. Our instructor, Vya, leads the gentle class in the cool shade of palm trees, before we make our way down to the beach for our ‘massage under the stars'. The waves crash as our heads, arms, neck and feet are pummelled into their pre-volcano-hike glory. As we're led up to the beachside candlelit restaurant, I can't quite get my head around why more of Bali's travellers don't make their way up to its serene and wholly relaxing north coast.


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