Hi everyone! I am finally starting to catch up on normal life after Bali. I can’t believe it’s already been two weeks since I got home! I’m going to share some more Bali stuff soon, but I really wanted to share my experience at Palm Tree House Bali, the villa where I stayed during my visit.
Before I dive in, know that this is in no way sponsored by Palm Tree House Bali. This wasn’t a blogger trip; I simply went with 2 other girl friends for a little vacation and paid my entire way there. Therefore, this is an honest review and not swayed by anything I received for free.
Palm Tree House Bali is a retreat company in Canggu with a handful of villas spread across different parts of the city. They’re all relatively close to each other (10 – 15 minutes) but each villa has their own distinctive feel and décor. The images you see in these photos are of the villa we stayed in, Villa 5.
Now before I get into all of the details of our stay, I want to first outline the retreat in general. Palm Tree House is the sister resort to Escape Haven, an all-inclusive yoga/wellness retreat. Palm Tree House Bali is similar in that you get yoga sessions and massages, but it’s a little less structured than Escape Haven with built in time and days for excursions. My friend Lindsay found the villas, and I loved the idea of being able to have some “me time” automatically built into the trip while still being able to explore Bali.
We did the base package which featured 4 group yoga classes, 4 massages, and daily breakfast/lunch.
There are two excursion days included in the retreat package; every Monday the villas go to Uluwatu to see a temple built on a cliff-like beach, and then every Thursday the villas go to Ubud for more a jungle-like feel.
To make a long story short, I would rank my experience at Palm Tree House 10/10. If you want to know the details of the stay, read on.
Arriving to the Villa
Hotel transfers to and from the airport are included in the package. We were greeted by a friendly driver named Erik who gave us cold water and snacks in the car.
Once we arrived at the villa, we were welcomed with an entire staff of attendees, housekeepers, security guards, and cooks, all there to say hi to us after our 18-hour trip. Everyone was genuinely excited to meet us and take us into the villa. (Which, by the way, has a gate that locks after 10pm, and a security guard that sleeps in a separate building.)
We opened the double doors to our home for the week – WOW. It was just like the photos, but better. My friend Karlee and I signed up to share a room, and we thought it was going to be a single room with a twin bed. (It was cheaper, which is why I went with this option.) Instead of twin or full beds, we were shocked to find a queen bed in one room and a king bed in another, each with separate entrances but connected via a shared oversized bathroom.
All in the Details
Amazing accommodations are great, but it’s the details that really stood out to me here. Each of us had a binder in our room called the Bali Bible that had our schedules for the week. This outlined when we’d have yoga, when our massages were, and the times to be ready to leave for the excursions. It was so nice to not have to think about timing of anything for this. If we wanted to re-arrange things, we just had to let the team know a day in advance. The binder also had a list of restaurants and shops; a page of common Balinese phrases; and more info about the day tours including notes on what to pack and how much money to bring.
A chalkboard in the kitchen told us of our daily details, and would change to the next day’s itinerary every evening. Every morning our beds would get made with a cute little towel animal and some type of floral design with fresh flowers; every night they would turn down our beds and leave an inspirational quote on a piece of paper.
For our day excursions, we got labeled snack boxes with little notes on them like, “Enjoy your trip to Ubud.” It was so cute!
On top of making the villa truly feel like home, each of us were given a pre-programmed Nokia phone with phone numbers of each staff member in case we needed to call, and our phones didn’t work. I mean where on earth do you get that kind of service and peace of mind?
Yoga and Massages
None of us really practice yoga at home, and if I’m honest, this was the part of the retreat that I was initially least excited about. In my head I was going to do the yoga session, then head to the nearby gym after.
But once I met Taryn, our yoga teacher, all that went out the window. I have tried yoga SO many times and was a self-proclaimed, “I like everything except yoga” person. For my entire adult life. For me to say that Taryn made me like yoga is a huge deal. Right from the beginning, she was super mindful about explaining the reasoning behind the different positions. Despite living in LA amongst a ton of yoga studios, I’ve never actually had a teacher explain the mind body connection behind any yoga move. Ever. All three of us agreed that by her teaching us the “why” we all like yoga a lot more.
Taryn even had me trying to compete with my own upper body strength on the second day by teaching us a headstand and crow pose. In my true competitive form, I vowed to learn and do both by the end of the week. Mission accomplished!
When we weren’t doing yoga or out and about, we were getting massages. You can add on a la carte to your base package, so I ended up with 7 massages in 7 days. I recommend total of no more than that, otherwise you’ll end up staying at the villa all day. (Unless that’s what you’re going for, in which case add them all on!) Since it was my first time to Bali, I wanted to experience both self-care and adventuring the island.
They have a variety of massages you can choose from like Balinese or Swedish and deep tissue. But then they also have specialty ones (like hot stone or hot bamboo) that you pre-book before your arrival. I had 3 different female massage therapists; all were amazing.
I was in blogger heaven with all of the food at Palm Tree House Bali. Not only was the food beyond photogenic, everything was so dang delicious. And healthy! No refined sugar! Almost entirely gluten free! Vegetarian! I have never eaten so well or healthily, and I didn’t miss my nightly chocolate (or meat) at all.
Before arriving in Bali, I kept seeing all of these “floating breakfast” photos on Instagram. Basically, it’s a breakfast spread. Instead of putting it on a table, the food is served on a huge tray that floats in a pool. This was my one wish while I was in Bali. However, I read lots of things online that the places that offer them are overcrowded and overpriced. I emailed the retreat’s coordinator, and they happily set one up for me the first morning we were there.
We were obsessing over the food the whole week, and to our delight we found out at the end of the trip that they email an e-book with some of the recipes.
The photos below show the following:
- Balinese pancakes, which resemble crepes. Made from a green plant (that color is natural!) and stuffed with banana and coconut shreds
- LOTS OF FRUIT
- Jackfruit tacos (yeah, that isn’t meat you’re looking at – totally vegetarian) with rice
- Banana pancakes with more fruit and chia pudding cups
Know Before You Go
After booking our trip, we had a coordinator from the villa communicate back and forth prior to arrival.
Like I mentioned above, you can add in things a la carte to the retreat base package. Some of this has to be scheduled before you arrive, but they are pretty clear on what has to be booked before you get there. A lot of emails got passed back and forth, so just make sure you keep up with your inbox.
The city of Canggu is pretty tourist friendly, so they all serve filtered water, including the ice cubes. We brushed our teeth and showered with the regular water and were fine.
Our rooms all had locks on the doors, and you could lock and unlock as you pleased.
We didn’t really know what to expect with the yoga and massage schedule before our trip. It got a little tricky once we were there because we made dinner reservations one night, then had an early morning photoshoot another day. All things aside, the team accommodated the plans we had. They even helped rebook our reservations to another day that actually made more sense and gave us more time exploring. If you’re planning things on your own, it’s best to let the coordinator know beforehand. This way they can schedule around whatever you have.
Lots of places in Bali take credit card, and there are legitimate money exchange ATMS all over.
If you are looking for a girl’s trip or travelling by yourself, I can’t recommend Palm Tree House Bali enough. Having now been to the villa, I would feel more than comfortable coming here solo. We lucked out and had the villa to ourselves the first couple of days, but the two other women (each traveling alone) were so fun and made the trip even better. (Each villa only houses up to 6/7 women, so it still feels intimate even with a full house.)
When we left Plam Tree House Bali, we all cried. I know it sounds lame but being around these people for a week who all went out of their way to make us feel like we were at home was something I’ve never experienced on a trip. They were so kind to us. I felt a genuine and authentic joy that they have for their jobs and hosting people at the villa.
I loved this place so much; I’m already planning a trip back.