Bawah Reserve, Indonesia: Inside One of the World’s Most Secluded Wellness Retreats
Get off the grid.
According to the Global Wellness Institute, wellness tourism is a $639 billion industry that’s growing by 6.5 percent every year. And once you land at Bawah Reserve, a luxury retreat in the secluded Anambas archipelago of Indonesia, it’s easy to understand why.
Set on a private island, this dreamy, five-star property is ideal for honeymooners, couples, or those seeking a remote wellness getaway. Reaching the resort requires an hour-long ferry from Singapore, followed by an 80-minute seaplane ride, but the reward is well worth the effort. A sense of calm washes over you the moment you touch down on the crystalline waters surrounding the reserve. You know the feeling — the one that’s only achievable by embarking on a relaxing bucket-list vacation.
The property’s smiling staff whisks visitors away via golf cart or on foot to a luxurious beach villa, garden suite, or overwater bungalow. The spacious, jungle-chic accommodations are outfitted with a king-size bed, copper-bottomed rain shower, and copper soaking tub with eco-friendly bath salts. There are no TVs in the room and — assuming your wellness retreat includes a digital detox — no Wi-Fi.
Visitors to the island can also do as much or as little as they want. Beachside hatha or vinyasa yoga, Pilates, or qigong sessions with wellness specialist Lisa Jones are all available. If your workout routine involves kettlebells or an elliptical, there’s a gym with an ocean view as well as an outdoor climbing frame.
Looking to get more in touch with nature? Bawah has three marked hiking trails ranging in difficulty levels. One leads you past lizards and orchids to the top of a cliff overlooking the resort, while another brings you to the other side of the island where you can cool off with a swim at the hidden Coconut Beach.
“By the time you need to leave Bawah, you don’t want to go. After a day or two, you settle into island time, forget the world outside exists, and begin to tune in to your own body,” says Jones. “In a way, Bawah provides what you need. If you need stillness and a mental declutter, that’s what happens, but if you need to be more active, we have that, too.”
Plus, at this all-inclusive resort, everything is truly included. A daily treatment at Aura Spa & Wellbeing, which offers a variety of services like massages and facials, is part of the package. There are also meditation and deep relaxation sessions available upon request. And don’t worry about bringing enough yoga pants or workout gear, as daily laundry service is included. When it comes to water sports, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, and snorkeling — all of which are covered — help you burn off some calories and work up an appetite.
A large part of the wellness experience comes from the reserve’s healthy menu options. Portion sizes are small and nutritious, with fresh tropical fruit and homemade granola for breakfast. Poke bowls and quinoa salads are available for lunch at the beachside Boat House restaurant. For dinner, the jungle-enshrouded Tree Tops restaurant serves up a variety of options, including the grilled catch of the day accompanied with a salad or roasted duck breast followed by homemade fruit sorbet. If you prefer to indulge, order the chocolate lava cake with charcoal chili ice cream.
As more and more travelers want to unplug and unwind from their busy, tech-filled lives, resorts like Bawah Reserve present a great way to get well physically and mentally. “There’s something else that makes Bawah so unique and special,” says Jones. “There’s a magic here that allows you to achieve what you maybe didn’t realize you wanted.”