When I used to think about Bali, my mind summoned images of peaceful green mountains, quiet spaces, and clean air, but most of Bali is not this heavenly picture. It is not the ‘Eat. Pray Love.’ fantasy most of us seek.
Jim visited Bali for the first time two years ago, and he was surprised at how different Bali was from his expectations; from polluted beaches strewn with fish carcasses, to foreign partygoers, to peddlers pushing the same T-shirt/sarong/lingam/fake passport wherever he went, he wondered, where is the traditional, spiritual Bali?
Because of Jim’s experience, we wanted this trip to be conscious, authentic and peaceful—somewhere off the tourist map where we could relax, refresh our tired traveling bodies, and connect with the beauty and culture of Bali; ironically, we found what we sought at a resort.
Sitting in his parents’ kitchen in San Diego, we Googled “eco-conscious, organic, yoga, and wellness community in Bali.” Desa Seni, A Village Resort popped up in the results and was brought to our consciousness for the first time.
Desa Seni is more of an eco village than a resort; its mantra incorporates art, culture, yoga, sustainability, organic farming, and overall wellness.
Co-owner and longtime Bali resident of 17 years, Tom Talucci, opened the village in 2006. He says, “After being here so long and seeing what was happening to Bali, I wanted to preserve the culture, architecture and show people what Indonesia is really about.”
Located in Canggu (north Kuta region in southwest Bali) the property is surrounded by rice paddies that lend a quiet, serene vibe. The only sounds we heard were of frogs, crickets, geckos, and a Balinese flute in the evenings.
Meaning “art village,” Desa Seni is a work of virtuosity. From the intricate details of beautifully manicured organic gardens, local art, traditional Indonesian furnishings, holistic body treatments, sustainable systems, and outdoor yoga shalas, to the imaginative, organic food preparations served in the cafe, Desa Seni is a living art community bolstered by a holistic attention to details.
With 80 staff members and only 33 guests maximum, the experience is personal and intimate. We conversed with staff members every day, whether in passing along the gardens, outside our room, or in the restaurant. They knew us by name and we learned about their village, families and customs, and by the end we felt like we were a part of the community.
Our original Balinese “rumah” (home) was decorated with antique, repurposed furniture from all over the Indonesian archipelago, including an armoire stocked with tea assortments and coffee.
Services like wireless Internet and trinkets offered in an amenities box (incense, seeds to plant as a symbol of our stay, postcards printed with local art, candles, matches, and earplugs), natural bug repellant and body products, a souvenir batik sarong, and an inspirational quote printed on recycled paper every night, made us feel like we had all the comforts of home.
A new yoga shala offers several different styles of yoga for guests and community members. I met travelers and locals who weren’t staying at Desa Seni, as everyone is welcome to practice at the Maha Devi studio, drink complimentary ginger tea, and on certain occasions, hang out in the natural salt-water pool.
Needless to say, Desa Seni welcomes a community atmosphere; furthering this mission, it gives back by fundraising for different organizations around the island, buys from local farmers, and hires local.
As Jim and I laid on our peaceful canopy bed, we realized Desa Seni is very much a manifestation of our dreams.
Years ago, we talked about creating an island escape where we could do yoga, eat organic food prepared from the garden, support the local culture, and encourage a community of people to do the same… Little did we know our dream existed in a place called Desa Seni.
Desa Seni is a soul-invigorating retreat; it catered to each of our chakras, from root to crown, and in the coming five days I am honored to share how the food, art, commitment to sustainability, community, and wellness program gave us the spirit of Bali we were looking for.
- Good Vibrations: Food for the Root Chakra
- Sacral Chakra: Creating an Art Community in Bali
- Will to Sustain the Environment: Solar Plexus in Action
- Community Lies in the Heart Chakra
- Igniting the Crown Chakra Through Yoga and Wellness