- The Alila Manggis is a boutique hotel in the town of Candidasa. It has 55 rooms facing a palm-fringed pool
- The resort is around a 90-minute drive from Denpasar Airport and sits near the sacred Mount Agung volcano
- It also offers a visit to a traditional healer, who made Samantha Lewis cry uncontrollably – in a good way
Bali is so renowned for its spiritual heritage and jungle landscapes that merely mentioning the word conjures up images of a tropical haven.
This is why travelers in search of unparalleled paradise should head to the eastern side of the island.
Alila Mangiss offers a host of activities including snorkeling, boat trips and temple tours
Here the fleets of mopeds and dodgy looking bars that litter the southern regions give way to sleepy fishing villages and lush rice paddy fields.
Set across four thatched blocks, all 55 rooms face out across the pristine lawn and large palm-fringed swimming pool.
The resort provides daily complimentary afternoon tea by the pool featuring fresh lemongrass and ginger tea and a selection of cakes
Spoilt for choice: Seasalt restaurant serves both authentic Balinese and western dishes
Those on the top floor have a balcony with double daybed while the ones below have a private patio.
The décor is in keeping with the resort’s laid back luxury vibe – think plush white cotton bedding and traditional Balinese wood and wicker furniture.
Guests are treated to complimentary afternoon tea by the pool as well as yoga and Tai Chi classes.
Alila Manggis also offers a host of activities including snorkeling, temple tours, sunrise treks and, the one that catches my eye, a visit to a traditional Balian healer.
I spend one-hour with Mountain, a local medicine man in his mid-40s, which begins with a relaxing head to toe Balinese massage.
Samantha met with Mountain (left), a local Balinese healer, as part of a one-hour spiritual experience. He made her cry, in a good way. Guests can enjoy a romantic candlelit meal for two in a secluded spot that overlooks the sea (right).
This is slightly unexpected as I thought, having watched the film Eat Pray Love more times than I care to admit, I was going to have my palm read by a toothless centennial.
After the massage Mountain instructs me to sit up and close my eyes while he holds his hands over my head and philosophizes about happiness.
I have no idea what he did to me but as I come round from my meditative state he asks me how I feel and I started to uncontrollably cry.
Laid back luxury: Rooms are decorated with traditional Balinese wood and wicker furniture and plush white linens
Pictured is one of the two corner suites, which have a living area and large balcony with double day-bed
Mountain reassures me my tears are happy tears and tells me I have lots of good energy, before bestowing upon me the parting phrase ‘I hope you’re happy always’.
I leave feeling bemused but strangely at peace as I walk back to my room to get ready for dinner.
The impressive grounds look particularly beautiful at night when candle-lit lanterns are hung around the resort’s restaurant, Seasalt, which serves both authentic Balinese and western dishes.
I’m a dessert person so it is no surprise the most memorable part of the meal comes in the form of a sorbet of green bean, jackfruit and coconut milk known locally as Es Puter.
There’s so much to do in Bali and vast amounts of natural beauty to explore I wish I had more time.
It’s undeniably one of those bucket list destinations you simply must tick off but take my advice and avoid the tourist traps.