Escape to paradise: Samanvaya Sidemen Resort offers a tranquil reset

Guests of this luxe Balinese resort are encouraged to fill their days with as much — or as little — as they please

FOR GUESTS OF Samanvaya Sidemen adults-only resort, the de-stress process begins long before arriving at the front doors. Observing the lush surroundings during the 90-minute drive from the airport is guaranteed to lower shoulders and unclench jaws.

“We’re on the rice fields, so there’s a lot of lush greenery around. You leave the busy, hectic city behind,” says Tracey Rackliff, resort owner and founder. “We’re quite high up on the mountain, so when you wind your way up towards the village, the air gets cooler and relaxation automatically starts to happen.”

Sidemen is in the Karangasem Regency, about an hour’s drive from the popular tourist areas of Ubud or two hours from Kuta. The views — verdant hills, flowing rivers and majestic Mount Agung, Bali’s highest volcano — are mesmerising. The region has certainly got under the skin of Samanvaya owners Tracey and Rob, Kiwis who decided on a drastic change in 2017, thanks to the pressures of their work as Wairarapa police detectives.

Family holidays were a tranquil escape: “I wouldn’t exactly call it burnout, but it was time to reassess a little and take action,” says Tracey. “We’d been to Bali with the kids on family holidays. When we were policing, our heads were always full and busy, with a fair bit of doom and gloom, to come somewhere where the people are so gentle and kind was a fantastic reset for us.

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“We’d talked about moving here over the years, and we thought: ‘Maybe it’s time to put our money where our mouths are.’ As it turns out, the saying, ‘Find something you’re passionate about, and you’ll never work a day in your life,’ is so true.”

They founded Samanvaya, a luxurious adults-only resort, in 2017. With 18 rooms and another nine being built, guests are encouraged to relax in the resort’s tranquil surroundings. Whether their chosen mode of relaxation is a stroll through the Sidemen rice fields, a restorative yoga class, or just taking in the rice terraces from the luxury of one of two infinity swimming pools, there is a little something for everyone. Tracey says guests range from honeymooners to groups of friends and mum-and-daughter duos.

No one guest’s itinerary matches the next. “It varies. We’re engaged with the guests during the booking process. We ask what they want to get from this time with us and curate a plan that will suit them.”

Those seeking a wellness-focused break may indulge in a luxurious spa treatment or experience a crystal sound healing or jewellery-making class.

A new wellness centre will open in February 2025, offering sauna and cold plunge therapies.

But there is no pressure to do anything at all, really. “We had guests last week who spent five nights with us. They laughed when they realised they hadn’t left the resort once: they had spa treatments, did some yoga, and had their breakfast brought to their villa each morning. They said: ‘What else would we need?’”


Getting there: Air New Zealand offers daily non-stop flights to Denpasar from Auckland. Once picked up at the airport by one of the resort’s drivers, it’s a comfortable 90-minute drive to Samanvaya Sidemen.

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Samanvaya resort highlights:
Thirteen separate air-conditioned villas and lumbungs or five private pool or hot tub villas. A further nine villas are under construction. All rooms come with daily breakfast for two, complimentary afternoon tea, turn-down services and daily housekeeping.
A 24-hour-a-day reception and a business centre with high-speed internet.
Daily yoga and meditation classes to help guests relax, reduce stress and promote mindfulness. A spa offers a variety of treatments, such as massages, facials and body scrubs, to rejuvenate the body and mind.
Nutritious and healthy food options support guests’ wellbeing.
A vegan café is due to open later this year, and the lounge bar is a popular spot to gather for drinks.

NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Life & Leisure Magazine.

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