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I went to Bali’s best hidden secret and this is what I discovered

I took my bestie to Samanvaya Luxury Resort & Spa, a sanctuary cradled in the 'blue mountains' valley in Sideman

Sideman is one of Bali's best kept secrets
Faye James
Faye JamesSenior Editor
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My best friend and I, two working mothers weathered by the ceaseless tides of parenting and life admin, yearned for a retreat that promised tranquility and rejuvenation. 

We found our haven in the embrace of Sidemen, a picturesque village in East Bali that whispered tales of calm and restoration far from the popular trails of Seminyak, Ubud, and Legian.

Our destination was the adults-only Samanvaya Luxury Resort & Spa, a sanctuary cradled in the 'blue mountains' valley, where the imposing Mt Agung stands guard over endless stretches of rice paddies. Here, the pulse of Bali's tourism has yet to leave its mark, offering us the authentic escape we desperately sought.

As we entered the resort, two infinity pools stretched out like blue ribbons against the green, and bamboo structures sang an ode to eco-luxury. 

Samanvaya is a true haven
Samanvaya is a true haven

Our spacious room, adorned with artisanal charm, presented a panoramic vista of the breathtaking landscape. The private pool became our sanctum of solace, our laughter mingling with the evening air as we watched a local dance that told stories of Bali's rich culture.

The nights at Samanvaya cradled us in peace as we dined under the stars, the day's fatigue dissolving with every healthy, flavoursome bite of our Balinese dinner at the award-winning Asri restaurant. It was here, amidst nature's serenade and sunset's glow, that the daily demands of life seemed to unfurl and drift away.

The blissful pool
The blissful pool

After a refreshing night’s sleep, the morning greeted us with a promise of adventure. Accompanied by our insightful local guide, we ventured through Sidemen's verdant rice terraces, along rivers, and beneath the jungle canopy. With each step, we delved deeper into rural Bali's heart, marveling at the Subak irrigation system—a testament to the harmony of man and nature.

The resort's spa awaited our return, offering a sanctuary where hot stones and skilled hands worked in unison to unravel the knots of our weary muscles. As we lay there, enveloped in warmth and care, it felt like each stone lifted a burden from our shoulders.

The rooms are beautifully appointed
The rooms are beautifully appointed

Later in the afternoon, our spirits soared to new heights as we embarked on a motorcycle journey to Gembleng Waterfall. The climb was steep, but the top rewarded us with nature's own infinity pools and stunning vistas that captivated our souls.

Evenings at Asri Dining were a feast for the senses, with candlelit tables, a fusion of spices, and the soft rustle of passionfruit vines. The food, rich in tradition yet bursting with health, nourished our bodies and delighted our palates.

You experience true rural Bali at Samanvaya
You experience true rural Bali at Samanvaya

Days at Samanvaya began with a symphony of breakfast delights—tropical fruits, buttery pastries, and eggs transformed into culinary art. As we lounged by the pool or succumbed to the bliss of anti-ageing facials and massages, time seemed to stand still, and we rediscovered a peace we thought we had lost.

In just four nights, the alchemy of Samanvaya worked its magic on us. The staff's attentive warmth wrapped us in a cocoon of comfort, their smiles a reflection of the resort's soul. Behind this haven is Tracey Rackliff, a former policewoman whose passion for the community infuses every corner of her eco-paradise.

The spa is incredible
The spa is incredible

Our stay became a tapestry of experiences woven with threads of compassion. Through the Support Sidemen initiative, we became part of a movement that uplifted lives beyond the resort's bamboo walls, ensuring our presence left a positive imprint on the local community.

As we bid our goodbyes to this hidden gem in the hills of Bali, we took with us more than memories; we carried a renewed vigour, a serene strength, ready to return to our hectic world as working mothers with the mountain's resilience and the gentleness of the Balinese breeze.

Samanvaya Luxury Resort & Spa Villas from $230 per night, including breakfast. See for details and offers.

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