Escape to Bali

August 16, 2007


This is a picture of a hotel I stayed at in Bali after it occurred to me, that if I plan to run a hotel that positions itself as a retreat, I should probably try a retreat myself. So, I typed yoga retreat into Google… and that’s how I ended up in Bali, taking yoga classes in an open air pavilion, surrounded by rice paddies.

Bali, at least in the tourist areas, is breathtakingly beautiful; but it is largely a tourist economy, and it has never recovered from the terrorist bombings of several years ago. There is, accordingly, a surplus of hotel rooms (I stayed at one hotel where I was the only guest)–and prices are amazingly cheap. The restaurants in Ubud, which is the cultural hub of Bali are beyond amazing: I ate at a two star Michelin restaurant one night and had the chef’s tasting menu–6 courses (including foie gras) with wines, for less than $40.

There are some similarities between San Miguel and Bali: both have large ex-pat communities, both are places independent women have gravitated to, and both are beautiful places to live.

On the other hand, because Bali is so much nearer to Europe and Australia than the U.S. than San Miguel, and because Bali is so much more affordable, the ex-pat community is younger and more ethnically and economically diverse (and I think that’s one reason the restaurants are so good).

And then there is the issue of older European or American women with Balinese men…something that is so common, the NY Times even had an article about it…as well as the “trustafarians”; young people with trust funds who travel around Asia and meet up at the Burning Man…I’ve never seen these groups in San Miguel…

Yoga in Bali was such a revelation to me, that I’m beginning to wonder if I want to direct my energies more towards a holistic center than to a luxury inn, which San Miguel has plenty of.

On the other hand, there are the organic cotton towels I bought in Turkey, and the fabulous furniture (and my Ganesha, of course) that I bought in India…all for the hotel…


5 Responses to “Escape to Bali”

  1. Joanne Says:

    Brett – sounds like an amazing time. Now that you’re back in Chicago, check out Om on the Range at Ravenswood and Grace for outstanding yoga and wonderful people. Friends will be in San Miguel in January. Any chance you will too?

    Still no replacement for Brett’s. Kevin’s pining for your flank steak …

    Take care, Joanne

  2. Ryan Says:

    There was a great review of White Mughals in the New York Review a month or so ago, and now I see you’re recommending it. I’ll have to pick it up.

    How are you doing?

  3. Cindy Stanton Says:

    Roscoe village is not the same without you and your restaurant.
    My husband spends the weekends wishing for your oatmeal. Any chance you might share your recipe with me???
    Hope the hotel plans are going great.
    We miss you.

    Cindy Stanton

  4. Joan Bradbury Says:

    Brett – We miss your place and eagerly await any new word on your progress in Mexico (or anywhere else you go on your journey…) Warmly, Joan

  5. Brett – we are visiting Bali in February, and would love to know the name and address of the Hotel (photo) and Yoga retreat.
    All the best
    Kobus and Daniela

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