Like many popular tourist destinations in Bali, there is no shortage of beauty salons and spas in Ubud, ranging from the upper class boutique to the roadside pop-up with a flickering fluorescent light. The sheer size of the competition means it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd, which is especially true for Cantika Zest, hidden away off Ubud’s main streets and not one you can easily find.
If you do happen to stumble across it (or get referred by a long-term expat, always a good sign), Cantika Zest is unlikely to disappoint. This gorgeous beauty spa on the outskirts of Ubud is designed to make the most of its natural surroundings, where you can have a facial, massage or a mani-pedi while overlooking the scenery and batting off giant butterflies.
The best part is that all their beauty products are homemade, from shampoos to massage oils, moisturisers and and body masks. If you book ahead, you can even see how the products are sourced from their own garden, from ingredients including ginger, lemons, eggs, frangipani, cloves and cinnamon.
We had our appointment on a Monday afternoon, and were advised that it’s best to ring ahead, particularly in peak season. That being said, we had the place practically to ourselves, which always adds to the relaxed ambience. After consulting the reasonable price-list (ranging from RP80,000 to RP150,000), my fiancé and I bid adieu and retired to our respective pampering stations.
While I enjoyed sitting out in the garden and indulging in a one and a half hour mani-padi, it’s clear that the main drawcard of Cantika Zest is its facials and massages. My fiancé opted for a two-hour deep tissue rub and avocado facial, and watching him get lathered up in organic ingredients and eventually emerge with the dazed look of the completely relaxed made me wish I’d chosen differently.
There are two Cantika salons in Ubud, and not having visited the other (set out in the rice-fields, same salon but different scenery), I can’t speak for which one is better. However, I would highly recommend an hour or two letting the Cantika Zest girls work their massage magic, sipping on a fresh ginger tea and enjoying the nature around you.