Yoga guru and international wellness entrepreneur Russel Simmons will be opening the doors of his new wellness center in Mas, Ubud in August. This week Gdas Bali held a press tour of the new multi-million dollar facility to show off the luxury health and wellness resort.
Russel Simmons is from the USA and is a long-term resident and investor in Bali. He has worked with an all Balinese team to create Ubud’s newest retreat space and yoga club. The concept and design of the resort is the brainchild of highly regarded Balinese architect Ida Bagus Oka Genijaya, who is the mastermind behind Titu Batu Club that is also in Ubud.
Speaking at the event Simmons shared ‘I fell in love with Bali and want to spread the magic of Bali to everyone’. His affection for Bali is genuine and he has put the preservation and upliftment of Balinese culture front and center of Gdas Bali.
Working with Genijaya since 2021, the team are ensuring that the development honors traditional Balinese architecture and design. The center sits on a prime piece of land in the growing village of Mas, just south of Ubud center. Building in accordance with local spatial planning, only 10% of the 2.5-hectare property has been used for permanent buildings. The rest of the plot is open, outdoor space that has been landscaped with great attention to detail.
Local artists and craftspeople have been involved in the creative process throughout. Local artists have been commissioned to create paintings and carvings. There will be a gallery within the center to showcase local talent. Both Simmons and Genijaya were keen to emphasize how all building materials and decor were sourced exclusively from Bali. According to a post on Simmons’ Instagram, all staff at Gdas Bali are from Bali and he is proud to be employing 200 local people at every level of his company.
The center offers opulent accommodation in the form of poolside suites and villas. There is a day spa, yoga studio, swimming pool, garden lounge, library, and a Balinese restaurant. The resort offers access to the facilities for hotel residents, day visitors, and memberships for locals.
Despite tourism being bought to a near-complete standstill in the last two years Simmons and Genijaya did not lose faith in their project being an overwhelming success. Their timing could not be better, Gdas Bali opens its doors in August 2022 just as the Bali Tourism Board anticipates a huge surge in traveler arrivals. With the European summer holidays coinciding with the Australian and New Zealand long winter break, Bali’s tourism sector can breathe a sigh of relief and the annual influx of visitors return.
Any doubts about future lockdowns or restrictions can all but be put to bed. This week the Indonesian government scrapped the pre-arrival PCR test for inbound travelers and relaxed the mandate for wearing masks in outdoor public settings.
The health and wellness sub-sector of the Bali tourism economy is huge. From luxurious and opulent wellness resorts and day clubs like Gdas, to the smaller locally owned massage parlors and yoga studios, Bali is synonymous with healing, spiritual discovery, and wellness detoxes.
For holidaymakers, digital nomads, and long-term international residents the wellness sector in Bali, specifically in Ubud, has created a sub-culture of its own. Bali makes health and wellness accessible. Facilities across the island offer affordable classes, workshops, retreats, and detoxes with unrivaled quality of service. Many digital nomads and ex-pats move to Bali, especially for easy and affordable access to health and wellness facilities.
As the world emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic it is clear that travelers are desperately seeking health and wellness experiences. Bali is the wellness capital of Asia, if not the world. It is safe to say that in a post-pandemic era wellness facilities in Bali will very quickly recuperate any financial losses from the last two years.
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