A detox by nature isn't an easy thing to do, so the trend now is to go to a destination spot where temptation is out of reach. That is certainly true here - Golden Rock is 3 hours from the airport and in the tiny village of Amed (where there's not much on offer, so don't think of popping out to shop, distract yourself, etc). There's NO cell service or internet - another detox of sorts in this day and age.
The other reviews are true - you gradually get used to the staff coming in/out with various drinks and tonics for you, regardless of if you are sleeping, naked, on the toilet, etc. They don't seem fazed and after a day or two, you won't be either. The retreat is small, so there's a BIG chance that you may be there alone. This isn't as exotic as it sounds. You feel terrible and there's no one to talk to. The staff sit and watch you exercise or eat and you end up going to bed around 6pm.
Very little information is given out by the staff. They are smiley and try to be helpful but the English is very limited. Pin (resort manager) is kind and an excellent reflexologist BUT he is hard to understand and it's frustrating not to get more information on questions such as, "Why am I vomiting? When will it stop? Why isn't anything coming out? What is the benefit of this treatment or that one? How long will this headache last because it's been 18 hours?" He often repeats the phrase, "It is because of the Western diet of alcohol, sugar, meat. It is because of alcohol, sugar, meat." Okkkaaay.
Given that the average guest at the retreat is interested in fitness, healthy living and detoxes (given their choice of holiday), that's too basic of an answer. If the majority of the customers are women (and they are), they need to realize that we want more info and to talk about the experience. As there's no internet, you can't rely on any 'searches' until you are back home.
Alan, the British owner/manager, flitted in and out during my stay. He boasted about being a crystal healer and that we would do some 'work' on it later in the week but that didn't evolve. Instead, I was scolded for not going to morning chi gung after a night of vomiting. Thanks but if I can sleep, I'll take it. Alan seems to have a lot of knowledge about fasting - it's a shame he's not there more often to dispense it. People who are going through detoxes shouldn't be totally alone. Alan ended my visit with a "God Bless" which was a bit odd, given the Hindu location and Buddhist nature of the resort.
I was strongly encouraged to stay until the liver flush (usually day 4). I was ready to pack it in after day 3 and go stay with a friend/use my holiday in a different way. I was told, "It all happens in the liver flush." For me, nothing happened. I followed the instructions to the letter, drank the epsom salts, then the glass of olive oil/lemon juice, lay flat, etc. Nothing. I had hoped for more weight loss and it was very little.
The lack of outside communication is a bit unnerving, especially when you are puking your guts out. I actually wondered about leaving to call someone and it just seemed to be very daunting. There's the option to go and check email/make phone calls yet when I expressed a need to go to the internet cafe to transfer money, no one followed up on that. Credit cards are "accepted" but only Mastercard/Visa and only if there's a decent signal. You may read this and think, "Yeah, yeah" but when it's you who has to go to several ATM's to take out large sums of money to pay the bill, that's a different matter. Your bank will be alerted to someone taking about the maximum withdrawal amount (usually 3 million rupiah) and may 'halt' your card. You may then have to go home and do a bank transfer for the rest of the amount, adding up lots of time at the bank, the question if they will get it, etc. So, "yeah", that signal is pretty important when paying by credit card.
The villas are lovely and grand. You may end up sleeping downstairs as it's near the toilet. The outdoor bathrooms are a treat and the view over the ocean is amazing.The sauna is new, the pool is refreshing and the two guys who teach yoga and chi gung are lovely and friendly. I returned home with more energy, no coffee addiction and desire to eat very healthily, so I certainly reaped the rewards of the week. However, having been to retreats in Thailand, I would encourage people to go there - more information is given in the form of speakers each evening, reading material and sharing with other guests. The location is better in Bali but the detox is more supported in Thailand. I'm torn between hating the experience (I did) and chalking it up to another travel adventure.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Nestled in a remote spot on the north east tip of Bali, Golden Rock Retreat is an exquisite and innovative detox and healing centre that provides our guests with a unique opportunity to take part in our carefully prepared health programs, whilst experiencing the peace and tranquility of local Balinese life. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Golden Rock Retreat Hotel Amed
- Golden Rock Retreat Amed, Bali