Erykah Badu is set to perform at Merasa Wellness Festival, Desa Potato Head, Bali

Desa Potato Head:
Spirits of Merasa


This June, famed Balinese resort Desa Potato Head returns to hosting the Merasa Wellness Festival. The immersive experience is back by popular demand, though now almost 100 hours longer: through health-cum-fitness paired with music and creativity, the innovative seven-day programme will continue to challenge all you thought you knew about a festival-driven vacation on the ‘Island of Gods’.

It’s not as if there aren’t already enough reasons to visit the fascinating Indonesian island province that’s Bali. The destination is famed for its balmy tropical climate (June’s average temperature range is 21-30⁰C) while boasting forested volcanic mountains, ancient temples, and mesmerising wildlife. The perfect location, then, for anybody who wants to tap into Bali’s spiritual vibe and embark on an extraordinary regenerative journey, courtesy of Desa Potato Head’s fabulous five-star beachfront hotel in Seminyak.

Merasa’s week-long agenda (1st – 8th June) is an unmissable invitation for enterprising individuals, as it promises to reinvent notions of wellness and self-care through a ‘Good Times, Do Good’ manifesto. Participants are encouraged to look inward as well as foster a deeper connection with the harmony of nature, aided by the fact that the schedule is aligned with the Balinese calendar (in order to draw on the distinctive energy each day presents). The myriad of interesting activities include a music-inspired transformative meditation, a HIIT practice with cold water immersion aptly named ‘Fire & Ice’, and a traditional Chinese medicine session featuring acupressure and cupping – not to forget other engaging pursuits like pranayama, poetry, a herbal incense-making workshop, and even a free-form dance social in the dark (so we can finally flash that combo of Bee Gees and Spice Girls’ moves it seems we’ve been hiding forever!).

What’s more, the whole jamboree is co-curated by the Grammy award-winning soul singer and actress, Erykah Badu (she’ll also perform some numbers on the first day and is set to take part in ‘The Rites and Rituals of Life & Death’ dialogue). And a roster of uber-practitioners, who are also at the top of their game, is at hand to guarantee guests get the ultimate holistic high: multidisciplinary Indonesian artist Dani Huda and friends, poet and performer Josh Lynch, and poet Shannon May Powell, etc. As for the accommodation, consisting of two stylish buildings, Desa Potato Head effortlessly blends ancient craftsmanship with a contemporary aesthetic, while the various studios and suites (36sqm/388 sqft – 320sqm/3,444 sqft), which are a pleasing amalgam of different coloured softwoods and hardwoods, can have in-room bars, jacuzzies, and private decked pools.

If you ask us, to call what Merasa affords merely a wellness package, is akin to saying that the Concorde was just an airliner; for like the majestic supersonic plane, a sojourn at Desa Potato Head’s eco-friendly haven might just take you to new heights: all-encompassing R&R experiences such as the ones available during the festival are indicative of just how much the sector has changed in the previous decade. Indeed, long gone are the days when upscale globetrotters were only looking for a ‘fly and flop’ without any specific itinerary of leisure pursuits when it comes to health and fitness escapes.

Currently, an ever-increasing number are targeting far more sophisticated getaways (a trend backed up by luxury travel network Virtuoso’s last two reports). Thus, bespoke programmes have become de rigueur and often include individual instruction, ultra-modern healing treatments, and customised nutrition. In our view, the pandemic has accelerated this recent development: when people were forced to remain home, elevated awareness of possible illnesses meant they considered every aspect of their mental and physical condition, and many wanted to make improvements in these areas when they could go abroad again. We always counted ourselves among this number, so should you bump into us for a mega-enlivening experience in Bali this summer, don’t be surprised.

Photography courtesy of Desa Potato Head

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