Travel Betty

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Spa Betty Series: Pay More Get Less At Pertiwi Resort & Spa

March 3rd, 2008 · 5 Comments

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Proving once again that paying more doesn’t mean getting better, I’m lying on a massage table in Ubud and I’m annoyed.

My friend from Singapore and I arrived at the Pertiwi Resort & Spa not an hour before and decided to splurge. Since spa is in the name, I know to expect higher prices than I’ve been paying, but I also figure I can expect an expertly performed massage. Not so.

Balinese Statue Ubud
No, Travel Betty, turn back!

The spa complex is set in the back of the expansive property, near the second pool. There are a couple of private massage huts and even a Jacuzzi (which featured a plethora of dead bugs floating on the water’s surface, Mmmmm!).

The place is empty so we use the spa phone to call up for two massage therapists. After a short wait, one shows up. There are discussions and confusion about needing another therapist and I am turned down for my request for the Boreh scrub and so settle for what they are calling an aromatherapy massage.

My friend is led into her hut while I wait and wait and wait for someone else to show. On the brink of leaving, a woman finally appears.

We walk into the humid, mosquito-filled hut and she goes to work…scratching her mosquito bites. Seriously, for about 10 minutes she is so itchy, she basically just scratches herself while keeping one hand on my back. That hand doesn’t move, but I’m pretty sure the woman still defines what she is doing as “giving a massage.” Finally I can tell by the pressure that she is giving her bites the ol’ Hot Cross Buns and soon after, her attention seems to turn at least minimally more towards our shared purpose.

During this whole production, I am focused on a bowl of water placed on the ground below my face rest. In it floats a single yellow flower. The way the evening’s light is coming in through the window, it looks like a brilliant still life painting. I decide that even though the massage is crap, I can enjoy the simple beauty of this scene.

For a brief moment, I allow my eyes to close. I hear a loud thump and splash. Opening my eyes, I see that the therapist has tripped over my still life. Water covers the floor and the flower clings to the side of the bowl like a desperate Titanic victim. There goes that.

A few minutes later, when all of the light has drained from the hut, my therapist leaves me to fumble around for a light switch. She fumbles. And fumbles. And fumbles. And can’t find one. Or at least one that works. Then she comes back to me distracted. After another minute of massage, she leaves me again for more fumbling.

Finally, she hears that my friend is done with her massage and goes out to grab the other therapist to help her locate a switch. Together they folly around until a light source is discovered.

Face-up now, I am blasted by a shot of bright fluorescent light. I open my eyes and see the therapist gazing down at my watch in her hands and I think, “Yeah, me too sister.”

The time ticks by slowly, but finally she says, “Finished. Good?”

“Yes,” I say. And it’s the truth. It’s good that it’s finished.

Travel Betty Basics

Pertiwi Resort & Spa
Monkey Forest St, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Phone: 62 361 975236
Ambience: 2 out of 5 passion fruits
Treatment: 1 out of 5 passion fruits
Cost: US $20 with 10% discount for being hotel guest

Tags: Bali · Lodging · Spas

Related posts you may enjoy:
  • Spa Betty Series: Another Trip to Kenko Reflexology In Ubud
  • Spa Betty Series: 3 (Almost 4) Massages In One Day. Oh My!
  • 30 Days. 30 Spa Treatments. For 300 Dollars?


  • 5 responses so far ↓

    • 1 Debo Hobo // Mar 5, 2008 at 2:20 pm

      I am always game for a reasonably priced spa!

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    • 2 amanda // Mar 6, 2008 at 8:40 pm

      I can’t wait to visit Bali ! Thanks for your detailed write ups of the spas there ! I’m going to reference your site before my trip and I look forward to more of your posts! Amanda

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    • 3 Travel Betty // Mar 18, 2008 at 2:00 pm

      You won’t find a shortage of them in Bali, Debo! That’s for sure.

      Amanda, if I can ever get my s$#t together, I’ll put together a download for people. In the meantime, enjoy your trip!

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    • 4 Traveling Wedding Photographer // Jan 29, 2009 at 2:42 pm

      Damn. ;( I’ve had a couple bad massages out of the 100-140 ?? that I’ve done ….. that definitely sounds like a bad one ………

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    • 5 Amanda is a Traveling Photographer // Apr 7, 2009 at 2:27 pm

      I would LOVE a download ! I’m kind of overwhelmed with planning Bali .

      MyAvatars 0.2

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