tribal gathering

An island escape that marries luxury with fitness could help you take your fitness offerings to the next level.

Fitness and wellness travel has been one of the biggest travel trends of recent years. People for whom fitness is integral to their lifestyle don’t want to put it on hiatus when they go on holiday, so the idea of combining the two can be very appealing.

Similarly, if you’re a personal or group trainer, or mind body instructor, or if you deliver courses to upskill fitness professionals, the allure of training your tribe of clients or students in an exotic location can be strong. This is exactly the opportunity that Hotel Komune on the East Coast of Bali offers. Think ‘working holiday’ – and then some.

As you arrive at the resort on Keramas Beach, a 45-minute drive from the airport, you find yourself in a tropical retreat, with the noise and bustle of Kuta already becoming a distant memory. Whatever your reason for coming, work or play, it’s time to unwind.

I’m greeted with a welcoming smile and an iced tea as the friendly staff guide me down avenues of palms and giant taro leaves to my room, a clever design in cool tones of stone and blue. Inspiring surf images adorning the wall are a reminder that this place was created as a surf retreat, although its newly completed Health Hub confirms its transition into a fully-fledged fitness and wellbeing destination. In fact, I’m told, it has just played host to 85 trainee yoga instructors. And from what I’ve seen so far, I can see why they’d want this place to be their classroom.

The next morning I wake early and make my way down to the beach, where a handful of surfers are floating in the pre-dawn ocean waiting to catch their first waves of the day. Soon, after early morning beach yoga and breakfast, their ‘surf widows’ assume their positions poolside, waiting to catch their first rays of the day.

After getting the lay of the land, I make my way to the Beach Club for some breakfast overlooking the ocean and the distant island of Nusa Lembongan. As I try to choose from a range of local and western options to rival any Eastern Suburbs café back home, a couple of surfers lean against the edge of the nearby pool, checking out the surf breaking on the glittering black volcanic sand that lines this stretch of coast.

It’s often said that we now live in an ‘experience economy’. A recent study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology showed that people who invest in expensive products rather than in experiences often devalue the item’s worth directly after buying it. The researchers from San Francisco State University found that people derive greater long term happiness from investing in memorable experiences. It makes sense: unlike that 60inch TV you’ve got your eye on, you’ll happily reflect on amazing memories for many years to come.

As fitness professionals, the key to retaining clients and generating that Holy Grail of every business owner – unsolicited word-of-mouth referrals – is to deliver amazing experiences. While this should be your goal in every session, imagine the wow-factor if you could do it against an incredible backdrop of beaches and volcanos (while getting paid for it). With its exclusive new Health Hub, this is the experience that Komune is now able to facilitate.

After breakfast I wander up through the resort’s lush organic veggie garden, which supplies ingredients for many of the restaurant’s dishes, to discover the Hub. Hidden away behind a wall of foliage, it features a large open-sided yoga studio, fully equipped gym with both traditional equipment and functional training facilities and a stunning, secluded eternity pool with submerged stone recliners and day beds. As I do a few laps in the pool, I consider how I’d piece together a training retreat here. It doesn’t take too much imagination. By combining the on-site facilities with local activities, from surfing and diving to mountain biking and volcano hiking, a week’s itinerary would soon take care of itself. And, as I discovered, when you need a break from all the luxury, a day trip to the shops, palace, temples and famous monkey forest of Ubud makes for an interesting diversion.

After sight-seeing up a healthy appetite, I return to Komune in the evening and enjoy a relaxing massage before reacquainting myself with the Beach Club’s vast menu, which features everything from the health conscious to the decadent. The head chef, Suangga, tells me that his kitchen staff are used to catering to every dietary requirement under the Indonesian sun; ‘Gluten-free, wheat-free, sugar-free – we will still make you something delicious’ he tells me. I have no such restrictions, so all I need to do is decide whether it’s going to be creamy yellow curry, melt in your mouth ribs, crisp-based pizza or delicious nasi goreng.

Lounging near the beachside fire pit after dinner, I watch the waves breaking on the shore and feel too relaxed to move. There’s no floodlit night surfing tonight, but there will be tomorrow.

If you’re looking to elevate the service you offer by creating truly unique experiences for your tribe of clients or students that marry their passion for fitness with the magic of an island escape, then Komune is worth investigating.

The word ‘commune’ might conjure up images of hippies sharing their mung bean salad or some political or religious ideologues. Alter the spelling slightly and you get something that, while retaining the spirit of a community of likeminded individuals, offers something else altogether. Click HERE for more information on making Komune your next fitness destination.


Oliver Kitchingman is the editor of Network magazine. He was the guest of Hotel Komune Bali.