Zoe Watson Bliss Sanctuary for Women Interview
No kids, no partners, no cares, your own driver and time to do as you please - does that sound like your kind of holiday? Former Nova sales executive Zoë Watson has created just such a haven for women only at Bliss Sanctuary for Women in Canggu, Bali.
Bliss Sanctuary for Women fills a unique niche in the market, aimed at women travelling alone or with a small group of friends, looking for a peaceful sanctuary with no couples and no kids.
Zoë, who formerly worked in high-pressure roles at Nova Radio in Adelaide and Sydney and for the Australian Traffic Network (ATN), says there is definitely a need for women only travel experiences, for women of all walks of life.
"Following the success of the movie Eat, Pray, Love, many more women are open to the possibility of travelling alone," says Zoë. "The movie was liberating in that it made it acceptable to travel alone and be self indulgent, which we rarely do as women."
Bliss Sanctuary For Women has been designed around Feng Shui principles and provides a safe and blissful sanctuary for women traveling on their own, without being alone. Small groups of friends are also welcome.
"It's surprising the number of women who want to be nurtured in a tropical paradise with no kids, no partners, no cares and ultimate hassle free relaxation," says Zoë.
"Bliss offers women just that. Beautiful villa accommodation where you will be nurtured to your heart's content."
Designed to meet all your needs, Bliss creates a carefree atmosphere that you can enjoy without feeling the traveller's pressures of organization, isolation, or fear of the unknown.
"It is a sanctuary of self love where women visiting can experience peace, tranquillity, rest and relaxation, as well as a sense of companionship and the knowledge that you are 'not alone'."
Bliss isn't limited to those seeking relaxation - packages are available for thrill seekers, water lovers, food enthusiasts and those looking for adventure.
"We've had interest from mothers and daughters, best friends looking for an adventure and solo travellers looking for a peaceful safe haven," says Zoë.
"As women it is important we take time out for ourselves - Bliss Sanctuary for Women is an environment where you can do this in safety, never feeling isolated, whilst still getting the rest and seclusion you need."
With various Villas in Bali, mainly around the Canggu and Seminyak area, Bliss Sanctuary for Women is the creation of an environment with beautiful surroundings, a destination of friendship and healing.
With only up to a handful of women present at any one time, your privacy and peacefulness are assured.
Included in your Bliss Sanctuary Bali stay are:
All meals cooked Indonesian style within the villa
Singles or double rooms with oversized beds and amenities
Personal drivers for the entire holiday including dinners, shopping and sightseeing
Daily massage and meditation
Bliss Sanctuary for Women: for women who recognise their need to get away and take time out from the pressures of everyday life.www.blisssanctuaryforwomen.com
Interview with Zoe WatsonQuestion:
What inspired you to create the Bliss Sanctuary for Women?Zoe Watson
: My background career wise has always been high-pressure and my whole focus has always been on career. Three and a half years ago, I had a car accident and had to slow down, quite a bit, because of chronic back pain and migraines - I needed a lot more days off than I had ever taken, before. My life became that little bit more difficult and at the time I had moved to Sydney which had been full on and it had been very difficult in terms of the GFC hitting the media and I wasn't enjoying my time, at all and I thought 'there has to be something a bit more to life- my career is going well, I'm earning great money - everything is going well, but I don't feel like there is a lot of peace'.Question:
Was it difficult changing your career, completely?Zoe Watson
: Yes (laughing)! I moved back to Adelaide after Sydney and I opened a sales office for the Australian Traffic Network which went really well, last year, even though I was really sick. I was walking away from a lot of money, but it came to the point were I thought 'something has to change in my life'. I wasn't happy and I came to the conclusion that I was going to take a holiday to Bali and I wasn't going to know how long I would be gone, I felt so much freedom as soon as I decided that. A massive weight came off my shoulders and all of sudden these ideas started coming and of course there had been the Eat, Pray, Love book not that long prior and I'd read the book and didn't like it because I thought 'who has the time and money to go and gallivant around the world for nine months?' One thing the book did do, is open my eyes to the fact that it is okay to not be a career woman or a stay-at-home mum - you don't have to fit into a box but you can seek the freedom that works for you. I hadn't felt peacefully, healthy or happy with where I was in life.
I came up with the idea of Bliss Sanctuary for Women and I began researching and couldn't find anything that was similar, nothing for people travelling alone or with a couple of friends. When I travelled, personally, I found it annoying that I had to pay twice as much for a room that you don't share with anyone and it's annoying to sit by a pool where there are a lot of kids around and you've got no idea when you book a resort if there will be kids there, or not. Sometimes you need to take your man and sometimes you don't. I wanted to create this 'sanctuary' because there are a lot of 'retreats' around which are regimented with what they do whereas with my sanctuary it's about getting away.
Bliss: Perfect happiness; extreme joy. Heaven, paradise. Peace, serenity, euphoria
Sanctuary: Refuge, place to hide, be safe
What we wanted to do at Bliss Sanctuary for Women is to create a place for women to come and have their needs met where they can meet other woman and de-stress.Question:
Why is it important to you that Bliss Sanctuary for Women was designed around Feng Shui principles?Zoe Watson
: I didn't go overboard with Feng Shui but it is important to have nice air flow throughout the place and a lot of places, in Bali, are built that way to keep in mind the cost of air conditioning. Even to do yoga and to feel comfortable it is important to have the sanctuary near the ocean and have a lot of air flow as well as a really good feel. Everywhere I have always lived, I have made sure that I designed the area around Feng Shui principles, I never go overboard, but it is always in the back of my mind when I am designing something. Question:
How important is the yoga and mediation aspect of Bliss Sanctuary for Women?Zoe Watson
: It is up to each guest to determine how they wish to find their own bliss, so to speak. For some people the yoga will be completely unimportant and they won't even do it and the same with the mediation and others will want to do it, every day. I have actually teamed up with a local yoga place and we take our guests there to do yoga, rather than do it at the retreat. I want the guests to feel that when they are away they can focus on the yoga and what that does to the mind, body and soul.
I also do psychic readings and if people have a need I will include that in the reading and we can work with that during mediation.
There are guests who don't want to have anything to do with the mediation or yoga and that's totally fine with us, because that is the difference between a sanctuary and a retreat.Question:
Who would you recommend visits Bliss Sanctuary for Women?Zoe Watson
: Any women - anyone who needs a break and needs to get away from anything that they've been doing. I have had people aged in their early 20's to late 50's at this stage who have been here or have booked in. I have found some ladies are coming with their Mum, which is nice. Mum's are leaving the kids behind and coming as well as career women who need a break. The Bliss Sanctuary for Women is for any woman who wants to travel and have a really relaxing break. Question:
What types of packages does Bliss Sanctuary for Women offer?Zoe Watson
: I have a few packages, I have an Eat, Pray, Love package which is the most popular package and it is one that people can really relate to because it is not overboard. Most of the guests do not want to be doing activities, all the time, but they can if they want to with other packages.
For example, the Eat, Pray, Love package is described here: www.http://www.blisssanctuaryforwomen.com/?p=379
and visits Ubud as seen in the film where you have the option of riding a bicycle and have a palm reading. Included in the package is also a visit to Wayan the renowned healer, visited in the movie.
For more about Bliss Sanctuary for Women packages, please see: www.blisssanctuaryforwomen.com/?page_id=328Question:
What is the average cost for a Bliss Sanctuary for Women stay?Zoe Watson
: Most packages are 5-7 days and nights, it is days and nights because most flights back to Australia are quite funny hours and I don't want people to feel like they need to leave their room at midday and their flight isn't until midnight; it is important they have the ultimate experience the whole time they are here.
The prices are from around $1,750 if you are twin share, with a friend for the basic package which includes all food within the sanctuary, all yoga, mediation, massage and a personal driver incase they want to go out; the basic package is inclusive of basically everything except alcohol. If you are in a room on your own, for the week, its $2,500 for all inclusive. If you are choosing a package which generally includes three activities it is $2,900, for one.
Interview by Brooke Hunter