Feb 28, 2019
IT’S DIFFICULT TO IMAGINE that being rubbed and scrubbed with the ingredients of a Bloody Mary could make for a relaxing experience. But steeped neck-deep in a bath of tomato, vermouth and mineral salt, I’m beginning to see the appeal. My skin is tight and smooth from the vodka-tomato clay wrap that Ayu, my spa therapist at the St. Regis Bali Remède Spa, slathered all over my body. I’m feeling intoxicated in all the best ways, and, thankfully, with not a shot to show for it.
Though the Nusa Dua resort is inherently relaxing with its vast lush gardens, meandering 3,668-square-meter saltwater lagoon pool and incessant coo of birds, with the Remède Spa’s 150-minute Signature Bloody Mary-Inspired Ritual, Ayu has convinced me of the restorative powers of the vodka-laden cocktail.
The Bloody Mary has been synonymous with the St. Regis brand since 1934, when bartender Fernand Petiot introduced the “Red Snapper,” which would later be renamed the Bloody Mary, at the King Cole Bar in the St. Regis New York. Since then, they’ve proudly taken on the drink as their signature cocktail, with each outpost boasting its own variation. At St. Regis, Bloody Marys are serious business, so if I’m going to trust anyone to take the drink from bar to bath, it’s these guys.
Despite the reservations I had when Ayu massaged me with an irresistible smelling scrub of tomato, pineapple and wasabi that made me instantly hungry, my resulting buttery soft skin forced me to reconsider. In fact, there’s a whole bevvy of healing benefits in this invigorating cocktail shaker. Promising to detox (while ironically retoxing), the astringent vodka-tomato clay wrap tightens and cleanses the skin, while the tomato bath chaser, which is rich in antioxidants, seals moisture in.
I walk away from Remède Spa glowing, smelling delectable, and with only one thing on my mind: will I ever think of Bloody Marys the same again? There was only one way to find out, and that is a trip to the King Cole Bar, the St. Regis Bali’s ode to its New York counterpart.
Here, sharply dressed bartenders shake concoctions beyond the Bloody Mary’s classic hair-of-the-dog mix. There’s the Bora Mary, a recipe from the St. Regis Bora Bora, which adds watermelon or strawberry juice for a more fruity incarnation. Or the chili-, lemongrass- and ginger-infused Chili Padi Mary from the St. Regis Singapore. But I’ll start with the Bali Mary, which is muddled with jicama (a locally found root vegetable), cucumber and brown sugar, then doused with pepper vodka. After a few goes at each version, I’ve come to the conclusion that my love for this spicy cocktail is stronger than ever and not at all tarnished by the fact that earlier I was on my way to becoming one.
The next morning, after a little too much cocktail research the night before, I sprawl out on one of the resort’s bed-like loungers in my glamorous Lagoon Villa and bask in the Balinese sun. If there were ever a perfect spot for a hangover pick-me-up, this sofa next to my plunge pool would be it. In 2018, the resort underwent major room refurbishments, modernizing design and upping technology integration (hello smart TVs and Bose sound systems). Now, I can connect my phone directly to my villa’s speakers for some tunes with my tonic. Still glowing from my time with Ayu and now on my second drink of the day, I realize I’ve been doing hair-of-the-dog wrong all this time: they should be pouring me into the Bloody Mary, not the other way around.
stregisbali.com; doubles from Rp7,030,000; Signature Bloody Mary-Inspired Ritual Rp5,500,000.