Wellness boom in Bali: Singapore celebs like Allan Wu, Claire Jedrek set sights on new ventures and lifestyles

Wu embarks on luxury sanctuary project, while Jedrek and husband Yuey Tan plan to relocate there to offer their kids a different education environment

Actor-host Allan Wu (left) amid farm horses in his Bali wellness sanctuary project, Lodge in the Woods. (PHOTOS: Allan Wu/Lodge in the Woods)
Actor-host Allan Wu (left) amid farm horses in his Bali wellness sanctuary project, Lodge in the Woods. (PHOTOS: Allan Wu/Lodge in the Woods)

IN THIS post-pandemic era, Bali is shifting its focus more to wellness, with more people heading there to invest in wellness-related projects — including some of Singapore’s celebrities.

One of them is actor-host Allan Wu. While still based in Singapore, the 51-year-old has taken on Lodge in the Woods, a new wellness project with entrepreneur Bernard Teo in Bali.

“While I will always call Singapore my home, I believe in never resting on one's laurels and not being afraid to trying something new. As I've gotten older and my children are now young adults, I started thinking about what else I could possibly do, and the opportunity arose to visit my friend Bernard in Bali, where he created and built a very unique project called Lodge in the Woods," he told Yahoo Southeast Asia.

“After my initial visit in January last year, we soon saw a lot of synergy and potential to grow the business. From there, I started making more trips to Bali to really assess the possibility to doing more with him."

Located in Kaba-kaba, a quaint village 15 minutes from the Bali resort town of Canggu, Lodge in the Woods is a luxury wellness sanctuary built around trees, with brochures describing it as having a “brutalist modern architectural design that is simple yet elegant”. There are only six guest rooms (from US$230 a night) so the place is quiet and peaceful, allowing for a restful stay amid nature.

The sanctuary has its own farm, with rescued animals – from horses to goats to chickens and rabbits – freely roaming the space, and a garden where it grows its own vegetables for a plant-based menu curated for guests. Meals are eaten at a long communal table in the lobby next to a magnesium-rich pool, where guests can mingle and build friendships.

Bali wellness resort Lodge in the Woods. (PHOTOS: Lodge in the Woods)
Bali wellness resort Lodge in the Woods. (PHOTOS: Lodge in the Woods)

While at the sanctuary, guests can also enjoy an array of complimentary activities such as cycling into the rice fields, sailing on a fishing boat, touring the farm and feeding the animals, taking the horses for a walk, planting or harvesting vegetables at the farm, and practising yoga or meditation at the river house.

Wu’s role will be on marketing the business, in addition to developing fitness and wellness programmes and initiatives for the guests and clientele.

“Bernard has always had a special affinity to Bali with its rich history, culture and customs for over 20 years when he built his first villa," he said of his project partner Teo.

"After spending over 30 years in the fashion industry, he was more than ready to embark on a new direction in his life and focus on simple living and protecting the environment. Bali has always held a special place in his heart with its rural landscape and slower-paced island lifestyle so it was a natural choice to build Lodge in the Woods there."

This is not Teo’s first venture in Bali. In 1997 during the Asian financial crisis, he built his first villa in what was then a very undeveloped and rural Canggu area, near Echo Beach.

Host Claire Jedrek and race-driver husband Yuey Tan (Ieft) have relocated to Villa Kamran in Bali. (PHOTOS: Facebook/Villa Kamran)
Host Claire Jedrek and race-driver husband Yuey Tan (Ieft) are planning to relocate to Villa Kamran in Bali. (PHOTOS: Facebook/Villa Kamran)

More sustainable living for kids’ future

Besides being a hub for wellness tourism, Bali’s natural offerings and less hectic pace of life have also attracted others like fellow host Claire Jedrek and her race-driver husband Yuey Tan, who are relocating to the island with their young children later this year.

The couple have taken over a five-bedroom villa called Villa Kamran that sits on 6,000 square feet of land by Pererenan Beach. Costing “a little over the price of a 30-year-old HDB flat in Bishan”, they have recently refurbished it for under S$30,000. The couple are also building a another home elsewhere in Bali that will be ready in mid-2025.

“It was the beginning of 2023 that both of us had incidents with random people who were just unnecessarily angry,” Jedrek shared. “More often than not, people are so unkind on the roads (in Singapore), and as a motorist and cyclist, it makes us think that we really don't want to be sucked up in the city's anger and we wanted a real change to reset.

“Cutting out the noise was a big push factor. Even conversations about our kids' schools always ended up on how they should be educated and what school they should attend for the best connections in life. We just want our kids to stay kids a little longer and stay curious enough to want to love learning. If it means stepping away from city life to be more conscious and aware as individuals, then it is the right fit for us.”

Both Jedrek and Tan considered other places before they decided on Bali, as it is close to Singapore and inexpensive to fly back to the city-state where both still work in. "We considered Austria but it was too far, Kuala Lumpur felt like it was just one city to another, and Australia is still a bit too far as I want to continue my work in Singapore which I still love after 17 years," Jedrek said.

Tan chipped in, “As much as we love Singapore, there are certain values and experiences that we agree are more of a concept to the kids, like sustainability, keeping curious with nature and the great outdoors."

“Honestly, we feel that when you’re living in a city, priorities are different, the value of education is different, and we wanted to really strip back a little and change our view of surroundings, learn a new culture, a different way of thinking, and perhaps creatively see things in a new light.

“Doing the same thing will only produce the same results and for us we are all about actively changing and being diverse, and putting ourselves out there, which is what we hope our kids will understand and take with them as the best education of getting through life.”

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