Check in Alila Villas Soori, Bali
Far from the suffocating resort crush of Seminyak – and a good distance from the hellhole known as Kuta (avoid at all costs) – Alila Soori is a villa-only resort that sits on the southwest coast of Bali, a mere stone’s throw from the island’s world-famous Tanah Lot temple and overlooking a breathtaking black-sand beach to the front (grains of sand glisten like dark crystals) and fertile rice terraces to the rear – plus a volcano view thrown in for good measure. The uber-modern design is nestled organically into the untouched landscape. Private cars ferry you to and from the airport (alas, Bali’s notorious traffic on the southwest coast means it could take up to two hours to get here). However, with a slice of paradise virtually to yourself, this high-end resort is a tonic for the city-frazzled tourist – and especially beneficial for couples in need of exclusive peace and relaxation.
In a word: incredible. Bali offers all sorts of high-end accommodation but Alila stands alone with its fabulous minimalist architecture, spacious uncrowded grounds and awe-inspiring beachfront landscapes. The welcoming concierge staff are professional and courteous, each offering the famous Balinese smile, and you’re ushered to your villa with efficiency, happiness and ease. The management certainly knows how to make life sweet – everything is tailor-made to your desires (via a website link requesting your personal needs prior to arrival) and their amenities – the spa, the gym, the two dining zones and the public 30m infinity pool – have a real touch of class about them in terms of operational and comfort factor. Alila is also very secure, giving couples peace of mind as Bali adjusts to a forward-thinking future.
All types of accommodation are, naturally, high end. There are 15 beach pool villas (156sq m) at ground level (always popular) and a further 15 pool villas above. Each comes with private pool and access to the black sand beach. To the rear there are eight one-bedroomed terrace pool villas (290sq m) with incredible outdoor spaces, courtyards and luxurious interiors (gourmet bar, outdoor showers, his-and-hers bathroom facilities, gorgeous linen, a butler service and Apple TVs). We especially adored the shady lounge pavilions of the terrace villas – built for two but easily capable of seating five. In terms of exclusivity, Alila also offers four three-bedroomed ‘residences’ (805sq m) with large living areas, kitchen facilities, larger pools and entertaining zones. There is also a lavish 10-bedroomed residence (5,250sq m, complete with helipad on the roof) which is usually given over to politicians, celebrities and corporate gatherings. As one would expect, each accommodation type comes with blossoming vegetation and deftly harmonious architecture.
Spa Alila is justly famous. A wealth of treatments accommodating all desires is on offer – and the facilities are more akin to a meditative sanctuary. Water elements are found throughout, along with soft shafts of natural lighting and delicate, rejuvenating aromas. The spa staff, especially, are worthy of praise for their professionalism. There are two restaurants, Cotta – delivering Indonesian dishes as well as Western fare – and Ombak, where the personable and charismatic head chef Ashton takes you on a unique culinary journey. We admire his incredible take on the buffet breakfast – instead of the usual trappings, Alila give you an open menu of light, medium and heavy whereby you can choose small breakfast dishes (as many as you please!) which arrive as you please. It’s a brilliant idea.
Time Out’s verdict
It may not be in the ‘tourism sweetspots’ of Ubud and Seminyak, but Alila Villas Sori prides itself on individuality, finesse and luxury reclusiveness. The staff, facilities and especially accommodation are all world class and there is a strong sense of evolutionary ideas – with a minimalist ethos – which sets the resort away from the pack, both geographically and in terms of hospitality. It’s not cheap – but then you can see where your every dollar goes. And, as for peace, relaxation and rejuvenation, it has to be one of the best villa resorts found on this beautiful island.
Alila Villas Soori, Tabanan, Bali, Indonesia, firstname.lastname@example.org