Offering an unrivalled level of luxury and catering to a life as slow paced as desired, Alila Villas Uluwatu in Bali is a relaxing retreat to say the least.
Alila Villas Uluwatu, a member of Design Hotels (TM), is located in the very south of Bali on a large limestone peninsula, called the Bukit Peninsula. Were it not for a sliver of land, just south of the airport, Bukit would have been a separate island. It is rugged and dry, and pre-tourist development was a real backwater of Bali; in fact a prison once stood here.
It is all about carefully nurtured privacy that is offered at Alila Villas Uluwatu. Breezes, birds, stupendous ocean views and spaces designed with restraint yet oozing with elegance are on offer here. Heart-felt hospitality is palpable and omnipresent, thanks to the hand-picked and well trained staff.
Designed by the award winning architectural firm WOHA of Singapore, the main theme involves a seamless integration of the built mass with the one-of-a-kind topography. The property consists of buildings, terraces, pools, and gardens spread over a generous 14-hectare plot of savanna situated atop a high energy wildly rugged beach. The 65 individually styled luxurious villas finished in several shades of white to achieve a timeless kind of elegance, are all about space and drop dead gorgeous views from practically every corner.
Villas range from 291 to 3,000 square meters and feature a private pool and cabana, bathtub, outdoor shower and dining table, and a gourmet bar. Comprising one, two, or three bedrooms, the villas also boast king-size beds and ocean views.
Toiletries are home grown; constituted out of the best ingredients these come in ‘his’ and ‘hers’ versions. Totally in touch with the brand’s philosophy luxury amenities combine with the modern decor and natural beauty to push the exclusivity envelope. The private quarters are tranquil and open-plan; custom-built Javanese furniture flanks the villa pools surrounded by understated and minimal landscaping.
Of the hotel’s many standout structural elements, perhaps the most notable is the cantilevered lounge bar that protrudes from the cliff-top. Here laid-back lounge seating in hues of neutral is flushed with natural light that gets filtered into the cabana completely constructed out of strips of weathered timber.
This design aspect becomes a leitmotif of the property and is seen repeated subtly throughout the design scheme albeit in several other materials.
Respect towards the ecology is paramount at all Alila hotels generally and each of the 84 villas here feature traditional Balinese accents like cabinets and other custom woodwork crafted from reclaimed ironwood and sustainably harvested plantation teak. The use of locally found prehistoric lava rock imbues an earthy touch.
Completely stunning Alila Villas Uluwatu, is a result of a magical blend of textures and angles and a symbiosis between the built and its surroundings. Following environmentally sustainable design principles, Woha Designs has integrated measures like water conservation with soaks and rain gardens, grey water recycling systems, and the use of local plants from the Bali savanna.
An innovative green measure is the placement of lava rocks on the roofs, which absorb heat and transfer it to the pipes running below, resulting in a substantial reduction in energy required to heat up water. Another dramatic and sustainable design touch is the use of old copper Batik stamps in the private banquet hall or Wine Room.
Indonesian vernacular architecture is underlined with limestone terraces built by local farmers in a modernist design. Driftwood and curated, authentic Indonesian art pepper the property strategically reinforcing the tasteful design aesthetic.
A delightful culinary experience awaits the guests of Alila Villas Uluwatu; Cire is proficient at merging East Asian flavours and ingredients with global cooking techniques and presentations. Tantalising seasonal menus are on offer here. Warung on the other hand presents traditional Indonesian and Balinese fare.The atmosphere is warm and the space is sophisticated and one may choose to engage with the other guests or merely enjoy blissful private conversations.
Spa Alila ups the luxe value a few notches higher; treatments are authentic and meted out by trained therapists and using only the brand’s own exclusive line of beauty products. A contemporary spin on ancient techniques leaves one rejuvenated and squeaky-clean.
Alila Uluwatu believes in being unpretentious about its merits and that is why when you finally show up here, whether on a tech-detox mission or on the annual antidote to urban life, you are bound to be bowled over. Leaving both empowered and sorted, all ready to face life’s trials and tribulations again is but a guarantee – go back home with a newly polished halo!
Text By Mala Bajaj
Photographs Courtesy Designhotels (Tm)