There’s a lot to love about Alila Villas Uluwatu, a 65-villa resort located on Bali’s southernmost tip, overlooking the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean. Here, the resort’s dreamy panoramas and unique architecture has become a bucket-list item for wanderlust-touched travellers, particularly of the Instagram variety.
To really understand just how spectacular the experience can be, opt for the 90-minute signature Balinese massage at the dramatic Cliff Edge cabana, a location which is exactly what it sounds like. Once settled on this promontory that opens to the blue infinity, you can luxuriate under the practised hands of the masseuse, with rhythmic waves and cool ocean breezes lulling you to an emotional- and mind-restorative sleep.
Alila Villas Uluwatu, sprawled across 14.4 hectares of elevated plateau, was conceived to offer picturesque views at every gaze. The location is not Seminyak, Canggu or Kuta where you might ostensibly walk onto the tourist thoroughfare. The type who would be attracted to this property is clearly after tranquillity and space—a retreat from urban realities. Hence the individual pool villas, composed of natural touches reflected with wood, water, stone and rattan to restore equilibrium to the deep recesses of your soul. These one-bedroom pool villas—starting at a languorous 3,000 sq ft—are also open-planned, enabling cool ocean breezes to continually waft through, subtle details that contribute to the general feeling of well-being.
On the F&B front, the property offers two tantalising options. The first is Warung, a comprehensive take on Indonesian and Balinese fare helmed by the local hero Bapak Eling. His many years onboard a cruise ship played a part in the specification and build-up of Warung during the pre-opening, with his input sought right down to detailing the kitchen itself. Pak Eling—a mainstay of the property from its pre-opening phase—also becomes your guide on the three-hour ‘Journey through Gastronomy’ tour of two local markets in nearby Jimbaran, where he leads guests through the entire process of selecting ingredients and preparing three base spices prior to the actual making of the dishes.
The other option, Cire, leans heavily into a Mediterranean-inspired menu, revolving around healthful ingredients of fresh vegetables, fruits, legumes, fish, nuts and olive oil. Breakfast here occurs with friendly service staff offering thoughtful breakfast selections while the long-stay nature of many of its guests result in seven different menu changes across time. Here, you get the chef preparing dishes a la minute, right down to the bread basket with its options of croissant, toasted baguette and banana bread, as well as a spread of butters, raspberry and banana jams.
Each and every table at the restaurant offers unobstructed views of the jaw-dropping infinity pool and the surrounding ocean, ideal for candle-lit dinners. And if there were a Michelin star rating for ambience alone, this restaurant would be a shoo-in for all three stars.
Then there is also the Sunset Cabana Bar, for artisanal cocktails while taking in the stunning sunsets. And from 3pm in the afternoons to evenings, which turn to languorous nights, the Batique, Whisky & Cigar establishment offers what its name suggests: chill-out music and live DJ nights amid a cosy, clubby vibe with a range of fine cigars to savour well into midnight.
Perhaps one of the most interesting observations I noticed was how popular the resort is for weddings. In the week that I stayed, the hotel crew were kept bustling with two separate weddings, setting up tenting and platforms on the dramatic plateaus. The festivities here even included some showstopping fireworks at around 10pm, which are a spectacle in itself. All in, the entire experience at Alila Villas Uluwatu greatly helped in the one thing we can never have enough of—rejuvenation. The cycle of relaxing mornings, healthful and hearty fare, basking in the morning sun and generally being so close to nature’s majesty helps frazzled modern-day urbanites reconnect with a gentler, natural rhythm. And as you take in the daily kaleidoscopic sunsets, while nursing your preferred libation, you would be hard-pressed to wish you were anywhere else but here.