We‚Äôve been reading a few articles recently about the best swimming pools in the world, so we thought it was time we added an article of our own with some suggestions that have been strangely omitted from the others we‚Äôve read.
First up is this sensational offering from Alila Ubud in Bali, where a breath taking infinity pool sits in an elevated position overlooking the lush tropical greenery of the surrounding forest and hillside. Impressive!
Next up (and we don‚Äôt know how anyone could possibly overlook this offering) is the quite amazing rooftop pool at Harbour Grand Kowloon. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words (or in our case two), and this is one of those instances ‚Äď so we‚Äôll just let you enjoy it!
The Maldives is abundantly blessed with some dazzling pools overlooking the Indian Ocean and tributes have rightly been paid to the Pool Villas at Jumeirah Dhevanafushi and the Treehouse Villa at Shangri La‚Äôs Villingili, but here is another for your consideration.
The Amazon Pool at Beach House at Iruveli is tiled in black ceramics and features a series of spotlights, making for a stunning visage by night.
Next up is the Intendance Pool Villa at Banyan Tree Seychelles. Hmm!
Named after the bay which it overlooks, this beautiful pool villa is one for the connoisseurs. A private pool that overlooks beach and bay ‚Äď can‚Äôt be bad!
And last but not least ‚Äď how could anyone leave Marina Bay Sands in Singapore off the list?
This is just an amazing visual spectacle, a pool that sits at the pinnacle of this amazing hotel complex structure overlooking the whole city of Singapore and the marina below. You just cannot be anything other than seriously impressed by this!
East Bali is a less travel destination for international travelers who come to Bali, ¬†but it make no stranger to the local expatriates who head away from the crowds and prefer to spend a much quieter and peaceful weekends to be indulged in the luxury of time. Experience the real, original, traditional and the simplicity of around relatively un-spoilt and age old traditions, the swaying palms and narrow streets and etc.¬†With more resorts are built over the years in this area, finding one who truly know what you are after, Alila Manggis is one of Bali’s best kept secrets. Located in the village of Manggis, the Balinese name for the exotic “Mangosteen” fruit.¬†Set amidst a coconut grove, the secluded yet stylish resort is nestled between the east coast sea in Candidasa and the majestic Mount Agung, Bali’s most sacred mountain.
After nearly two hours pleasant ride on a bright sunny day with a wide variety of pre-selected music selection offered in a private pick up comes with the remote control. Balinese Jazz, blues and lounge music were our best company beside our¬†well spoken and¬†courteous driver guide, Budi also a local personalities who was born and raise in¬†Candidasa, a true East Balinese indeed.
We arrived at Alila Manggis just after noon, the warm breeze from the see strikes us immediately after we stepped out from the car, an ice cold scented face tower with the in house produced aromatic spray and refreshing welcome drink awaits. That was exactly we we needed.¬†Minutes after the adequate¬†check-in process and prompt greetings, we were showed to our upper level room with a balcony and day bed overlooking across the coconut grove, swimming pool and the sea.
Alila Manggis’ modern European design with a hint of the Colonial tropical charm demonstrates the elegant luxury and pure well-being.¬†Designers at Kerry Hills Architects inspired by a seamless concept with free-flowing interaction between the buildings and surrounding nature. The traditional alang alang thatched roof covers the lobby, beautifully offset by polished ivory and coloured concrete floors.
The blue petals on the tiles on the floors in the lobby replicate the flora design from the Manggis
Alila Manggis’ modern European design with a hint of the Colonial tropical charm.
Room with a view, the¬†upper level room with a balcony and day bed overlooking across the coconut grove, swimming pool and the sea.
The four two-storey buildings built around a palm-fringed and centrally featured pool captured one of the best East Bali’s black sand beach ocean views.
The traditional alang alang thatched roof Seasalt Restaurant is inspired by a neighbouring organic salt farm. Set in a traditional Balinese pavilion on a lotus pond, serving both a contemporary menu and a range of Indonesian and Balinese favorites. Simple, elegant and relaxed, the restaurant looks out on to the ocean and the resort’s beautifully landscaped grounds. Our Balinese dinner was booked here for the evening.
The Black sand beach from the¬†Candidasa¬†east¬†coast.
The Pandan Forest surrounded the two outdoor spa bales
Days at Alila Manggis are filled with activity and regeneration, pampering yourself at the Spa is the must. We were book for the Balinese Massage at 3pm at the two outdoor spa bales after a quick dip in the pool. Alila’s surprising different and unique treatments from heart, blending ancient Asian healing techniques with age-old beauty recipes featuring the curative benefits of fresh, natural, quality ingredients.
From facials to aromatherapy massages, the local therapists combine the latest organic nutrition and health knowledge with the most essential element – warm, genuine care that flows from the heart through the hands, to stimulate, rejuvenate, balance and relax your mind and body. Our 60 minutes Balinese Massage feel tension dissolve with the ancient Balinese healing therapy that combines gentle stretching, long therapeutic strokes and skin rolling to relive muscle pain. The Palm and thumb pressure techniques are also applied to unravel the deepest stress and improve blood flow.
Beside the usual suspect in mos spas, hoot ginger lemongrass tea were served. On top pf that, Alila Manggis Spa homemade coconut sorbet is rather refreshing and surely did awaken our slumberous souls. We then adjourned to the afternoon tea and sampled some traditional home made snacks for a more R&R while enjoying the placid surroundings. It was a truly alternative bliss and wellness despite the afternoon heat kicked in.
¬†The¬†traditional alang alang thatched roof covers the lobby and serene landscaping.
We headed back to the pool and did a few laps to get rid of a few calories to make rooms for dinner at the Seasalt Restaurant later in the evening. The swimming pool is the central feature of the resort and is designed as an unusual inverted pyramid, This creates deep water in the middle and shallow water around the edges.
The Bali’s swaying coconut palms, and beautiful landscaped gardens provide the perfect setting to lay back and enjoy the resort’s peaceful, sunny environment and of course, cocktail is not forgotten.
We stayed on till dusk and waiting for the sun down to see the changes of the surrounded scenery. It was indeed another delightful experience to be able to put everything behind by indulging ourselves in time where money can’t buy.
Seasalt Restaurant at dusk.
Seasalt Restaurant’s welcoming interior
Different homemade Chillies dipping, Bumbu Bali (Balinese Spice) served before the meals with crackers is a norm in Balinese meals. Balinese meals are meant to share especially when it was done in many flavours. We were recommended the Signature Meal¬†- The Traditional Balinese Megibung ¬†which is a unique and very traditional way of sharing food with friends and family during village ¬†festivals and ceremonies in East Bali and some parts of Lombok. This is an excellent way to sample ¬†the local cuisine and is decoratively served on a carved timber stand called the Dulang. The dishes consists of : <Nasi Kuning>¬†Turmeric flavoured rice, <Tum Be Pasih> Steamed¬†Fresh snapper chopped with ginger chili, lemongrass and tamarind, wrapped in ‚ÄúSee‚ÄĚ leaf, <Lawar Ayam Kacang Panjang>¬†Snake beans and poached chicken with ‚ÄėBumbu Bali‚Äô and fried shallots,¬†<Urab Campur Nangka>¬†Young jackfruit, green papaya and red bean with spice dressed with a fragrant coconut sauce, <Ares Be Bebek>¬†Fragrant braised duck, lime leaf, galangal, turmeric and banana stem, <Sate Asem Be Siap>¬†Chicken marinated in Balinese spice grilled on bamboo skewers, <Sate Lilit Languan>¬†Finely chopped trivially, lime leaf, fried shallot and coconut wrapped on bambu sticks and <Es Puter>¬†Local sorbet of coconut, green bean and jack fruit. Honestly, dinner for two are enough to feed the whole village, it worth the cost in no doubt yet one of the best traditional East Balinese meals we had by far.
Alila is a Sankrit language which means surprise with a different. Within one day, from what we have experience, it was more then just that. We took a slow walk under the moonlight serenade back to our room before we called it a night with lots of fond memories.
Travelling to a new place is a journey undertaken to learn about that place, the people, the culture, the food and some of the more down to earth ways in which they may live. Experiences provide happy memories that outlive those material things and possessions, it is indeed the key to emotional well being, this is a philosophy that Alila creates. This is also the life in East Bali style, With the Alila’s surprisingly different concept of hospitality, Selamat Bersenang-Senang or enjoy the experience with another day in paradise, do you need to thick twice?
07. The Space
The villas are not merely an accommodation. They are living space. They are not designed for guests, but for immediate residents. Once stepping into the Ocean Pool Villas, the symmetry and simplicity of the space instantly made me wish that I would be there for weeks. The bathing area has twin vanities, a large tub, and a semi-outdoor shower. The King-sized bed was a definite cure for insomnia. Every morning I woke up to the view of the ocean, bordered only by a private pool and lush green lawn. The working table also faces the pool. The villa was also equipped with Nespresso and AppleTV.
06. The Library
Homey and well-stocked with quality reads, the library was a perfect escape for me to finish my airport novels in style, accompanied with cookies and tea. This communal area also makes the perfect medium to meet the neighbours and make new acquintances.
05. Alila Living Products
‚ÄúStealing‚ÄĚ bathroom amenities ‚Äď from shampoo to body milk ‚Äď is a rather acceptable sin. However, Alila Living products that I found in the bathroom of my villa were so good I ended up buying more of them in the Spa. Most unique was the insect repellant. It works very well, it feels nice on the skin, and it smells elegant. I also bought the Indian fig finishing cream for after face wash, along with the ginger lemon lip balm, and the classy Signature essential oil. The good thing is, I could also purchase them online in http://www.shopalila.com.
04. The Swimming Pool
It‚Äôs not just looking pretty and inviting, but the swimming pool is a truly functional facility that happens to look and feel great. The length is enough for healthy lap, and the water is warm. A great sport indeed!
03. The Food
The food, oh the food! The Indonesian menu was terrific! The menu featured specialties from different regions. Ombak Restaurant served international menu by Chef Dwayne Cheer. And, when I was there, I had the chance to enjoy the heartmelting Blackmore Wagyu. The next time I am going to Bali, I wouldn‚Äôt mind going all the way to Tabanan just to have dinner in Alila Villas Soori. As for desserts, do not ‚Äď I repeat! ‚Äď DO NOT miss the coconut ice cream! The food, oh the food!
02. The ‚ÄúBoutique‚ÄĚ Breakfast
And, while we‚Äôre at it, let‚Äôs talk about the breakfast. I was a bit confused at the first time with the system. It‚Äôs a la carte (thankfully!), but it didn‚Äôt have so many options. Yet, I was also warned that the portion of each item would be small. ‚ÄúThat‚Äôs why we encouraged you to try just everything. Tomorrow, the menu will change,‚ÄĚ explained one of the staff. I did try everything, and each bite was a joy. The homemade jam, the bread, the nasi goreng, the egg white omelette, ‚Ä¶ they were all finely done. Each morning felt anew as the breakfast menu kept changing.
01. The Sound of the Ocean
I was not recommended to swim in the ocean as the undercurrent could be pretty strong. So, I thought, ‚ÄúWhat‚Äôs the point of staying in a beach front property?‚ÄĚ On my first night, I got the answer. The mighty sound of the rolling waves could be a bit scary at first, but after a while, they became a mere lullaby. A rather sexy lullaby, I must say. Days after my stay in Alila Villas Soori were over, I still could recall those calming sound of the rolling and breaking waves. And, that‚Äôs what makes me wish I could soon go back to Tabanan, Bali, to spend more nights in Alila Villas Soori.
Written by Jaime Yong
For a full story, please visit her blog :¬†http://ilovebonbons.com/what-makes-the-alila-very-bon-and-what-i-packed/
A lot of thought was put into the design and amenities at The Alila. As the GM told me, ‚ÄúPeople are so spoiled for choice nowadays‚ÄĚ, so they had to think very hard on how to differentiate themselves. I think they‚Äôve done a pretty wonderful job‚Ä¶
Here are some pics‚Ä¶
In Villa Breakfast Menu- Check out the last one! LUSH‚Ä¶Champagne & Caviar in your Bath!
For Chocolate Lovers there is also a Chocolate Breakfast- They‚Äôve covered everything from the Chocolate pastries, drink, fruit and even a Chocolate Sandwich! (You‚Äôll probably be bouncing off the walls after this Sugar Shock!)
Yoga Pavilion. Complimentary yoga every morning at 9am.
Thoughtful box. To store little trinkets‚Ä¶
Choice of 2 Bathrobes‚Ä¶
I had the Sop buntut (Oxtail Soup) at least 3 times‚Ä¶(Far right) It‚Äôs so delish!
My Fav Indonesian dessert- Bubur Injin (Black Rice Porridge)
Somewhere to relax‚Ä¶
This is the view‚Ä¶Stunning!
‚ÄėAdult‚Äôs Tree House‚Äô
Private place to lounge around, read, drink or work‚Ä¶
This is the view‚Ä¶
Cabanas like this scattered everywhere around the resort‚Ä¶
Pool Amenities‚Ä¶sorry I couldn‚Äôt capture the Amenities with the Glaring Sun‚Ä¶It was a FAB Basket tho‚Ä¶
In this GORGEOUS box‚Ä¶
Amenities for HIM. There is also a HERS.
I booked a Head, Shoulder and Back Massage‚Ä¶and almost had an anxiety attack when I was told I had to lie down (the only time my mind is ‚Äėstill‚Äô is when I‚Äôm riding‚Ä¶)
This treatment made me purchase the Stimulating Scalp Massage Oil‚Ä¶it‚Äôs FAB! Also got some to give away as Pressies‚Ä¶(cos I know a few people who need this product!)
In the end- the Massage Therapist and I compromised. I could sit and watch telly while I got a Head and Shoulder massage‚Ä¶then lie down for my Back Massage
Ps The Alila Uluwatu Property was designed by Singapore based, WOHA.
They also have an In-House Spa Specialist who liaises with Sensatia on their range of Amenities.
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