Pampered at The Diwa Club

Photographs and story by Peta Kaplan & Ben Sandzer-Bell

It is not our first time staying at an Alila Hotel, as we had a chance to experience the Alila “Surprisingly Different” brand in Bali, Indonesia.  So it was with anticipation that we came to Alila Diwa Goa, the 5 year old hotel on the Coast, south of Goa.

Alila Diwa Goa is a beautiful property built to accommodate both couples such as ourselves and larger groups for life events, such as weddings and anniversaries.  The grounds are landscaped such that one gradually discovers the charms of the hotel.

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We are welcomed at the Diwa Club, which is the 5 star smaller wing that offers the most luxurious rooms and a high level of personal attention.  The room is simply gorgeous – spacious, beautiful materials and a view onto one of the swimming pools.

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The feature that will make it oh so difficult to leave the bedroom is the beautiful bathroom, with its oval shaped bathtub, which is very enticing, due to its large size that invites a good soak.

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After traveling extensively, we are ready for some luxury and the Diwa Club is poised to provide us just that.

The dedicated dining room, steps away from our bedroom, is simply gorgeous.  The floor tile work provides a classy support for the sitting/dining areas.

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What distinguishes this restaurant, for us, is the much appreciated “7 to 7” breakfast offering.  The last thing we want when indulging in a restful vacation is having to be guided by stringent breakfast time constraints.  It is a touch of “time luxury” that adds to the overall feel of being able to really relax and take our time.

The breakfast, which we delight in every day, had an extensive range of yummy sounding options.  But it is the salmon eggs benedict, cooked to perfection,  which wins the accolades.

One particularly fun aspect of breakfast at this venue is that there is a “cerealogist” and “fruitologist” on staff.    OK, perhaps the terminology will not make it as a new word in the Webster annual list of new term of use in the English language, but it aptly describes the effort made by the hotel to provide a one-of-a-kind experience in cerealogy.

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If this restaurant reserved exclusively for The Diwa Club, is our destination of choice in the morning, it is the main infinity pool that becomes our home in the evening.

Flowing as it does, gently, over the rice paddies, the larger pool is the ideal location for late afternoon swimming.  The dramatic skies, especially before a dusk rain, provide live theater from the edge of the pool.

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This area is also the place to go for a fun “wink” at Indian street food.  The street food cart offers the most delicious bite size treats such as the Dahi Puri, as well as afternoon tea.  It is hard to describe, without a recipe, this magical bite.  Imagine a crispy ping pong ball size, sphere, in which a combination of flavorful spices and sweet yoghurt are poured.  The trick is to go from maker to eater as quickly as possible, so that the outer shell remains crisp, while the inside “filling” remains juicy.  We seek to oblige the culinary process and ensure we do it right, several times (just for practice).  It is scrumptious.

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Our stay at Alila Diwa Goa was a (well deserved) dip into a world of luxury where time was stretched, where we could delight in the end of day sunset, and where our assigned personal host made sure we had all our logistics handled with no fuss.

We needed to have laundry done ~ check;

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Needed daily English language newspapers ~ check; needed to print documents for the airport ~ check; wanted to schedule some activities ~ a cooking class for Ben, a Kerala massage for Peta ~ check; needed to be driven to the airport on our last day in Goa ~ check.  Ah, we could get used to this level of personal support on our Green Global Trek (www.greenglobaltrek.blogspot.com).

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After a few  days at Alila Diwa Goa, we are left with a glow from the pool-side rest and massage, taste buds content from having a culinary adventure and a readiness to move on with our travels, refreshed and pampered.

Luxury Plus at Alila Villas Soori.

Photographs and story by Laura Csortan

I’ve been to Bali numerous times now and every time is a unique experience. To date, this one is my favourite and certainly the most luxurious.

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Another fan of Alila Villas Soori is none other than The Bieb’s, that’s right Justin Bieber has visited for the last three years with his Mother. It’s no wonder as Tabanan, where the resort is located is a world away from the hustle and bustle of Seminyak and Kuta. You could be anywhere in the world at this secluded resort located along the southwest coast of Bali. Soori embraces all the stunning nature that surrounds it. The lush green fertile land which is home to an abundance of rice terraces and the beautiful black-volcanic sand beaches which shimmers at sunset and feels as soft as icing sugar under your feet.

The minute you enter the resort an ease washes over as the friendly staff guide you to your villa, not before welcoming you with a refreshing ginger welcome drink and a cool lemongrass infused towel.

Driving to Alila Villas Soori was an experience in itself. We cruised through beautiful frangipani lined streets where villages and temples form the landscape in their splendid original form, no Hard Rock Cafe’s here!

Alila Villas Soori is also located just 20 minutes from Tanah Lot Temple, one of Bali’s most sacred temples. Soori’s surroundings are as special as the resort itself.  Opening the door to our villa was like walking into a dream…the ocean crashed in front of our uninterrupted view and the pool surrounding our room created the illusion we were floating on water. No stone has been left un-turned in the stylish, luxurious and contemporary villas.  I’m not one for relaxing usually but this place has a magical vibe which would send even the most hyperactive person into the zen zone.

I woke up every morning to the smoothie of the day followed by the most beautiful yoga class right next to the ocean. Starting with a meditation followed by a series of yoga moves, I was floating after each class. Breakfast, my favorite meal of the day changed daily and never failed to impress. The small portions meant I could try a few dishes, all unique in flavor and varied from healthy to well…pancakes, caramelized banana and bacon, I tried them all, everything is calorie free on holiday!  After breakfast the hours seemed to gently drift on by, either spent by the pool, in my seaside villa or in the world class spa getting a local massage as only  the Balinese can.

Each night the sunset would spill it’s orange and gold brilliance over the resort. Basking in the golden glow my boyfriend and I walked the black glistening beach until the sun finally sunk into the ocean. Wine by the fire pits followed over-looking the Indian Ocean, needless to say the ambiance was out of control.  We had dinner nightly at Omak, the outdoors restaurant next to the illuminated crashing waves. I was beyond relaxed and ready to do it all over again the next day. How does one return to reality?

Stay tuned for more Alila Bali adventures and pics, coming soon!

Happy Travels, Laura xx

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Heavenly Soori

Photographs and story by Ernanda Putra : http://instagram.com/ernandaputra

 

“This is paradise” were the first words that slipped out of my mouth when I arrived at Alila Villas Soori. Although cliché, I didn’t know if there were any other words that could truly capture the beauty of the mountains unfolding into the rice fields against the gleaming black sand beach. As we stepped out of our transportation, we were greeted by the warm smiles of the staff with lemongrass-scented towels to refresh our faces from fatigue.

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Later on, we took a Segway tour around the resort and the surrounding areas. Zipping along on a Segway through the rice fields is truly a unique, exhilarating … almost zen-like experience, where I really felt one with nature.

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When it was time for dinner, the food enchanted us! Our first culinary experience was a flavorful one, filled with the layered spices of Indonesian “Rendang” and grilled prawn from Cotta. The second dining experience we had was the next day at Ombak, Alila Villas Soori Western restaurant, the Wagyu steak was so juicy I wasn’t in a hurry for it to leave my mouth as I wanted to savor the taste for as long as possible.

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The villas were designed to mix stone and wood, the combination of these two elements made me feel calm & comfortable. The little elements of luxury that added to the comfort were all over the place, from the furniture to the sheets, creating a long lasting impression that will forever linger in my mind.

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While we were inside our villa, and I was looking out at my view of the ocean, I was constantly reminded about how amazing nature truly is. This is something that I often forget about living in the hustle and bustle of a sprawling metropolis like Jakarta where it’s easy to get lost between the tall skyscrapers . My time in the villa gave me a much needed escape to lay back, relax and get lost in my thoughts.

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As everyone says, Bali is truly the island of the Gods, and it’s essence was indeed captured at Alila Villas Soori. Thank you for inviting me here and giving me this beautiful experience! I really do hope I have the opportunity to return once again in the future.

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The Benefits of a Regular Yoga Practice

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Yoga is a sneaky thing. It crept up on me without announcing itself and snuck its way into my body, my thoughts, and ultimately, my life.

I took my first yoga class while studying abroad in Australia, and since then yoga has been a part of each and every day since. Surprisingly, yoga helped me navigate through and heal from an eating disorder, process past traumas, create a fit body I feel healthy in, reduced my stress, cleared up my digestive system, and so much more.

Practicing yoga daily doesn’t necessarily mean I attend a structured yoga class on a daily basis. Just like you, I have a busy life and sometimes don’t choose to spare the two or so hours to drive to, set up for, and take a traditional class at a studio. However, I used to. It was like a ritual, and it served me deeply. I began to learn about my body, and the association between my body and my mind. In just one single yoga class, I could feel anger, frustration, lightness, resistance, humility, grace, sadness, bliss, and surrender. The lightness I experience after leaving a yoga class feels like walking on clouds. I didn’t want the feeling to end. And it hasn’t. The more you practice yoga, the more it will become a part of you. It will infuse your decisions around food, lifestyle, career, and relationships. Yoga off the mat serves as a ‘pause’ button so I can respond in the moment out of present awareness as opposed to react out of habit.

The teachings of yoga and a dedicated practice for many years led me to deeply understand the signals my body is telling me. Our bodies are constantly sending us signals. It’s up to us to develop the awareness to listen and honor those important cues. For example, my diet completely shifted to a more organic, whole foods based diet as a result of yoga. It was a gradual process that came from within. It did not come from a dietician. It came from my body’s own wisdom. I already knew what I needed to eat to nourish myself. Yoga reminded me.

The truth is, our bodies are constantly seeking balance. Applying a regular yoga practice serves as a gentle reminder to pay close attention to our cravings, our intuition, our desires, and our fears, so we can walk boldly and joyfully through the world.

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In order to fully receive the therapeutic effects of a daily yoga practice, I encourage you to immerse yourself on a yoga retreat or an intensive yoga training. Retreats serve as mindfully structured events that allow you to ignite your body’s inner wisdom and start new practices that you can take into your daily life. Also, retreats are usually held in very natural environments which are conducive to receiving yoga’s full spectrum of healing benefits. Retreats typically offer yogic foods, meditation, and other spiritual practices that restore, nourish, and activate the wholeness and peace that resides within each of us.

I am guiding a special, one of a kind yoga retreat in Bali, Indonesia at Alila Villas Soori this March. I chose to create an unforgettable experience in a luxury, comfortable, spiritual environment. We will enjoy local foods, meditation and yoga practices, and self-care in order to unwind, re-set, and create more balance and wellness form the inside out. I hope you can join me on this magical adventure to a very sacred place.

BALI BLISS
Yoga, Nutrition & Wellness Retreat
March 9th -15th, 2015
http://www.travelwithmeaning.com/retreats.html
http://www.shaynahiller.com/

 

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