Located high on a cliffside of the Bukit Peninsula, Alila Villas Uluwatu boasts awe-inspiring design as well as effortless style to match.
In a region known for towering limestone cliffs and perilous surf spots lies Alila Villas Uluwatu, a secluded retreat at Bali’s southernmost point. The 84-villa resort, opened in 2009, has been privy to numerous awards pertaining to its design by WOHA from Singapore. Given the hype surrounding the property, expectations were high, and Alila Villas Uluwatu did not disappoint. This is South East Asian contemporary minimalism at its best. Architecture afficionados flock here to revel in its understated opulence while new arrivals can’t help but marvel, mouths agape, at its whitewashed tropical beauty. The open-plan structure is perched along the edge of an elevated plateau while creamy stone walkways stretch out alongside geometric ponds as you venture in. Everywhere you look, oversized lounge areas, widely described as resembling futuristic bird’s nests, invite you to just lay back and do nothing. The result is a gem of modern hotel architecture.
Stepping into the ocean-facing Pool Villa is akin to entering a world unto its own. The first thing you notice is its generous size. Instead of windows there are large open spaces that are closed off at night, letting in an abundance of natural light during the day and allowing for a light breeze throughout. Beyond the villa’s generously sized pool sits your own private bird’s nest for lounging around in style. The enormous bathroom includes his-and-hers compartments as well as one of the most gorgeous outdoor showers my travel companion and I have ever seen. Even the most seasoned traveler is bound to be impressed, especially as the resort does not forfeit service in the name of design. Attention to detail, we happily observe, is almost painstaking. The unfailingly friendly staff, which included our personal butler, made sure that our requests were anticipated and met. At Alila Villas, it seems, you need only bring yourself and the rest is taken care of.
“Architecture afficionados flock here
to revel in its understated opulence”
Back at the resort’s main area, the more athletic of us will love a swim at the resort’s 50-metre wide infinity pool with sweeping views of the sea, after which the cliff abruptly descends to meet a stretch of wild shores. Those looking to punish their calves can walk down the five hundred or so steps for an upclose view of the beach. Most guests, however, are content to admire the waves from a comfortable distance up above. Here, the Sunset Cabana is the most obvious choice with its far end slightly jutting out over the cliff to offer up dramatic, vertigo-inducing views of the Indian Ocean.
The restaurants and spa were typically Alila. Delightful food was to be had at Indonesian restaurant The Warung and CIRE, which served up Western flavours. Our favourite bit: the tasteful à la carte breakfast that makes buffets look like they belong to an era long gone. The spa, an inner sanctuary in the heart of the resort, offered an excellent choice of treatments. We also appreciated the resort’s environmentally friendly angle. Among the bulding materials used, we’re additionally told, is wood from disused railway sleepers and telephone poles. Having been able to experience the cocooned luxury of Alila Villlas Soori on the west coast of the island, I found that while both offer style, sustainability and intimacy, Alila Villas Uluwatu is the boisterous big sister whose goal it is to impress, and impress it does. Alila is setting a new standard for luxury accommodation with its villas-only properties in Bali, one closely linked with innovative design and a strong desire to surpass expectations in order to ensure a flawless experience.