It is not easy to top Singapore Airlines’ business class service but the good people at Alila Villas Uluwatu did just that.
I’ve been to many private villas where they assign you a personal butler, but I often find that it is nothing more than a glamorous name given to an average bellhop, whom you see only upon checking in, and mysteriously disappear throughout your whole stay until the day you check out.
At Alila Villas Uluwatu, the personal butlers really mean business, at least my wonderful personal butler Armawa surely did. Armawa – a young friendly local boy – has obviously been trained to be a ninja-butler, or a CSI-butler, or maybe both. Whenever I needed him, he magically appeared and whatever I needed, it too magically appeared before I even asked for it. I’ll tell you why.
The first night of my stay, I smoked a cigarette by the poolside and as there was no ashtray, I wrapped the bud in newspaper and threw it into the dustbin. The second day, an ashtray appeared on the coffee table.
The second night I left some magazines in the Cabana, and in fact couldn’t find the switch to the lights. The third day when I returned from dinner, the lights in the Cabana was on, and there was even a bottle of mineral water and some fruits set up in the Cabana. Tell me is this CSI or what.
And the ninja part, every morning, the moment I called for a buggy to the breakfast hall (the compound is really huge hence you have to get around by golf buggies), Armawa would appear at the door within seconds and personally chaperon me there. Every single booking of taxis, appointments at the spa, dinner bookings – were all politely jotted down by Armawa who would promptly make all the arrangements and gentle reminders. At the precise time, he would appear at the door, big smile always, and take me to wherever I was supposed to be.
On the last night, I came back from dinner and was completely surprised by a birthday cake on the table and Armawa singing me a birthday song. When I asked him how he knew it was my birthday, he cheerfully said, “That’s what your passport is for.” And, you just couldn’t help being super impressed when the next morning, everyone – from the waitress at the table to the other staff walking around to the general manager Sean Brennan – greeted me, “Happy birthday, Miss Cheng!” Yes, I forgot to mention, all the staff knows your name, just like business class. How not to feel special, you tell me.
And I even had the pleasure of the company of the hotel’s executive chef Stefan Zijita, who personally took me for a tour to the local market, a fishing village and even gave me a personal cooking class. This is part of a selection of curated activities provided by the hotel. So anyone can have a date with the friendly and interesting Stefan, whose obvious passion in culinary arts, will make you understand why the food at Alila Villas Uluwatu is as remarkable as its service. If you ever stay there, my advice is – eat at the hotel, the food is truly delicious!
Such impeccable service is complemented with the obsessively detailed, obsessively designed architecture. It is impossible to fault the architecture – every detail seemed to have been carefully thought through, executed and supervised. Designed by WoHa Architects, already known for their impressive works, the architecture employs heavily for most facades a collage of vertical and horizontal elements, at first sight somehow it brings to mind the classic Frank Lloyd Wright Maya-inspired masterpiece – the Ennis House composed of patterned concrete blocks. The specially designed cabanas by the main pool and in every villa successfully give a strong visual identity to the resort, which by now has become synonymous with Alila Villas Uluwatu.
In fact, like the architecture, every aspect of Alila Villas Uluwatu has been obsessively designed – to completely indulge you.