10 Things To Do at Alila Ubud !

Written by : KitchenTravelTales

Infinity Pool at Alila Ubud

You’re looking for a short getaway, to a place that is not too far away from home, but feels completely different from home. You want to immerse in the sunlight (a little bit of rain shower if you are slightly unlucky!) and enjoy the natural surroundings, you want to wake up to birds chirping in the morning. You want to eat well, sleep well, and very importantly, drink well. And yes, such a place do exist, a hillside retreat that sits high on the edge of the Ayung River Valley. Yes, I am talking about Alila Ubud, a place that is instagram-worthy, a place where you can choose to leave your iPhone (or Samsung) behind to revive your soul.

1. Embrace your surroundings

Alila Ubud SurroundingsBeing in the midst of some of the lushest greenery you can find in Bali, it is no surprise that habitants such as monkeys will be a regular guests to the hotel. I remember fondly during my stay in Bali, it was well into the evening and after my spa treatment, I wanted to head back to the guest room but was stopped short in my treks because there was a family of monkeys roaming along the walkway! Bastien and I were very amused and to a certain extent, might I say, bewildered. Instead of trying to cross their paths to get to our room (which I highly discourage), we waited and watched them from afar. These monkeys mean no harm, but it is good to be careful, not to aggress them and respect their space. I promise they will respect yours too. In any case, if you are afraid, the staff at Alila Ubud has upteen years of experience in “fending off” the monkeys and ensure that you are not being disturbed.

2. Try the à la carte breakfast

The à la carte breakfast at Alila Ubud is what I look forward to the moment I wake up each morning. Instead of the usual buffet spread one expects at a luxury hotel, at Alila Ubud, guests can choose from a selection of dishes freshly prepared by the chef every morning. The menu changes everyday, with the exception of some staple items that are available daily, hence, increasing the variety for guests yet ensuring that your favourites are always available. There is a choice of the western breakfast, where on top of the yoghurts, mueslis, bacon…you can choose how you want your eggs to be done, the quantity and the compliments. There is also a wide selection of Indonesian breakfast cuisine, a sweet and savory mix of delights that will tempt you to no end. The portions are just right, hence allowing you to sample 2 to 3 dishes so that you get a variety. My personal favourites include the lemongrass tea with local honey, which I had every morning (and highly recommended by the staff), yoghurt with fresh fruit and muesli and the strawberry, orange and mint smoothie.

3. Splurge on Alila Living products!Alila Living at Alila Ubud

My personal favourites include the balinese blossom body butter (US$27) and the avocado and coconut hair smoothie (US$14). The balinese blossom butter is not at all sticky even with its thick consistency. Once applied onto your skin, it transforms into a watery texture that is easily absorbed by the skin. The avocado and coconut hair smoothie has to be the best hair mask I have ever bought. For someone with damaged tresses from digital perming and constant hair colouring, this is just God sent. After just 1 application (best done with a generous amount coated evenly, and apply a hot “bath” by wrapping a warm towel around your head to provide a layer of steam for the hair), my hair was shinier and the ends were looking a lot healthier. All Alila Living products are currently only available at Alila’s properties, so be sure to grab some of these natural goodies that are made in house when you are there. Word has it that there might be an online shop coming soon, fingers crossed for that!

4. Experience the Balinese massage at Spa Alila

Spa Alila is one of Alila Ubud’s greatest assets. Using bespoke natural ingredients to create unique, one-of-a-kind spa products and massage oils, you will be pampered in a manner befitting of royalty. The therapist’s deep, ground strokes which feels strong yet gentle rejuvenate one’s tired body within the 60 minutes (or 90 minutes) of down time. It is easy to fall asleep in the midst of the massage and be in a completely unguarded and relaxed mode, allowing the therapist to take charge for just a moment. The lemongrass-ginger infused tea served after the massage is a refresher to warm up the body and tickle the palate. You will leave the spa feeling revived, relaxed and ready to move on to the next activity of the day. Try the Balinese massage, which I had. Though commonplace, the therapists at Spa Alila are very experienced and ever ready to transform a “standard” experience into an unforgettable one.

Plantation Restaurant Delicacy

5. Choose the daily specials at the Plantation Restaurant

Being a carnivore who, at any chance would choose a rib-eye steak over fish, I was extremely glad I heeded Bastien’s advice and shared the daily special with him during one of our dinners at Alila Ubud. We were served the whole white snapper baked in salt crust infused in fresh fennel leaves and fennel seeds served with crushed young potatoes, which was the catch of the day and boy, did we not look back and ate till our seams were bursting. The fish was perfectly well-cooked, with succulent meat pieces tingled with a hint of fresh herbs. It tasted fresh in our mouth, light and dare I even say, refreshing. The catch was perfectly executed with sides of shaved fennel and radish salad and buerre noisette vinaigrette, both which are worthy as a main on its own. Kudos to executive chef Eelke and executive sous chef Ray for their creativity and passion in creating unique dishes for the guests at Alila Ubud.

6. Engage with the staff

Alila Hotels & Resorts strive to hire staff from the local community, as such, it is not surprising that the majority of the staff at Alila Ubud comes from the neighbouring Ubud villages. Armed with a smile and ready to help attitude, staff at Alila Ubud are a joy to be with. Bastien and I spent a lot of our time engaging with the staff, speaking to them, learning more about their lives and in turn, we also shared ours. When it was time for us to leave the hotel and proceed to our next destination, it was hard to leave not only because of the surroundings but also because we felt we had gotten closer to the people around us and it was sad to leave when we just forged a friendship. Speak to the staff when you are there, and they will be more than happy to return the favour and share with you some of the most interesting things one can learn from another from a different culture.

Award Winning Pool at Alila Ubud

7. Swim to your heart’s content

Alila Ubud’s swimming pool has a global reputation and much deserved, I would say. With a pool that seems to be overhanging the cliffs of the Ayung Valley, the designer of this 12 year old hotel sure has foresight, given that infinity-edged pools are the “in” thing today. There is nothing much to say as it is almost impossible to describe the carefree, relaxing feeling one gets when you take a plunge into the pool, leaving all your worries behind. The poolside area is cared for by some of the most pleasant pool staff I have ever met, who is ever ready to prepare your lounge chair and bring you some of the most delectable poolside treats one can find. If you are there at 4pm everyday, you will be treated to complimentary tea and Balinese snacks. Well, you just have to be there to see it for yourself and to soak in the water sliver of infinity.

8. Do nothing

Seriously, do we always need to pack our holidays filled with activities and run from one destination to another like a headless chicken? No. So, at Alila Ubud, I encourage you to just. do. nothing. Make time for yourself, close your eyes and just lounge by the pool, lounge around in the verandah of your room and enjoy the green surroundings, or take a walk around the property and just soak in the sights and sounds. Do nothing, leave your worries behind, close your eyes, dream away.

9. Tai Chi & Cycle!

On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings, there will be a short tai chi class from 8am by the pool to wake up your senses. Alternatively, if that does not work for you, you can pick up and Alila walking or cycling map from the reception and explore and experience the scents and sounds of Ubud at your own speed ! If you want to do more, check out Alila Ubud Journeys for more planned activities by the hotel.

Special Cocktails at Alila Ubud

10. Don’t forget to give the cocktails many go(s)!

Please do not mistake us as alcohol guzzlers, but I dare say that Bastien and I definitely enjoy a good tipple or two (or three, four…) when we are on a holiday. Can I recommend that you try the chilli mango martini if you never had such a concoction before? It’s a sweet mango mix with vodka, laced with hints of spice from grinded chilli. The result: a sweet sensation when the alcohol is in your mouth, ending off with a slight tinge of spice near the throat when you down the drink. Trust me, it was fun, different and very exciting! For the less adventurous, go for the classic mojito with deep hues of dark brown due to the rum or my favourite (again), the cucumber mojito. Absolutely refreshing. There is a wide range of in-house self-concocted cocktails for one to try, so if you have the stomach for a mix of alcohols and an abundance of time (you will, if you heed #8), I advise you try as many cocktails as possible – it’s okay if you can’t sit up straight after, trust me, it’s worth it.

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