Set in one of Bali’s most fertile regions, the Tabanan, the journey from Denpasar international airport to the Alila Villas Soori resort, take you throughlush fields of rice which make up the most pictureque landscape. The green fields go as far as the eye can see and the trip alternates with tiny traditional villages. The warm, welcoming and heartfelt spirit of the Balinese is to be found everywhere and I could not help myself but smile back at many of them. The roads are so narrow, you almost gaze into their courtyards and this welcoming sentiment builds up to the arrival to the resort. One cannot help but reflect on the simple and stressfree lives of the locals. The times passed so quickly that I did not realize the journey took almost an hour and a half.
The ample gates of the resort would not give away the paradise hidden behind. The view of the ocean and the unique volcanic black sandy beach remain forever in your mind as a picture perfect moment to always look back and reflect in your mind, whenever you long for the settings of the Alila Villas Soori.
Part of the Alila small chain of hotels, currently only present in Bali and Jakarta, but with major expansion plans, the Alila Villas Soori and the Alila Villas Uluwatu are considered the high end, ultra luxury resorts of the Alila Resorts. The fact that Alila Villas Soori is owned by the architecture company which designed it, is so evident in the attenntion to details. SCDA Architects have created an almost perfect symbiosis between contemporary design, stunning landscaping and the ultima luxury in comfort.
These private luxury villas are perfectly positioned to endulge in panoramic ocean views and breezes. Multiple levels of interconnected space flow from the arrival courtyard right onto the beach. The interplay of fire and water in distinct architectural features reflects the vibrant mix of moods and experiences that await.
Luxury at Alila Villas Soori exudes from every single detail: the exceptional quality of materials and finishes, combining local materials with imported ones; impeccable service throughout all departments – discreet, intuitive and always ready to assist (each villa has a host, which is much more than a butler – he or she becomes your friend during your stay, understanding your preferences and at the same time respecting your privacy; ultimate comfort – each villa has its private pool and outside sitting area, as well as a sunbed in the garden facing the ocean, in front of your villa; a divine SPA with highly trained Balinese therapists and using pure organic based beauty products; finest foods at one of the two restaurants, from local cuisine to fusion of international tastes (I would highly reccomend the signature “ingredient-driven” cuisine by Chef Ashton at Ombak, the fine dining restaurant at the Alila Villas Soori).
Walking or jogging on the beach, sunbathing on your private terrace or front lawn, yoga on the main pool of the hotel, horse riding, taking a trip to the nearby Tanah Lot Temple (one of Bali’s most sacred and visited temples or simply exploring the nearby countryside with a hotel host are just some of the activities that you can enjoy while at the Alila Villas Soori. As this is a less explored region of Bali, therefore less touristy, expect a more genuine experience. Do not be surprised if the host, while taking you on a tour would invite you to stop by his house for a drink and meet his families and relatives.
Dutch born Marco Groten, the GM of the resort, with extensive experience at luxury resorts. shared with me another secret which has been instrumental in insuring the highest level of customer services and that is hiring people which have not necessarily worked in hotels. Most of them are locals therefore the community has embraced the resort as their own. I must admit most of the staff I met seemed so genuinely proud of their work. Marco’s idea has also helped minimize turnover of staff and has also provided continuity and consistency in service.
The resort is ideal not only for couples on romantic getaways or honeymoons but also for friends and even singles seeking a few days to disconnect and recharge. Should anyone feel the need to be connected, the resort delivers every morning the local and daily press, provides a wide selection of TV channels on high res LCD Tvs and high speed internet throughout the entire resort (complimentary). The Reading Room is the hotel’s lounge but at the same time, private area to escape from the heat or humidity of the outdoors, to savour a cup of coffee or simply gaze through one of the tens of books and catalogues. The area is also used by the hotel to exhibit works by invited artists, thus recreating a very special environment.
Villas are large, with huge bathrooms (separate for Him and Her – including separate beauty amenities, entirely organic, created especially for the resort) large dressing area, a huge sunk in bathtub for two, large separate walk in shower (including rain shower) as well as an outdoor shower. There are two areas, slightly separated, a living room with floor to ceiling sliding windows, a couch, LCD tv, working desk, and the bedroom with minibar and a second LCD for convenience.
The SPA of the Alila Villas Soori is probably one of the most beautiful SPAs I have ever experienced. It is one of those spaces so beautifully designed, it is almost imposssible to put into worlds. From the courtyard welcome area with a surface water fountain and open air ceiling to the ceramic tiled walls in the treatment rooms, the SPA is probably where you would spend half of your time at Alila Villas Soori. I did and I had the most amazing Balinese massage with pure organic oils by a exceptionally trained Balinese therapist. The lighting, the curtains and the music in the spacious treatment rooms create a theatrical atmosphere, with the Balinese style ceramic wall as the centre piece of the room which is revealed only after the treatment is started and then concealed towards the end of the treatment. Apart from the local pure organic oils, the SPA at Alila Villas Soori uses the organic based ILA SPA line, with an array of massages, scrubs, rituals etc.
Oliver Petcu in Bali
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