There is a talismanic allure to the hidden corners of Bali. We know all about the crowd pleasers, entertaining districts like Seminyak, Nusa Dua and Ubud – all tourist-friendly areas where you can grab an authentic Italian meal, a cold craft beer, and a regrettable tattoo all in one night without breaking the bank.
Then there is Alila Villas Soori, a prime example of a different, yet unmissable, hideaway. Unlike the festivities and lively bustle of Seminyak and Kuta, its very exclusiveness is half the experience. Located about 75 minutes’ drive from Seminyak in the Tabanan area, what’s fascinating about the drive to the resort is the ever-narrowing road. Four lanes turns to two, two lanes then merge treacherously into one. And one becomes a sliver of a track.
It’s like a fast-diminishing trail that suggests you are reaching a purposefully secluded, remarkable destination. You’ll know you’re arriving when you find your car surrounded by rice fields protected by UNESCO.
Drivers from opposite directions slow down, retract their side mirrors, and practically inch pass one another to avoid tumbling into the rice fields. It’s a beautiful sight. But is the trip worth it? Oh hell yes.
Spectacularly designed by SCDA Architects and located 20 minutes from Tanah Lot Temple and basking on a sprawling beach of sexy, black volcanic sand in the fertile region of Tabanan Regency, the 48-villa resort is proof of disciplined and functional design. It titillates the senses at every corner.
The resort is proud to share the innovations that align buildings to encourage more natural light – and cool ventilation – in the villas. Vigorous planting of indigenous vegetation also support plenty of eco work in the cottage communities around the resort.
A beautiful 25m infinity pool with sprawling daybeds rests in the heart of the resort. The magical hour starts from 5pm, where a kaleidoscope of colours raid the evening sky in anticipation of dusk.
From writing about travel for the last 10 years, I can confidently say that most couples or honey-mooners that visit such exclusive resorts are interested in doing one thing only – not doing much. That, or making babies.
However, if you do want to get out of bed and leave the almost $700-a-night villas for some hipster “adventuring”, you can take on the ‘Journeys by Alila’ treks, which brings you to explore the neighbouring sights of Tabanan’s, including temples, craft markets and local restaurants. Cameras and selfies are in order.
And if you’re in the mood for a soothing massage, the Spa Alila doesn’t disappoint. This private sanctuary is cavernous, and encourages the deepest rejuvenation. Don’t worry, there is WIFI available across the resort for all your holiday stalking.
It’s the perfect meditative space for reading, a calming tea, and some quiet conversation. The reflective pond in the middle plays off a generous skylight that fills the spa with a watery aura. I’ve fallen asleep here without the staff waking me up. True story.
Each charming villa comes with a sun- drenched private pool and intricate, contemporary indoor space designed to cocoon your idyllic moments. Remember the baby-making? Yes. It’s all you need. The staff are able to deliver almost everything you ask for to your rooms.
All the minimalist pads enjoy ocean views. But if you’re gunning for an added level of luxury, book into a second-storey Ocean Pool Villa for a bonus: a sea-view bath tub. Villas 202 to 206 are best positioned to maximise the postcard-perfect panorama.
Most villas overlook manicured gardens and architectural ponds. They are designed to reduce an expense of unnecessary energy or movement, and increase blissful appreciation.
Finally, if the hike back to Seminyak or Kuta seems troubling, in-house restaurant Cotta serves authentic Indonesian cuisine from across the archipelago, with a strong focus on Balinese flavours. Very delicate and savoury fare for the foodie indeed.
Alila Villas Soori Bali is at Banjar Dukuh, Desa Kelating, Kerambitan, Tabanan, Bali, Indonesia. For details please visit www.alilahotels.com/soori