Soori Bali & Alila Villas Uluwatu Review
Cleveland Collection's Managing Director, Frances Geoghegan, recently travelled to Bali and stayed at Soori Bali. Here is the review of her experience.
The last time I visited Bali, I was struck by the overdevelopment and shocked by the sheer scale of commercialisation that had destroyed much of the south coast - shopping malls and numerous new builds dotted the coastline. So I was excited to be going back to see a different area of Bali, one that I hoped would make me fall in love again with this very special place.
So I arrived at Soori Bali, far from the glitter and bustle, quietly immersed between rice terraces and a shimmering, black volcano beach. The resort’s architecture is dramatic, combining charcoal grey stone from nearby river quarries with softly polished teak, a perfect marriage of textures and colours. Our villa was perched high, with ravishing views of the sea. The interiors are dramatic yet very calming, clean lines prevail throughout, with large pieces of Banyan driftwood beautifully on show. There is a wonderful private pool, not quite lapping-length, but perfect to cool off in from the hot midday sun. They have thought of every possible extra in the room - their own-branded, gently scented signature lotions; sunscreen, after-sun cooling gel, moisturizing, shampoo and conditioner. Very cleverly they have provided one of each for him and for her, so there will be no arguing. And then you have your state of the art in-house entertainment centre and your personal butler who will load your favourite movies and shows, so that’s yet another thing not to stress about.
The food is delicious and varied at Soori Bali; breakfast is a tasting menu, so you can choose from Mexican eggs, waffles and bacon, signature juices or ham and eggs. New dishes are added daily, so there is no chance of boredom at the breakfast offering. You have the option of dining in your villa, and there is a lot of choices: salads, local Indonesian dishes, or even pizza; but my advice though is, try the restaurants. As Soori’s kitchen is one of the best in Bali - with Haute Indonesian cuisine at Cotta, (try their hot and spicy Nasi Goreng), or try Coast, where you can savour lemon-infused chicken. The location of this beautiful resort is one to truly savour and explore; watch the colourful locals tend to their paddy fields, or listen to the chanting in the nearby villages, or simply walk lazily for hours along the sea shore.
Soori Bali also arranges tours to local villages, who offer courses for foreigners, or you can do a spot of horse-riding in neighbouring stables at sunrise or sunset. And if that is all too much, you can simply knock yourself out in the beautiful Spa. A few days at Soori Bali had, in my eyes, restored Bali’s much-maligned reputation and put the island firmly back on the luxury pedestal on which it so belongs.
Alila Villas Uluwatu
We arrived at our next hotel, another Alila property - Alila Villas Uluwatu, and were simply bowled over by the sight that greeted us beyond the reception area – an endless deep azure swimming pool which seemed to join the ocean beyond. Spectacular architecture is a prevailing theme at Alila, and never more than at Uluwatu -cool, sleek, stylish and contemporary, bold and highly seductive, with the greenest of green credentials. Flat lava rock roofs, bamboo ceilings, floors in hardwood, recycled from old railway carriages, airy wooden cabanas, traditional wooden batik print blocks and natural tree roots. Our Pool Villa was vast, with a good sized private pool, and a daybed bigger than my normal bed. It is a very serene space, with minimalist interiors and very seductive outdoor living spaces. Service is high on the agenda at Alila Uluwatu, so a butler is par for the course, with three options of service available – indulgent, discreet or private. Go for the indulgent option and you will not have to worry about anything; your Spa treatments will be sorted, a buggy will be waiting outside your door to take you to your meals, your TV will be loaded with all your favourite movies and your sound system will pump out all your wished-for tracks. It doesn’t get much better than this.
There are two restaurants, the Warung, which is a casual Indonesian restaurant serving delicious local fare, perfect for us, and also Cire which serves fussy international food. We sampled thoroughly delicious cocktails in the poolside bar, all stunningly prepared by the resident mixologist. Beware though, they are very easy to drink but certainly pull a punch. The Spa is heavenly, with angelic therapists, all with magic hands to ease away any stresses you may have.
Though the gym is open 24 hours, climb the steep steps instead down to the beach – it’s not much to look at, but it will firm up those thighs, especially on the ascend up. Take time also to enjoy some of the many local tour options offered by Alilia - a visit perhaps to a local artist, or a cooking class where you can master the art of preparing delicious local fare. This is a truly breathtaking resort that is beautifully run - it has it all, although if you yearn to be lounging on the seashore with the waves lapping, then you have come to the wrong place.
To plan your stay in Bali contact one of our experts or call 020 7843 3531.