16 February, 2011

Alila Resort in Soori, Bali

16 February, 2011

Alila Hotels is a luxury boutique hotel brand with four different villa-only locations on Bali… For the recent Chinese New Year holiday I headed to Alila in Soori with my husband and daughter for our first experience of traveling as a little family! Soori is around a one and a half hour drive from Denpasar airport and the area is relatively remote; far away from the bustle and tourism of Seminyak and Ubud. Perched right on a strip of private (black sand) beach and surrounded on the other side by beautiful terraced rice paddies and a mountain, the location for Alila could not be more beautiful. We arrived quite late in the evening and were immediately ushered through to our villa for check-in.

The villas are built as stand-alone properties each containing two units: one upstairs villa overlooking the sea, and one below which opens directly onto the beach. We had an ocean-view villa and I would definitely recommend this as the beachfront villas would not have as much privacy and their pools were entirely shaded. The rooms are a great size, comprising a separated living area as well as the bedroom and the bathrooms are just gorgeous and stocked with generous amounts of Alila Living toiletries as well as sunscreen, insect repellant, after-sun and other goodies! There’s free wifi and an Apple TV pre-stocked with tons of music and movies. We were introduced to our “Villa Host” (like a private butler) called Ika who would be taking care of us during our stay, and she told us we could reach her any time of day or night if we needed anything.
The private pool and decking area was extremely luxurious and perfect for having a glass of wine before enjoying dinner with the sound of the ocean crashing in the background and we were able to watch the waves rolling in from our perch on the sprawling sofa.

During low season only one restaurant operates in the resort, the lovely Cotta which produces breakfast, lunch and dinner, but which thankfully changes up its menu daily so it doesn’t get too repetitious. The quality of the food was consistently delicious and the home-made ice creams meant that my good intentions to have a bit of a detox holiday fell by the wayside! The chef regularly came out to chat with the guests and see how everything was which was a lovely touch and made dining there feel intimate.

We were able to eat out by ourselves for a few of our dinners as our Villa Host was even a built-in babysitter which is just the greatest luxury ever as new parents!

I also tried out Spa Alila for a 60 minute Balinese massage and fell in love with Alila all over again. The spa decor is dark and moody with candle-lit treatment rooms that encourage falling into a deep snooze. I initially thought my massage was going to be the soft-stroking type but I had clearly underestimated my very tiny therapist as she proceeded to give me a thorough working out of all my kinks and cricks… The signature Alila Living products are available for sale through the spa and as I couldn’t get enough of the body lotions and oils I loaded up to bring a bit of Bali back with me to Hong Kong.

The thing that really sets Alila apart from other resorts is the extremely high quality of the service and the personal feel. Nothing was too much trouble and the end result was totally magical. If you’re traveling with a young baby I’m not sure you could find a more baby-friendly place – the waiters and waitresses in the restaurant even took turns holding and playing with Elodie so I could eat my breakfast! We’re already planning our next trip to Bali and our hardest decision will be whether to return to Alila Soori or whether to try out one of the other Alila resorts!

Sassy tip: Avoid Tana Lot which is a tourist site about 20 minutes away – it’s pretty but not worth the millions of hawkers and depressing feel.

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