Finding Bliss in Bali
[UPDATE: The resort is now named Soori Bali and is no longer part of the Alila group.]
We’ve been sitting on this one for a while. In truth, we really didn’t want to tell you about it. When we visit somewhere so special, we don’t always want the secret to be out. But then again it would be a shame if you never heard about Alila Villa Soori on Bali.
Tucked away on the quiet west coast of the island, an hour’s (luxury) car ride from the airport, if you’re seeking the packed beaches and bars of Bali, this is not for you. If however you’re looking for peace, pampering, great food and a gorgeous spa this is the spot.
There’s an overwhelming sense of space when you pull up to the entrance of Soori, designed by Singaporean architect SCDA, and it’s all so serene. The expanse coupled with the stunning, soothing design lets you breeeeaaaathe. As you pass through the spacious, open sided lobby you spot first a reflecting pool, then the sea beyond and you think: “This’ll do.”
Accommodation, as the name suggests, is all villa – our favourite was the Ocean Pool Villa, raised above the beach with a sea view. You get your own little garden with a pavilion where we spent most of the days languishing. And the private pool is big enough for a few strokes not just the plunge size you get in some pool villas.
There’s also a stunning infinity pool within the resort for a more strenuous swim. Next to that is an outdoor loungey area that comes into its own in the evenings and the hotel’s two restaurants: the open sided Cotta and the al fresco Ombak. Technically the former has a Indonesian/pan Asian bent while the latter is more mod European but they’ll let you mix and match. Should you wish to try, as we did the Balinese speciality, Babil Guling (roasted suckling pig), while dining under the stars then so be it.
Many guests opt to eat in their villas, the hotel manager told us, but as enticing as that is with its sea view pavilion you should try the restaurants also. You really won’t want to miss the clever tasting menu served at breakfast at Cotta. Or a table right next to the sea at Ombak which is quite exhilarating with the dramatic crashing waves.
Another stunning feature of Alila Soori is the spa: dark, sultry and seductive. The spa menu is more imaginative than most with an intriguing number of locally influenced therapies and ingredients. You’ll want to book at least one treatment here – we couldn’t resist booking every day.
Night life wise, there’s not that much going on outside the resort, and that’s really not why anyone would come here but there are some interesting “Alila Journeys” to try in the day. Take your pick from learning about rice cultivation or how the local coffee Kopi Luwak is made to visiting local artisans or temples.
There are few places that we feel truly sad to leave, Soori is one of them. Don’t tell anyone else about it will you.