In July 2022, I checked into the One Bedroom Pool Villa at Alila Villas Uluwatu Bali. Set on a cliff-top overlooking the Indian Ocean on Bali’s southern shores, the 65 pool villa-property is often regarded as one of the world’s most architecturally striking and picturesque resorts. The property is 30 minutes away from Ngurah Rai International Airport and 15 minutes from the famous Uluwatu Temple.
Other Alila properties in Bali include Alila Seminyak, Alila Ubud and Alila Manggis, while other Hyatt properties include Andaz Bali, Grand Hyatt Bali and Hyatt Regency Bali. Other notable resorts in the vicinity include Six Senses Uluwatu and Bvlgari Resort Bali.
The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Cliffside edge-of-the-world escapism along Bali’s southern shores.
The must-dos (if any): Luxuriate in your villa’s private pool, take a dip in the resort’s signature cliff-side infinity pool, have sunset cocktails at Sunset Cabana, enjoy a meal at The Warung, partake in one of the resort’s curated activities.
ALILA VILLAS ULUWATU
Located in Bali’s southern Bukit Peninsula and perched on a cliff-top overlooking the Indian Ocean, Alila Villas Uluwatu is the most luxurious Hyatt resort in Bali, offering 65 spacious villas with their own private pools. Reflective water features, bright open spaces as well as the creamy alabaster walls and white uniforms of the staff you observe in the resort’s public spaces lend to rather spiritual retreat/commune feels, with virtually every space in the central resort area having the deep blue ocean as a focal point. As early as your first steps into the reception area upon arrival, your eyes are already irresistibly drawn to the postcard-framed sight of the infinity pool and deep blue waters beyond, while elsewhere dining concepts CIRE and The Warung feature an abundance of al fresco seating close to the cliff edge. The resort is most famous for its cliff-side infinity pool, often ranked as one of the world’s best pools in international listicles, as well as the floating wooden latticework Sunset Cabana which looks like something out of a futuristic apocalyptic romance movie. Both sites offer breathtaking, edge-of-the-world panoramic views, with evening cocktails at the Sunset Cabana Bar being the best opportunity to observe the sky segueing to a startlingly beautiful shade of purple before the resort slowly settles under an orange-glowing cloak of intimate cosy.
Designed by Singapore-based architectural firm WOHA (who also designed the similarly sustainable and award-winning Oasia Hotel Downtown and PARKROYAL COLLECTION Pickering, Singapore), the environmentally sustainable property was built using locally sourced materials such as bamboo, rattan and batu palimanan from Jogjakarta. The resort even boasts its own Sustainability Lab with its own glass recycling facilities (wine bottles become water glasses!) and organic garden.
In terms of wellness, guests can indulge in a relaxing treatment at the resort’s Spa Alila, sweat it out at the 24-hour gym or attend the daily morning yoga sessions at the Cliff Edge Cabana. The more adventurous can embark on a treacherous trek down a flight of 600 cliff-hugging steps from the resort to the private beach below and be rewarded with a tremendously calming solitude soundtracked by soothing crashing waves.
The resort also offers various chargeable activities for those who seek alternative experiences beyond frolicking in the water while being caressed by the sun’s rays. During my visit, I spent one afternoon learning how to prepare canang sari offerings for my evening visit to the Uluwatu Temple. (It was apparent very quickly that I am not a natural at stitching.) After changing into a traditional Balinese outfit prepared by the resort (it is required attire for entry into the temple), a team of Alila hosts brought me to the temple grounds, where I learnt vital lessons about monkeys, their fascination with spectacles as well as how I should never ever establish eye contact with one. Along the way, I also learnt a few things about Balinese culture such as the importance of bananas, why women carry baskets on their heads and why floral offerings have at least four different colours of petals.
During the Balinese prayer ritual, my Alila hosts guided me every step of the way, from which flower to pick up at different stages of the ritual as well as how to receive the holy water from the priest (you drink using your hands three times, you wash your head and face three times). My evening ended with me watching the spectacular, almost operatic Kecak Fire Dance performance at an amphitheatre-style space near the temple alongside what seemed to be 1,000 other visitors, and even when I was showering back at the villa hours later, I could not get the “chak chak chak” chants out of my head.
ONE BEDROOM POOL VILLA
The airy and spacious 290sqm One Bedroom Pool Villa boasts its very own private pool and lattice cabana which (almost) renders a visit to the main infinity pool unnecessary, with outdoor dining furniture and sun loungers catering for however else you wish to spend your sun-kissed (or otherwise) moments within your private pool garden. The bedroom is furnished with a dining table, working desk and a sizeable day bed in front of floor-to-ceiling doors which offer direct pool access. A tablet features resort information as well as the guest service menu.
The pantry has espresso coffee and tea making facilities, while the minibar is stocked with house-made Oaked Negroni and Vesper Martini cocktails, bottled kombucha, locally-brewed Kura Kura lager as well as the resort’s own newly-launched Cava Brut.
The bathroom offers a walk-in wardrobe, double vanities, stone bathtub, outdoor shower area and an indoor rainfall shower area fitted with six powerful massage jets which make you feel like you are being gently caressed by multiple hands all at once. Bathroom amenities are courtesy of the brand’s own Alila Living label, with different HIM (lemon grass and black pepper) and HER (mandarin, lemon grass and rose geranium) products.
Breakfast is served at CIRE, the poolside concept serving international and Mediterranean fare. The venue offers three different breakfast menus which rotate each day. On my first morning, featured dishes included Matcha Chia Seed Pudding, Middle Eastern Bowl (steamed barley, tabouleh, falafel, roasted pumpkin, hummus, lemon tahini dressing), Huevos Rancheros, Sweet Corn Benny (corn fritter, poached egg, spinach, cherry tomato, hollandaise sauce), Aloo Paratha, Avocado Toast and Soto Ayam (chicken soup, rice noodles, boiled egg, cabbage); on my second morning, exclusive dishes included Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding, Nusantara Bowl (soy glaze tofu and tempeh, red sorghum, snake beans, Moringa leaves, roasted pumpkin, soy lime dressing), Moroccan Shakshouka, Katsu Sando, Perkedel Benny, Matcha Pancakes and Lontong Sayur (spiced coconut curry soup, rice cake, stewed vegetable). I adored the scrumptious Mie Goreng as well as the Chocolate French Toast, which played like a particularly sinful sticky toffee pudding.
Indonesian and Balinese restaurant The Warung starts your meal with a congklak experience comprising different types of sambals paired with Kerupuk Udang (prawn cracker) and Kerupuk Emping (bean cracker). One simply needs to have the spicy Rendang Bunda Tatik (braised beef in Indonesian spices and coconut milk), Tum Udang (steamed marinated prawn in banana leaves, served with sambal bongkot) and Kacang Mekalas (curried long beans with grated coconut), all three of which I still think about long after my stay. Other notable dishes on the menu include the Bebek Goreng (crispy fried cured duck), Ayam Taliwang (famous Lombok chargrilled half sporing chicken marinated in chilli paste) and Ikan Bakar Dabu Dabu (grilled whole baby snapper served with fresh chilli, shallot and tomato salsa). Every dish I had was a hit, packed with punchy local flavours.
It goes without saying that evening cocktails at the iconic Sunset Cabana Bar while taking in the majesty of the sunset views is an essential experience not to be missed. In keeping with its social media-worthy aesthetic, the bar actually visually displays its entire menu on its Instagram account (@sunsetcabana.bali), which will come in handy for those who want to know what their cocktail looks like (y’know, for the ‘Gram). Their classic cocktails Negroni and Smoked Old Fashioned were ruthlessly efficient, while those looking for a bit of visual novelty could order the refreshing White Noise (Fashion vodka, jasmine cordial, sirsak puree, elderflower liqueur, champaca tincture, citrus, sparkling wine) or the exotic Segara (Hendrick’s Dry Gin, seaweed cordial, blue curacao, Bianco vermouth, lime juice, truffle), which comes with a rather poignant background story.
With its edge-of-the-world escapist setting, memorable architecture, delicious dining options as well as exceptional self-care and relaxation facilities, the ultra-luxurious resort sure leaves quite the indelible impression.
Alila Villas Uluwatu
Jl. Belimbing Sari Tambiyak
Pecatu, South Kuta, Badung Regency
Bali 80364, Indonesia