Alila Ubud: Serenity and nature in Bali’s heartland
IF the modern world’s wearing you down, the Alila Ubud provides a Bali-flavored escape: set between a ravine along the Ayung river valley and a village ricefield, this modern Balinese retreat takes its cue from its surroundings and the local Balinese culture.
What makes it special?
The resort is a 15-minute drive from the town of Ubud, a mountain town long renowned for its artists, nobles and holy men. Given the Alila Ubud’s proximity to the heartland of Balinese high culture, taking inspiration from the local lifestyle is simply a no-brainer.
First, the architecture – the Alila Ubud’s structures were created to resemble a Balinese hillside village. Using a blend of traditional and modern materials and design, the Alila Ubud’s rooms and villas rise organically from the hillsides, maximizing the views of the surrounding farms and valley.
The focal social point of the resort – the Plantation Restaurant overlooking the infinity pool – resembles a traditional Balinese pavilion, with tall coconut-wood pillars and alang-alang thatched roof.
The Alila Ubud’s magnificent infinity pool (pictured above), set on the rim of the Ayung river valley, is a sight to behold: it resembles a translucent slab of water suspended some distance from the valley floor, bordered on one side by a stone shelf bearing lounge chairs and traditional Balinese umbrellas. No surprise, then, that Travel & Leisure Magazine called it one of the “50 most spectacular pools in the world”.
What’s there to do?
As with the architecture, the activities at the Alila Ubud are also inspired by the landscape and the local culture. The Leisure Concierge can arrange a number of activities informed by local insights: whether you want to go biking around the surrounding ricefields, or if you want to learn Balinese dancing, these experiences can all be arranged by the concierge.
The concierge can also set up trips further afield: you can put a trip to the island’s central volcanoes on your agenda, or take a cultural tour of Ubud, or visit cultural destinations like the Goa Gajah Elephant Cave.
Wellness-seeking guests can retreat to the award-winning Spa Alila and submit themselves to traditional Balinese therapies. Treatments at the Spa Alila use fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, and are used by trained attendants to balance the body and soul.
The Balinese influence may also be experienced first-hand at the Alila Ubud’s Plantation Restaurant, where chefs combine Balinese cuisine with European culinary technique. The Plantation Restaurant’s unique meals are inspired by local, seasonal ingredients, served in an open-air Balinese-style pavilion.
What’s the damage?
Rates depend on the season – expect to pay between US$163 to US$236 for deluxe accommodations. If you want to save on your stay, watch out for the Alila’s special deals – internet-only bookings, bookings made seven days in advance, and long-stay offers for a minimum of four nights all provide the possibility of significant discounts. The Alila Ubud also serves up a number of tailor-made packages for guests with special interests.