You know that old saying, “what is in the past, should stay in the past“? Well, it doesn’t work for Alila Villas Soori because the sweet memories will linger forever.
<Text by Alamsyah Jo | Photo courtesy of Alila Villas Soori>
I had been warned not to travel to Bali at the height of the rainy season, and sure enough I was greeted by heavy rain as I walked out of the airport. But I wasn’t going to let it ruin my vacation. As my car travelled along the southwest coast of Bali, we passed through picturesque Balinese villages, lush paddy fields and rice terraces, and I found myself in the wonderfully rich and green regency of Tabanan. The ever-changing, patchwork colours of the rice terraces and the spectacular mountain backdrop eventually led me to Alila Villas Soori.
The dramatically beautiful landscape was fresh, washed cleaned by three days of rain. The emerald expanse of rice fields stretched out toward the horizon and the looming presence of Mount Batukaru.
I was greeted in the open-air lobby by Irra Malik, the resident manager at Alila Villas Soori. After the pleasantries she led me to the Ocean Pool Villa where I would be spending three magnificent days. With a private pool and direct access to the beach, the 156-square-metre villa was designed to connect the living space with the beach and the sound and breeze of the Indian Ocean.
I spent the morning relaxing in my villa, drifting off to sleep in the bale bengong to the sound and caress of Mother Nature. That afternoon I joined a yoga class. Yoga is the path of enlightenment, stretching back 5,000 years to its native India. It’s also my favourite exercise, how I banish the tension and quiet my mind.
The next day, the weather was still grey with heavy black clouds looming over the landscape and no sign of the sun. But I didn’t mind because I would be spending the first half of my day at Spa Alila. A secluded sanctuary, Spa Alila offers a range of natural treatments and is located below the reflective pond at the reception level, creating an aqua roof that fills the spa with a soothing spectrum of watery light.
Now, I have to confess that I am not really a spa fanatic. I’m also hyperactive and have trouble sitting still for 60 minutes, never mind the three-plus hours I was going to spend being pampered at Spa Alila. I started with the 90-minute therapeutic massage. My therapist told me I was in for a real treat. “The massage is good for you. It uses fluent strokes of different depths and intensity. Long Balinese strokes improve lymphatic drainage and circulation and Swedish deep-tissue techniques work into muscles to relieve tension and stiffness,” she said. “Acupressure points are used for specific stimulation while Thai movements add elements of stretching to increase mobility. It will soothe away all your tension and help you relax.” I was just wondering how I was going to survive 90 minutes without doing anything.
I am also a heavy smoker and after the massage, I was due for a lung-cleansing herbal steam. And I don’t pay much attention to skincare and things like that, but I was also due for a HIM signature facial. And guess what … I enjoyed all of the treatments. The therapeutic massage soothed away the stress and left me relaxed, and my face was moist and radiant after the facial. The HIM signature facial is designed to restore the skin’s natural PH balance and includes exfoliation with local rice bran and sandalwood, a detoxifying mask of volcanic clay and lemon, finishing with an ultra-moisturising blend of aloe vera, wildflower honey and wheat amino acid. I’m not sure if the herbal steam fixed my lungs, but my visit to Spa Alila really was a complete experience, refreshing my body, mind and soul.
Now let’s talk food, which is my passion. I began my Alila Soori culinary journey at the resort’s semi-covered open-air restaurant, Cotta. Chef Ashton uses the freshest products available for his signature ingredient driven cuisine. My appetizer featured scallops, green apple, spinach, bacon and sherry vinaigrette. That was followed by Butterfish with pomelo and pistachio, before the meal came to a perfect close with Kopi Luwak tiramisu with mascarpone and grapefruit cassata. The playful combinations created a harmony of flavours and textures.
In the evening I walked barefoot along the black volcanic sand to the peninsula, watching the sun slipping into the Indian Ocean. Then I watched as the bats came out of their caves for their nocturnal journey.
On my last day, I enjoyed one of Alila’s customized journeys. There are 11 customized activities that allow you to explore the natural surroundings, Balinese culture and local communities, with a focus on wellness and the environment. I went on the “All About Rice” excursion. It began with a visit to Subak Museum before we got a chance to walk through rice fields, getting close to nature. Lunch was served in a typical Balinese compound. It all brought back childhood memories of time spent in the fields.
Alila Villas Soori is a unique blend of nature, culture and culinary treasures, and is absolutely impossible to resist. The resort is an island of tranquillity, surrounded by vibrant green rice fields and the clear blue waters of the Indian Ocean, with luxurious villas that offer the ultimate in seclusion. At Alila Soori, you don’t just admire nature; you will truly enjoy it with all your senses. When you have finished your yoga class, your cycling tour around the village, your spa treatments, you will eat, pray and sleep in a resort that is the ultimate tropical escape.
Alila Villas Soori – Bali
Banjar Dukuh, Desa Kelating
Bali – Indonesia