Alila Seminyak, Bali
The new Alila Seminyak sits on 210 metres of prime beachfront land between Potato Head and The Legian in the Petitenget area of southern Seminyak. The developer of the prized beachfront location – the last remaining beachfront site in Seminyak – approached Alila to manage the hotel, given Alila's track record with four other Bali properties including its flagship Alila Uluwatu. In front is the long expanse of volcanic beach; behind, the minimalist retreat is discreetly tucked away behind a small cluster of homes and designer boutiques. It's a stone's throw from the heart of Seminyak, a short stroll to La Lucciola, the hip Ku de Ta and a smattering of designer stores like Bali Boatshed, St Tropez and Kim Soo.
At 240 rooms the Alila Seminyak is considerably larger than any of the group's other hotels and resorts. The feel is more sophisticated urban hotel than resort, yet it features Alila's trademark clean lines and Asian design with lots of wood, terrazzo and water. There's lots of green, too, with hanging trees, vertical gardens, green roofs and landscaped terraces. It's one of the few resorts in Bali designed and built to surpass the rigorous EarthCheck standards.
The vast open air lobby captures sea breezes and overlooks a Balinese temple still used by a local fishing family. The temple was integrated into the design by Singapore-based URBNarc, with the hotel's four buildings encircling it like a traditional Balinese compound, affording guests a glimpse into local life. Four infinity pools lined with smart sun lounges, day beds and umbrellas entice guests to kick back and relax.
Housed in four-storey blocks, there are eight different room types, ranging in size from 46 square metres to 177 square metres, including a gob-smacking 811-square-metre penthouse. Contemporary in style, each room is designed to maximise views (rooms not facing the beach look out onto courtyard gardens) and have sliding doors, wide balconies and sun-shading screens. There are customised lamps with wooden batik blocks featuring contemporary-styled Balinese design motifs, rich wood walls, Javanese relics and Balinese gongs on the balcony.
I'm in an Alila Ocean Suite with views across the infinity pool to the sea beyond. I love pulling the sliding doors back to do yoga while watching another flaming red sunset. The king-size bed is incredibly comfortable, and the space oozes serenity. All rooms offer Alila's signature amenities, including his and her shampoo and conditioner, sunscreen, face spray and insect repellent made from all-natural ingredients. Biscuits and milk are delivered to your room at turn down – a nice homey touch – and a pillow menu is offered.
The Alila Seminyak is surrounded by some of Bali's smartest restaurants, so it has to be on its toes to capture guests' attention, food-wise. The on-site restaurant with al fresco terrace is in fact so good we had trouble dragging ourselves out. Helmed by chef Stefan Zijta with the affable Vivian Vitalis as chef de cuisine, the restaurant delivers a modern twist on pan-Asian cuisine. Think pulled noodles, delectable Korean ribs and minced pork balls with quail egg for dinner, while fresh juices, house-baked pastries and quinoa porridge are the order of the day for breakfast.
You could spend your entire stay exploring the local boutiques and working your way through Seminyak's fashionable restaurants and bars. Or let Alila take care of it for you with a bespoke tour aboard its restored VW Kombi complete with your own shopping concierge. Be sure and have dinner at Mama San, or Will Meyrick's latest venture, Tiger Palm in the new Seminyak Village, and book in for some head to toe pampering at Spring Spa. The almond milk pedicures and New York Bliss facials are heavenly.
Alila brings its signature stamp to Bali's hippest enclave. While you're definitely among the action, once you step through the lobby you enter an oasis of calm, with conscientious staff, great food, gorgeous rooms and attention to detail at every turn.
Watching the sun set with a Spicy Cha margarita and soaking up the hip tropical vibe.
The hotel spa hadn't opened during our stay, although a temporary spa was in operation.
Jetstar operates direct flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane (and other Australian ports) to Denpasar (Bali) on its Boeing 787 Dreamliner. See Jetstar.com. Rooms start at $650 a night including breakfast. Jalan Taman Ganesha No. 9, Petitenget, Kerobokan, Bali. See alilahotels.com/seminyak.
Sheriden Rhodes was a guest of Alila Hotels and Resorts and Jetstar.