Written by Beverley Lennon
Neo (my boyfriend) and I go to Bali pretty often. In fact, we refer to it as our third home after Malaysia. We’ve seen almost every corner of the island, but we’ve never quite thought of staying in Uluwatu, as I had always thought of Uluwatu as that ultra-luxurious area for the Crazy Rich Asians and celebrities.
And out of pure coincidence, we checked-into this paradise-on-earth right on the day we were celebrating our 65 months together (I have the days counter tab open on my laptop right now so, don’t call me cheesy!).
To say the least, it’s the little things at Alila Villas Uluwatu that make a big difference. I mean, for instance, the basket of toiletries which features their own line of natural skin care products like face mist, insect repellent, sunscreen and more (which are also available at various places in the property, wherever you decide to sit and relax).
Checking into the lobby is spectacular, we could not stop taking pictures of the endless views as our luggage was whisked away to our private villa. You’ll also meet your personal villa host who will be at your every whim throughout your stay.
Just like its name says it, you’ll only find villas here, no typical hotel rooms. After all, villa living rhymes with Bali, if you ask me. The villas here come with various options, ranging from one to three bedrooms. Since there was just the two of us, the one-bedroom villa with private pool was all we needed for a romantic experience high atop the cliffs of Uluwatu!
Where to stay in Uluwatu: 17 Hotels and villas from budget to luxury to enjoy Bali’s best beaches, ocean views and more!
1. Find refuge at your private one bedroom pool villa (with villa host!)
If there’s one thing we absolutely love doing while on vacation, it is spending time at the pool. Both Neo and I are real island folks so whenever we have the chance to dive right into clear waters, we don’t miss it. And while we’ve always enjoyed big, bustling hotel pools, the idea of a private pool at our own villa was something we couldn’t say no to.
What’s best – we didn’t have to wake up extra early to secure a sunlounger because we had our own daybed and cabana (we could jump from the room to the pool even!) and well, swimsuits became strictly optional (to say the least). Even breakfast became a highly solitary affair as it was delivered to our room by our villa host and we enjoyed it floating right in our private pool.
It’s not always about sea views but here it is rather about privacy. We could not hear anything from the neighbouring villas so the experience was very intimate. Our villa was expansive (or rather palatial), airy and with the doors sliding completely, you can expect plenty of natural lighting and an unobstructed view of your private pool from your bed itself.
Moving on to bath time, the villa features both an indoor and outdoor shower (including bathtub), along with his-and-hers toiletry boxes with organic products (even face mask!) which we ended packing for home (shhh!).
Neo said I looked like I was in seventh heaven (bet he knows where to bring me on my next birthday!).2. Whisk away your special one and indulge side by side at Spa Alila
Let’s keep it short here – I like to refer to our experience at Spa Alila as the best hour of our lives.
Prior to our treatment, the therapists got us to soak our feet in a bowl of warm water where they cracked-open fresh lemongrass (yes, FRESH!) and nicely massaged from calves to toes. From this moment, I knew we were in for an absolute treat!
The couple treatment room features a semi-outdoor area, allowing plenty of natural light in as soothing spa music played in the background and soon enough we dozed off in the hands of some real experts as they work out the Balinese Massage oh-so-perfectly. The spa uses products from their own skin care range (Alila Living), which you can also purchase.
But if you are really keen for a jaw-dropper (or simply want to impress and surprise your lover), book a body treatment at their newly introduced (as of 2019) Cliff Edge Spa Cabana. Trek down the cliff and relish endless killer views of the Indian Ocean. Your treatment will be complemented with natural sea breeze and sounds of the waves rolling in offshore. It’s quite the spectacle, I tell you, but make sure you’ve sprayed some insect repellent prior too!
Sticking to feeling great and experiencing wellness at Alila Villas Uluwatu, we gave a go to their open-air morning yoga class as well. As a weekly yoga practitioner, I found my absolute bliss at this dazzling venue overlooking the mirror-like ocean with the whole 7.30am stillness that got my breath, body, mind, and spirit to unite. It’s always worth it waking up early when at Alila Villas Uluwatu, I promise.
3. Escape for a jaw-dropping afternoon tea date at The Warung
Neo and I have eaten a lot of scones and finger sandwiches around hotels in Bali (or rather Asia), some with unique themes, some in the jungle, some crappy ones too but one we consider memorable is the Instagram-friendly extravaganza we’ve indulged in at The Warung.
This is perhaps the most quintessential venue in Bali to have your afternoon tea as an adorable birdcage filled with sweet and savoury treats is served with a complimentary side of ocean views. The selection of patisserie is both delicate and satiating (I personally love their chilled mango pudding), the delicacies are fresh, the tea set is also comforting, but the views threaten to outdo all of it.
Neo and I found it quite romantic and enjoyed the experience as a whole, only that it got pretty busy at teatime (around 4pm), as the afternoon tea session is open for outside guests. In fact, I noticed that guests dropping by for tea also stay over for evening drinks at the Sunset Cabana Bar.
I’m not surprised though – you’d never want to leave once you’ve stepped in!
4. Catch Mother Nature’s work of art in your lover’s arms at Sunset Cabana Bar
Ask me where to catch the sunset around Southeast Asia and I’ll direct you to the top vantage spots to relish the most magical shows! I’m an expert when it comes to island escapes and sunset chasing (not a morning person) so I was quite excited to check out the Sunset Cabana Bar at Alila Villas Uluwatu.
The venue being perched atop a cliff offers an open-air setting and is set against such a gorgeous backdrop that Neo and I thought would be worth making a trip just for the views alone. We got ourselves some artisanal cocktails that are all locally inspired with traditional ingredients (herbs and fruits).
Although open to outside guests, we felt that the bar was rather intimate as most of those settling here were couples ready to be set in the mood for ultimate romance. Feeling so breathless, we also explored every corner to take in the best of views. The cabana majestically looks out to the hanging cliff and the hotel’s infinity pool, while the waves crashed just below us – words simply don’t do it justice!
5. Take a swim to infinity and beyond at the oceanview infinity pool
The infinity pool at Alila Villas Uluwatu gave us a chance to float over the Indian Ocean. The pool itself hangs on top of a cliff and I can guarantee you that swimming here isn’t a casual affair – you’ll notice it in the highly addictive Instagram pictures.
We enjoyed a dip both in the morning and at sunset and the sea views were simply astounding. It was indeed magical to share such beautiful moments together.
Although we both work from home most of the days, we rarely make time to share mornings together (being a night owl, I often sleep in while he is bustling on video calls), so this was rather a simple, yet romantic moment for us to share.
Following our swim, we enjoyed a remarkable breakfast at CIRE – the onsite restaurant (note that no buffets are served at Alila Villas Uluwatu so as to limit food wastage!).
Straddling the edge of a cliff was even more spectacular at sunset as the tides changed – we enjoyed a few drinks at the Sunset Cabana Bar and dropped by the pool for a prolonged swim rather than a quick dip as we wanted to catch every colour change the sky had to offer on that beautiful sunny day in Bali.
With villas featuring their own private pool, there wasn’t much of a crowd at the main infinity pool. Besides, it is rather expansive so you never quite feel like there are other people too. If there’s something this stunning infinity pool taught me, it is that I do have pool goals (I never knew I had!).
6. Surprise your sweetheart with a million candles dinner at the Romantic Floating Cabana
I mean, do you enjoy sharing intimate moments over delectable cuisine and bubbly champagne with the love of your life? I do. In fact, putting all the cheesiness apart, both Neo and I adore dinner dates. We make it a weekly Friday affair – nothing fancy, sometimes we have a date over just fast food but hey, we get to spend time together after a long busy week and that’s all that counts.
So when on vacation, we make sure to level-up our dinners by throwing in a romantic dining experience. One of the most memorable ones was in the Maldives (which was a surprise dinner for my birthday) but I’d say that the experience we had at Alila’s Romantic Floating Cabana was impeccable too.
It was very much less cliché that the typical romantic dinner on the beach as we were set high up in a cabana that seemed to be floating above the ocean. I absolutely loved the elegance and intimacy throughout the experience.
We were directed to a beautiful spiral staircase that led us to our table, surrounded by a million candles and overlooking the jaw-dropping sea views. If you make it in time, you’ll be able to relish the last evening glow as the sun drops below the ocean.
Neo knows how much I hate exaggerated romantic dinner settings with every other guest stopping by to say “Congrats”, so being away from it all and dining in our own little private cabana was up to my expectations – a pure delight!
7. Go on a sensual culinary ride at Quila
Prior to our stay, I found out about Quila’s multisensory gastronomy experience and was very intrigued, and couldn’t stop talking about it to Neo.
We came in for dinner, ready to be taken by surprise. The experience is strictly limited to five tables per night and on that particular night, only two tables were taken so it felt intimate and private enough for us to enjoy every bit of it.
We had the pleasure to meet the magician behind the whole concept – executive chef Marc Lores Panades who designed the whole menu that changes frequently and combines Mediterranean-inspired creations with local produce (some of which are grown and harvested from their own organic garden).
First, let me spill some tea – DO NOT sign up for this experience if you’re in a rush. The whole experience takes you on a 10-course ride to surprise your every five senses so yes, it does take some time – it is almost as though you’re covering a whole book as every dish is brought to your table with a background story.
The unique dinner is designed to be paired with fruit or vegetable drinks. Throughout the experience, the waitress brings out several dishes (some of which she crafts right in front of your eyes, like the Papaya Tartar), and you’re expected to guess which one it is from the menu on your table. It was rather exciting, some dish names were in Bahasa Indonesia, but we managed to guess most of them right.