For the Georges among us who are cautious about the idea of a truly luxurious holiday for fear that it will involve little more than hours of restless sunbathing, in-your-face staff and overblown interiors, think again. Minimal sanctuary Alila Villas Uluwatu in Bali provides unprecedented pampering (the sort that doesn’t get tiresome) on the island’s surf-lapped, southern Bukit Peninsula, an area so rich in bliss-out beaches, killer ocean views and sensational surfing that only the boring could get bored. 

Perched majestically above the Bukit coastline, with panoramic vistas of the Indian Ocean, Alila Villas Uluwatu’s bone structure is breathtaking. The sleek modern design by Singaporean architects WOHA embraces the outdoors, harnessing natural stone, wood, rattan and water in a dramatic, eco-friendly boutique retreat – the greenest ever built in Bali. A 50-metre infinity pool breaks the skyline beautifully, creating the illusion that you could literally swim off the cliff, while the cantilevering cabana bar nearby does in fact stretch into thin air, providing a jaw-dropping – if a tad terrifying – nest for unwinding with a cocktail.

With 61 pool villas, offering a choice of one to three bedrooms, the hotel suits doting couples, but it’s also a style-sussed refuge for a gang of keen surfers or divers. Picture the extravagance; a hard day’s surfing on some of the best breaks in south-east Asia before returning for a classic Balinese massage, waited on hand and foot by round-the-clock butlers (choose between private, discreet and indulgent service options). People-watching takes on eye-candy proportions here, too, with a gentle stream of beautiful young things (aka your fellow guests) aimlessly making the place look even more gorgeous.

By day swing by the small but atmospheric beaches at Padang Padang and Uluwatu, or take the steep stairs down to the sea at the hotel. At sunset, pop to cliff-top temple Pura Luhur Uluwatu to catch Bali’s famous kecak (monkey) dance, a trance-like ritual performed mainly by men. Be wary of the real things, though, who will steal your sunglasses, camera or anything else they can get their thieving simian mitts on. 

Feeling peckish? Back at Alila, smart gourmet grub abounds, from mod-western fine diner Cire to laid-back Indonesian eatery the Warung. Alternatively, head out to the local beach bars at Uluwatu for beers with the surf crowd, or check out Nammos Beach Club at Smith stay Karma Kandara, which serves up tasty cocktails, wood-fired pizzas and Café del Mar-style tunes. Local fave Yeye’s Warung is another chilled-out spot for Indo, Thai and Indian food, accompanied by retro surf videos. Further afield, journey to Jimbaran Bay for fresh fish on the beach or hit Seminyak or Legian for more heavy-duty nightlife.

Then again, you can just relax with room service in your stunning pool villa, where a flatscreen TV, iPod dock, espresso machine, indoor-outdoor showers, private plunge pool and his-and-hers day-beds make staying in a treat. If you want to do nothing but chill out, where better to do it than in paradise? Make the most of the pampering spa or simply lounge around in style. Alila Villas Uluwatu can be a base camp for luxe-adventurers or a soothing escape for the stressed-out city boy.

To book any of Mr & Mrs Smith’s 900+ boutique hotels and holiday houses worldwide visit or call the expert Travel Team on 1300 896627, 24-hours a day, five days a week. Smith members get exclusive extras at all stays.

03 October 2012
Mr & Mrs Smith
Level 1, 137 Flinders Lane Melbourne 3000 VIC 03 9419 6671
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