At this resort that feels like it’s perched at the edge of the world, set on a plateau atop limestone cliffs in southern Bali, the sense of remote seclusion is a relief. Alila Villas Uluwatu promises travellers a true escape from the daily grind, a property where the sea and sky stretch as far as the eye can see, uninterrupted, undiluted.
Visitors to this Balinese beauty will encounter buildings that cling to the edge of a cliff, clean design that embraces the surroundings, and greenery that, literally, is a breath of fresh air. Yet this 36-acre tropical paradise sits only 30 minutes from Ngurah Rai International airport, and once here, away from it all, guests in search of variety will find that there is so much to do onsite, that leaving the property isn’t necessary.
Fall in love with panoramic views of the Indian Ocean from Alila Villas Uluwatu
The panorama of the sky is hypnotic, universally appealing from the resort’s unique vantage, 100 metres above the Indian Ocean. From the villas, the pool, and the restaurants, the views take in heart-stopping golden sunsets and eye-opening, star-studded nights.
The sky is a constant at Alila Villas Uluwatu, its breadth and scope not blocked by other properties or towering high-rises, clear for all guests to enjoy as nature intended. A memorable evening tradition is to drop by the seductive, clifftop Sunset Cabana Bar, where the open design makes guests almost feel as though they are floating in the air.
When the sun falls into the ocean, casting a brilliant gilt shimmer on the undulating waters, signature artisanal cocktails, silky jazz, and the sound of crashing surf below combine as the sweet ingredients to a joyous toast.
Alila Villas Uluwatu: the perfect place to find culinary inspiration
The restaurants at Alila Villas Uluwatu also offer inspiring vistas of the sky and sea, as well as food guaranteed to enchant the taste buds. At Cire, the menu explores the flavours of the world — everything from Mediterranean with many familiar global favourites — using seasonal and organic products.
For diners that yearn for Indonesian dishes, The Warung (its means “roadside stall” in Bahasa Indonesia) serves items from Bali and other parts of the country, presented to diners seated in the restaurant’s indoor and outdoor spaces. Meals here can be intimate or social, taken on private tables for two dotted around the space, or on large communal tables where guests mingle. This is also the location (along with Sunset Cabana Bar) for indulgent afternoon teas, where hot brews and Indonesian sweet and savoury treats await.
Experience the island’s culture, traditions & wellness at Alila Villas Uluwatu
For visitors who want to learn more about Bali’s culinary artistry, the resort offers a half-day cooking class, beginning with a trip to a fish market before visiting the resort’s organic garden and culminating in preparing a lunch for all to enjoy.
The class is one of the many journeys that Alila Villas Uluwatu offers. Travellers can also visit temples in the island’s south, cycle around the Bukit Peninsula where the resort is located, or take a romantic cruise.
There are also options within the resort. Immersion into the island’s song and dance come with a dance lesson and the chance to play a traditional Balinese bamboo instrument called Rindik. During an aerial yoga class held in the Cliff Edge Cabana, participants can admire nature while suspended from a silk sling, working on poses that improve the spine, alignment, and posture.
The body is also the focus at the incredible Spa Alila, a sanctuary to soothe the senses. Spreading over 720 square metres, it features an open-plan reception, five villas designed for couples (they all have outdoor showers and open-air bathtubs), and a treatment menu of Asian and Western healing disciplines that use natural and active ingredients to regenerate and rejuvenate.
The highlight is the Cliff Edge Spa Cabana, a spacious room tucked into the side of a cliff that looks out over the Indian Ocean, a vista that amplifies the serenity and ensures guests embark on a truly extraordinary wellness journey.
Other healthy lures await on the resort — yoga held each morning in a pavilion, a fully equipped gym open round the clock, and a 50-metre, clifftop swimming pool that appears to hover above the sea, freed from the shackles of reality.
Alila Villas Uluwatu sustainable design will leave you feeling refreshed
That sense of liberation is also a hallmark of the 65 villas that go up to 2,000 square metres in size and are blissful retreats unto themselves. Each villa was constructed with an environmentally sustainable framework (this is the first resort in Indonesia to receive the highest level of certification from EarthCheck as a Best Practice Building Planning and Design development) but doesn’t skimp on creature comforts, hence the incorporation of a private pool and cabana/pavilion.
Surrounded by bronze and recycled wood jigsaw-like slats, the cosy pavilions are fitted with plush bedding, making them ideal for lounging. Contemporary interiors merge with touches of nature and traditional Balinese accents, seen through the use of water, stone, rattan, and Indonesian wood.
The indoors are connected to the pavilions and pools via bridges and walkways, and an open-plan design with a lava-rock roof and bamboo ceiling enables cooling sea breezes to travel through each villa. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors and windows let the outdoors feel like an extension of the living spaces. Oversized LED televisions and DVD players make the rooms easy places to unwind and catch up on some entertainment, aided by beds that are dressed in linens by Ploh.
Bathrooms also impress, with indoor and outdoor rain and jet showers, yukata robes, locally sourced Alila bathroom amenities for men (lemon grass and black pepper) and women (mandarin, lemon grass, and rose geranium), and a special bathtub box with bubble bath, face masks, and handcrafted beeswax candles. Villas are arranged along the resort’s sloped terrain, giving each a panoramic view of the sea and sky, so it’s little wonder that guests like to hole themselves up there. After all, why leave?
Explore the beauty of Bali at a leisurely, luxurious pace when at Alila Villas Uluwatu
Yet, the choice to venture beyond the room is hard to resist, especially as the resort supplies scores of placid places to quietly reflect, to revere the landscape. Verdant grounds filled with tropical flowers and dense foliage are a joy to wander.
Outside the property, top-tier day trips allow travellers to appreciate more of the area’s natural charm. These include a half-day excursion by helicopter directly from Alila Villas Uluwatu to the island of Nusa Lembongan. Adventurers will see the island’s most picturesque locations, from sandy tropical beaches and clean bays to the distinctive Yellow Bridge that spans crystal-clear waters to neighbouring Nusa Ceningan island.
A similar itinerary is available for Nusa Penida, where visitors will discover natural attractions, unique coastal spots like Broken Beach and Paluang Cliff, and visit the iconic Tree House (yes, it is a house sitting on top of a tree).
For a more leisurely, but equally luxurious, exploit, sail to Nusa Penida aboard a yacht, accompanied by a personal Alila butler. Relax on a secluded beach, dive into a tropical bay, and savour a freshly prepared barbeque lunch. The day ends with the westward sail back to Bali and a panoramic view of the sun setting over the water, before returning to Alila Villas Uluwatu, where everything, and anything, is possible. ◼