• Image One
  • Image One
  • Image One
  • Image One
  • Image One
  • Image One
EXPERT REVIEW An architectural masterpiece, balanced on a Balinese cliff, this hotel wows from the moment you arrive

Eco


Overall eco rating


Built using recycled materials, Alila Villas Uluwatu was designed to blend into the surrounding hilltops, whilst in keeping with the natural flora and fauna. It’s the first resort in Indonesia to obtain the highest level of certification from Green Globe for Environmentally Sustainable Design.

It is also the first resort by Alila Villas and as well as using recylced and local materials embraces sustainable design features including water recycling, renewable energy and passive solar design .  The Green Globe assessment began at an early stage and fed into design while also looking at future operations and ethical and social commitments.

The results are pretty good for a first effort.  There's room for improvement in a few areas but Uluwatu’s water systems and social commitments are highly commendable.

  • Project achieved Silver when assessed against EarthCheck’s Environmentally Sustainable Design standard which looks at a wide range of environmental, social and economic factors
  • Uses a heat pump to provide hot water centrally
  • Water system highly sustainable – entirely gravity fed from rainwater tanks
  • Water treatment based on reverse osmosis – separates ‘permeate’ for drinking/washing and ‘distillate’ for other uses
  • Sewage treatment also recycles water for use in landscape
  • Use of water saving fittings and drip irrigation in morning/evening also reduces water consumption
  • Efficient lighting includes LEDs throughout public areas with dimming and presence detection
  • Green purchasing policy favours those with green products or green practices with a preference for small local businesses
  • Work closely with Bali Life Foundation which runs a local children’s home
  • Employing orphans from BLF homes
  • Also supports ROLE (Rivers, Oceans, Lands, Ecology) Foundation which, amongst other things,  trains women from disadvantaged backgrounds to become environmental champions
  • The resort was built using recycled train sleepers, giving it a rustic, yet iconic design, unlike any other hotel on the island.
  • The rooms and spa feature locally made beauty products from natural ingredients.

  • Could use more renewable energy - small and medium scale renewable electricity generation is actually quite widespread in Indonesia (around 1/3 of electricity comes from such systems)
  • Choice of renewable energy – unclear that a heat pump for hot water provides much benefit
  • Air-conditioning was on full blast when we first entered the room which raises concerns about energy management

People

Alila Villas Uluwatu has chosen some fantastic charities to support that help address poverty and encourage prioritisation of environmental protection – 2 of the most pressing issues facing Indonesia today.  The main contribution may be in the form of financial support but there are follow on benefits – AVU is now employing some of the graduates from the nearby orphanage and uses some of the environmental startup businesses set up by ROLE as suppliers.

The majority of the staff are Indonesian, with roughly 30 per cent coming from the surrounding Pecatu area and the resort makes it a policy to keep foreign employees to a minimum. 

  • Vast majority of employees are Indonesian with around 1/3 from the local region itself
  • Work closely with Bali Life Foundation which runs a local children’s home
  • Employing orphans from BLF homes
  • Also supports ROLE (Rivers, Oceans, Lands, Ecology) Foundation which, amongst other things,  trains women from disadvantaged backgrounds to become environmental champions

  • No info on wages paid to staff, so unsure how they compare to the national averages or living wage. 

Animals & nature

Alila Villas Uluwatu does not make great claims about their contribution to animals and nature but there are some things going on in the background which will have a positive effect.

Throughout the construction process, Alila Villas Uluwatu ensured the protection of the natural environment. The designers were concious of the local flora and fauna and the overall concept of the property intends that it ‘blends in’ with the surrounding hilltops. The staff monitor the local wildlife and endangered species, ensuring that they are moved to secure places if found in guests areas.

  • Promote simple environmental practices to locals including respecting nature, water and energy conservation
  • The property is surrounded entirely by native flora
  • There are no fences on the resort to encourage a free flow of flora
  • Lots of animals can be seen and heard from frogs and monkeys to a variety of native birds

  • We are still investigating how Alila Villas Uluwatu’s green procurement considers animals and nature

Environment & buildings

Alila Villas clearly put a lot of thought into their environmental impacts with new projects carefully assessed at design and construction stages backed up by continuous assessment of operation.

The main environmental feats at Alila Villas Uluwatu are probably their green purchasing, the water systems and care taken with the construction – the energy systems are OK but could have been taken much further.

All 61 villas have a flat roof design topped with local lava rocks, which will act as a natural cooling system to some extent. Waste products are either composted or collected by an approved contractor that recycles where possible or deposited in government approved landfill sites.

  • Project achieved highest level when assessed against EarthCheck’s Environmentally Sustainable Design standard which looks at a wide range of environmental, social and economic factors
  • Considerable effort during construction to use local materials, recycled materials and to reduce energy and water use and construction waste
  • Also has Earth Check Silver rating which benchmarks various factors (including, energy use, water use, CSR and others) in the operation of the hotel
  • Uses a heat pump to provide hot water centrally
  • Water system highly sustainable – entirely gravity fed from rainwater tanks
  • Water treatment based on reverse osmosis – separates ‘permeate’ for drinking/washing and ‘distillate’ for other uses
  • Sewage treatment also recycles water for use in landscape
  • Use of water saving fittings and drip irrigation in morning/evening also reduces water consumption
  • Efficient lighting includes LEDs throughout public areas with dimming and presence detection
  • Passive solar design includes significant thermal mass, natural ventilation and  careful use of glazing and shading
  • Green purchasing policy favours those with green products or green practices with a preference for small local businesses
  • Recycle where possible and have rigorous waste handling processes (which cannot always be said in Indonesia)
  • Waste company has composting and Uluwatu buys back compost
  • All villas have flat roofs topped with lava rocks that act as a natural cooling system
  • The resort has its very own range of locally produced, organic in-room toiletries

  • Could use more renewable energy - small and medium scale renewable electricity generation is actually quite widespread in Indonesia (around 1/3 of electricity comes from such systems)
  • Choice of renewable energy – unclear that a heat pump for hot water provides much benefit
  • The design of the hotel, built into a steep hill, doesn’t encourage guests to walk, instead there are golf buggies to ferry guests around.

Reviewed by

Tim Starley-Grainger


Luxury


Overall luxury rating*


A design icon made out of recycled materials, Alila Villas Uluwatu is a sustainable property that makes every effort to earn its green credentials. Perched atop rugged cliffs with sweeping views of the Indian Ocean, Alila Villas Uluwatu is a patch of paradise in southern Bali. There are 61 stylish villas each with a personal butler at your beck and call 24 hours a day. 

The scene

In southern Bali, teetering on a cliff, this hotel lacks direct beach access, but benefits from a sensational 50 metre pool, with infinity section extending over the sea. Like its sister hotel on the island, Alila Villa Soori, this one is in a remote location, far from the blingy, backpacky part of Bali, and it’s all the better for it. 

 

A honeymooners’ dream, each one-bedroom villa comes with its own swimming pool and sunbathing cabana, while the two- and three-bedroom villas are perfect for family getaways. The private villa concept ensures that the public areas never feel crowded, though a cocktail at the sunset cabana is a must for the evening view.

  • Clifftop setting at the island’s southern tip, providing wide-angle views over the Indian Ocean
  • Tranquil, quiet location, perfect for eco-luxury honeymoons and relaxing getaways
  • The pool-villa concept ensures privacy
  • Each villa has its own personal butler
  • Best for honeymooners and professionals aged 30 to 50

  • No direct beach access as it’s perched high on a cliff, but there are stairs down to a beach
  • The remote location means you have to have a car to access the hotel, it’s impossible to walk anywhere from this resort except to the beach.
  • Backpackers will not feel at home here

The style

Jaw-dropping has become overused in the age of TripAdvisor, which is a shame, because that is the only word to describe this architectural wonder. Astounding design combined with interiors that could be found in a future issue of Wallpaper* or Vogue Living won this eco-spa hotel the prestigious Royal Institute of British Architects International Award 2011. There is simply nothing like it anywhere in the world.

 

As you enter the lobby, views of an infinity pool stretching out towards the Indian Ocean flanked by swaying palm trees and oversized, white cloth umbrellas, will take your breath away. Designed by award-winning Singaporean architecture firm WOHA, each villa has a sun cabana made out of reclaimed railway sleepers, giving the resort an iconic style of its own. The floor to ceiling glass sliding doors leading directly into a private swimming pool, give the rooms a bright and airy feel, while the bathrooms are equipped with his and hers sinks and vanity units, a sunken bath as well as an outdoor shower. 

  • Winner of Royal Institute of British Architects International Award 2011 – and justifiably so. Just look at those photos.
  • Lava rock and bamboo roofs, huge taupe and cream day beds and sofas and an airy, spacious design.
  • 61 villas on the clifftop, all with sea views and private plunge pools
  • There is good use of light in the villas with floor to ceiling doors leading out into a private swimming pool.
  • Dark wood furniture with crisp white linens gives the resort a clean and luxurious feel.

  • The décor is safe – muted tones, dark wood and white linens – meaning you could be anywhere in the world, but the traditional music playing on the villa’s sound system brings you back to Bali.

The facilities

 

The Alila Spa is a cluster of villas surrounded by tropical vegetation and if you are experiencing a treatment at night you’ll be able to hear the singing of the native frogs. The health conscious might want to take part in the resort’s detox programs or morning yoga classes. And although the gym is open 24 hours a day, you can challenge yourself by climbing the hundreds of steps down, and up again, to Alila’s private beach situated at the bottom of the cliff. The resort can also organise bespoke day trips – ‘Journeys by Alila’ can take you to visit Balinese artists, local fish markets, Indonesian cooking classes as well as visits to community projects supported by the resort.

  • Every villa has its own butler
  • Two restaurants, The Warung Indonesian restaurant and CIRE Fine Dining Restaurant
  • Library
  • Gym
  • Sunset Cabana lounge
  • Beach access with stairs
  • 50 meter cliff-edge swimming pool.
  • Private beach.
  • Luxurious spa, mainly using organic, locally produced proucts.
  • Free wifi throughout the property.

  • Stairs down to the beach can be a pain
  • The showers are not easy to operate if you aren’t used to the numerous settings, but once you get the hang of it, the rain shower is amazing.

We love

  • The architecture – we’re not surprised its architects, Singapore-based WOHA, won a major international architecture prize for this resort
  • The clifftop setting
  • The main infinity pool that makes it feel like you’re on the edge of the world
  • Personal butler service
  • Private swimming pool and sun cabana with each villa
  • Expansive bathrooms with indoor rain shower, sunken bath as well as an outdoor shower.

You might not love

  • Although children are welcome, they’re likely to be bored. No pool slides or kids clubs here
  • With some rooms, you can see into the neighbouring villa’s sun cabana, so choose your villa with care if you want 100% privacy

Reviewed by Carmen Roberts


Alila Villas Uluwatu

Jl. Belimbing Sari, Banjar Tambiyak, Desa Pecatu, Bali

Indonesia
+62 361 848 2166

Standard room rates from US$750

Eco

Luxury*

"The Alila sits on the southern coast of the Bukit Peninsula, a quiet corner known for fabulous surfing and even more fabulous temples" Travel + Leisure

"The design combines the delights of traditional Balinese pavilion architecture and rural landscapes with modern dynamic treatment of space and form" Arch Daily

"It has such a light, airy setting, perched on a cliff-top, that as you wallow in the infinity pool you feel as if you are floating on a cloud, high above the cares of the world" Daily Telegraph

"This fabulous clifftop pleasure complex on Bali's booming south coast is the region's first fully successful marriage of postmodern cool and tropical hot" Conde Nast Traveler