Hotels

Checking in to Bali’s newest hotel

Tara Harrison

The thing about Bali is that there is a lot to choose from accommodation-wise. So it’s refreshing to see a hotel that reflects the island’s ideology found on a beach that is so populated with places to stay.

Those in-the-know are now flocking to Alila Seminyak, which emphasises a movement towards wellness with its zen-like surrounds. Of course, wellness doesn’t come without the cocktails. There’s that too. The point is, you can choose between a healthy stay or a hedonistic one, or both. With zero judgment.

Alila Seminyak is brand shiny new and feels aligned with its location, and is all wood, foliage, water and breeze. The reception area is a large, wide, no-walled, open-air glory with desk on one side, café bar on the other. The sunken long lounge area is where guests are seated upon arrival, and the first order of business is cold essential oil infused towel and a spritz of face mist, followed by a cup of herbal tea in a no-handle vestibule along with a coconut coated custard-like cube served on a sliver of leaf.

You won’t want to leave the open-air lobby. The elements are all natural and neutral, from rattan to long dark wood slats and plants growing up the inside of the wall. The light and the breeze has its way with this architectural delight of a space. Carefully curated magazines and hard cover magazines sit between wooden cubes that divide the seated areas.

Staff dressed in all-white with a flourish of baby blue fabric necklace for the women. The service and the staff are the key to the experience. Nothing is too much trouble, and the gentle approach to customer satisfaction is palpable. The general manager of the hotel wanders around throughout reception ensures that guests are happy, but moreover, has a friendly chat with all passing through.

The main feature of the luxury property is the long wooden slats that sit equidistant apart from each other and create symmetry and light and texture throughout the hotel. But the emphasis is on the outward more than the inward. The ocean lies just beyond, so the browns and greens of what is man-made only accentuates the beach.

Inside the rooms the balcony and bathroom has the same wood slats on angles that look more like art and frame the view every which way by creating parallels and rectangles. The bath has a pillow built in and a view out to the four pools and beach (there’s technically five, but one is a tucked away private party pool). There are seedlings growing in the window planter box that surely will soon wind their way around the wood panel, adding to privacy and the sustainable design of the hotel.

The bar here is very popular with locals already, and it’s a scramble for a seat for sundowners as the sun deposits itself beyond the liquid horizon. The pool cuts into and around the bar, so it’s a swim-up in a way, but in a way that means you will need a towel to get a drink.

Alila Seminyak offers experiences tailored to the location. There’s a shopping tour, an Aphrodite walk, a cocktail mixology session and a romantic driving tour taking in a fertility temple with a side of aphrodisiac herbal potion. Most of the experiences take place in a blinged-out VW Kombi van to hit the hippie nail and trail on the head. It comes with wi-fi and a music collection from the 80’s, the van’s birth decade.

In order to suss out just how zen Bali can be, even in bustling and trendy Seminyak, sign up for the Divine Healing experience. Wake at 6am, salute the sun with a walk along the beach and a yoga class focused on breathing in the ocean tang.

After yoga, at the temple, the local priestess prepares offerings using marigolds and incense. She is dressed in white with flowers in her hair and has a gentle but assuming presence. The temple is one of many found along Seminyak beach, but it is tucked away making for a personal blessing experience. All must wear a sarong when entering temples, no matter how small, in respect.

They can keep the nightlife of Seminyak. If you want to go from night owl to early bird yogi, the only place to do it is in Bali.

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