Checking In at Alila Seminyak, Bali

  • Pools and greenery give the grounds a peaceful atmosphere.

    Pools and greenery give the grounds a peaceful atmosphere.

  • The balcony of an Alila Ocean Suite.

    The balcony of an Alila Ocean Suite.

  • Sun floods through wood panels in the open-air lobby.

    Sun floods through wood panels in the open-air lobby.

  • Cocktails with Balinese fruits and herbs are served all day at the Beach Bar, steps away from the shoreline.

    Cocktails with Balinese fruits and herbs are served all day at the Beach Bar, steps away from the shoreline.

  • Tables in the restaurant offer calming views of the property's Balinese temple and the ocean beyond.

    Tables in the restaurant offer calming views of the property's Balinese temple and the ocean beyond.

  • The streamlined, Art Deco architecture of the Beach Bar.

    The streamlined, Art Deco architecture of the Beach Bar.

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By Gabrielle Lipton

In Alila’s world, minimalism is not exclusive with indulgence, nor peace and quiet with centrality, nor an impressive green ethos with lack of pretense. Encapsulating this perfectly is the new seaside Alila Seminyak, Bali, an unequivocally stunning addition to the Bali’s western shores.

A Balinese temple still used by a local family was kept perfectly in-tact as the resort's centerpiece.

A Balinese temple still used by a local family was kept perfectly in-tact as the resort’s centerpiece.

The Look: Rather than man-made extravagance, plants, wood, and water are the focus here. Singaporean firm URBNarc used dark reclaimed wood to create walls of thin panels woven through with vines and greenery throughout the lobby and hallways, which are open-air to channel in the cool sea breeze. Four pools, palm-dotted grounds, and a rooftop garden decorate the otherwise white-and-brown design with plenty of cerulean blue and greens. Balinese accessorizing—which sometimes gets out of hand in resorts on the island—is tastefully restrained to some batik pillows on lobby couches and old Hindu sculptures in wall insets in the room­s. The most endemic touch is the footprint of the resort itself: a Balinese temple still used by a local fishing family sits front and center by the shoreline, with the room buildings arranged around it like a traditional Balinese compound. What’s more, the Alila Seminyak was designed with rigorous attention to sustainability and rates higher than any other resort in Indonesia on the EarthCheck Building, Planning and Design standards, setting a new benchmark for green development not just in Bali but in the archipelago.

In the lobby, a coffee bar serves grab-and-go espresso drinks and fresh pastries.

In the lobby, a coffee bar serves grab-and-go espresso drinks and fresh pastries.

The Rooms: The 240 rooms, suites, and a single penthouse have that pared-down simplicity that only works with high-quality materials, which come gorgeously as rich wood walls, heavy fabrics, and clean-lined furniture. Suites come with kitchens and dining rooms for those taking longer vacations, and the penthouse boasts its own pool. Like at all Alila properties, amenities are certainly a highlight here. In addition to the requisite washes is a special after-sun lotion and bug repellant, and everything is made from all-natural ingredients with a delightful botanical scent. Treats regularly appear on bedside tables as well, from fruit, Indonesian sticky-rice cakes, and fresh orange juice upon arrival to jars of cinnamon cookies and a special spiced milk with turn-down service.

Deluxe Ocean Suites are a spacious 60 square meters with views of the Indian Ocean.

Deluxe Ocean Suites are a spacious 60 square meters with views of the Indian Ocean.

The Appeal: Alila Seminyak is best suited for those who want the offerings of a wellness retreat mixed with the atmosphere of a lifestyle hotel. Of the former, the Alila Spa offers a wealth of all-natural treatments and therapies (along with selling all of the aforementioned amenities in full size); the morning yoga instructor tailors each session to the preferred type of those who attend; and the airy terrace restaurant has a wide-ranging menu that’s delicious, fresh, and healthful—think quinoa porridge at breakfast and herb-filled ramen at dinner. Meanwhile, there’s also a lobby coffee counter with jars of decadent pastries, and a westward-facing beach bar with incredible cocktails and cool Sunset Symphony events, which time musical acts with the sinking of the sun.

A rendition of Singapore chili crab in the restaurant.

A rendition of Singapore chili crab in the restaurant.

The Surrounds: Buffered at its back by a small neighborhood of local homes, the resort feels secluded, but its setting at the southern end of Seminyak is certainly still in the thick of things. Potato Head Beach Club is directly next door, and nightlife hot spots such as Hu’u Bar and Motel Mexicola are less than 10-minutes by foot. The new Seminyak Village mall is also about a 15-minute walk away, via Jalan Kayujati, which is lined with charming swim and resortwear boutiques.

The restaurant terrace at sunset.

The restaurant terrace at sunset.

For Those in the Know: Doing its best to make sure that Bali tourism affects the lives of locals in positive, sustainable ways, Alila Seminyak runs three outreach programs in the local community: helping develop curriculums and facilities at two local elementary schools and supporting the Anak-Anak Harapan Children’s Home. Interested guests are welcome to donate to any of the initiatives, and those who want to shake up their vacation with a local (and adorable) experience can talk to the reception and arrange times to visit any of the three sites.

Jalan Taman Ganesha No. 9, Petitenget, Kerobokan, Bali; 62-361/302-1888; Alila Seminyak, Bali; doubles from US$370

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