Review: Alila Villas Uluwatu, Bali

Alila Villas Uluwatu

Jyaga loves (5/5)

Alila Villas Uluwatu

Nearest Airport : DPS (17 km away)
Neighbourhood : Uluwatu, Bali
Address : Jl. Belimbing Sari Tambiyak, Pecatu,
South Kuta, Badung Regency, Bali 80364
Chain : World of Hyatt

There possibly isn’t a Bali hotel that’s quite as famous as Alila Villas Uluwatu. The subject of numerous architectural honours since its opening in 2009, the WOHA-designed resort is indeed a striking design masterpiece that’s only made better by its spectacular position on top of Uluwatu’s cliffs. To sweeten the offering, the resort occupies an expansive 14.4-hectare plot spread between a mere 67 villas.

Despite that, Alila Villas as a brand hasn’t had the smoothest sailing. After the coming and going of the properties at Hadahaa, Maldives (now Park Hyatt Hadahaa), Tabanan, Bali (now Soori), and finally Koh Russey, Cambodia (now Koh Russey Resort), Uluwatu now remains the sole hotel in the Alila Villas portfolio. In fact, if Alila’s website gives any indication, it looks like they might drop the ‘Villas’ from the name altogether since their logos now merely state Alila Uluwatu.


Located in the southernmost part of Bali, Alila Villas is comparatively remote relative to other resorts. The journey to the resort is a bit confusing since there aren’t many signs pointing to the direction of the resort. Note that Uluwatu (and the Bukit Peninsula on which it rests) has a lot of small dead-end roads. In fact, Alila Villas is located further away from the main road and most sights of interest compared to ‘neighbouring’ resorts like the BVLGARI, the Six Senses, The Edge, as well as Hilton LXR’s Jumana. 

As such, the resort is rather isolated and I don’t reckon that venturing outside the resort on foot is a realistic choice. One attraction that is nearby the resort, however, is the Savaya Beach Club which is part of the Alila’s complex.

Arrival and Check-in

We arrived in Uluwatu on a very rainy afternoon, after a long drive from the incredible Tanah Gajah in Ubud. As it had been raining constantly for nearly 24 hours, some roads along the way were covered in large puddles of water due to poor drainage. Though the small and dark roads instilled little confidence, we were very relieved when we found the entrance to Alila Villas. At the entrance, the security checks were thorough, as they didn’t freely let everybody in.

Porte-cochère at Alila Villas Uluwatu

Once past the security check, we pulled up to the lobby where two waiting hosts greeted us by name and attended to our luggage. As this was happening, a third host went and valeted our rental car. Wow, what a very seamless arrival experience!

Reception at Alila Villa Uluwatu
Reception at Alila Villa Uluwatu

Our host then walked us to one of the sofas in The Living Room near the reception, where the check-in formalities ensued. Before we even signed anything, we were presented with a box containing cold towels, along with some snacks like puffed rice crackers and pineapple tarts. Glasses of wonderful frangipani-scented water were also provisioned. All of it was really good and refreshing. Definitely a change from our long drive! 

View from The Living Room
Welcome treats

Our front desk host was very professional and courteous. In a very polished manner, she constantly kneeled down whenever she presented us with any documents or treats. Perhaps it was the result of our disheveled look, but she even offered some face mist whilst processing our checking us in. Following this, she then walked us down the resort’s gorgeous hallway to a small vestibule where a golf buggy was waiting to take us to our villa. Incredible!

The Living Room

Our Pool Villa

When we reached the golf buggy, she wished us a pleasant stay and we were driven to our villa by our assigned host. As it was still raining at the time, the golf cart was covered in a waterproof tarp to protect its occupants from the elements… how thoughtful! 

Whilst he was driving, our host also explained the facilities of the resort along the way. At this point, I realised that the host is equivalent to a ‘butler’ at other resorts. Once outside the villa, our host took out an umbrella and walked us inside, ensuring that we didn’t get wet. Afterwards, he did the same for our luggage, one by one.

Living Room and Bedroom

Past the heavy wooden doors was a sleek and spotless room. A welcome card along with more treats were waiting for us on the table in the centre of the room. The treats included several fruits, a couple of coconut-flavoured macarons, and some plantain crisps, along with a bottle each of orange and apple juice. Each one tasted high-quality and was very good. Yum!

Pool Villa Bedroom with welcome amenities

Suffice to say, the design of the room does live up to the hype. Whilst the interiors looked a bit cold, the lighting made it feel very inviting and warm. I was really impressed by the integration of local materials in unexpected ways that made them look sleek. For instance, the ceiling comprised white-washed rattan ceilings, and the lamps were covered in wire mesh. Both of these materials don’t scream luxury, but the way they implemented it was truly elegant. Wow!

Bed in the Pool Villa

In addition to the cool wire mesh lamps by the bedside, there were also two bottles of water in sealed refillable containers and a wireless telephone. Behind the bed is a window that overlooks the small garden and its water feature.

Nightstand featuring wire mesh lamps

Room details

In addition to the king-sized bed, the room featured a couple’s dining table, along with a large daybed and a desk. The windows by the daybed overlook the pool garden of the villa. When open, the entire window frames slide into the wall thereby blurring the lines between outdoor and indoor.

Daybed and dining table
Daybed viewing the pool

On the side is the desk, which has a small and rather old-looking Samsung tablet that served as an information guide for the resort. Using it, you could also theoretically order room service. 

Desk and tablet

Finally, there is also a large television affixed to the wooden console wall, which also houses the minibar and its coffee machine. For reference, Alila Villas Uluwatu uses coffee pods from Tanah Merah, a local coffee roaster. Very nice!

View of the room


To the right of the room is the bathroom. The space is similarly beautiful, sleek, and well-designed. In the middle of the bathroom are two sinks, along with a vanity table between in. Behind it is the open-concept closet, which has a pair of hats and fans, a beach bag, and a yoga mat, along with a very nice modern sarong. Note that these items are purchasable and are not gifts unlike at Aman.

Sinks and vanity table
Closet and bathroom area
Sinks, bathtub, and closet

On the left-hand side are a very nice terrazzo bathtub and an indoor shower. Curiously, the shower cubicle is also equipped with shower jets in addition to the rain and handheld showerheads. Pleasantly, there were a lot of towels in the bathroom and all were very plush. Unsurprisingly, they were Ploh-branded, which I’ve consistently found excellent.


On the bathtub were many Alila Living-branded items, including an after-sun gel, sunscreen, tanning oil, and an insect repellent. Unlike most hotel-branded items, these were very good and high quality. Interestingly, the soap dispensers were labelled ‘his’ and ‘her’. There wasn’t much difference between the two, except that the ‘his’ labelled ones were a bit heavier on scent.


Whilst the bathroom is modern and sleek, I did think that the toilet is starting to look a bit old for what it is. But then again, that’s just me nitpicking. At this end is also a separate outdoor shower, although I didn’t find it to be useful due to its placement.


Outdoor area

Outside, in the backyard of the room are the private pool and Alila Villas’ characteristic bird-cage pavilion. The pool is sized more like a plunge pool, although it is a decent size for what it is. The pavilion is located at one end of the pool and houses a large daybed. Next to this is a platform with an outdoor table sitting two, and across it are a pair of sleek sun loungers.

Garden and outdoor area
Dining table and the bird-cage pavilion daybed
Dining table
Private pool and villa

When we first checked in, there initially wasn’t much of a view from the room due to the mist and rain. That cleared up the next day, we were able to clearly see a glimpse of the sea from the room and the pool. All combined, this made for a spectacularly gorgeous setting. Simply impressive!

View from villa

Turndown service

Turndown service is automatically offered each night, during which time the room is refreshed. As standard at any luxury hotel or resort, carpets were left by the bedside with slippers, alongside additional water bottles. A cute bedtime story sheet is also left on the bed.

Bed at turndown
Villa at night

Overall, the villa is simply incredible. The only qualm I honestly have about it are the caterpillars that were very prevalent after rainfall. At times, these insects also find their way into the room, which isn’t ideal. Despite that, they didn’t bother me too much.



Breakfast is included in our rate and was served at the CIRE Restaurant to the left of the resort’s main pool. The meal is served each morning between 07.00 and 11.00. As the menu is presented, an Indonesian herbal drink is also offered as an apéritif.

CIRE Restaurant
Breakfast table

The food we had was exceptionally high-quality and was unfailingly very good. During our stay, we managed to sample several of their breakfast options, all of which were à la carte. The options included both Western and Indonesian dishes and an Indian dish. There was also a selection of fresh smoothies and juices.

Fruit Plate and cheese platter
Eggs on Brioche with Truffle Aioli
Aloo Paratha (available every other day and a favourite of the General Manager)
Bubur Ayam (Indonesian Chicken Congee)
Soto Ayam (Indonesian Chicken Soup)

I really liked how creative the breakfast dishes were, like the remarkable ‘Corn Eggs Florentine’. This dish was really good, in which a corn fritter replaced the usual English muffin of an Eggs Florentine. Furthermore, the cold-cut platter was amongst the best I’ve had outside Europe.

Corn Eggs Florentine and Chia Seed Pudding
Charcuterie Board Platter


One time, we also had dinner at the resort’s Indonesian restaurant, The Warung. We ordered the traditional Balinese ‘Mengibung Dinner’, which was essentially a platter of dishes from around the island. 

The Warung at Alila Villas Uluwatu
The Warung at Alila Villas Uluwatu

The restaurant features views of the ocean, and theoretically, views of the sunset. However, due to the poor weather during our stay, we were sadly unable to catch a glimpse of the sunset.

View from The Warung
View from The Warung
Table setup at The Warung

After ordering, the restaurant server brought some Indonesian tempeh and prawn crackers that were to be enjoyed with this myriad of Indonesian sambals. Some were much spicier than others, but it proved to be an excellent way to sample many sambals at once. We were also presented with a complimentary herbal alcoholic apéritif topped with ginger beer, which tasted refreshing.

Indonesian crackers and sambal platter

The Mengibung platter was simply spectacular, both in taste and presentation. The platter included the following best to my knowledge: (clockwise from top) Balinese chicken curry, fish satay, prawn lawar salad, chicken and asparagus bean lawar salad, sambal tuna, asparagus bean and peanut srombotan salad, Balinese pork ribs, and sambal matah fried duck. This meal is served with red rice. This was nothing less than a feast and perhaps even too much for two people!

Mengibung Dinner Platter
Mengibung Dinner Platter

The Mengibung Dinner also came with an appropriately small cup of coconut ice cream, which tasted very refreshing.

Coconut Ice Cream

Resort Grounds and Amenities

Based on the look of the resort’s grounds and gardens themselves, it’s already clear why Alila Villa Uluwatu won a lot of architectural awards. The entire place just looked incredibly stunning. Despite employing a modern and sleek theme instead of something more traditional (like you’d find at an Aman), the resort still felt very Balinese. Likewise, it didn’t feel generic at all and the style successfully exudes a sense of place.

Pathway outside the villas
Garden and staircase to the villas
Water feature
Water feature by The Living Room


Alila Villas Uluwatu is perhaps most famous for its spectacular swimming pool along with its bird-cage pavilions. Suffice to say, they did not disappoint. The pool and pavillions were very well kept and looked as beautiful as they do in pictures. The pool is in an L-shape and is surrounded by a handful of sun loungers.

Pool at Alila Villas Uluwatu
Sunset Bar Cabana extending near the cliff

Had it not been for the rain, I would have spent hours just in the pool, whilst overhearing the sounds of the waves crashing onto the cliffs down below. In fact, this setting reminded me of the extraordinary main pool at Amankila.

Pool at Alila Villas Uluwatu
Pool at Alila Villas Uluwatu
View of the pool from the Sunset Bar Cabana
Daybed by the pool

Alila Villas Uluwatu does have access to an isolated private beach some several hundred steps down. As it had been raining every day during my stay, I had not ventured down given the steep and slippery condition of the stairs. That said, as far as I was aware, the beach is not staffed nor does the resort offer any loungers down there. 

View down the cliffs


Alila Villas Uluwatu also has a well-equipped gymnasium located in a standalone building. The gym is wonderfully open 24 hours a day, accessible by keycard. Inside, its equipment is modern and spotless. As an early riser, I was very happy with the fact that it was available at any given time. I imagine this must also be the case to many weary travellers recovering from jetlag.



Finally, the resort also has a small library between the lobby and the villas. The library is equipped with a few comfortable sofas and lounge chairs. In addition to a relatively small selection of books, it also carries several traditional board games.



The service at Alila Villas Uluwatu felt very polished and formal. There weren’t any managers going around to monitor their staff, and that was not necessary at all, since everyone knew what they were doing, and were very good at it too. Each and every staff member we encountered was courteous and professional. Some of them were also very charming and great at making conversations. Everything was great, but notably, the service felt more reactive than proactive. That is not necessarily a bad thing, since every request was fulfilled seamlessly, quickly, and professionally.

Service recovery gesture

For instance, we found that the window between the pool and the room couldn’t close, and as such maintenance was promptly dispatched to fix it. Later, we came back to our room to find an array of delicious sweets along with a small card as a token of apology for the ‘inconvenience’.


Where do I start? Honestly, Alila Villas Uluwatu is singlehandedly one of the most incredible resorts the island has to offer. Nearly everything was flawless at this resort. The breathtaking view, the sleek villas, the delicious food, and the polished service all come together to make a resort that’s really nothing less than spectacular.

It is undeniably a spectacular resort deserving of its reputation.

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