Can’t decide between a chill-out holiday or a cultural break? Boutique retreat Alila Ubud in Bali offers a serene mix of both, with poolside pampering in the tropical jungle just a hop from the island’s arty heartland…
Style Verdant hillside village
Setting Sweet valley high
Why this week? Book through Smith by 31 January to enjoy our exclusive hotel offer, Ubud Discovery & Spa Odyssey, for stays of three nights or more before 30 April. Ideal for culture-vultures or hedonists, it includes breakfast, your own private car and driver for an eight-hour bespoke trip, daily 60-minute spa treatments for two and a romantic dinner à deux alfresco.
Our favourite bits: Inspired by traditional Balinese village life, each room at hilltop boutique resort Alila Ubud offers panoramic views of the river and forest. The pool also has a global reputation: it’s a watery sliver of infinity that seems to overhang the valley plunging beneath it. At Spa Alila, the massages are out of this world, and if you plan on trekking or cycling the area’s perfect for both, with mountain bikes freely available to borrow. You can also lose a day pootling around nearby Ubud’s galleries, crafts workshops, boutiques and market, with nightly music and dance performances.
Mr & Mrs Smith say: ‘I’m lazing on a bamboo bed, sipping a lychee martini and absorbing the last of the day’s sun. Bali’s vast Ayung Gorge stretches below me, and I can hear the water trickling over the edge of the Alila’s infinity pool. Then, in my peripheral vision, I notice a hairy, grey figure skulking. He creeps past and is swiftly joined by six others. It’s a large family of monkeys. As I settle back into my martini I realise that’s one of the joys of Bali: just when you think it’s becoming a little too Westernised, a little too predictable, you experience an unexpected thrill.’
Read Sophie Barton’s full Alila Ubud review.
You say… ‘We really liked the medicine man that the hotel suggested. The local Balinese made it a proper Bali experience. We also loved the bike ride around Alila Ubud, and would definitely suggest trying the yoga.’ (Nina, GoldSmith, stayed 16 August 2012).