The Australian - Wish Magazine - - HOTELS -

Be­fore a treat­ment at Soori Spa, a sweet lime juice is pre­sented plus three types of mas­sage oils from which to choose. Some­thing en­er­gis­ing and minty, or aro­matic rose­mary, or calm­ing laven­der? My de­ci­sion is im­me­di­ate. Bring on that re­lax­ing laven­der, please, and make it snappy. I have sur­vived a day of traf­fic trauma around Seminyak and have not yet ad­justed to the seren­ity of Soori Bali, near the revered tem­ple of Tanah Lot on the is­land’s west coast. I no­tice there is struc­tural re­align­ment on the spa menu but the ther­a­pist is far too de­mure to sug­gest that I could do with a dose.

With a kilo­me­tre-long black-sand beach in front, and a back­drop of rice fields, this is an oa­sis in the truest sense, ap­pear­ing like a rev­e­la­tion at the end of strag­gling roads that pass work­shops and small farms be­fore reach­ing the her­itage vil­lage of Ker­am­bi­tan.

This 48-villa re­sort, formerly un­der the Alila brand, seems freshly plopped from outer space, an il­lu­sion strength­ened by a feel­ing of buoy­ancy. The sin­u­ous ge­om­e­try of the ar­chi­tec­ture im­bues the blocky grey and white build­ings with a near-lev­i­tat­ing light­ness; fil­tered sun­light falls in di­ag­o­nal stripes on pol­ished con­crete, re­cessed light­ing cre­ates shadow play, and gar­dens fea­ture a pro­fu­sion of frangi­pani, gar­de­nias and palms.

The use of vol­canic stone links the land­scape and the in­te­ri­ors. Owner-op­er­a­tor and de­signer, Sin­ga­pore­based Soo K. Chan of SCDA, a firm spe­cial­is­ing in ar­chi­tec­ture, struc­tural de­sign and in­te­ri­ors, de­scribes Soori Bali as be­ing “moulded out of lo­cal ma­te­ri­als”. He says his con­cept was to echo the an­cient prac­tice of subak wa­ter chan­nels used by farm­ers; many of the re­sort build­ings have been sited around ex­ist­ing ir­ri­ga­tion routes and cer­e­mo­nial pas­sages for the vil­lagers’ re­li­gious pro­ces­sions to beach tem­ples.

The but­ler-at­tended vil­las all have pri­vate pools, with a row of seven an­gled to­wards the loom­ing con­tours of Mount Batukaru, and in two cat­e­gories fac­ing west for lush pink and pur­ple ocean sun­sets. There are loung­ing ar­eas, petite gar­dens and slid­ing glass pan­els that seam­lessly link in­doors and out. Slide straight from the sofa for a swim? Come on in. Bath­rooms are gi­gan­tic ex­panses with deep two-per­son tubs and padded head-rests, plus bat­tal­ions of branded toi­letries and moun­tains of white tow­els. My onebed­room ocean pool villa is reached via stone steps and has a cool el­e­va­tion; there are also two-bed­room op­tions in this cat­e­gory, while seven fam­ily com­pound­style res­i­dences range from three to 10 bed­rooms. But given the beach is not pri­vate, I won­der if the groundlevel beach pool vil­las, with di­rect ocean ac­cess, would be com­pletely shielded from passers-by.

You know you are in a great re­sort when ev­ery de­tail has been con­sid­ered, even down to the turn-down amenity, which is a furled flower nes­tled in a leafy cone, like a trop­i­cal party cor­sage. And when the mini-bar is ac­tu­ally a maxi-bar, stocked with Ba­li­nese-pro­duced sea-salt choco­late, cof­fee pods with In­done­sian blends, and TWG cot­ton-bagged teas from Sin­ga­pore in flavours such as sen­cha and hi­bis­cus. My but­ler, In­dra, ap­pears like a ge­nie to at­tend to my mea­gre needs. He is so en­thu­si­as­tic that I in­vent a few small re­quests, in­clud­ing a deca­dent lunch by my pool of nasi goreng ayam. I eat while dip­ping in the shal­lows, fork in one hand and book in the other, straw hat jammed in place. Struc­tural re­align­ment has been ef­fort­lessly achieved. Su­san Kuro­sawa is The Australian’s travel editor.


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