Topless tours, a starlit cinema and fine dining in the jungle - we ticked off our Bali bucket list one adventure at a time at Alila Ubud. Here's what we got up to.
Spending a lavish weekend away in a jungle-hugged resort is a bucket-list must, naturally. But Alila Ubud is so much more than “just” a luxury destination to tick off your list. At this rainforest retreat, you can embark on epic adventures, cultural tours and mystical jungle experiences – all the while soaking up Alila’s five-star luxuries.
You see, Alila Ubud is dedicated to sharing and cherishing Bali’s rich culture and breathtakingly beautiful natural surroundings – with all the perks of staying at an award-winning resort. Think lofty hillside abodes high above the jungle canopy, with boundary-pushing, sleek designs that look out over the island’s most dramatic verdant landscapes.
We were lucky enough to spend an entire weekend in these plush jungle tree-houses, and while we could have lapped up the in-villa luxuries all weekend long (hello oversized al fresco bathtub and private lounge terrace) we went out to tick off our bucket list one Alila adventure at a time. Here’s what we got up to on our jungle escape…
A Cultural Dinner in the Jungle Canopies
Kicking off our Ubud escape on a cultural high, we were given a true taste of Bali’s colourful cuisine and local traditions at Alila Ubud’s iconic Plantation Restaurant. An open-air Balinese-style dining room with towering coconut pillars and a traditional alang-alang roof, Plantation Restaurant stands tall on a dramatic perch, overlooking the mystical infinity pool and the dense jungle canopies out yonder. Here, we feasted on authentic Balinese specialties, steamed and spit-roasted at live cooking stations. The food here follows a farm-to-table philosophy, with seasonal ingredients sourced locally or harvested from the organic garden, meaning every dish is both fresh and sustainable. To top it all off, the local villagers put on a hypnotic and traditional dance performance to ignite the dining room, elevating the evening to an unforgettable cultural dinner.
A Cooking Class in an Organic Garden
The next stop on our cultural Ubud tour took us to Alila Ubud’s organic garden – a blossoming hideaway growing fresh lemongrass, rare black chillies, juicy passion fruits and hot pink Hibiscus. Here, we plucked a collection of flavours and spices to help recreate Bali’s most delicious dishes, together with an assortment of ingredients from an early morning trip to the local market. Alila Ubud’s ever-smiling resident chef then taught us the tricks of Bali’s culinary trade, guiding us through age-old techniques to nail the perfect Nasi Goreng, spice up our sambal skills and braise the creamiest jackfruit curry. All of this in an outdoor kitchen, hidden amidst the garden’s enchanting blooms…
A Topless Tour in a Retro VW
No, it’s not what you’re thinking. This topless tour is totally PG, and it took us on a retro ride around Ubud’s countryside – all in an open-top VW Safari convertible car. With the wind in our hair and a cooler full of cold drinks, we cruised through Ubud’s lush and undulating countrysides, passed emerald green rice paddies, stopped at ancient temples and met smiling school children at the local villages. This vintage tour is part of Alila’s signature collection of curated lifestyle experiences that encourage you to soak up all the best bits of the surrounding neighbourhood – and what better way to do that than in an open-air, classic car…
A Six-Star Holistic Healing Sesh
It wouldn’t be a glamorous weekend away without a blissful spa sesh, so we checked in to the award-winning Spa Alila to immerse in the specialised, holistic well-being and all-natural spa treatments. Wrapped up in Alila’s contemporary surroundings, this six-star sanctuary takes inspiration from ancient Asian healing techniques, age-old beauty recipes and locally-inspired treatments. So, we went for the signature Balinese Massage to really get a taste of Bali’s traditional healing remedies. Unwanted tension simply dissolved and melted away with every gentle stretch and long therapeutic stroke. Firm skin rolling techniques relieved any muscle pain, while special palm and thumb pressure movements untangled stress to get our blood-flowing, spurred along by sweet-smelling essential oils of lemongrass, lavender and chamomile. *Insert long, satisfied sigh here.*
A Table for Two in the Jungle
A real-life fairytale dining experience, Alila Ubud also treated us to a romantic dinner in the jungle, with nothing around our hidden dining pavilion except for flickering candles and the mystical sounds of the jungle by nightfall. Cocooned by lush rainforest, a stunning spread of both Indonesian and International treats were served up and presented on a natural and hand-carved tree, with each plate perched delicately on its branches. The feast is a representation of Indonesia’s elaborate Rijsttafel tradition, where small plates are laid out in abundance to graze and taste your way through. Think grilled satay, barbecued prawns and spicy croquettes – all in the wild surrounds of the jungle.
A Starlit Cinema
To round off the perfect weekend away, our final night at Alila Ubud was spent poolside, munching on popcorn and catching a movie beneath the stars. With a glass of red wine in hand and a cosy blanket to keep the crisp jungle air at bay, The Life Of Pi was projected onto the big screen, seemingly floating above the pool with a cloak of constellations twinkling behind. If luxe jungle living is what you’re after, this is it…
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