SLEEK SANCTUARY

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Published on March 10, 2017 with No Comments

It’s easy to get paralysed by luxury at Soori Bali.

Words ANIS RAMLI
Images SOORI BALI

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Anyone who has ever made the journey to inner Bali will know that it is always a feast of the senses. Arriving into its airport, and as the big bustling scene that is Denpasar is left behind, the landscape changes almost into a visual storybook that details the island’s evolution. Highways give way to rickety one-lane roads where cars jostle with two-wheeled push carts selling many local staples, usually bakso, an Indonesian meatball-soup-and-noodle dish. Shops and workshops line every street, cramped close to each other, competing for space and tourists. The island’s – and generally the Indonesian archipelago’s – unique trait and heritage are well displayed: from intricate stone carvings of the people of Western New Guinea to the detailed woodworks of the people of Java and the indigenous woven textiles of local Balinese.

As the journey goes deeper into the heart of Bali’s inner regencies, these sights become scarcer. The island’s crowd and commercial vibe slowly fade away. In their place are tiny ‘warung’, simple sundry shops that serve the local villagers, fuss-free sheds offering bike repairs and moms-and-pops shops that sell gasoline by the bottle. Rice fields hug the roads; makeshift scarecrows dotting the vast green landscape and empty bottles hung low criss-crossing the fields to scare preying birds away.

This lost paradise – the serenity, peace and magic of the island – is what awaits you at Soori Bali, a resort that finds itself lodged amidst a stunning backdrop of land, mountain and sea. It is the perfect introduction to the island’s last known wilderness and beauty. Found in the heart of Tabanan regency, Soori Bali is an intimate hideaway, perfect for those longing to experience Bali’s long lost primal seclusion.

Yet the resort is nothing but primal. Just 48 sleek and minimalist villas are available – one with ten bedrooms and its own private kitchen – each offering the ultimate privacy and luxury without compromising comfort. The only hard decision to be made is whether you want to wake up to a sea of green verdant rice fields, or the wide expanse of the Indian Ocean with its stunning black volcanic sand beach. This interchangeable scenery is what gives the resort an immense feel, yet it is intimate at the same time.

Within its secluded sanctuary, guests are looked after by their own personal butler. Each villa has a plunge pool, private terrace, a sunken bathtub
and an outdoor shower. For unobtrusive views of the Indian Ocean, the second-storey Ocean Pool Villa is top choice. If you can manage to tear yourself away from the room, the grounds are yours to explore.

The three restaurants highlight the area’s local produce on their respective menus. Breakfast is a culinary adventure, taking on a tasting menu approach, allowing guests to experience the diversity of the kitchen staff. From homemade granola to farm-fresh village eggs, every meal is a celebration of the area’s fertile grounds. The spa is everything you could wish for and more. Slick and sexy at the same time, this calm haven is stocked with made-in-Bali organic spa products, with programmes that include a la carte treatments or half-day pampering journeys that highlight Asian healing techniques. If the menu overwhelms, rest assure that you can do no wrong with the classic Balinese massage.

At press time, the resort is planning the relaunch of its Soori Spa, expanding the services and guest experiences. In the works are the hosting of an onsite traditional medicine practitioner and visiting international wellness experts. Well-respected US-based doctor Andrew Taylor will join the team to administer a raft of therapies including reiki, acupuncture, herbology, pulse diagnosis, Chinese tea as medicine and traditional healing techniques. US-trained clinical psychologist, marriage and family therapist, Dr Harold Robers, will also be onboard to lead Psycare retreats from March until November 2017 designed to boost neurological shaping of the brain and nervous system. The resort aims to introduce additional clinics and retreat experiences and strive to help guests heal holistically.

What also differentiates Soori Bali from other Balinese and tropical resorts is its genuine connection with nearby villages and the local culture. Architect Soo K. Chan designed Soori Bali with respect for the integrity of the centuries-old rice field irrigation practice, “subak”, with villas and common areas built around existing irrigation paths. The award-winning architecture also drew inspiration from the local landscape and working villages, with the resort crafted out of stone from nearby village quarries and adorned with terracotta and other ceramic ornaments from local artisans.

Moreover, guests are also encouraged to experience any of the Journeys by Soori programmes that really take them into the heart of Balinese culture. These one-of-a-kind experiences explore the island’s everyday traditions, from visiting the village terracotta earthenware factory to the workshop that provides much of the ceramicware found in the villas. Or take in an exploration of the rice farming practices that are ensconced in nature conservation and the local market that takes place every day from 3am onwards. In each of these visits, you have the opportunity to instantly connect with village artisans, converse with them and experience slow travel that is so much more enriching.

When evening arrives, the sunset from the beach beckons a slow walk on its fine black sand. On some days, the local youths gather for a spot of beach soccer, eager to enjoy the fresh air and take advantage of such stunning vista. But there is a spot just beyond the villas that make for a perfect winding down time: a rocky ledge that juts out of a tiny peninsula. From here, you can look out to the entire resort, watch the rolling waves of the Indian Ocean, and have a 360° of the village that lends its divine natural surroundings to Soori Bali and making it a contemporary heaven on earth.

 

 

Royal Brunei flies Bali 4x weekly. Discover things to do in Bali on www.muhibah.com.bn

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