Tucked away in the west coast of Bali along the Indian Ocean, Soori Bali is one of those resorts that you hear about, dream about and tell yourself that one day, you must experience. At least that was the case for me. A 1.5-hour drive from the airport (traffic was bad), the build-up of anticipation was unbearable. But pulling in to the cool grey driveway and setting eyes on the property for the first time was surprisingly relieving. The water courts in the lobby and reception area, the clean lines of the architecture, and the soothing palette and textures of every surface — all of which carried through the entire hotel — were a sight for sore eyes.
Originally a vacation home for owner-architect Soo K Chan and his wife, Ling Fu, Soori was expanded into a resort and has swept up awards for its design and aesthetics ever since. Built and managed in accordance with EarthCheck international environment standards, the use of local materials and generous consideration for the landscape and site planning were undertaken throughout the construction and creative process.
For instance, natural ventilation is promoted wherever possible to maximise air flow through villas and common spaces. Balinese motifs abound as terracotta screens provide a distinct contrast with dark terrazzo floors and walls clad in dark grey volcanic lava stones.
My Ocean Pool Villa — one of three entry-level villas along with the Mountain Pool and Beach Pool accommodations — was extremely spacious yet cosy. Coming in at a whopping 2,960-sq-ft, it was the perfect amount of space for two. Every villa comes with its own private infinity pool and direct beach access to a sparkling black sand beach known as Kelating. There’s also a pool deck complete with a massive sofa, side table for your towels and sunscreen, and a round table where you can have your morning breakfast or sundowners.
Along with individual enclosures for the toilet, rain shower and glorious outdoor shower surrounded by high walls and palm leaves, the bathroom area is huge. I practically skipped from one end to the other every time I was in there, past the double vanities and floor-to-ceiling mirror to the marble bathtub that was constantly drenched in sunlight.
Walls are clad in a cool grey sandstone while black volcanic stone brings the colour of the beach inside. Pops of mint in the form of cushions, bed runners and sofa seats are scattered in the bed and living spaces too. The whole setup is amply furnished and well thought-out, so you have everything you need within easy reach.
The Food and Drinks
Soori has two in-house restaurants, Ombak and Cotta. The former serves delicious Western dishes and the latter is open for breakfast through dinner and offers creative Asian-inspired dishes. Both restaurants use fresh, local produce and spices from the hotel’s garden. As a small eater, I ordered half portions for everything, which the kitchens were happy to oblige.
The breakfast menu, in particular, is designed to be a tasting experience so every item offers just a few bites. There’s a different local dish that the chefs whip up everyday too.
There’s also The Reading Room, where one can enjoy healthy foods and beverages throughout the day. It’s also where I worked at night since its set-up is much more like an informal library and, as the name suggests, a reading room.
Some 50% of the staff are recruited from the surrounding community and nearby villages. Every single one of them are friendly, eager, attentive, warm, discreet… the list goes on. Guests receive a dedicated butler and so despite the vastness of the compound, each time I called for service, my doorbell would ring just a couple of minutes later.
Soori Bali is built for romance and memories so I bumped into mostly couples and well-heeled families. There are more than enough secluded areas everywhere you go for any one group to occupy so worry not about privacy and quiet.
Traffic determines how much time it takes to get from point A to B. It took 1.5-hours to get to the hotel on my way in but 2-hours instead on my way out. Even a day-trip to Ubud from Soori took 1.5-hours there and 2-hours back. Canggu is nearer and just a half-hour away by car. The famous Tanah Lot temple is 20-minutes drive away. As you do in Bali, try to avoid peak hour expeditions.
For Your Consideration
Perhaps there was a problem with the plumbing but the water in my bath wasn’t warm. The heavy wooden doors in my villa weren’t the easiest to slide back and forth either. If you’re a light sleeper like me, it’s best to bring along some ear plugs to pop in at night too, as the sound of crashing waves so near to your doorstep can keep you up. Or you can regard it as a natural sound machine to lull you into your beauty rest.
Having never set foot on a black sand beach before, and frankly not a big fan of the sand or sea, I found myself walking up and down the stretch every day, twice a day. There’s just something altogether magical about sparkling grains under your feet and on your toes. And you can even see your reflection in the sand after the waters ebb around and flow back out.
Personally, I’m big on ambience wherever I go. At Soori, it’s almost temple-like and calming. Yet when you need assistance, just shoot your hand up and a staff member will appear out of nowhere with a big smile on his or her face.
Make it a point to come here and you’ll discover for yourself why you’d want to come back again and again. The staff will ensure that you’re constantly and completely looked after so you can focus all your attention and energy on yourself. I only wish I could have spent more nights here in this eco-haven.
Classic Balinese hospitality
Food & Drinks
Bed & Bath
True romantics and well-heeled families
Note– The critic was invited by the hotel. But all the opinions expressed herewith are her own.
Where: Soori Bali (A member of The Leading Hotels of the World)
Banjar Dukuh, Desa Kelating, Kerambitan, Kelating, Kec. Tabanan,
Kabupaten Tabanan, Bali 82161, Indonesia
Phone: +62 361 8946388