When traveling, my strong preference has typically skewed toward Airbnbs, or boutique hotels. I’m also not a big resort person. While the idea of laying around a pool being served cocktails all day probably sounds appealing to anyone, me included, when I travel, I really like to experience the culture of where I am. Often, resorts feel like you could be anywhere. And I don’t pay tons of money and spend days in transit to have an experience that feels like it could have happened 20 minutes from my house. (Granted, it’d have to be a very warm day in England to offer warm relaxation of most resorts I’ve been to.)
When Luxe Nomad reached out to me and asked if I would do a review of the Anantara Uluwatu Resort while I was in Bali, I was a little hesitant. But I penciled it in for my last night and decided it would be a nice way to end my trip.
Nice is an understatement.
The hotel is located quite far back on a private road in Uluwatu, which is pretty remote as it is. It is definitely one of those places that I can see people staying for their whole trip. You don’t really need to leave the resort for anything, and it is actually pretty difficult to get out, as well! You’d definitely need a taxi to go anywhere.
Then again, why would you WANT to leave with this view!?
The check in process was a little arduous. They needed to see my email confirmation- and it was difficult to connect to the internet- before I was brought to my room. It didn’t bother me too much, I just enjoyed my welcome drink, put the flower they gave me in my hair and took in all the amazing sights of the reception room and the Indian Ocean beyond.
I was then brought to my room by a very nice man, Ketut. By now, I’d been hearing the same names over and over. I’d met at least 10 Ketut during my time in Bali. Why, I asked, did everyone have the same name?! He informed me, as we wandered through the beautiful hotel grounds down to my suite, that everyone has the same name, predicated on birth order, in Bali. There are just four male names on the whole island! So you can tell a lot from someone’s name. If a man is Wayan, for instance, you know he’s the eldest. Then there is Made, Nyoman and Ketut. If you have more than four kids, you just start over!
We arrived at my room and I almost died. Wait, did I say room? I mean palace.
The room was huge, plush and beyond comfortable. A large couch for a lazy evening (or afternoon hiding from the sun), a huge king bed with crisp white linens and a his/hers bathroom with a beautiful waterfall shower, done in all marble. Nespresso machine, fresh fruit and minibar for all the necessary comforts, and a stock of bathroom amenities that, while watered down, smelled glorious. But I’m that’s not even the smallest bit the good part.
This amazing soaking tub out on my huge deck, wasn’t either.
Sometimes, pictures speak a thousand words, and in the case of my view, it certainly does. I wanted to see the legendary Uluwatu sunset, and this was the right place for it. My balcony overlooked the shining Indian Ocean, and as if that wasn’t enough, I had a huge jet tub in case I wanted to bathe while watching the sunset. It couldn’t have gotten any better. And the best part was, it was ALL MINE!
The rest of the hotel was just as much a slice of paradise- although, obviously, I had to share the rest with other people!
My first stop was the pool, just a few steps down from my room. Its a huge, glamourous and blue inifinity pool that, from the right angles, stretches right in to the ocean. The view from the pool deck was almost as good as the one from my room. My room being higher on the cliff, the pool is a good place to view the many, many surfers hitting the waves, and to see the cliffs that surround the hotel.
During happy hour, which runs during sunset at the pool, I decided to head in to watch from my balcony. Although happy hour is technically only valid at the pool deck, the staff rung through my sangria as buy one get one free. Ace!
For dinner, I visited the Japanese restaurant on the sixth floor of the main building. I’ve never been to a Japanese steakhouse, so it was quite the experience for me. The food was fresh and fragrant. I had the tuna tartar. The prices were outrageous- the same as in London- it was such a special night, after the sunset, that I didn’t mind at all.
Exhausted from all my travels (and the sangria couldn’t have helped much), I headed back to my room for a soak in the tub. My room faced one of the main hotel restaurants, the only one that’s not in the main building. There is live music on Saturday nights, so it was quite loud well into the night. I was so taken with the sound of the ocean, so relaxed from my bath and so full of sangria and Japanese that I had no trouble falling off to sleep, though.
The next morning, I was up around 6am- still on yoga retreat schedule- which gave me some time to take photos of the hotel’s shared spaces without many other people interfering. You’d be surprised how busy it was even at the early hour, though. There are a lot of surfers who were up early to shred some gnar. (Can I get away with the lingo?) I sipped a cup of coffee, watched the sun rise, took a wander around the grounds and then went down to the pool for an early morning dip.
The hotel offers a variety of complimentary activities, which is probably a good thing, as it is so remote, and even on the main road, there are just a bunch of warungs and shops. Some of the activities include basket weaving, Balinese dance and my personal favourite, yoga. I went to the wedding chapel for Sunday morning yoga. This was my view.
The class was a great way to work out before a day in a sunchair, followed by a 20-hour flight back to London. And the hotel was fantastic, being super flexible about my check out time to accommodate my super late evening flight. More time in the sun at the pool for me!
Before yoga, I ordered room service- again, at incredible expense compared to what I’d been spending. With this view, though, who can blame me?
The food was phenomenal. Although I’d gotten used to fried rice, or yogurt and granola at the retreat, for breakfast, it being my favourite meal of the day (as anyone who has read a hotel review I’ve written before can attest), I take it pretty seriously. This didn’t disappoint. Scrambled eggs with tomatoes and french toast with caramel sauce, topped off with mango juice. Seriously. Delish.
Full of breakfast, I crammed myself into a bikini to take in my last bit of sun and views of the Indian Ocean. And got in a few photos, thanks to the kind staff at the hotel!
Right before check out, I headed up to the 360 Restaurant for my last (and fanciest) gado gado, for old time’s sake. (If you’ve read more about my travels, you’ll know this is a dish I lived on, being a pescatarian, throughout my travels in Bali.)
Check out was also a bit of a hassle; and my eyes watered when I got the final bill. It isn’t that the hotel is so expensive in definite terms; juice, two glasses of sangria, dinner, breakfast and lunch amounted to about $85, which compared to a retreat of this calibre in the US or UK is ridiculously cheap. However, I was paying 4-10 times what I’d pay in any of the towns I visited- including Seminyak, which is notoriously expensive. So if you’re going to stay here for a while, beware! You can’t get out without a taxi and staying in will cost you.
It doesn’t matter though. The views, the comfort, the experience. It is all worth it, and not something I’ll forget anytime soon.
A special thank you to the staff, who were so incredible, during my stay. And a huge thanks to Luxe Nomad for making my stay possible.