My friends always tell me I'm weird whenever I fly off some place to be on my own. But I felt somewhat vindicated recently when the list of 9 great place to be a recluse
I wrote for CNNGo got picked up by CNN's US site, and got the highest number of facebook likes out of all my other articles. Turns out, a lot of people like the idea of being a recluse as well.
Being in the travel industry, I'm very fortunate to be privy to some of the finer perks of the trade. So my reclusive retreats this year have been in much more luxurious fashion than some of the destinations on the CNNGo list. In January, I spent two nights at Phuket Pavilions
, and I just came back from 4 nights at Alila Villas Soori
in Bali. It was a fortuitous coincidence that my Bali trip coincided with Nyepi, a day of silence to mark their new year. Both retreats were a boon for productivity. Aside from breakfasts and random meals, I sequestered myself in these lush villas. Room service was just a button's press away. Here's what I enjoyed most at each.
I stayed in their new-built (as of November 2010) Plantation Pool Pavilion
1. Fully-loaded Sonos audio system wired for two zones (bathroom+bedroom and living room) so you can listen to totally different music depending on which zone you're in. There was also a dock for my iPhone.
2. In-villa spa treatment room with own steam/sauna
3. Extremely spacious living room with a very well appointed, but unfortunately underutilized (because ordering room service was even better) mini bar. Ample room to spread out and work in the cool confines of the living room when the poolside got a bit too hot and bright
4. Poolside -- great for reading, yoga and a refreshing dip when the reading lulled me to sleep.
Alila Villas Soori
I stayed in their Ocean Villa. Alila has four resorts in Bali. The one in Ubud was formerly the Chedi. And then there's Manggis (East coast) and Uluwatu (where Bulgari and Intercontinental are). I love Soori's location though. To me, it feels the most reclusive and has both blue ocean and green rice paddy views. It's near Tanah Lot Temple in Kerambitan, which hasn't seen much development...yet...Being there for Nyepi was a big bonus. The burning of the ogoh-ogoh (demon effigies) took place right on the resort's beach.
Of course, W Retreat & Spa in Seminyak
(retreat and Seminyak makes this name seem an oxymoron) opened last Tuesday too, but I was just enjoying the stillness at Soori too much to venture to Seminyak to check it out. I did find out from GM Marco Groton that the Singaporean owner and architect of Soori (Soo Chan
) was also the architect for W. The interior designer was Hong Kong's AB Concept
1. Waking up, meditating and doing a bit of yoga to this view.
2. Chef Ashton's juices. He got me to like green juices...with spirulina...need I say more.
3. Chef Ashton's Tasting Breakfasts. Or think of it as breakfast tapas. In addition to a selection of breads and pastries, smoked fish (I had their smoked gindara every morning) and cheese, he serves up an exquisite selection of around 10 dishes that change daily, which range from Western faves such as waffles as well as Indonesian such as mie goreng. One of my faves was his scrambled duck egg presented in the duck egg shell with two petit slices of toast topped with truffled bacon.
4. This photo might seem more like a plug for iPad than for their well-appointed bath tub. It was raining when I took this shot, but on a fine day, the view is of the ocean. I'm waiting for someone to come up with a waterproof cover for the iPad so I can take it into the plunge pool.
5. Outdoor shower. Why don't more resort villas have outdoor showers?
6. Farewell takeaway lunch for the car ride to the airport with a big box filled with the perfect snack to go with StudioCX on-demand in-flight entertainment: Popcorn in three flavours (kaffir lime, rosemary and truffle). The bottle of green juice is Super Skin (orange, cucumber and ginger).
Labels: Alila, Bali, Phuket