Up the coast from Tanah Lot, between a backdrop of mountains, rice terraces and the tropical beachfront lies Soori Bali. One of the island’s most coveted spots and a favourite with A-list celebrities like Olivia Culpo and the Kardashian clan, the luxe designer resort plays host to those seeking an escape from Bali’s crowded tourist hotspots with a more grounded, restorative experience of the Island of the Gods. Compare Retreats expert and yoga enthusiast Gretchen Lagrange checked into the luxury Balinese resort to see if it lived up to its A-list reputation…
Located in Kerambitan, Tabanan in the Southwest of Bali, Soori Bali sits on the ocean between Mount Batakaru and miles of lush green terraced rice fields. Further up the coastline than Tanah Lot and the hip surfer neighbourhood of Canggu, Soori lies just beyond the main thrust of Bali’s tourism, providing a unique safe haven and more authentic experience of the Island of the Gods.
The hour-long drive from Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) airport to Soori Bali began in busy Southern Bali, but quickly opened up to long stretches of roads with lush green vistas.
Modern Minimalist Resort
There are 48 villas on the property, all with their own private pools and outdoor living areas with breathtaking views of either the ocean or the mountain and rice fields. From the moment you enter the property, the chic contemporary influence of award-winning designer and architect Soo K. Chan who designed, built and owns the resort is evident. Upon arriving at the modern open-air lobby, I was blown away with the stunning views of the crashing ocean and the gorgeous minimal decor all in calming shades of grey.
In addition to the villas, there are also three residences: one with three bedrooms, one with six, and one with 10 bedrooms (where the whole Kardashian clan recently spent a holiday for a lofty US$10,000 per night).
The resort boasts a large spa and fully equipped health club, three restaurants, a bar, and the main swimming pool and beachfront, both with bales, daybeds and lounge chairs and umbrellas.
I stayed in a gorgeous Mountain Pool Villa which has a large outdoor lounge area and pool and unobstructed views of Mount Batukaru. When I was there in May, the rice has also just been planted so the rice fields were glowing green and it was so peaceful and beautiful.
The room is divided by a large light well that makes the room feel so bright and airy, with the bedroom on one side, and the living area on the other. The bathroom features a dual couples sink, with a decadent soaking tub, and both an indoor and private outdoor shower. My villa also had all the luxury amenities like a Nespresso machine, full-stocked mini bar, and Smart TVs.
All villas have a dedicated butler: mine was lovely and always around when I needed anything, even when that meant a 5am wake-up call for my meditation.
Organic Balinese Dining
There are three restaurants at Soori Bali: Ombak, with a Western menu which has a lovely bar and al fresco dining for stunning sunset dinners; Cotta, serving a rotating and delicious breakfast menu in the morning, Asian cuisine at lunch, and Indonesian fare at dinner; and The Reading Room, a spacious cafe-like dining room which focuses on healthy dishes, fresh juice, organic snacks and light meals.
At breakfast all pastries and breads are baked fresh and the tropical fruits where out of this world. The team will make a special menu for you if you have any dietary restrictions or, like me, are on a wellness retreat. You can also have any of your meals (as I often did) in the comfort of your own villa. A food highlight for me was an amazing dessert called Sago Pearl (which I heard is a favourite of the owner, Mr Chan) made with coconut sorbet and coconut granita with coconut milk and jackfruit infused with palm sugar—a bit decadent, but worth every calorie.
Indonesia’s Best Spa & Clifftop Yoga
My three-day weekend programme started with a sunrise yoga class with the lovely and talented yogi, Gede Angga Juliantara. I was picked up in the morning as the sun was rising and driven the short ride by buggy to the stunning cliffs overlooking the resort called “The Peninsula”. From there I met Gede under a gorgeous yoga bale overlooking the sea. He led me through a challenging Vinyasa flow and then we spent a good 45 minutes practising headstands. It was the perfect way to start the morning.
Throughout my weekend I practised with Gede and in between, hit the health club which is fully equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and full of natural light. The highlight of my retreat though was Soori Bali’s stunning spa.
Located in its own large building on the property, Soori Bali Spa is as gorgeous architecturally as you would expect of a design-conscious, five-star property, and then some. It makes perfect sense that it has won numerous awards, including Best Spa in Indonesia 2018 for the World Spa Awards, and has been nominated again this year.
There is team of onsite practitioners and visiting wellness experts that offer all kinds of massage therapies as well as meditation, acupuncture and a Vichy rain shower facility among many other bespoke treatments and techniques. I was welcomed into the spa with a cold herbal towel, refreshing tea, and guided through the selection of herbal oils I could choose for my treatment.
My 150-minute treatment started with a herbal steam bath made of fresh lemongrass and ginger. Already feeling blissed out, I was sat in a chair and received the signature foot bath ritual. Using salts to scrub and warm stone for massaging, the foot bath ritual was created to calm the mind and relax the tension on my tired feet. I then had a decadent half-hour facial, again using all-natural products selected by the spa. Next, I was treated to a signature Spirit of Soori massage. This massage uses warm oil and hits pressure points that helped so much in relieving my aching muscles.
The most amazing part of this spa journey, though, was the Vichy Shower, created in France and known for its restorative healing powers: guests relax on a custom-made, heated stone table where the black sand, cocoa and tamarind body scrub is applied to exfoliate and moisturise before the rain showers are turned on. Post-treatment, my skin was glowing and refreshed, and the whole experience relaxed me for the rest of the stay.
Soori Bali is one of the most exquisite and unique resorts in Bali with its access and views of the mountain and rice fields on one side, and the crashing ocean on the other. Architecturally stunning, I felt completely spoilt with anything I could want just a phone call away.
Soori does curate wellness getaways as a signature offering, but if you are looking for a hardcore detox with a full-on healthy menu, with on-call dietitians and doctors, I would stick to COMO Shambala Estate in Ubud. However, if you are looking for an amazing and luxurious holiday away from the touristy areas of Bali, with an excellent wellness component in one of the most amazing and pristine settings, then Soori Bali is your spot.
The Vichy Shower was one-of-a-kind. It was truly one of the most amazing spa experiences I have ever had—it’s worth a night at Soori for this experience alone.
Our Insider Tip
Although the ocean is sometimes a bit rough, it was amazing to walk the beach in the mornings to see the beautiful sunrise—well worth the early wakeup call to enjoy this natural wonder.