You can start the day with a jog through paddy fields before grazing on a gourmet tasting breakfast; sleep to the sound of breaking waves and howling wind while passing out on a marshmallow-soft bed; and flitter between the comfort of a private pool and the all-encompassing luxuriousness of an award-winning spa, but Soori Bali’s real charm is in its unassuming, understated opulence – the kind that allows you to walk barefoot to breakfast and then potter lazily around the stunning grounds without facing interruption or fussiness.
Situated on the desolate west coast of the otherwise arguably overrun Bali, Soori is surrounded by paddy fields to its south-side and the bluest of blue ocean to its north. Black, volcanic sand glistens with diamond-like specks of stone and the beach stretches out far enough for long, luscious sunrise and sunset strolls. If there are other resorts and tourists nearby, there’s zero sign of them. In fact, you can meander through Soori’s grounds and pass no more than one or two people.
Soori is made up of a handful of either sea or rice-field-facing villas. Each is almost entirely private and champions a clean, minimal feel designed to declutter the mind and soul. Relaxation is encouraged, with oversized and sumptuous lounge areas, inside and out, while a grandiose bathroom offers an alfresco shower and bath overlooking the ocean. Designed, owned and operated by renowned architect Soo K. Chan, it prioritises environmental and cultural sustainability. Crafted from local materials, it maintains a true sense of place, with architecture, interior design and landscape from award-winning design firm SCDA. Situated at the cusp of the resort and nestled between palms, are two stunning residences and the ten-bedroom Soori Estate (which happens to have housed the entire Kardashian family on a recent trip to the island).
The dress code is boho slips and bikinis for barefoot strolls through the verdurous paddy fields. If it is a bit laissez-faire, nobody cares. You’ll sunbathe against the backdrop of towering palms and silky slate ten-foot walls, feel the pull of the mighty Indian Ocean, and gulp down the serenity of crisp, clean air.
In a world that’s so slow-paced that the civilised time to sit down to breakfast is definitely not before 10am, the stress simply slips away. Dinner is enjoyed beneath vivaciously glowing stars while pit fires simmer in the background. At signature restaurant Ombak, cuisine flows between Indonesian favourites bursting with spices to Western cuisine for the less adventurous. Fresh white fish is scooped effortlessly out of the ocean by local fisherman, and the milk of young coconuts practically replaces water.
The dress code is boho slips and bikinis for barefoot strolls through the verdurous paddy fields. If it is a bit laissez-faire, nobody cares
At Soori, simplicity is the most direct route to serenity. Doing nothing is encouraged, and sleeping for hour upon hour is essential. When that wears thin, a short drive down the coastline takes you to Bali’s cluster of buzzing beach towns, namely Canggu and Seminyak, for bustling beaches and street after street of restaurants and concept stores.
Alternatively, a 90-minute journey inland takes you to the heart of the island’s spirituality, Ubud. But that can all wait, if you ask us. Soori Bali competes as one of the most soothing spaces on the planet, so why interrupt the relaxation?
Need To Know
What To Pack
Sandals, light dresses, shorts, graphic tees and relaxed trousers for cooler evenings. Prepare for plenty of down time with a book (Grazia recommends The Man Who Saw Everything by Man Booker-shortlisted Deborah Levy), and when finished, dip in to Soori’s Reading Room for plenty more page turners.
Overlooking the ocean and boasting tranquil interiors, from black marble to gently lapping water features, the award-winning Soori Spa is a treat in itself. A team of highly skilled and attentive practitioners and visiting wellness experts offer physical alignment and massage therapies, acupuncture, meditation and neurotherapy. Indulge in a treatment once a day for a truly immersive experience.
Best Places To Eat
If you find yourself craving cuisine beyond the plush grounds of Soori, head to surfers’ playground, Canggu, situated an hour’s drive from the resort. Pop in to one of its many homegrown cafés for a rainbow of acai and buddha bowls, alongside the island’s freshest avocado on toast.
Many of the world’s most daring surfers flock to Bali year after year for a dose of its world class surf. Seminyak, just a few towns down from Soori, pushes out tiny, beginner-sized waves. If you are less inclined to dip your toes and prefer to spectate, then perch atop a stunning Uluwatu clifftop – situated on the island’s southern peninsula – and while away an entire day observing ten-foot swells and the pro surfers who master them.
Visit Soori’s on-site boutique for plush kaftans, leather holdalls in exotic hues and a refined edit of sun hats. On your way home, stop off at a local arts and crafts store for traditional Balinese paintings and sculptures.
• One-bedroom villas at Soori Bali start from Dhs2,500 per night. Visit sooribali.com
Pictures: Supplied and Jason Lloyd-Evans