Strung along a Balinese cliff edge, Six Senses Uluwatu is a stylish, sustainable stay on the Bukit Peninsula, overlooking some of the island's best surf breaks. As well as temples for neighbours, you'll have Indian Ocean panoramas served up at every turn, a butler making your life easy, and dining options that include a Japanese-inspired barbecue and farm-to-table fare. And it all comes guilt-free, since Six Senses has taken on the role of eco-warrior-in-residence: local wood was used in the construction, most of the staff are from the island and even your roof is in on it, cleverly designed to be so cooling you won’t need to switch on the air-conditioning.
Get this when you book through us:
Your choice of a 30-minute foot massage for two or a body scrub for two
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm, also flexible.
Double rooms from £364.69 (IDR6,511,225), including tax at 21 per cent.
Rates usually include breakfast.
The Eat with Six Senses programme lets you tuck in without a guilty conscience (and probably with fewer calories) – expect ingredients from local farmers and produce plucked straight from the resort’s garden.
No check-ins or check-outs are allowed on 25 March, 2020, when Bali observes Nyepi Day (Day of Silence). Bali’s airport also closes for the day.
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout, gym, kids’ club. In rooms: air-conditioning, minibar, free bottled water, tea and coffee, flatscreen TV and Republic of Soap bath products.
Our favourite rooms
If a private pool to cool off in is a dealbreaker, avoid the Sky Suites, which are the only category that don’t include one. The cliff-edge villas are perfect for families – there are one-, two- and three-bedroom options, each with an outdoor deck and alfresco shower (some also have a sea-facing Jacuzzi). Blow the budget on the regal Retreat, which has palatial proportions, a wine cellar, four bedrooms, three pools and endless Indian Ocean views.
The two pools (one infinity style, the other usually packed with children and inflatables) are staggered across two tiers that follow the face of the cliff.
The spa has a steam room, sauna and 10 treatment rooms – including two that are almost open air – for Ila facials, holistic massages and reflexology. There’s a resident wellness practitioner on hand who can dole out all sorts of advice, including nutritional tips, and personal trainers for exercise encouragement. Pilates and yoga classes are held regularly.
You’ll be spending a lot of time in a bathing suit – but don’t forget some cover-ups for temple-hopping and some tie-dye if you want to connect with Bali’s hippie side.
There are specially adapted rooms for wheelchair users.
All ages are welcome. Extra beds and cots can be added to all rooms. Babysitting can be arranged with two days’ notice for 70,000 rupiahs an hour (minimum three hours), plus the sitter’s travel costs.
Local connections are a big deal here: many of the staff grew up within two kilometres of the hotel, and the restaurant uses organic ingredients that are either grown on-site or sourced nearby. Even the bath products are made in Indonesia (leftovers are donated to the local community). Energy-saving practices include the use of heat-absorbing lava rock in roofing, which will reduce the need for air-conditioning.
On the terrace at Crudo and outside at Rocka. If you’ve made it to the tiny terrace at Rocka Edge, feel the privilege.
Rocka and Rocka Edge are slightly smarter than Crudo.
There are three: Crudo, Rocka and Rocka Edge. Breakfast is served in Rocka; expect the usual suspects with a few curveballs (coconut curd, sprouts and Bali-made cheese). Crudo transforms from a Japanese barbecue, sushi and nikkei destination by day, to a bustling Balinese marketplace at night. Rocka stays true to farm-to-table fare, championing in-season, Indonesian ingredients. Rocka Edge is the most intimate, set as you may well have guessed on the edge of a cliff, with a chef’s table that seats six couples for a daily changing menu.
There are two: Cliff Bar for poolside pizzas and house-made kombucha, and the Bar at Rocka for reimagined classics, such as chipotle-enhanced margaritas and banana coladas (which sounds better, anyway).
Rocka’s hours are 6.30am to 11am; noon to 4pm; 6pm to 11pm. Crudo’s are noon to 6pm; 6.30pm to 10pm. Rocka Edge is open from 7pm to 10pm. The bar at Rocka opens at 5pm until midnight. The Cliff Bar is open from 11am to 7pm.
An elaborate menu (avo on toast, roast chicken, Indonesian-style noodles) is available, whether you need something vegan, gluten-free or detox-friendly.
This Six Senses outpost is on the southernmost tip of the Indonesian isle of Bali.
The island’s international airport is a 45-minute drive from the hotel; transfers for up to three guests are US$40 each way.
The nearest big town is Kuta, a 50-minute drive north. There’s free parking at the hotel… but driving on Bali is for the brave.
Ferries link up the archipelago’s assorted landmasses, including Lombok and the Gili Islands.
Worth getting out of bed for
Let the Six Senses crew guide you on how to spend your days:they arrange everything from sustainability tours to low-calorie-cookie making and cookery classes at Crudo… or head out and hit up some of those famous Balinese beaches. Crane your neck taking in the super-size Vishna at Garuda Wisnu Kencana – at 120 metres high, it’s one of the highest statues in the world. Grab your snorkel and head to the secluded, white-sanded Gunung Payung beach, which has looming cliffs and a Hindu temple for neighbours. If it’s your first time in Bali, don’t miss the Uluwatu Temple in Pecatu (and stick around for the kecak dance at sunset).
Surf’s up at Bali’s beach clubs: grab a lounger and watch the wetsuited, wave-riding ones at play at Sundays, Omnia and Single Fin, all of which are helpfully in Uluwatu. Or join them in the queue for smoothies at Nalu Bowls in Pecatu. Mayfair’s favourite Japanese restaurantSake No Hana has made the journey to the craggy cliffs of Uluwatu. Fifty metres above sea level on yet another dramatic Uluwatu cliff edge, El Kabron serves up Spanish classics, including croquetas, paella and gazpacho.
Cliff-edge cocktails and wide-ranging sea views await at Oneeighty in Uluwatu.
But I’d argue, compared to elsewhere on this sun-kissed Indonesian island, that there’s a smidge more stardust along the southern coast – even though this delightful region of Uluwatu – literally translated as ‘Land’s End’ – is responsible for a few modern crimes: wedding drone photography, Hollywood hen nights that end up on TMZ, and pneumatic bikini bodies in slivers of fabric posing with overflowing magnums of champagne.
But Uluwatu’s spectacular cliff drops to the Indian Ocean are hard to resist. The iridescent sunsets bring Photoshop hues to life. It’s possibly the only place in the world where I’ve seen ‘cornflower blue’ skies — an official Pantone descriptor which I’m positive serves no purpose anywhere else.
This majestic coastline is where discerning surfers attack the rugged waves at dawn. And the cherry on top? The Six Senses Uluwatu.
Now I know Six Senses is an early champion of eco-responsibility. And if luxury villas built with sustainably farmed timber can’t give me restful sleep, nothing will. The poetry on a bottle of Six Senses water is worth an IG story. ‘Filtered through volcanic rocks and filled with natural minerals along its journey, each glistening drop reflects the wonders of its sacred home’. I take a deep swig and – surprise – it tastes exactly like bottled water, but with a plastic-free aftertaste that warms the cockles of my heart.
The transcendent moment comes when you step into the top lobby at Six Senses. As I check in, I’m confronted with a breathtaking vista of sweeping ocean, open sky and reflecting pools. This view is also clinically depressing for someone like me. I live in a shoebox, making me finally understand why activists fight for cage-free chickens.
Our host hands us business cards that read ‘Guest Experience Maker’. There is an adorable illustration of her beaming on the card. But the quaintness ends there. She drives the fully-loaded buggy down the steep limestone slopes to our room with heart-stopping familiarity.
Rumours suggest there is an organic beehive on the estate which I fail to seek out, because I genuinely believe organic stings still hurt. I choose instead to spend the bulk of my time where the water meets the sky, a mirror-esque infinity pool where an endless stream of guests pose aggressively for Instagram in boiling heat. I cool off happily with cones of eagerly scooped ice-cream from a counter nearby.
Healthy breakfasts are a trending currency in Bali, and the Six Senses plays them with gusto. Their mindful menus tell me I have the diet of a sewer rat. The main restaurant, Rocka, serves more than 20 types of fresh juices and Kombuchas that promise to Energise, Detoxify and Cleanse my mortal sins. The French press coffee is a winner, as wholesome egg white omelettes share real estate with hearty Indonesian classics like mee goreng (fried egg noodles) and nasi campurs (fried rice with chopped local vegetables). Crudo, the other restaurant, serves lip-smacking Japanese-Brazilian barbeque with seafood, Peruvian ceviches and even tacos. I inhale everything hoping my body doesn’t go into shock.
It’s hard to tell you about my signature Balinese deep-tissue massage at the minimalist spa because I fell fast asleep under expert kneading (and snored like a jailbird, according to Mrs Smith), but the room was wonderfully comforting, smelled of lovely essential oils and came with an inviting tub for two.
I struggle, toeing the line between virtue and vice here. A state-of-the-art gym – which comes with dehydrated coconut slices and energy balls scrunched from nuts and lime – encourages a morning sweat, but the solicitous pool staff that comes over with trays of Aperol Spritz and glutinous sweets are not helping me stay the course.
It all amounts to a fine ol' time. And I don't care who you are, I'd advise you never to shy away from the crisp barefoot luxury of Six Senses Uluwatu.
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