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Pool Access Room
Alaya Room Terrace
This is Indonesian-owned Alaya Hotels & Resorts’ second hotel in Bali (the first one is in Ubud) and the first artsy, upmarket boutique hotel to enter one of Bali’s, let’s say, more colorful neighborhoods. In fact, it’s reputed to be THE hotel opening of the year in the party-hearty South Kuta resort district.
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Every month, we tell you which hotel openings you need to know about (and which, inevitably, miss their deadlines). While we have a healthy list of arrivals around the world, there are a few places that are either consistently popular or having a bit of a hotel moment, so “new hotels for…” gives you a rundown of the openings you will want to know about for a particular destination.
Oh, Bali. Perennially popular you may have been indeed, but Julia Roberts cycling magically sweat-free through rice paddies must have really kicked it up a notch. Overcrowding be damned, the list of hotels we can think of that will come to your shores in the next five years (all to “unspoiled” and “pristine” corners, of course) easily runs up to the fingers on both our hands (and that’s with a bit of doubling up as you’ll find out). Here are ten hotels coming to the Island of the Gods:
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The pool at Alila Ubud in Bali is well known as one of the island’s best – an infinity pool overlooking the Ayung river and valley, it’s probably second only to Hanging Gardens in the jaw-dropping stakes.
But when we visited the hotel for a spa treatment last week, what we were far more excited about were the pool attendants. And we’re not talking men; we’re talking monkeys.
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Bali continues to be a hot destination not just for adventurous travelers, but also luxury hotels.
Last week we learned that Langham Hotels will be opening their first Langham Place resort on a clifftop in Ungasan-Uluwatu area. Today, Ritz-Carlton Hotels has announced that their equally impressive Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, the third in the brand's ultra-exclusive collection, will open in September of this year in Ubud.
Indeed, reservations are live on the hotel's website, starting at around $670 a night for a Reserve Suite, one of the largest entry-level suites in Ubud at around 1,000-sq.ft., with views of the rain forest and rice paddies. But this is just the starting room category for Mandapa. Accommodations also include one, two and three-bedroom villas, most with private pools. (There are 35 suites and 25 private pool villas in total.)
Here's what else is expected at the Mandapa:
Here’s why you should stay at Alila Manggis:
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Well, that didn’t go as planned. Early last year, we were happy to see that Philippe Starck’s YOO Hotels was making its proper debut in Istanbul (half a decade after we first learned about the brand, mind). That was Yoo2 Taksim Square, with Yoo2 being the more affordable branch of YOO Hotels, as opposed to more luxury-oriented YOO Collection. Debut or not, we’re back to square one: Yoo2 Istanbul is no more (it’s now part of a local group called the Avantgarde Collection), and the line-up of future hotels has gone through a reshuffle as well.
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A heavenly pool, manicured grounds, the sea just beyond the grass, and yet totally affordable rooms. So what’s the catch?
This is the view from our room at the Alila Manggis hotel in Manggis, East Bali. As we said yesterday, Bali is chock full of luxury hotels. Alila is one of those luxury brands, with real bucket list hotels like Alila Villas Uluwatu and The Soori Estate.
But with prices well into the $600s for those bucket list properties, they’re not exactly affordable. But there is one “budget” Alila: Alila Manggis. Over here, in less popular East Bali, our room cost $153, including breakfast, an hour-long spa treatment of our choice, and transfers to and from the airport.
Alila Uluwatu, which Langham Place is promising to beat
We already knew, of course, that Bali was home to some of the most luxurious luxury hotels in the world. But just as you thought there was no more space for any new arrivals, along comes Langham, announcing a Langham Place to open in 2017.
It won’t be in just any part of Bali, either; but in the Ungasan-Uluwatu area, to the south of the island. It’s not just in any part of Uluwatu, either – it will have a rather spectacular clifftop location, a mere seven-minute walk from Pandawa Beach.
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It scares us sometimes when it turns out hotels we thought we talked about just a few months ago were actually on our radar closer to a few years ago. How time flies. Such is the case with Six Senses hotels, which we looked at in late 2013 for its expansion plans in all sorts of places: far from its usual Southeast Asia habitat in the French Alps near Mont Blanc, in the remote kingdom of Bhutan, and the Caribbean island of St. Lucia.
Opening dates in 2015 and 2016 seemed so far away at the time, and yet here we are, with the first two resorts scheduled to open on July 1: Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain, a half hour outside Chengdu in China. Chengdu is one of the largest cities in China and the capital of the Sichuan province, home to 80% of the world’s panda population. The resort will have 113 suites and villas (above a rendering, which shows an interesting mix of contemporary and traditional design), and not surprisingly, a serious spa with locally-inspired treatments and “sensory journeys”. Scheduled for July 1 as it may be (the May date on the website we've been told will be July), we can’t seem to make reservations yet.
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We presume the butler set up the Fantasy Suite for each girl, shaking his head all the while.
Last night's episode of The Bachelor reconfirmed that the Fantasy Suites at The Mulia Hotel and Mulia Villas were one of the most exciting things we've seen from a destination this entire season. Although, we are still appalled that they held a rose ceremony in a Balinese temple. #NotOk.
As we mentioned yesterday, the suites at the Mulia Hotel and the villas all come with 24-hour butler service. And boy, did Chris Soules really like it. Here is his take on the butler service, which he shared on his People Magazine blog:
This season of The Bachelor is undeniably one of the best seasons in "The Bachelor" franchise.
The producers have propped up a mumbling, bumbling but very good-looking farm boy from Iowa while at the same time unleashing some of the craziest, funniest, strangest and most beautiful women upon him. Ok, that doesn't sound like that much of a variation on the tried-and-true Bachelor formula but still, it makes for very good TV.
But unlike other seasons, the drama has been unfolding in some of the most unexciting destinations and hotels. So far, the crew has only been to Los Angeles, Santa Fe, South Dakota, and Dubuque and Arlington, Iowa. True, the Hilton Santa Fe was pretty but the Deadwood Holiday Inn was not. We hardly even saw the Hotel Julien in Dubuque.
Then when Chris visited the girls hometowns in Shreveport, Chicago, Phoenix and somewhere in Nebraska, things remained fairly unglamorous. The only exciting thing we saw from any of the hometown destinations was an alligator in the swamp in Shreveport. Unless you count the no-name motel where Jade squirreled away to show Chris her Playboy video shoot. Eek.
However, the ho-hum trips should all change tonight when Chris takes Whitney, Becca and Kaitlyn to Bali and the possibility of a night in the Fantasy Suite comes up. Here's where the ladies and Prince Farming will stay:
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Not only did a kind tipster point us to The Ritz-Carlton Bali missing from our list of hotels opening this month, he also provided us with a set of photos of the days-old hotel. We first looked at the beachfront / cliff-side hotel last summer, now we have much more detail on the return of Ritz-Carlton to the Indonesian island and can compare rendering to reality. Speaking of Ritz-Carlton, Bali, and renderings, we also have a whole bunch of new ones for Mandapa, the Ritz-Carlton Reserve that will open in Ubud next summer.
Our tipster was at the resort a day after the first guests arrived, but noted that while it looked stunning, quite a few rooms and the spa weren’t ready. The above shot is taken from the top of the cliff overlooking the majority of the resort down to the beach, and construction is still visible on the left, although in the aerial view we saw last year all there was meant to be were trees.