Alila Ubud sits on a hillside high above the Ayung River valley, just a short drive from Bali’s legendary artistic centre, Ubud.

This beautiful retreat, with its traditional Balinese architecture, neatly thatched roofs, secluded courtyards and private gardens, was designed to merge with and enhance its natural setting It offers a unique blend of timeless charm and elegant modernity.

Against a lush, palm-covered slope, the resort’s 56 rooms are housed in two-story blocks facing the valley and mountain range. Those on the ground floor feature garden terraces and open-air private showers, while those upstairs have a wide balcony with panoramic views.

Of the eight villas available, the four Ayung River Villas offer a spacious walk-around deck that looks over the valley below, while the remaining Garden Villas feature private tropical gardens and outdoor baths surrounded by calm lotus ponds.

Warm, contemporary colours and the use of local materials such as coconut wood create a tranquil and intimate mood inside that complements the spectacular views of the Ayung River valley below.

In a large Balinese pavilion, Alila Ubud’s fabulous restaurant artfully combines Mediterranean and Asian cuisines, serving a sophisticated menu that Includes inspired dishes like Spiced Pumpkin Soup with Crispy Prawn Wontons, or Steamed Snapper in Lemon Grass Broth with Saba Noodles and Snow Peas.

This cosy resort also has one of Bali’s most amazing swimming pools. That’s quite an achievement for an island with more than its fair share of inviting examples.

Voted one of the “Most spectacular Pools in the World” by Travel + Leisure, this solid body of water juts out over the Ayung River like a slab of liquid onyx, disturbed only as you dive into its welcoming waters.

If like the Balinese, you consider your body a temple, then reward it with a visit to the resort’s Mandara Spa, a destination that is pure indulgence for the mind, body and spirit.

Immerse yourself in a series of sensual rites and balancing body rituals to restore, revive and re-energize your senses. Part of your dally journey to well-being can include a private yoga session at sunset in the Balinese bengong poised high above the valley. You may also choose to purify your mmd with an hour of Tai Chi at sunrise, or simply take in the scenery with on early morning walk in the valley.

Don’t be surprised if you find the resort hosting a wedding while you’re there. Alila Ubud, like its sister property, Alila Manggis, is a popular spot with couples looking for a picture-perfect ceremony and reception, and for good reason. The resort can organise a number of themed weddings ranging from a contemporary celebration in white linen, to a tropical garden filled with orchids. Following a legal ceremony that ensures your marriage is recognised around the world, couples may choose to honour the event the local way with a Balinese Hindu ceremony that blesses the union in the magical style of the island. The whole ceremony takes place against the area’s awe-inspiring natural backdrop.

Should you choose to spend your time at Alila Ubud experiencing more of Bali’s famed culture, you may wish to join one of the hotel’s personalised tours and workshops that lead you through the island’s world of religious devotion, natural beauty, and social and cultural mores. Choose from classes covering Balinese architecture, the music of the gamelan, local dance, batik or history, all of which will arouse your curiosity and deepen your understanding of this extraordinary and unique island.

The more adventurous among you might prefer indulging in a little river rafting on the Ayung, mountain biking along a downhill trail from Mount Batur, or a three¬ half-hour trek along the nearby valley that ends with a picnic by the river.

These activities offer the perfect opportunity to the area’s natural charm.

Alila Ubud, with its combination of astonishing beauty, cultural richness and friendly faces, is definitely a one-stop retreat for those who want to experience a little bit of everything Bali has to offer, and perhaps, a whole lot more.