Six Senses Uluwatu pulls off an impressive trick: it’s close to the heart of Bali, but it feels far away. Not just from the bars and beaches — from everything.
The cliff-top resort is one of the newest in Six Senses’ luxury stable, opening in August 2018 but yet to hold an official grand opening. It’s a 45-minute drive from the airport through Bali’s winding, thriving roads. Once we hit the island’s southernmost end, there’s a sudden turn into the resort’s driveway — and an equally sudden transformation in the landscape. The resort grounds roll with lush vegetation leading up to the open reception hall, which faces the ocean from the highest tier of the resort.
It’s the most dramatically peaceful hotel check-in I’ve ever experienced, the stillness only broken by a refreshing wind. It rewrites the impression of Bali as a destination ceaselessly bustling with tourists — though if you’re craving some crowd action, it’s a cheap taxi ride away, straddling the best of both worlds.
After check-in, my luggage and I are bundled into a cart and chauffeured down to my villa by my cheerfully polite “guest experience maker” Jenny, one of a team that assists visitors round-the-clock.
My cliff pool villa is located on the resort’s middle tier (connected to upper and lower levels by steep-ish stairs). Inside the entryway is a miniature Balinese temple, an atmospheric touch. As I open the villa’s main door, Jenny cautions me to keep the doors closed to stop monkeys slipping inside — I keep a keen eye out for notoriously mischievous Balinese monkeys for the rest of my stay but never see any, so I suspect her warning is just a tactic to save on air conditioning.
The room’s expansive king bed, enormous egg-like bath and big-screen television can’t distract from its star attraction: a 27m-squared private infinity pool overlooking the resort and the ocean beyond. Early the next morning I take a dip as the dawn sky turns a rich purple — no phone, no TV, no music. This kind of serenity is rarely earned at home.
In addition to its modern amenities, the room has a number of novel touches: two showers, one indoor and another outdoor; an automatic toilet with a decadently warmed seat; wireless speaker; and a coffee machine that’s a little too complicated for a blockhead like me to figure out.
Six Senses Uluwatu is a place to revel in the joy of doing absolutely nothing. The most stressful decision I have to make is whether to recline by my villa’s private pool, or by the spectacular cliffside infinity pool that sprawls on the resort’s lowest tier. Although I don’t have it all to myself, this lower pool is as shrouded in peacefulness as the rest of the resort — from the water, the only sounds are the wind and the surf pounding the base of the cliff far below. Occasionally I hear carts whir by or hotel staff speaking in the distance… but moments later the deep calm settles back in.
If doing nothing isn’t your thing, the resort provides plenty to keep you busy. There’s a stunning workout studio surrounded by reflective pools, where I try aerial yoga (it’s not as scary or hard as it looks, I promise); I also go on a beach-hopping tour in a quirky vintage car to the nearby Pedang-Pendang Beach, a real-life postcard.
The resort spa also provides a wellness analysis: a lifestyle questionnaire followed by a biometric impedance scan, the type where you place your hands and feet on sensors that scrutinise your body in and out. Spa treatments, nutrition recommendations and health goals are tailored to my results. The analysis is more of a gimmick than a thorough check-up, but it does frame the resort as a place you’ll leave in better shape than you arrived.
There are several great places to eat on site: Rocka, the main restaurant, where you can order smashed avo and eggs on toast if you’re missing your local cafe breakfast; Crudo, a strange but tasty fusion of Peruvian and Japanese; and the more laid-back Cliff Bar for burgers, sushi or pizza.
If you’re ordering from the resort’s cocktail menu, I recommend the quirky Banana Bread Sour or the sweeter Banana-Colada.
Six Senses Uluwatu is Bali’s only resort certified by the World Green Council: water is partly recycled, veggies are grown in plots on site, and no plastic is used. This environmental cred bolsters the resort’s back-to-nature feel. The landscaping has an unmanicured look, and the villas hug the cliff like a Mediterranean village that’s been there for centuries — this organic finish is another impressive trick, given the artificial Disneyland-ness of so many other luxury resorts.
The writer stayed as a guest of Sofitel Nusa Dua and Qantas to celebrate the launch of the airline’s upgraded Airbus A330 Sydney to Bali service.