Sophie Ryan checks into Alila Manggis in East Bali.
Getting there: We touched down at Denpasar Airport at 4pm and I was hopeful we'd make it to Alila for a sunset cocktail. Unfortunately, the traffic was so bad it took us about two hours to drive to the hotel and we arrived after dark.
Nevertheless, the lush coconut grove surrounding the hotel was lit and the sound of the rolling waves crashing on the shore was enough to take away all the stress of the hectic trip.
Check-in experience: We were greeted by Alila's expert staff, who handed me a cold towel and a refreshing ginger-and-lemon iced tea. The check-in process was very easy and done seated at a table facing out to the ocean, rather than at the counter, where staff are available anytime.
Room: All the rooms at Alila Manggis have beautiful views out to the ocean. I was in one of the 31 Superior Rooms, which have a private terrace and doors opening out to the lawn and pool area. It was very spacious at 34sq m with a queen bed, couch, closet and a wet-room style bathroom. The Deluxe Rooms are similar, but are upstairs with a private balcony and day bed designed to maximise the sea views.
Design touches: Renowned Australian architect Kerry Hill designed the resort and was inspired to connect the buildings to nature. The water features that surround every room and corridor add to an overall sense of tranquillity.
Bed: The huge king bed is firm, so it's great if you like a well-supported sleep.
Bathroom: The toilet and shower are in a separate wet-room area but the basin and mirror are in the main part of the room.
Facilities: The resort has a great list of activities, including snorkelling, diving and fishing off traditional Balinese boats, as well as the ultimate relaxation package: 48 hours of massage and beauty treatments at their onsite spa.
Food and drink: Seasalt restaurant serves modern and traditional meals, from picture-perfect "Superbowls" full of fresh fruit, yoghurt and grains for breakfast, to seafood platters prepared in traditional styles for dinner. There's an ocean-side bar that serves cocktails and finger food. That would be the perfect spot to park up from 5pm to watch the sun go down while trying to work out why the Bali lime is far superior to a regular lime in a caipirinha.
What's so good about this place? It's so peaceful and relaxed all tension immediately left my body when I took that first sip of iced tea. It's great to get a taste of the traditional Balinese culture and appreciate the untouched parts of the island.
And the not so good? The rooms are a little dated and rough around the edges— just the usual scuffing from suitcase wheels and discolouration in the bathrooms. It doesn't detract from the overall feeling that this is a top-end resort.
Price: From $251 per night.
Wi-Fi: Free Wi-Fi in every room, but it doesn't extend to some parts of the resort, which can make posting your gratuitous sunset photos to Instagram tricky.
Noise: I was woken in the night by the resident roosters crowing but I wasn't too bothered by it. I turned off the loud air-conditioning fan in my bedroom so I could enjoy the noise of the waves crashing against the shore from my room. Heavenly.