Posted in Projects on 2 May, 2024

Balinese culture permeates throughout this spectacular resort.

Set at the southernmost tip of the island, Umana Bali is rooted in the unique landscape and local philosophy, Tri Hita Karana, which balances people, nature and spirit. WATG and Wimberly Interiors was responsible for the architecture, interior design and landscapes that transformed this sprawling clifftop resort into Hilton’s first property in South East Asia under its LXR Hotels & Resorts brand. The philosophy informs the design narrative across the resort’s 72 villas, five restaurants and bars, wellness centre, recreational facilities, and meetings and event spaces.

Spiritual beliefs have been transformed into living works of art. Traditional customs and objects blend seamlessly into spatial experiences, creating a canvas that inspires new social interactions and fosters a vibrant sense of community. This artful integration invites guests to immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of Balinese culture.

“Design is a language that speaks to the soul of the destination and the stay experience. We pride ourselves on designing holistically across disciplines to create a harmonious design that is a blend of innovation, sustainability and cultural reverence,” said Chiara Calufetti-Lim, principal at WATG.

Crowned by a roof inspired by the revered banyan tree, a symbol deeply ingrained in Balinese landscape and culture, the lobby has a panoramic view extending across the resort to the Indian Ocean. A striking, contemporary chandelier takes centre stage. This art piece is a visual interpretation of the traditional Legong Keraton dance, mirroring the fluid movements of the dancers with organically shaped metal rings and fans. Approximately 100 hand-blown glass petals, resemble the dancers’ intricate headdress.

Adding to the lobby’s ambiance are Balinese dancer statues made from Kepeng coins. Carved from aged wood, these statues feature hands, feet, and faces that evoke the historical significance of Bali. Used as currency in the 7th and 8th centuries, Kepeng coins have been discontinued since the early 1900s. Today, they serve as offerings on special occasions and decorations for temples and shrines.

A unique concept in personalisation has been created within the lobby at Mer Lounge, where guests can curate their own mini bar by selecting from a variety of local beverages, snacks and fresh items. And a wine cellar includes a tasting room, featuring more then 200 labels and a number of locally produced wines.

Umana Bali’s 72 villas offer a modern interpretation of the Balinese Subak system – a traditional method of connecting rice terrace irrigation with nature and the divine – to provide a tranquil escape along the magnificent limestone cliffs of Uluwatu.

Inspired by ancient uma rice paddy fields, each spacious villa has a private infinity-edge pool, an outdoor hot tub, and both indoor and outdoor showers.

The villas’ interiors feature natural materials such as marble, wood and concrete in neutral and navy tones. Vanity kits crafted from recycled banana leaf paper, coconut shell boxes, and natural slippers made of pandan and mendong fibre underscore the resort’s commitment to environmental and social sustainability. The villas serve as a showcase for local culture and craftsmanship, featuring rattan woven by local artisans.

A versatile space, the Heart of House, integrates community, spirituality and nature, by hosting a variety of facilities. These include Commune, a restaurant serving international and Southeast Asian cuisine throughout the day. The Kids’ Club is a colourful realm of enchantment, complete with a nap room and activities designed to spark creativity. An infinity pool stretches towards vast views of the ocean and the spiritual element is supplied by a Balinese shrine.

Taking inspiration from the traditional Balinese gift box, Pad Pool Bar creates an enchanting ambience for leisurely daytime lounging and evolves into a backdrop of sunset hues. The design of its roof, which transitions from a solid structure to filtered light along the edges, provides shade for guests while maintaining a light and airy atmosphere.

The architectural design of Lohma Spa marries Bali’s tranquil spirit with a contemporary approach to relaxation. Fluid, curving lines in soft earth tones guide the eye in a continuous, soothing flow. Concealed lighting provides soft illumination along the edges, casting a subtle glow that highlights the contours of this tranquil space. Natural skylights enhance the ambience with gentle, diffused radiance, fostering a sense of openness and interaction with the outside world.

The resort’s wedding chapel is poised on a cliff edge, with soaring views of the ocean and is surrounded by wide lawns and flowering plants that provide an idyllic setting for alfresco receptions and intimate gatherings. The chapel’s exterior is sculpted to evoke the elegance of white doves’ wings and delicate feathers.

Opening this April, just below the resort on the shores of Melasti Beach, Uma Beach House will provide a surfside escape boasting views of the clear turquoise waters and soaring limestone cliffs. While its architectural design is inspired by the form of the Gelungan, a traditional Balinese headdress, the concept draws inspiration from the vibrancy of Miami and bright Peruvian flavours. With interior seating for 50 people and alfresco areas that accommodate up to 100, Uma Beach House will showcase symmetrical curves meticulously crafted from intricate arrangements of Sandat flowers, culminating in a central peak.

This delicious resort fosters a vibrant sense of community in an outstanding setting.

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