KUTA, it’s great to see you again! I was back in the area where my first Balinese adventure took place. It was short but sweet, and I was back after 15 years to relive the fun memories and create more.

From staying by the shoreline of Legian Beach, I moved to the busiest sector of Bali. The car wove through the daytime traffic and one-way streets and entered an alley off the main avenue. Just as I thought that the driver took the wrong street, a towering structure came visible at the end of the road. It was the Alaya Resort Kuta.

It is true what the hotel says, “From the moment a guest walks into a hotel, we believe they deserve an experience as unique as they are. They should feel a strong sense of place and style in the design, intimacy in the environment and human connection in the service. These things should stay with them - and this is what Alaya Resort Kuta is all about.”

Although Alaya Resort Kuta is a relatively small boutique resort, there are significant names associated with its completion. The meeting of great minds from concept to finished product gave birth to a stylish, well-designed hotel cleverly (and conveniently) hidden in a silent zone in the island’s busiest district. Alaya Resort may be Kuta’s best open secret.

Just like its sister resort in Ubud which opened in 2013, Alaya Resort Kuta was designed by Grounds Kent Architects (GKA), an award-winning company responsible for iconic resorts such as Four Seasons Jimbaran and St. Regis Bali. Carrying out its design concept by putting emphasis on creating culturally unique projects with a “sense of place“, the architectural group was successful in fashioning a fresh take on Bali’s local building culture. Different kinds of materials have been used both structurally and aesthetically, like utilizing repurposed antique wood as railings, resulting in a concept that is attuned to the surrounding environment.

Teak wood in its natural tone dominates color scheme of all the well planned and beautifully appointed rooms giving it a very homey feel. The complementing shades of blues and greys on the design appointments gave it a masculine touch. “Alaya brings back the boutique hotel concept in the area. We have the biggest rooms in floor area in the South Kuta Katika area,” said Noventy Ariani, the hotel’s Marketing Communications Executive.

For the landscaping, Made Wijaya, Bali’s very own authority on tropical gardens, was tapped. His style is kept simple with random plantings of native Balinese flora to complement his artistic accents. Most notable is Wijaya’s statement piece that provides a sizable backdrop to the swimming pool. It is a striking interpretation of a traditional lamak, which is a long length of woven coconut leaves used to decorate Balinese shrines during ceremonial occasions.

Sukun Restaurant, Alaya’s casual dining space named after the towering tree (aka breadfruit tree) that grows in the lobby entrance, is Wijaya’s project as well. The look is “mood-enhancing” with its uplifting summer ambience—fun cut-outs in the wall, mosaic tiles in vibrant shades of blue, a sky-inspired ceiling and quirky light fixtures.

Rich textiles, vintage-inspired furnishings and sensory lighting is what Moroccan-born interior decorator Zohra Boukhari is known for and she brings her signature, internationally acclaimed look to DaLa’s Spa’s interior.

DaLa Spa’s six customized treatment rooms capture the stylish air of timeless boudoirs to complement the comprehensive menu of age-old Indonesian healing and beauty rituals. Meticulous attention to details is evident in both the interior design and the all-natural therapeutic indulgence.

Staying true to its “all-designer” concept, the resort commissioned Indonesian-born, Australian-educated fashion designer Peggy Hartanto to design the front liners’ uniform. Known for her clean, innovative technique of fabric cutting and construction, the designer worked on a “fashion meets hospitality” thesis and achieved a look that’s fresh yet totally practical for the workplace.

Joining the team is Pinto Sirait, an Indonesian contemporary artist born in Germany and educated in the United States. His modern masterpiece stands out in the hotel lobby— a large stainless steel car covered in bullet holes entitled “Democracy”.

His extensive travels as a liberal arts student brought him into direct contact with the two great accoutrements of life in American culture: cars and guns. These Western inventions have deeply permeated Asian life, producing a potent love-hate relationship. His unique brand of artistry is also evident at Sukun Restaurant.

“Alaya Resort Kuta essentially has been designed with sensitivity amidst the upbeat energy of Bali’s most colourful tourism district. It is the only culturally-related resort in the Kartika Plaza area that is attuned to the environment through the use of local materials and innovative design elements,” said Noventy.

Alaya Resort Kuta is at Jalan Kartika Plaza Gang Puspa Ayu No.99, Kuta, Bali, Indonesia. Visit their website at http://www.alayahotels.com

For great deals on this hotel, visit http://www.agoda.com/alaya-resort-kuta/hotel/bali-id.html

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Email me at jinggoysalvador@yahoo.com. For more photos about this story & other travel & lifestyle stories, visit http://jeepneyjinggoy.blogspot.com/ and http://apples-and-lemons.blogspot.com/