Sustainable and Spiritual

Sustainable and Spiritual

17 June, 2015
The Alila Ubud Way
From Monkey Blessings to Upcycled Tree Tables - Alila Ensures it's Eco
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Nestled among the jungle-laden, undulating hills of Ubud, Bali, lies a sanctuary that does things differently.
 
At luxury eco retreat Alila Ubud, an entirely holistic approach is taken when it comes to environmental measures. Seriously holistic. Everything from the refillable amenity bottles to the organic kitchen garden and locally sourced art is a carefully considered choice – integrating sustainability without sacrificing five-star standards.
 
One feature that demonstrates how seamlessly Alila Ubud blends into its environment is the local monkey population that has continued to include the property in their range, and do so harmoniously. But this wasn’t always the case... 
 
“During my first three months tenure, we had noticeable problems with the monkeys coming to the guests tables and sun lounger to steal the food,” says Alasdair Davidson, General Manager at Alila Ubud.
 
“But our Executive Assistant Manager, Artika, has a spiritual connection to the property, and after discussing how best to resolve the problem (including a suggestion of 'removing' one of the alpha males!), Artika requested time to follow up on this in the Balinese way. This took a week of praying and temple offerings, and to date we have not had recurrence of the problems!” He adds.
 
A keen eye will spot that spiritual elements are ingrained in many of the operations at Alila Ubud. Dotted around the premises are small offerings of incense and flowers, called canang sari. They are one of the daily offerings made by Balinese Hindus to thank the Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa in praise and prayers, and can be seen (and smelt!) throughout the resort. Wonderful.
 
Even the materials that this gorgeously designed resort is made from have been recycled from the surrounding nature, or give back to the community in some way. Table decorations in the open-air lobby and restaurant, for example, feature custom designed ceramic pots with rice growing in them! The brilliant green bundles are provided by local farmers, tended to with care by the F&B team daily, and then ‘harvested’ and returned to the farmers every week. But it doesn’t end there:
 
“During a strong overnight storm recently, a 50-year-old rain tree between rooms 104 and 105 fell down. We contracted a local farmer to cut the trunk into 5-meter-long sections about 10cm thick, and then made 2 long tables for our organic garden. We also used other offcuts for new plates in the Cabana Lounge, as well as for guest VIP amenities in our Villas!” Alasdair explains.
 
“We see this as upcycling, and it also has a great storyline showing how everything can be reused.”
 
The thatched roofing of the villas, rooms and main building, meanwhile, are made from dried Alang Alang from the neighbouring farm, and is renewed at regularly intervals by a roofing contractor from Kedewatan, a village down the road from Alila Ubud.
 
“There are so many benefits to using local farmers and products - we support the community, and minimise our carbon footprint by using local... very local!” he adds.
 
Last month a beautiful, handcrafted sculpture was added to the podium of Alila Ubud’s signature cliffside infinity pool, contributing a dramatic natural element to the already breathtaking vista. The piece is made from local wood and its intriguing design is intended to reflect the roots of a mangrove.
 
“The sculpture was provided by Kaona Gallery and is part of our ongoing collaboration with local artists to feature local artist works in the resort,” says Alasdair.
 
The natural and spiritual elements integrated into this property are what give it an unprecedented level of serenity - perfect for a getaway where relaxation and a return to nature are the key focal point. No wonder the monkeys want to live there!
 

By: Alex Andersson
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