Alila Villas Uluwatu / WOHA

© Tim Griffith

Architects: WOHA
Location: Uluwatu, Bali,
Project Team: Richard Hassell, Wong Mun Summ, Chan Ee Mun, Ranjit Wagh, Mappaudang Ridwan Saleh, Alan Lau, Lai Soong Hai, Miikka Leppanen, Muhammad Sagitha
Mechanical & Electrical Engr: PT. Makesthi Enggal Engineering
Civil & Structural Engr: Worley Parsons Pte Ltd / PT. Atelier Enam Struktur
Ecologically Sustainable Design Consultant: Sustainable Built Environments
Lighting Consultants: Lighting Planners Associates
Quantity Surveyors: PT Kosprima Sarana Kuantitama
Landscape Consultant: Cicada Pte Ltd
Main Contractor: PT. Hutama Karya
Site Area: 44,642 sqm
Built up Area: 58,635 sqm
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Tim Griffith & Patrick Bingham-Hall

© Patrick Bingham-Hall

This hotel and villa development is designed as an ecologically sustainable development. Located on the dry savannah landscape of the Bukit Peninsular on the dramatic southern cliffs of the Indonesian island of Bali, it comprises of a 50 suite hotel with 35 residential villas. The resort opens its doors on 1 June 2009.

Contribution to World Architecture Culture

The design investigates the potential of the fusion of vernacular architecture with modernist design. The design combines the delights of traditional Balinese pavilion architecture and rural landscapes with modern dynamic treatment of space and form. The design is based from first principles around the pleasures inhabiting the particular site, rather than assembling stereotypical images of Bali or generic resorts.

© Patrick Bingham-Hall

A unique design language was developed for the project. Rather than the typical steep pitched Balinese pavilions, which would have blocked the views on the gentle slopes, and which are not local to the area, the buildings are instead inspired by the local farmers terraces of loose piled limestone boulders. A terraced low pitched roof was developed using Balinese volcanic pumice rock, which is a natural insulating material and can also support local ferns and succulents. These terraced roofs blend with the landscape, keeping the original wide open panoramas that make the site so unique.

The hotel rooms are designed as inhabited gardens, rather than an interior room. The garden walls form the walls of the room, within which sleeping, eating, lounging and bathing occur in a garden environment. Every hotel villa has a pool with a cabana overlooking the sea.

© Tim Griffith

The hillside villas are designed as pavilions linked by bridges across water gardens, tucked into the hillside as terraces. Each villa forms a landscape foreground for the villa behind it.

Respect for Context / Planet

The design focused on preservation of the qualities of the site from the beginning.

The masterplan respects the contours to avoid cutting and fill. All large trees are maintained or transplanted. Site vegetation was surveyed and documented, with specimens sent to Kew Gardens for identification. A site nursery has been started, propagating the native plants which are being used in the landscape rather than exotic species from nurseries. The local plants are adapted to the dry savannah landscape by going dormant in the dry season and flowering spectacularly and will provide a unique seasonal display of flowers. These native gardens will require far less water, and will encourage local animals and birds to remain in the area.

© Tim Griffith

Materials are all sourced locally – stone walls are using stone from the actual site from the road cuttings, while all other materials are either from Bali or the neighbouring island of Java. Sustainable timbers including coconut and bamboo are used. Craftsmen in Java and Bali are making the interior furniture, lamps and accessories. This strategy makes the development unique in terms of its materials, supports local skills and gives local materials prestige, promoting their use with the locals rather than them aspiring to expensive imported products.

Environmental Awareness

The development has been designed from the start to exceed Green Globe 21 requirements. An environmental consultant drafted an environmental plan from the design stage onwards. The contractor has committed to an environmental quality plan for the construction phase, and the hotel operator has also committed to environmental practices for the running of the hotel.

© Tim Griffith

Environmental techniques used include:

  • Design respects natural contours
  • Rainwater collection and water recycling in retention ponds
  • Aquifer recharging through soaks, swales and rain gardens
  • All wastewater goes to grey water system for watering plants and toilet flushing
  • All sewerage is treated and sewerage water recycled in grey water system
  • Huge overhangs to allow natural cooling
  • Water heating using heat pumps.
  • Landscaping based on natural vegetation to encourage wildlife
  • Landscaping based on dry-climate natural vegetation to save water
  • Recycled and/or plantation and/or renewable timber
  • Materials sourced locally and even on site (eg rubble walls)
  • Saltwater pools rather than chlorine
  • Waste separation and recycling
  • Naturally ventilated public areas
  • Non-chemical termite treatment
  • Non-toxic preservative treatment to timber and bamboo
  • Low energy lighting
  • Nature awareness programs for guests
  • Local community involvement in activities outside of the resort
  • Employment for surrounding villagers
© Tim Griffith


The development is an appropriate next step in resorts, where luxury does not mean excessive consumption, but instead delight and enjoyment of the natural beauty and sense of place. The development is gentle, embracing the landscape. It is located in an impoverished, dry, rural area, so replacing marginal agriculture with tourism that generates substantial employment and income for local people. It maintains local flora and fauna. Through showcasing local skills, materials and vernacular elements, it confirms the local people’s opinion that they live in a marvelous place that should be cherished and maintained.

View this project in Google Maps

* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Alila Villas Uluwatu / WOHA" 12 May 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
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  • rok

    such places does not exist

  • nick

    it’s impossible to get a sense of the entire scope and scale of this project. i’m curious to see what this space would like with people actually inhabiting it..

    • kloost

      you can just look at the size of furniture to tell the scale.

      • nick

        the two comments were separate. i can tell how big the spaces themselves are, just not the project

  • TM

    I agree with Nick. By looking at the fisrt picture I thought it was a well thought project but after looking at the plans I found out that we are looking at a very small part of the complex. I confess that picture #5, which appears to show the real thing for what´s on the plans I got disappointed for it looks too “heavy” in my opinion.
    I´m afraid the masterplan is way to dense ($) for the area.
    Anyway, we just can´t tell by what´s being shown.

  • shetu

    I like the internal spaces….it gives a calm and serene impression….thats what the occupants of a resort want actually.

  • gerson

    my impression
    like the “SEALS”base in Coronado
    Very similar to a nice military camp,a lot of order, simetry, controlled nature cutted and shaped and the right gray color.
    not a HAPPY resort

  • Yuna

    the architects draw inspiration from carlo scarpa cemetery which is ironic in resorts context

  • windzerg

    the site is pretty awesome.

  • yuki


  • Rmaz

    how can you obstruct a view of such a lovely horizon but such superficial, non sensible battens?? common woha dont do stuff for the heck of it. u guys are loosing it, may be lost it already.

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  • bard

    wheres the villa plan and sections?

  • gungwah

    best design, but i need a site planing..

  • dressale

    i hope live in~~~bali

  • Architectural photographer

    Nice design, environment and good interior, anyone will dream to live there.

  • syarifa hasan

    i’ve been there, it was such nice design..but i think it’s kinda lost the essential of the heritage of bali itself.

  • Aloysia

    I went to this resort couple days ago, I feel that the heavy expression of the wall element and its colour are reminiscent of Uluwatu’s unique environment; Uluwatu’s hills are pile of white rocks and look very heavy, meanwhile the heritage of Bali itself can be seen in the details.

  • Rizky Muzakir

    I’ve been there. It was mesmerizing, and very large! Pretty crowded in the evening actually, so the space works.