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Old Jun 4, 09, 12:20 am   #1
 
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HI Baruna Bali

My wife and I just spend 3 days here. Overall we were disappointed. Sure that might come from comparing to the IC (i know you cannot compare hamburger to filet mignon) but even compared to HI's elsewhere in the region this was a disappointment. The beach - well its a big stretch of sand and lots of space and the great beach chairs / lounges that Envy (the beach bar/restaurant) places are very comfy. However, the locals hassling you for sales of hats/necklaces/t-shirts/sarong/etc... is what I assume you would get at Kuta beach hotels. Call me a snob, but if I wanted to be hassled like that I would go to Penang or Phuket. The final nail in the beach's coffin though is that the water itself is filthy and would be a hazard to swim in.

The rooms themselves are small. I used points (15K) to book our stay and was afforded an upgrade as AMB to a Garden View with balcony. It says it was 30sqm (could that be sqf?) and resembled a single dorm room. While it was brand new with the new HI/HIX pillows and an empty fridge to fill as we chose and with a very good channel selection on the flatscreen, it was small. The balcony which has a nice lounge (like the beach lounges) was comfortable and there was good space there, and in fact more room on the balcony then in the tiny bathroom. The bathroom reminded me of what you get when you book a suite on the train with a bathroom included - ie 2 people could not fit in at the same time, although maybe with 1 in shower and 1 at sink...

From our observations not all rooms (defintely not all the suites) are ready for booking yet. The spa Tea Tree was open however and prices were high.

Restaurants The Palms for breakfast all-day dining. We only took breakfast which was a normal wide buffet spread with a mix of western/local/asian dishes. Oddly they place coffee/tea mugs on the tables and yet you are expected to get your own coffee from the 1 functioning espresso machine. No additional mugs to be found in the vicinity. The freshly made juice bar was great. Very good selection but crowded when we went early - opens until 1030am.

The Beach chill out bar + restaurant was a great spot to hang out and be near the beach (not on the beach for fear of having to ward off numerous sales people). Prices though were very high. The lay-out of the beach bar / Envy bar is very much KuDeTa like and I think it works for the most part. With a little more time and working through tihngs it could be a great place to be. Another surprise was the missing "Happy Hour" - not yet I was told? Anyway, my concerns about prices were solved by the resorts shop, aptly named The Shop, which had ice cold beers at only 1Krp more than the local shop price of 12Krp.

Another surprise for a new style HI was no free wi-fi and in fact only wi-fi in the rooms and this was a complicated procedure where one had to connect (wired) first in order to establish the account to access withe wireless subsequently. We did not even bother with it and from the website the prices look extoriionate at USD20/day. I just don't understand why all hotels cannot offer free wi-fi for guests. I have stayed at numerous HIX across the US and other HI in Malaysia and all of them offer comp wireless access.

My final comment and I think this has been shared elsewhere is that the prices are very high for a HI and a resort of this calibre with the smallest rooms I have experienced in south east asia. Perhaps there is a decent F+F rate available but I won't be looking b/c I won't be going back. When I do return to Bali it will be to the IC of old.
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Old Jun 4, 09, 2:24 am   #2
 
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Interesting, thanks for the review!

Having lived in Bali for several months, I find the IC Bali a little boring (I know it's a beautiful property, but it's a little too isolated for me). I usually stay at the Sofitel Seminyak as I prefer the area, and its closer to my apartment in Legian.

I have a stay at the HI Baruna in a few weeks, booked a King Superior @ $69US++, I'll report back after.
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Old Jun 20, 09, 11:38 am   #3
 
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Question

I think more better they change their name to Holiday Inn Express, a HIE in Bali ???????
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Old Jun 30, 09, 6:35 am   #4
 
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Thanks for the review. Sounds less than stellar.

The only HI I have stayed in Indonesia didn't have free internet access either (HI Bandung). I would say it is very, very much the exception rather at hotels in Indonesia generally.

I don't really get the comparison with Penang. Penang is much less touristy than Bali, so if you didn't want to be hassled by itinerant vendors, then it would have been a better choice.
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Old Jul 6, 09, 1:25 pm   #5
 
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HI Baruna really boring stuff, comparing to IC Bali.
They offer a great price for those who hold Indo ID.
Much lower than internet fares.
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Old Jul 6, 09, 11:16 pm   #6
 
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Originally Posted by CCAYICC View Post
HI Baruna really boring stuff, comparing to IC Bali.
They offer a great price for those who hold Indo ID.
Much lower than internet fares.
So does the IC
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Old Sep 27, 09, 2:21 am   #7
 
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Okay so after spending a wek at the HI Baruna Bali I can add another sample experience. Overall I would say that I was quite happy with the stay. Yes there are pros and cons to the hotel, the location etc. but that is often the case.

First of all the rooms. Yes they are not huge, but two people can stay at the room relatively comfortable in my book. Even the bathrooms are okay from my perspective with a reasonably large shower. Sure it is tight if two people try to squeeze into the bathroom at the same time, but then with only one sink what is the point of that anyway.

However, I can understand that someone who may be a bit larger and in particular 'wider' might feel uncomfortable and limited in space. Also people who arrive there with big bags from a long trip will have some issues storing all their stuff and suitcases. Coming from SIN we traveled only with two 22" uprights which snuggly fit on the luggage rack.

As mentioned the rooms are very new and well furnished. Our bed was King size and quite comfortable. Great TV selection and a 32" flat screen. Empty fridge for your purchases and a store in the hotel that sells drinks at Circle K or Minimart prices. Balcony or patio with day bed. No complaints there.

We did feel that the lounge chair and foot stool in the room are oversized and should either be replaced with a slimmer version or skipped entirely as it makes everything appear more crowded (but then Indonesian families use this as a sleeping bed for a kid ). This all goes for the Garden View room which we received as an upgrade from the booked Superior room (15K a night which was a good deal during Hari Raya where rooms were sold out most days of the week or going for 170-200 USD - crazy. The IC was sold out too all week).

Now the issue we had with the Garden view room (#3356 or 1151 - same wing) is the very musky, damp, and moldy smell that hit us when entering the room. Yes Bali is tropical and humid (I live in Singapore so no lectures please) but it is not like that. Airing out the room and letting the air con run did not help. All pillows in the room smelled musky and damp, the mattres too, and overall it was not very pleasant. After a total refurb and being open for 5 months only that should not be the case.

I asked to change rooms - not easy during one of the busiest weeks of the year - and ended up with a Family room #1122 (the kids room was locked off) which was likely a good 8-10sqm bigger then the Garden View one not counting the kids room. It has a big patio with two day beds though no great views. Very pleasant though and luckily no screaming kids even though that had to be expected as the other family rooms are right next to one another. Most importantly no musky & damp smell.

We think the overall dampness issue comes from insufficient mechanical ventilation in the bathrooms. Yes there are ducts in the bathrooms to remove moist / humid air but no fans that suck the air out. Supposedly this is done from a central fan but at least in our first room #3356 it didn't seem to work at all. Once both of us were done showering the walls inside the room (not the bathroom only), the floors etc were wet / slippery as condensating moisture had settled on them. We think that is what causes the dampness and smell in the room.

We found the price levels at the hotel in the F&B outlets as well as in the Spa quite high and on par with the Inter-Con or 5-Star properties around. Too steep for our taste. My GF is Indonesian and we went out for all our food anyway as that was the whole idea, but compared to other very good restaurants outside the hotel prices are still about 30-50% higher. If you know great local places and don't mind a less "stylish" environment you can eat even for less than outside 'nice' places and at a fraction of the hotel prices.

Same goes for the Spa. Prices are just ridiculuos at the Tea Tree Spa - sorry to say. yes you have view of the ocean and everything is nice and new but still. There are so many good upscale spa's in Bali and we went to several (in Ubud, Jmbaran etc) and even though they were at boutique small hotels they were still half the price. In the road where the HI is located is a proper spa called Balisari (Jl. Jenggala) where you can get a 90min Aromatherapy massage for 95K Rp while the HI Spa charges 580K Rp. So basically you can get 6 massages at one place while having one at the HI. Now the HI Spa is nicer but this is just to give you an idea and basically say 'shop around'.

The beach is not owned by the hotel so I think that is why the OP was hassled there. If you stay on the hotel grounds there are now security guards posted that will shush them away. The pool is nice and chairs and day beds are quite sufficiently spaced out and comfortable. Service by staff in all areas is very good and they are trying really hard. One has to comend them for the good spirit and hard work.

One advantage of the area where the HI is located - Tuban - is that it is more lively than say Jimbaran where the IC is and offers many more eating choices and access to taxis and so forth.

I think I would definitely return for 15K points (if prices for foreigners stay at that level) or ask my GF to book local Indonesian rates. Hope this helps
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Last edited by demue; Sep 27, 09 at 8:09 pm.
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Old Sep 27, 09, 6:51 am   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by demue View Post
Okay so after spending a wek at the HI Baruna Bali I can add another sample experience. Overall I would say that I was quite happy with the stay. Yes there are pros and cons to the hotel, the location etc. but that is often the case.
....
One advantage of the area where the HI is located - Tuban - is that it is more lively than say Jimbaran where the IC is and offers many more eating choices and access to taxis and so forth.

I think I would definitely return for 15K points (if prices for foreigners stay at that level) or ask my GF to book local Indonesian rates. Hope this helps
Thanks for the follow-up on this property. I suppose you could get both 6 massage and 6 Bintan for the price of 1 at the HIBB. I'd go back for 15K points as well.
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Old Jul 18, 10, 12:08 am   #9
 
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Stayed at the HI Baruna Bali for 5 nights earlier this month as I needed a few days of doing absolutely nothing. Been to Bali several times but didn't feel like paying for the IC this time. Used 15K points per night and got an upgrade to a garden view room. Room didn't feel too cramped for two - granted its more a city hotel sized room and probably the smallest resort room I've ever stayed in but it was fine, really. The luggage rack just about fit a 28" Rimowa, so I see how having more than one suitcase could be a problem.

Rooms are non-smoking, but from what I saw, every room has a balcony or patio where you can smoke your kretek. No issues with mold or dampness in the room that demue warned me about when we had drinks in SIN. I actually had split the 5 nights into two bookings which they were happy to combine at checkin, but they did deliver a plate of fruits on the first day of each reservation, which was nice.

As a Plat, I was given a voucher for 20% off breakfast (a relatively expensive Rp 160K/£12 per person) for two valid for the duration of the stay. Because of the late night world cup games which we caught at Stadium Cafe in Kuta, we never actually woke up for breakfast which ended at 10.30am, but instead walked a minute down the road to the SA Cafe which had a full American breakfast for Rp 28K (£2) untill noon.

Local food at the hotel was average and overpriced...we ended up eating a lot of cheap local food within a 5 min walk along the road outside. Bintang was bought from the shop and stored in the empty fridge in the room.

The Tea Tree Spa was also fairly expensive - instead we went to the Green Garden Spa across the road from the HI which was more reasonable and still had a good ambience. A 90 min massage was something like Rp 780K (£55) at the Tea Tree Spa, Rp 160K (£12) at the Green Garden Spa and Rp 80K (£6) at any of the holes in the wall 5 min walk down the street.
http://www.greenbali.com/spa_salon.html

Wifi was fine (fast enough to stream iPlayer over VPN) and worked out on the beach chairs as well. The little covered massage areas near the spa side and away from the noise of the pool area also had power points, which was useful. I paid Rp 700K (£50) for a 7 day package. The one-day package was Rp 200K.

They also had a laundry package where you could have a full laundry bag of clothes washed and pressed same day for Rp 150K.

As a Plat, requested a 2pm checkout which was granted with no issues. They do have some sort of departure lounge room opposite the gym which you can pay for access if you have a late flight out, but I can't remember the details.

Overall, a very pleasant getaway with very little impact on the wallet, but I wouldn't do it for a special occasion/holiday or for someone going to Bali for the first time.
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Old Jul 18, 10, 4:02 am   #10
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nice report savage25....
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Old Jul 19, 10, 5:58 am   #11
 
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Savage25, your trip will help me in going for the HI Baruna again.

Was a little wary due to the review of the damp rooms.
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Old Sep 9, 11, 9:38 am   #12
 
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Just had 7 nights here in two rooms one for kids and one for my wife and I. Paid for one room and used points for the other. Got connecting rooms and like others have said found them very small and the bathrooms tiny.

Yes there was a smell but it went within minutes of turning on the aircon.

The large chair needs to be lost!!

I was rather unhappy with the offer a free newspaper as my platinum card benefit which I thought insulting. We then had a problem with our room and I was both surprised and delighted by how they dealt with it. The issue was fixed immeditely it was drawn to the duty managers attention but then he appeared and upgarded us to a family suite. In truth there was no great difference in room sizes but it was a nice touch.
WiFi is expensive but here is a tip....It's free for the price of a drink in Envy...PM me for details.
The staff are young enthusiastic and put up with a lot from the Aussie hoards who are in Bali now. The $aussie is so strong that it is very very cheap but many of tourists have not left home before, never mind left the country. Loud, drunk, obnoxious individuals I can get anywhere and was genuinely dissapointed to find so many in the Holiday Inn.
I would go back to the HI but after several years of going to Bali I think it is time to go elsewhere. Beautiful and charming as it is, the infrastructure is at breaking point and mass tourism is likely to destroy parts of the Island very soon. Kuta in particualr is a smelly dump
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Old Feb 6, 12, 1:42 am   #13
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Baruna Bali

I've been here for almost a week, on the $10 deal that came out last year.

No problems checking in. I have a king bed, "oceanview" room. Perhaps it's larger than the standard room. I find it to be sized nicely. Bathroom is adequate as well. More of a pool view, but I guess I can see the ocean beyond it. Balcony is large, and pretty nice.

Room service is okay, but sub par compared to other Bali properties I've stayed at. Most meals are in the $7-$20 range. Very limited selection on $7 range. Mostly Chicken Breast and Mahi-Mahi, with two sides each. The Mahi-Mahi was good, the Chicken Breast was dry and not so great.

I've had some noise problems, with kids running around on the floor above me.

The buffet breakfast (included in $10 prepaid rate) is okay, but it's hard to be inspired enough to go down and eat it every day. Not horrible, but most things just seem tasteless. The floor in the restaurant and buffet area is also slippery. I've slid a few times already. Service is very basic. Pleasant enough, but it seems like pulling teeth to get anything brought to the table.

Last night we headed down to the pool for the first time. I hate crowds, and am whiter than white, so try not to go when the sun is out. We went at 7:30pm, as the hotel guide in the room said it was open until 10pm. We go in the pool after 15 minutes, and then 10 minutes later, start to get the bums rush, saying it's closing in 4 minutes!

They said the real closing time is 8pm. Not the most pleasant experience. Later on, they brought an updated hotel guide with the 8pm closing time to our room.
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