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Bali returns.

Bali returns.

Old Mar 4, 22, 9:07 am
  #1  
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Bali returns.

Introduction
Hello again! Around a year ago, I wrote a trip report that included reviews on several hotels in Bali (read that here). Now, with the island reopened and accessible by international flights (and with quarantine being abolished as early as 14 March),* I thought it might be useful to write a report on a few hotels I have stayed at over the past week. I will not have any flight reports included since I am already based on the island.

We booked each of these hotels a day before our check-in date, for maximum flexibility on our side of things. Regardless, many hotel rates on the island are quite stagnant nowadays due to the still low occupancy rates. In fact, at one of the hotels, we were the only guest staying!

Tanah Gajah, Ubud (previously The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah) - One Bedroom Pool Villa
COMO Uma Ubud - Uma Villa
Alila Villas Uluwatu - One Bedroom Villa
Tandjung Sari, Sanur - Two Storey Bungalow
The Legian, Seminyak - One Bedroom Club Villa

Hope you will enjoy reading the following installments, and I hope these reviews can be useful should you plan a trip to the island any time soon.


Travel Requirements for Bali, Indonesia (as of 4 March)
Spoiler
 


Additional Standalone Reviews
Additionally, below are some Bali hotel reviews I wrote over the past week from stays between the past several months. I had not intended to write a review for those hotels so some of them might be missing pictures of breakfast or hotel grounds/pools.

Maya Ubud (Heavenly Jacuzzi Villa)
Capella Ubud (Keliki Valley Tent)
Komaneka at Bisma, Ubud (Bisma Suite)
Mvenpick Jimbaran (Pool-view Classic Room)
The Kayana Villas, Seminyak (One Bedroom Villa)

Happy Travels!
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Old Mar 4, 22, 11:04 am
  #2  
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No longer The Chedi Club, but still absolutely wonderful

Tanah Gajah, Ubud

1 Review | 100% Recommended

Tanah Gajah, Ubud

Tengkulak Kaja, Jl. Raya Goa Gajah Kemenuh, Ubud Gianyar, Bali ID 80571

No longer The Chedi Club, but still absolutely wonderful (28 Photos)

Tanah Gajah, Ubud

Tanah Gajah was until 2019, known as The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah. Tanah Gajah's connection to GHM actually goes a long way. The hotel's original owner was the late Indonesian architect, Hendra Hadiprana, who built the estate to be a private residence. After a few decades, he entrusted the estate to GHM's Adrian Zecha, for it to be turned into a 20-room hotel. After Hadiprana's passing and the subsequent lapse of the management contract with GHM, his family decided to take the hotel independent and dedicated it to his legacy (whilst maintaining marketing with the Legendary Hotels of the World).

The hotel is called as such (Tanah Gajah, lit. Elephant Land) due to the estate's proximity to the ancient Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave), a 9th-century Hindu-Buddhist temple still revered by the local population. 

Additionally, bear in mind that the hotel is currently also a bubble-quarantine hotel option to those travelling to Bali.

Check In

The hotel is located some 10 minutes east of Ubud. The hotel's entrance itself is rather small and easy to miss. 

We arrived early at 10 am after notifying the hotel of our early arrival the day prior. We actually came to the hotel the day prior to make our reservations, which was promptly arranged by the head of their reservations team. On both days, we arrived at the hotel to find it completely devoid of guests. We later learned that we were the only guests at the hotel. 

Since we paid "in advance" and settled the registrations during our reservation, our butler took us immediately to our villa upon our arrival (whilst showing us the hotel's amenities). 

This was as a result, probably the most seamless check-in experience I have ever had in my 15 years of worldwide travel.

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Entrance to Tanah Gajah

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Fountain

Room

Our room, a One-Bedroom Club Pool Villa, had been deep cleaned before our stay and was evident from the impressive absence of dust in every nook and cranny in the room. We were driven to our room on a golf cart, and shortly afterward, our luggage was delivered and cleaned with a UV light sanitising tool of some sort.

The villa was rather impressive, particularly with its rice terrace facing infinity pool that offered incredible views. As standard at the hotel, our room came with various club amenities, which included daily laundry, afternoon tea, evening cocktails, as well as complimentary mini-bar. 

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Pool

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Pool

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Daybed by the pool

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Spectacular views beyond our villa

We were greeted with a couple rather sweet-tasting welcome drinks (which reminded me of the welcome drink at Amankila, only much sweeter), along with some delicious fried plantains and other dry snacks.

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Welcome amenity - fried plantains and snacks

At 280 sqm, the "villa compound" was rather impressive, although I personally found the space inside the bedroom itself to be a bit "cramped". The room looked wonderful and was beautifully furnished, but it just felt like the indoor space wasn't proportioned very well. I felt that there was a significant amount of wasted space in the bathroom and closet/storage sections that could have been utilised better. 

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Bedroom

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Bedroom

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Huge closet area behind bed

Despite that, I also found the bathroom to be equally beautiful. I am especially fond of the shower and toilet's terrazzo flooring that reminded me a lot of Amankila's. Toiletries came in reusable containers and appeared to be unbranded (smelled like frangipani and jasmine). The bathroom's water pressure was rather low and thus left a bit to be desired, but the water temperatures were great. 

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Sink and Shower

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Shower

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Toilet and sink

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Outdoor bathtub

 

Service

Service was attentive and very personalised. We weren't sure if this was a result of us being the only in-house guests, but the fact that the hotel used to be The Chedi Club also made an argument against that assumption (there were also a handful of outside visitors who paid to ride the hotel's hot air balloon). 

Everyone knew wherever we went in the hotel, and our room was refreshed according to our movements (amazing!). The staff was additionally very friendly, and our butlers were in particular very warm and charming (great at making conversation without being too intrusive). 

To make things even easier, the hotel set up a WhatsApp group between us and our butlers, and the duty manager. This ended up being very useful in practice since all communications became much simpler and our requests were promptly taken cared-of.  

Dining

Given the hotel's low occupancy (even that is an overstatement), all meals were served either in-villa or at the hotel's main dining venue and only restaurant, The Tempayan. The restaurant itself looked impressive and viewed the rice fields. 

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Tempayan Restaurant

We went for the complimentary afternoon tea on both afternoons of our stay, and the selection of cakes and snacks was identical. The entire set tasted good, though it occurred to me that a couple of the cakes seemed to be outsourced. I might be wrong about this, though. Throughout the meal, we were proactively offered refills on our beverages. The rather significant portion of the set meant that we were stuffed by the time we were done, and ended up not having dinner.

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Afternoon Tea set

The hotel actually has a dedicated afternoon tea/bar space called the Panen Padi Lounge, although the place does not seem to be used at the moment and is unstaffed. 

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Panen Padi Lounge

We opted to have our breakfast at the restaurant as well, and the choices were basically between three sets: the Indonesian breakfast (includes fruits and Nasi Goreng fried rice, Mie Goreng fried noodles, or Bubur Ayam rice congee), the Western breakfast (fruits and eggs any style or pancakes), or the healthy breakfast (cereal or oatmeal, a lean sandwich, and yogurt). Bear in mind that the hotel isn't serving pastries at the moment.

Over the course of our stay, we tried the Omelette, Scrambled Eggs, Bubur Ayam rice congee, and the Mie Goreng fried noodles. Food quality was overall high, and I'd have to call the Mie Goreng fried noodles the best of the dishes we had. The noodles were steaming hot, very fluffy and flavourful and packed with vegetables and seafood; this easily made it delicious, and perhaps the best fried noodles I've ever had. The other options tasted good as well, although didn't compare to the fried noodles. 

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Fruits

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Scrambled Eggs

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Fried Noodles

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Fried Noodles

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Omelette

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Rice congee

We were also proactively offered drink refills, which included the juices and smoothies. The mango smoothie I'd have to say was particularly delicious, being light, and both sweet and sour. 

Location and Amenities

As mentioned above, the hotel is located around 10-15 minutes drive from the centre of Ubud. It is around 2-minutes away from the Goa Gajah and a 5-minute drive from the popular Bebek Tepi Sawah restaurant. The hotel does provide a scheduled transfer shuttle to Ubud, although we did not partake in this offering since we had our own means of transport. As such, the hotel isn't exactly suited to those opting to explore on foot, but it still can be done with the help of the hotel's shuttle.

The hotel is set on 5-hectares of sprawling gardens and rice fields, and the grounds are meticulously kept each day. I was honestly very impressed by this, even with the low occupancy of the hotel. The grounds were very beautiful and pictures do not do justice to how great the place looked (this hotel is one of those places that looks better in real life than in pictures).

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Pond and gardens

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Library

In addition to the in-villa pool, the hotel has two additional pools, although the smaller pool is cordoned off solely for use by quarantine guests. The main pool is located next to the expansive pond and fountain and was sized perfectly for one to swim several laps. 

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Main Pool

Additionally, there is also a small gym at was open on a reservations-only basis (where an hour is blocked off for the personal use of one guest) and cleaned afterward. It was a great setup during our stay, although I wonder how it would be when the hotel has more guests... That said, the gym equipment was rather old and aging. 

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View of the spa and gym from The Tempayan restaurant

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Gym

Overall

Overall, despite not being a Chedi anymore, the Tanah Gajah remains an exceptional hotel. From the beautiful hotel grounds to the great service, I'm very happy to recommend this hotel and would come back in a heartbeat. 

No longer The Chedi Club, but still absolutely wonderful

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Old Mar 6, 22, 8:26 pm
  #3  
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Returning to Uma

Uma by COMO Ubud

2 Reviews | 50% Recommended

Uma by COMO Ubud

Jalan Raya Sanggingan,Banjar Lungsiakan Kedewatan Ubud, ID 80571

Returning to Uma (16 Photos)

Uma by COMO Ubud

This wasn't our first time at COMO Uma, as I wrote a review on COMO Uma Ubud last year. I praised the hotel to be 'near perfection' back then, and this stay was no different. Only this time, we booked an Uma Villa compared to the Uma Pool Villa we stayed at back then.

Check In

Upon our arrival at the hotel, we were greeted by name by the manager of rooms, who apparently recognised us from our previous stay. Check-in was quick and handled professionally, and otherwise it was a leisurely affair, as all we did was sit down and sip on their refreshing citrusy welcome drink.

Room

Following the swift check-in, we were promptly brought to our Uma Villa. Bear in mind that the hotel is relatively small, and the path to many of the villas involves several stairs due to the hotel's setting on Campuhan Hill. 

We entered the room to find it exceptionally clean; local Balinese music, which I loved, was playing on one of the two televisions. I thought of the subdued hues and simple interior of the room to be nice and rather luxurious, but not overtly so. I especially adored the layout of the villa, which I found to be very well spaced and logical, along with the villa's terrazzo flooring, which felt very nice to walk on. 

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Uma Villa living room

The bedroom itself isn't separated from the living room per se (given the lack of a door), but was separated by white sheers. There was also a desk next to the bedroom, something I value very much. A couple of hotel-branded hand sanitisers and masks were also provided in the room. 

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Uma Villa bedroom

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Next to the bedroom was the bathroom, which also doubles as a walk-in closet. There was a large standalone bathtub, a shower, and double vanities. I'm not a big fan of standalone tubs, so I didn't use it much, but I found the water pressure in the shower to be very good. The amenities were as usual from the brand's signature COMO Shambhala line, whose fresh-minty fragrance I found to be very refreshing.

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Uma Villa bathroom

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Uma Villa bathroom

The Uma Villas have a small terrace and garden area with a couple of chairs and a daybed, along with an odd outdoor shower (I have no idea what for, since the Villa does not have a pool). The weather this time of year (monsoon season) and the hotel's location on the hill meant that the temperature was never sweltering during our stay. As such, the terrace became a very nice place to sit and unwind. Screenshot 2022-03-07 at 08.09.58.png

Uma Villa terrace

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Uma Villa daybed

From the terrace, the villa views down the Campuhan Valley down towards the river Oos, although the greenery does block direct view towards the river. Despite that, the view was still very beautiful. 

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Uma Villa view

Service

Service was as it was last time we were here—warm, professional, and courteous. Everyone seemed like they took pride in their jobs, and between the reception and restaurants, there was always a manager who checked upon us (and referred to us by names, no less) to see that everything was fine. 

One thing that I found interesting was the fact that some of the staff were actually from the currently closed COMO Shambhala Estate up north. We were later told that there wasn't a single staff member who lost their jobs due to the pandemic, and instead, staff from Shambhala Estate and Uma Ubud shared shifts at Uma as a temporary measure. This was very nice to know, and I suppose, a very good programme to be done by COMO leadership.

Dining

We only dined at the hotel for breakfast. The food quality is exceptionally high, and rivals that at high-end Bali resorts like Amankila and Alila Villas Uluwatu. One especially strong point I found was their pastries, which were flaky, soft on the inside, crisp on the outside, and very fragrant. Likewise, the fruit plates and fruit salads were very nice and contained five different fruits, two or three of being rather 'exotic'. Fruit juices were also fresh.

Over the course of our stay, we sampled several hot mains, including an eggs white omelette, chicken meatballs, and an off-menu Eggs Royale. Whilst the Eggs Royale wasn't quite the best I had in a Bali hotel, I was very impressed that they were able to whip one up last minute. I also found the chicken meatballs to taste very good, with an intense broth which I liked very much.

Overall, food was excellent!

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Kemiri Restaurant

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Fruit Salad

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Eggs Benedict

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Fruit Plate

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Croissants

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Eggs white omelette

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Chicken meatballs

Location

The hotel is located on Campuhan Hill, near the old Tjampuhan hotels of Ubud (Pita Maha & Hotel Tjampuhan, both owned by the King of Ubud). Bear in mind that the hotel isn't located in Central Ubud, but between the centre and Sayan, where most high-end hotels are located (Four Seasons, Amandari, Mandapa Reserve, etc.).  

Right across the street from the hotel is the popular Naughty Nuri's restaurant (which I unfortunately, never found to be very good). There was also a large art gallery next door, although I did not visit it. 

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Pool at Uma Ubud 

Overall

Overall, my verdict of Uma Ubud still remains the same. The hotel is near perfection and is absolutely wonderful in every way. The rooms looked great, the hotel looked beautiful, the service is attentive, the food is delicious... what's not to love? I'd be very happy to recommend this place to anyone who visits Ubud.

Returning to Uma

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Old Mar 7, 22, 12:12 am
  #4  
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Not an Aman, but exceptionally in its own regard.

Alila Villas Uluwatu

1 Review | 100% Recommended

Alila Villas Uluwatu

Jl Belimbing Sari Banjar Tambiyak Pecatu, ID

Not an Aman, but exceptionally in its own regard. (30 Photos)

Alila Villas Uluwatu

There possibly isn't a Bali hotel that's quite as famous as Alila Villas Uluwatu. The subject of numerous architectural honours since its opening in 2009, the WOHA designed hotel is indeed a striking design masterpiece that's only made better by its spectacular position on top of Uluwatu's cliffs. 

Despite that, Alila Villas as a brand hasn't had the smoothest sailing. After the coming and going of the villas at Hadahaa (now Park Hyatt Hadahaa), Tabanan (now Soori), and finally Koh Russey (now Koh Russey Resort), Uluwatu now remains as the sole hotel in the portfolio.

Location

Located in the southern part of the island, Alila Villas is comparatively remote compared to other areas. One thing to mention is that Uluwatu and the Bukit Peninsula have many, many small, dead-end roads, and signage is probably not a strong point of the hotel. In fact, Alila is located slightly further from the main road or sights of interest compared to 'neighbouring' hotels like the Bulgari, the Six Senses, and The Edge, as well as LXR's Jumana. 

As such, the hotel is rather isolated and I don't reckon that venturing outside the hotel on foot is a very realistic thing to do. 

Check In

We arrived in Uluwatu on a very rainy afternoon; as it had been raining since the day prior, some roads along the way are covered in significant puddles of water due to poor drainage. As we passed the security check and pulled up to the lobby, two members of staff promptly showed up and greeted by name and attended to our luggage, and a third valeted our rental car. 

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Reception

We were taken to one of the sofas next to the reception, where the check-in formalities ensued. We were presented with a box containing cold towels, along with some snacks including puffed rice crackers two pineapple tarts, and glasses of Frangipani water—all of which tasted great. Our check-in host was very professional and courteous, and after offering some face mist and quickly checking us in, she brought us to a separate, small vestibule where a golf cart was waiting to take us to our villa.

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Snacks

Room

We were driven to our villa by our 'host' (which seemed like the equivalent of a 'butler' at other hotels), who explained the facilities of the hotel along the way. As it was still raining at the time, the golf cart was covered in a waterproof tarp to protect its occupants from the elements—impressive. 

Once outside, our host took out an umbrella and brought us and our luggage in one by one. We found the room to be very clean. A greeting card along with several snacks was waiting for us on the table in the middle of the room, they included several fruits, a couple of coconut-flavoured macarons, some plantain crisps, along with a bottle each of orange and apple juice. 

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Bedroom and welcome amenities

Suffice to say, the design of the place does live up to the hype. Whilst the rooms looked cold and sterile in pictures, the lighting made it feel very inviting and warm. I was especially impressed by the integration of local materials in unexpected ways that made them look sleek, like white-washed rattan ceilings and wire mesh lamps. 

There was a small, rather old-looking Samsung tablet in the room that served as an information guide, and one could also theoretically use it to order room service. 

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Bedroom

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Bedroom

The bathroom is similarly beautiful and well designed, although some parts of the bathroom did start to look a bit tired—the sink and toilet look a bit aged, and some parts of the mirrors had rust. Like at Amans, there were a lot of towels in the bathroom, and all the linens were very plush (they were from Ploh).

I also found it interesting that the bathroom has two showers, one inside, and the other outside. Yet, the placement of the outside shower away from the pool meant it was rather pointless in my opinion, as one has to pass the bathroom to get into the outdoor shower in the first place. 

The hotel had also since replaced its single-use bath gels and shampoos with reusable bottles—all Alila Living branded and were labelled 'His' or 'Hers'. They were of high quality, and those labelled 'His' had a more intense fragrance.  

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Bathroom

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Bathroom

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Shower

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Wardrobe

There initially wasn't much of a view from the room, due to mist and rain, but once that cleared up the next day, we were able to clearly see the sea from the room and the pool. The pool is a plunge pool and was a decent size for what it is. 

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Pool and Cabana

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Villa at night

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Bedroom

Amenities

Alila Villas Uluwatu is perhaps most famous for its spectacular swimming pool along with its bird-cage cabana, and suffice to say, they did not disappoint. The pool and cabanas are very well kept and looked as beautiful as they do in pictures. 

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Cabana

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Pool

The hotel does have access to a private beach some several hundred steps down. As it had been raining every day during our stay, I had not ventured down given the steep and slippery condition of the stairs. That said, as far as I was aware, the beach does not appear to be staffed nor does the hotel offer any loungers down there. 

There was also a well-equipped gymnasium that was wonderfully open 24hrs, and its equipment was modern. As an early riser, I was very happy with the fact that it was available 24/7.

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Gym

Finally, there is also a small library that also carries some traditional board games.

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Library

Dining

The food we had at the hotel was simply exceptional, from the snacks they left at the room, or during our meals. 

During our stay, we sampled several of their breakfast options, all of which were à la carte. Breakfast is served at the CIRE restaurant, which is otherwise closed for other meals. Frankly, everything tasted wonderful and of high quality. One dish that I personally felt was especially remarkable was the 'Corn Eggs Florentine', which replaced the usual English muffin with a doughy corn cake thing. Furthermore, the cold-cut platter was amongst the best I've had outside Europe.

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Eggs on brioche with truffle-aioli

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Croissants

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Fruit plate and cheese platter

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Bubur Ayam chicken congee

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Corn Eggs Florentine and chia seed pudding

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Cold cuts

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Aloo Paratha (on the menu every other day)

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Soto Ayam chicken soup

We also had dinner at the hotel one time at The Warung, the hotel's Indonesian restaurant and the only one open for lunch and dinner. We ordered the 'Mengibung Dinner' which was essentially a platter of dishes from around Bali. 

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The Warung

After ordering, our server brought some Indonesian tempeh and prawn crackers that were to be enjoyed with this myriad of Indonesian sambals. Some were much spicier than others, but it proved to be an excellent way to sample many sambals at once. We were also presented with a complimentary herbal concoction topped with ginger beer, which tasted refreshing.

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Indonesian crackers and sambal

The Mengibung platter was simply spectacular, both in taste and presentation. The platter included the following best to my knowledge: (clockwise from top) Balinese chicken curry, fish satay, prawn lawar salad, chicken and long bean lawar salad, sambal Tuna, long bean and peanut srombotan salad, Balinese pork ribs, and sambal matah fried duck, served with red rice. 

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Mengibung Dinner

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Mengibung Dinner

The Mengibung dinner also came with this small cup of coconut ice cream, which tasted very refreshing.

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Coconut Ice Cream

Service

Service was, for the most part, polished and excellent. The staff were warm, friendly, and courteous, and some of them are charming and great at making conversations. Everything was good, but notably, the service didn't feel especially proactive. Not that that is a bad thing though, since every request was fulfilled very quickly and professionally. Service is more or less seamless, which was particularly evident whenever we needed our car

At its price range, Alila Villas appears to compete with the Bali Amans, but Aman and Alila are two incredibly distinct brands (at least in Bali). Whilst both are very high-end and prioritises a sense of privacy for their guests, Alila isn't a replacement for Aman. Service at Aman is distinctively a lot more homelike and familiar, whereas Alila still retains a rather formal service concept.

Whilst the hotel staff don't seem to automatically know our room numbers (and I suppose it wouldn't be realistic to expect likewise outside Aman), I was regardless still impressed by the polished and professional service. There weren't any managers going around, monitoring their teams and guests, and that was not necessary at all, since everyone knew what they were doing, and were very good at it too.

For instance, we found that the window between the pool and the room couldn't close and as such maintenance was promptly despatched to fix it. Later, we came back to our room to find an array of delicious sweets along with a small card as a token of apology for the 'inconvenience'.

1_Screenshot 2022-03-07 at 11.59.28.png

Sweets left in our room 

Overall

Overall, I found Alila Villas Uluwatu to be, simply put, a spectacular hotel deserving of its reputation. The view, the rooms, the food, and also the service was very good, and combined they all come together to make a hotel that's nothing less than amazing.

The hotel is located a bit further away, and good beaches aren't precisely accessible, so I'd probably recommend splitting one's trip between Alila Uluwatu, and another resort in Bali. That said, Alila Uluwatu is a great hotel that's worth checking out.

Not an Aman, but exceptionally in its own regard.

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Old Mar 7, 22, 3:47 pm
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clubeurope good photos from the alila, but I've got a question for ya (and for anyone else, I suppose).

When nightly room tariffs are in the hundreds of euros, why would bubur ayam -- chicken porridge -- and soto ayam, or chicken turmeric soup, make the cut?

Having flown business on a number of airlines, I was always disappointed to get for example, noodle soup on Cathay Pacific, or whatever the hell a US-based airline served.

Is there a demographic that votes for inexpensive comfort food masquerading as local cuisine? Sure. Though, for a nice hotel like the Alila, or a CX J seat, I'd expect more.
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Old Mar 7, 22, 11:06 pm
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Originally Posted by BuildingMyBento View Post
clubeurope good photos from the alila, but I've got a question for ya (and for anyone else, I suppose).

When nightly room tariffs are in the hundreds of euros, why would bubur ayam -- chicken porridge -- and soto ayam, or chicken turmeric soup, make the cut?

Having flown business on a number of airlines, I was always disappointed to get for example, noodle soup on Cathay Pacific, or whatever the hell a US-based airline served.

Is there a demographic that votes for inexpensive comfort food masquerading as local cuisine? Sure. Though, for a nice hotel like the Alila, or a CX J seat, I'd expect more.
I think that's a very interesting point. Although that does beg the question, what then does qualify as 'high-end hotel breakfast'? Must it be caviar laden? Or served with shavings of Alba truffles? Matsuzaka beef?

Throughout my travels, I find that hotel breakfasts dishes look generally the same anywhere and differ mostly in quality. For the most part, I personally don't care for fussy food unless they can execute it nicely. I remember having a Lobster and Caviar Omelette for breakfast at Singapore's St Regis, but it disappointed me so much that I had the local Nasi Lemak (which maybe costs ~EUR3 outside the hotel) for the rest of my one week stay.
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Old Mar 9, 22, 12:53 am
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Bali\'s (little) \"Grand Dame\"

Tandjung Sari

2 Reviews | 50% Recommended

Tandjung Sari

Jl. Danau Tamblingan No. 41 Denpasar, ID 80228

Bali's (little) "Grand Dame" (14 Photos)

Tandjung Sari

Ah, Tandjung Sari... what's perhaps my most favourite hotel on the island. Established in the 1960s, and a claimant for the first boutique hotel in South East Asia, Tandjung Sari is a hotel that is very full of character. 

The hotel is upmarket, yet retains a very rustic, informal, and homelike feel; much like an Aman, but even more authentic if that makes any sense. The Waworuntus, who founded the hotel (originally as a personal home), remain the proprietors and still manages and oversees the day-to-day operation of the hotel. 

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Tandjung Sari Restaurant

Location

Tandjung Sari is located towards the northern part of Sanur, near the old Grand Bali Beach and its sprawling golf course. It is located around 20 minutes from the Airport and 30 minutes from Ubud by car. Around the area is the very exclusive Batujimbar Estate, many old but great cafés and restaurants, as well as other hotels like the Maya, and the old Bali Hyatt compound (now occupied by Hyatt Regency and Andaz). 

Sanur Beach does offer a brilliant stretch of white sand beach (that was interestingly brought there from Nusa Dua in the 80s when Sanur's original beach eroded) and is a great place to take long seaside walks.

Check In

As we went up the driveway to the lobby, the beautiful landscaping instantly reminded us of our last stay. 

Upon arrival, we were greeted by a staff member who took our luggage. Check-in was done at the lobby and was preceded with a sounding of their gong. Whilst the staff member who checked us in didn't explictly greeted us by name, she immediately recognised us and welcomed us back. 

We were promptly checked-in and brought to our room.

Room

This time, we stayed in a Two-Storey Bungalow, which as the name suggests, is split between two levels. The first floor is where the bedroom and bathroom are located, whereas the second level houses a small living space with a sofa and a desk. 

Whilst the room did look rather aged, it was full of character and was in remarkably great condition. Apart from the discolouration of the terrazzo flooring, there weren't any other obvious signs of wear and tear. I particularly loved the usage of the rattan ceiling which gave the bedroom a rustic feel. A small plate of fruits was left in the room as a welcome amenity, along with a nice letter welcoming us back to the hotel. 

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Two Storey Bungalow Bedroom

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Two Storey Bungalow Bedroom
Up a very nice spiral staircase was the small living space, which to me looked like the interior of a Phinisi boat. Whilst the sofa wasn't the most comfortable for sitting, it was useful as a daybed, which combined with the sea breeze, made it an especially relaxing place. 

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Two Storey Bungalow Upstairs Living Area

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Porch and stairs

The spacious bathroom consisted of a shower and a separate oversized tub.

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Bathroom

Dining

Our room rate included breakfast, and it was served every morning at the hotel's namesake restaurant. The food quality is excellent, and likewise, everything tasted wonderful. The juices were all made fresh as well. I have nothing but good things to say about the food at Tandjung Sari. 

The breakfast menu consisted of several dishes ordered from a set à la carte menu. The set consisted of one main course of Western and Indonesian as follows.

I more or less stuck to having their Eggs Benedict, which I found to be perfectly executed every time. I also had a Nasi Kuning (tumeric rice), which was very nice but not precisely up my street. 

The pastries were as always delicious. Though they weren't very crispy outside, they were very fragrant and flaky. They were served with some butter and a couple of homemade jams, of which the marmalade had to be amongst the best I've had anywhere (fresh, tangy, not too sweet).

Screenshot 2022-03-09 at 13.39.56.png

Nasi Kuning tumeric rice

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Fruit plate and fresh Kintamani orange juice

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Fruit plate and fresh Kintamani orange juiceScreenshot 2022-03-09 at 13.40.22.png

French toast

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Eggs Benedict

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Restaurant

Service

Service at the hotel is generally excellent. Although some may seem rather reserved at times, the staff members were very friendly, courteous, and polite. Most members of staff appeared to know who we were and where we were staying, so we almost never had to mention our room numbers. 

Staff members were, for the most part, proactive. For instance, upon seeing our discomfort being directly exposed to sunlight at breakfast, we were proactively offered to move to a table with more shade. Furthermore, our room is turned down proactively each night. 

Amenities

The hotel has a small swimming pool by the restaurant (and consequently, the beach), which was decorated by a few beautifully eclectic signs. We saw that it was mostly used by children as opposed to adults, which made sense considering its size.

Screenshot 2022-03-09 at 13.41.09.png

Swimming Pool

The hotel also has direct access to a narrow strip of white-sanded beach (which like anywhere in Bali, is legally shared with the public) along with several lounger chairs that can only be used by hotel guests.

Screenshot 2022-03-09 at 13.48.26.png

Beach

Also available is a very well equipped gymnasium behind the reception, which given the hotel's size, is very impressive. 

Overall

Overall, the old Tandjung Sari is anything but an aging hotel. Every aspect of the property is very well kept and maintained, whilst also retaining a very authentic and historical character. 

I would say that the hotel is a great base to start one's journey in Bali, and arguably the best hotel in the Sanur area. Whilst the hotel's historical charm might not appeal to everybody, I am sure it is especially attractive to those who wish to immerse themselves in local culture within the comforts of their accommodation. 

Bali's (little) "Grand Dame"

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Old Mar 12, 22, 1:24 am
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Possibly Seminyak\'s Best (but not Bali\'s)

The Legian

Map| 2 Reviews | 100% Recommended

The Legian

Jalan Kayu Aya Seminyak Beach Kuta, Bali ID 80361

Possibly Seminyak's Best (but not Bali's) (27 Photos)

The Legian

The Legian is perhaps among Seminyak's most iconic hotels; opened in 1991, the hotel's statue is only rivaled by the neighbouring Oberoi hotel, which itself opened in 1972 as the Kayu Aya (in fact, the street on which The Legian lies was until recently called 'Oberoi Street', until it was renamed 'Jalan Kayu Aya'.). 

The Legian was until 2016, a part of GHM's once impressive portfolio of hotels, which has since sadly faded into oblivion. The hotel's interior design is a masterpiece of the late Jaya Ibrahim, who also designed several other GHM hotels and Amans, including The Setai, The Nam Hai (now Four Seasons Hoi An), The Datai, Amandayan, Amanfayun, Aman Summer Palace, as well as Muscat's Chedi hotel. The hotel's exteriors were designed by the late Hendra Hadiprana, who owned Tanah Gajah (The Chedi Club Ubud).

Like many GHM hotels, The Legian has since been operated independently: in The Legian's case, by a dedicated management company that's rather unfortunately called LHM. 

Screenshot 2022-03-12 at 12.51.54.png

The Legian's imposing porte-cochère 

Check In

We arrived at the main hotel lobby by our own means but were quickly ushered to The Club across the street when we told the staff that we were checking in. I reckon that we must have been the only guests to be arriving that day.

Upon arrival at The Club, we were immediately greeted by our assigned butler. Our luggage was quickly taken, and we were brought to the club reception for the check-in formalities. We were offered drinks and some sanitising products. We were also personally greeted by the resort's manager, Alain who wished us a pleasant stay. 

Screenshot 2022-03-12 at 13.14.04.png

The Club at The Legian's reception

We were then taken to our villa, where our butler explained to us the club benefits we can receive, which included:

Complimentary breakfast, mini bar, afternoon tea, evening cocktails, unlimited laundry (excluding pressing), complimentary car services within Seminyak, and complimentary airport transfers.

Room

We were promptly escorted to our villa (across from the reception) by our butler. He quickly acquainted us with the features of the villa and ensured that we had all we needed. 

At 450 sqm, our villa compound was very much immense. I found that there was a lot of wasted space towards the back of the building, but I imagine that only added to the feeling of sheer spaciousness of the place. The entire compound was very beautifully designed, and the interior in particular felt very elegant and intimate thanks to the lighting.

Screenshot 2022-03-12 at 13.18.40.png

Villa bedroom

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Villa bedroom

Furthermore, our room was stocked with complimentary mini bars (I say bars, since there are two mini bars in our compound), and serviced with a complimentary laundry service as a club perk. I did especially enjoy the many bottles of Kombucha available in our room, along with the fruit crisps that came with it. 

Screenshot 2022-03-12 at 13.19.07.png

Villa livingroom

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Villa livingroom 

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Villa pavillion 

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Outside sitting area

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Pool

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Pool

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Fountain

The villa's bathroom is equally large and beautiful. There were double vanities, along with an indoor shower, and an oversized outdoor bathtub. The hotel's toiletries were branded 'Wellness by The Legian' and were in large reusable bottles. In fact, there didn't seem like much single-use amenities, since their water bottles are also Legian-branded and were glass. All of that I reckon contributed to the sense of luxury of the villa.

Screenshot 2022-03-12 at 13.20.34.png

Wash basins

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Outdoor bathtub

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Toilet

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Shower

Whilst the design was stunning, I did have some gripes with the functionality of the space. I thought that the bedside table was too small and cluttered to meaningfully sustain any purpose. Furthermore, I disliked the oversized outdoor tub, which took a very long time to fill up (by which time, the water had already become cold). The shower also had a drainage issue that meant that the drain overwhelmed very easily, making long showers not ideal. Finally, I found issue with the room's glass water bottles, all of which had dysfunctional seals that don't break when twisting the cap (either releasing the cap with the seal still on, or preventing the bottle from being open).

Apart from that, the villa was very comfortable and relaxing.

 

Dining

All accommodation at The Club included both breakfast and afternoon tea, which we partook in during our stay. That said, food was probably the more disappointing aspect of our stay. There was just something about some of their food that I found to be rather 'meh'. 

To start on a positive note, the Eggs Royale and Nasi Goreng we tried was quite good although unfortunately arrived lukewarm once it got to our villa. The smoked salmon part of the Eggs Royale was very nice though and was similar in quality to that in Europe. The juices were likewise very fresh and nice. The fruits were likewise excellent and were served with some sort of yogurt on the side. So these were excellent.

Screenshot 2022-03-12 at 14.05.13.png

In villa breakfast, Eggs Benedict, Bubur Ayam Congee, and Nasi Goreng fried rice

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Soto soup

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Omelette

Screenshot 2022-03-12 at 14.05.35.png

Mie Goreng fried noodles

Screenshot 2022-03-12 at 14.05.40.png

Tapioca dish

Their bread and pastries were fine but not anything special. Unfortunately, they weren't very fragrant but were otherwise edible. Their omelette was also fine, but likewise nothing special.

Screenshot 2022-03-12 at 14.05.45.png

Bread basket

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Pastries

Screenshot 2022-03-12 at 14.06.02.png

Cold cuts plate

What was disappointing though were the other options which simply didn't taste very good. The tapioca porridge (I think that is what it was called?) had an overwhelming coconut milk taste and was slightly salty and not at all sweet (the fruit pairing made the dish taste odd in my opinion). The cheese in the cold cuts plate was nice but I couldn't say the same about the meats (granted I've been spoilt by how good many deli meats are in the UK). The Bubur Ayam congee was bland and lukewarm, likewise was the Soto soup. The Mie Goreng fried noodles were bland and tasted crude.

Their afternoon tea was much much nicer though, and most of the finger foods they offered tasted high quality.

Screenshot 2022-03-12 at 14.05.57.png

Afternoon tea

Screenshot 2022-03-12 at 14.06.30.png

Afternoon tea

Service

Service was overall very good. There was much attention to detail and service was mostly proactive, whether from our butler or the pool attendants at the main hotel. Our butler knew how to find us wherever we went in the hotel, and whenever we arrived back to our villa. I also found that the service at the pool was especially impressive with how proactive it was. Cold towels and water are instantaneously offered, and whenever I worked on my laptop by the pool, our pool attendant quickly came up to me to offer a laptop stand. Very impressive service at the pool.

Screenshot 2022-03-12 at 14.06.35.png

Water service at the pool

Screenshot 2022-03-12 at 14.13.04.png

Hotel main pool

That said, the service culture did feel like it was rather inflexible, where things were more to the book more than a 'can-do' type of service. For instance, car services had to be requested far in advance as opposed to last minute, which made it inconvenient as a result. 

I would have to note that our driver on a couple of occasions was very courteous and thoughtful, and was able to calculate precisely when he needed to pick us up, without us asking. Absolutely excellent service from him.

Location

The hotel's location is right in the centre of Seminyak, near several spots that had been "happening" in past years. However, Seminyak, like most of Bali (bar Canggu) is very very quiet due to the still small number of travellers on the island. 

There were many dining spots around the hotel, and particularly popular ones too. However, we found that many of the restaurants in the area were more trendy than qualitatively good, and food tasted average and inauthentic for what they were charging.

Seminyak's stretch of beach was also nothing special, the sand was an unattractive shade of grey, and there was a litter problem along the coastline (although The Legian does an excellent job of keeping their beachfront area pristine).

Whilst I imagine the liveliness of the area might slowly pick up back to how it was in the past, I don't reckon that Seminyak would be my go-to area of choice. However, if circumstances require me to be in the area, The Legian would definitely be my first choice of accommodation, followed by the Oberoi or perhaps the Alila.

Overall

Overall, The Legian is undeniably a very nice hotel with an equally impressive design; although the place didn't quite impress me as much as I would hope it would. The service and location were mostly rather good although the food was, in particular, the less nice aspect of our stay. 

Having said that, nothing of that makes The Legian a bad choice—not at all. The hotel remains a very decadent choice. In fact, it is still my belief that The Legian is the area's best hotel (and likewise, they charge the highest rates in the area between other hotels), and it is likely where I would stay had I the need to be in Seminyak. Although, perhaps it is Seminyak (the area), after all, that made the stay seem less wonderful than I hoped it would, rather than the hotel itself. 

Possibly Seminyak's Best (but not Bali's)

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Old Mar 12, 22, 1:30 am
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That last review on The Legian concludes this trip report. I might add reviews of other hotels in the future, but I have not planned to stay at any just yet.

Having said that, thank you so much for taking your time to read these reviews, and I hoped this might be helpful if anyone is planning a future trip to the island.

Safe travels as always,

clubeurope
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Old Mar 12, 22, 9:15 am
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Nice detail and pics! Makes me look even more forward to international travel!
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Old Mar 13, 22, 12:34 am
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Originally Posted by lamphs View Post
Nice detail and pics! Makes me look even more forward to international travel!
many thanks for the kind words! hopefully you can travel to bali soon.
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Old Mar 14, 22, 3:30 am
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Thanks clubeurope for the report.
Hopefully I will be able to have the family long weekend in Bali I postponed at least 3 time since 2020. As I have a quite big number of Accor points to spend the hotel selection will be quite limited, from what I'm reading probably better to avoid Movenpick, I'd probably have to stick on Sofitel or Amarterra Villas, as I'm not so much interested in Kuta/Legian area. There is also the new Raffles but at 1000+ USD per night I'm do not have the courage, even using points

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Old Mar 14, 22, 5:45 am
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Originally Posted by BobFF68 View Post
Thanks clubeurope for the report.
Hopefully I will be able to have the family long weekend in Bali I postponed at least 3 time since 2020. As I have a quite big number of Accor points to spend the hotel selection will be quite limited, from what I'm reading probably better to avoid Movenpick, I'd probably have to stick on Sofitel or Amarterra Villas, as I'm not so much interested in Kuta/Legian area. There is also the new Raffles but at 1000+ USD per night I'm do not have the courage, even using points
Many thanks for reading!

I absolutely understand your qualms about the Kuta/Legian area, the place hasn't had the best reputation in a while. Likewise, my experience mimics your sentiments about the MovenpickAs such, I wouldn't stay there unless for a short layover. I've not stayed at either the Sofitel or the Amarterra, but I have passed by the Sofitel a few times whilst staying at the Kayumanis next door. The Sofitel occupies a nice (but relatively narrow) stretch of beach and their beach area looked rather lively.

I have visited the Writer's Bar at Raffles and I thought that the hotel looked wildly overpriced for what it is; The design looked elegant but I didn't like how dark the colour palette was. The gardens also looked spartan for some reason (despite being done by a famous landscaper).

Accor had a Fairmont in Sanur for around 7 years, it was a great hotel during its heyday and was of excellent value, but sadly the hotel is now an InterContinental.
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Old Mar 25, 22, 4:18 am
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Thanks for the wonderful reviews clubeurope . I am planning a trip to Bali later this year. I am a beach person and I do understand that Bali's beaches are not the best out there. Yet, could you please suggest the best luxury beach resort in Bali which I can pair with Mandapa/FS Sayan/Viceroy in Ubud? Again, your suggestions on Ubud would also be highly appreciated.
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Old Mar 26, 22, 4:52 am
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Originally Posted by sandeep.thilakan View Post
Thanks for the wonderful reviews clubeurope . I am planning a trip to Bali later this year. I am a beach person and I do understand that Bali's beaches are not the best out there. Yet, could you please suggest the best luxury beach resort in Bali which I can pair with Mandapa/FS Sayan/Viceroy in Ubud? Again, your suggestions on Ubud would also be highly appreciated.
Many thanks for reading! You're absolutely right that Bali's beaches aren't objectively the most beautiful out there. In my opinion, the beaches in the southernmost portion of the island are the most beautiful, featuring pristine white sand. As such, considering the beach alone, I'd recommend staying in the gated Nusa Dua area, given the area's pristine stretch of beach and the fact that it is swimmable. Although be cautioned that it is a luxury hotel compound, so it's not a very cultural experience (if that's what you're after). I would, however, particularly recommend Amankila, which despite being further away, is an absolutely lovely hotel. Its beach isn't the most beautiful but it is private and it the hotel is an all-around great experience.

As for Ubud, I think the three places you're looking at are all very great choices, so you won't go wrong between any of them. Between the three, I've personally stayed at the FS Sayan, and have visited Mandapa and Viceroy on a couple occasions. I personally really liked the FS and I found its architecture and service to be outstanding, and their river pool to be beautiful. However, the hotel does not offer much as much of a view (whereas Viceroy and Mandapa features valley views) and their food is forgettable. Viceroy is run by an Aussie family and has a great pool, but its rooms are rather aged. Mandapa is the newest of the three, and I personally like the hotel's design. One thing to note is that both Mandapa and FS are connected to the Ayung River where many rafting activities go through, so occasionally you might hear screaming rafters when staying at their river villas.

Safe travels!
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