I’m going a bit out of sync here with my Bali reviews, and thought I’d skip ahead to our final destination, mainly because I’m going to have to look up the names for most of what we did in Ubud as we just wandered in and out of places and try and piece together my timeline.
After a very busy start to our holiday, being very active in both KL and Ubud, our final part of the trip was heading to Nusa Dua where the beach was at. We went very much off our travel agents guide for which resort to go for, we knew we didn’t want somewhere that was really busy, and was recommended Nusa Dua, a premium gated resort on the south-east of the Island which has the best quality resorts in the area, all 4 and 5 stars. All sounded good enough to us, but once we ordered our guidebook we were a little apprehensive, described as “Bali, for people who don’t want to be in Bali”, and I must say – Nusa Dua was pretty dull. Luckily we just wanted some R&R pool and beach time and found some good restaurants nearby, but I would not choose to go back to Nusa Dua again especially any more than a day or two. 5 days of R&R was enough for both of us, and generally we’re not ‘stay in the hotel’ kinda people. However I’m going to be talking about the hotel in terms of it’s quality, rather than the area itself.
Our expectations of heading to the Laguna were built up and up through our time in Ubud, our previous hotel/taxi drivers etc all knew of the Laguna, “best hotel in Nusa Dua” we were told multiple times. When we arrived, we were greeted into the grand entrance filled with plush sofas, incredible orchids and stunning crystal chandeliers by a gong sounding and two traditional Indonesian women dancing. This time we had a Deluxe Lagoon Access room, and was offered to upgrade to a villa at the mere cost of an extra $300 USD… per night (down from $500), the villa also wasn’t free to move into to the following night so would have meant not being settled for another day. We declined. Like the previous two hotels we did not know how the cost of this broke down into our package, but similar dates for June next year with the Deluxe Lagoon Access room with breakfast worked out at about £230 per night (295,000,000 IDR).
Our eyes were lighting up as we were walked to our hotel room, the pools looked gorgeous and we were arriving just as the sun was setting. Walking down the corridor to our room, 157 – I was itching to open the door. And as soon as we were left alone, with the door closing behind us we were both a bit disappointed. On the website the room is described as being decorated in Balinese style, which it wasn’t, and a lot of the furniture was looking quite tired, with almost threadbare chair coverings, it wasn’t what we was expecting. The whole room felt just a bit dated, the bathroom was clean and tidy, but it was such a dark grey colour it felt depressing, and the bath and shower-heads felt tired. The most annoying thing of all was the wardrobe. Thank god we were only there for 5 days! with only a handful of hangers for two people, no shelves and a few tiny drawers there was no space to put shoes thanks to a useless organiser on the bottom of the wardrobe, we ended up having to live out of our suitcase through lack of places to put things!
We were excited to be moving to an area where we had a swim up room after our private pool being a waste in rainy Ubud, sadly – yet again we didn’t use this. Outside there was only one sun bed to share between two rooms, and we were the side of the hotel where the pool got the sun during the morning, by early-mid afternoon the room was mostly covered by shade, so yet again – our premium upgrade was a bit of a waste.
In retrospect we should have complained, by the second day we were sure that the room had a vague smell of damp as well, and I have no idea why we didn’t go to reception and asked to be moved. I think because it was our honeymoon and we were just ready to relax by this point we didn’t want the upheaval of being moved, but overall the room is not what I would have expected for £230 per night.
We were greeted with petals in the bath and swan towels with a single rose wrapped up, next to some complimentary green tea toiletries (yet to be used), and when we’d returned home from a meal out in the evening we came back to find a desert and some macaroons waiting for us. The room came with 4 bottles of water each day, what was disappointing was that the mini fridge wasn’t cold at all, we left our drinks in the fridge throughout the day whilst lounging by the pool or beach and they weren’t refreshing!
Beyond the room, the hotel was actually lovely. Compared to the previous hotel we’d stayed at in Ubud was much smaller, and this was a much larger resort, with over 400 rooms. I don’t know whether it was just because it was just prior to peak season, but the hotel didn’t feel too busy.
The main centre of the hotel centres around lagoon pools – 5000sq metres of them, there are two areas of the hotel which have the swim up style rooms, a small children’s pool, and two main pools, one of which has a beachy type vibe with a sandy beach drifting into the water. All of which have seating areas around the pools, considering it wasn’t too busy all the sun beds were taken, I don’t know whether they weren’t all out or whether it might be a struggle to find one when it’s busier. They have extra bed huts available to rent for an extra price per day – I think this was around the £15-£20 mark per day, we did plan to do this, but never got around to doing it!
The pools open up onto the a private beach area which again has sun loungers which are well spread to having ones positioned under the shaded palms as well as in the sun, with Umbrellas. The beach itself was kept very clean and tidy, however be prepared for street sellers trying to sell everything from canvases to bracelets every ten minutes.
Breakfast here had a large selection, but having been used to menu service at the previous two hotels – this was back to being a full buffet for everything. The food was good, but not great – things like croissants weren’t as mouthwateringly flaky as you’d expect and apart from eggs, there was nothing you could get cooked fresh for you (unless you happened to be waiting my the pancake station at the right time). There was a huge selection of foods on offer, with fresh juices and smoothies, yoghurts, pasties, cakes, cheeses, meats, sushi, asian food and cooked breakfast items all available.
We only ate at the hotel once on our first day – at lunchtime ordering some food to eat by the pool, and we only made that mistake once, choosing to venture out to restaurants after that. A club sandwich with chips, a separate chips and two cocktails came to £36. Thank god I wasn’t that hungry that day and only wanted chips as it would have been around £45 if I’d had a Club Sandwich too. We looked at eating at the hotel one evening, but there was nothing that we really fancied to eat, being a bit more fine dining than what we really wanted in the hot weather, and the prices… well you can imagine how expensive they were thanks to the lunch time bill.
Overall we had a nice stay at the hotel, I think if this had been our starting point we may have been more impressed by the room, although the worn chairs and furniture was disappointing considering this is pegged as a 5 star hotel, it didn’t quite hit the mark. The facilities themselves were nice if you’re looking for a peaceful resort that doesn’t have a lot of noise from various activities constantly going on. The hotel is a slice of luxe but the rooms let them down, and I’m sure the more premium rooms and villas are something special – but I’m really glad we didn’t have the most basic room as I think we would have been completely underwhelmed.
For the price we’ve definitely had better stays in places like Turkey with all inclusive for about £450-500 each. The pools were nicer than anywhere we stayed before (other than one with a water park in Egypt), but ultimately lounging by the pool is lounging by the pool and I don’t think I’d return to Bali to stay purely by the beach in future.