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Bali (Feb '05) - Hotels, Restaurants, Spas, and Drivers

Bali (Feb '05) - Hotels, Restaurants, Spas, and Drivers

Mar 1st, 2005, 02:27 PM
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Bali (Feb '05) - Hotels, Restaurants, Spas, and Drivers

My wife and I just came back from 6 days in Bali, Indonesia (Feb '05). In order to thank everyone and to contribute to this great forum, I will post our comments below. This will be a multi-part posting covering: Hotels, Restaurants (Ubud and Southern region), and Spas.
LazyPaul is offline  
Mar 1st, 2005, 02:29 PM
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Four Seasons Sayan (Mostly villas. by Ubud). HIGHLY recommended. Peaceful retreat in amazing surroundings. Each villa is quite large and very well furnished and has its own plunge pool. My only complaint is that there is no central control next to the bed to control all lighting and air conditioning.

Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay (All villas beachside resort on South side of island). I recommend that you stay at the Ritz Carlton villas instead b/c Four Seasons Jimbaran bay is an older hotel and is showing its age. We stayed at the Sayan resort first and were a bit disappointed at the villa at Jimbaran Bay (when compared to Sayan's) Service is still top notch. The hotel is also in a convenient location close to the beach and the seafood bbq stalls. There are excellent beach staffs to help you plan activities. If the winds are right, I recommend a ride on the sailing catamaran.

Ritz Carlton Resort Bali (close to Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay). The
the new Cliff villas which just opened in 2004 were excellent. If you are considering the Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay, then I would recommend the Ritz Carlton’s new Ocean front Cliff Villas for about the same price. In terms of service, I think the Four Seasons staff are slightly better trained with more experience, but the Ritz Carlton staff show equal if not more enthusiasm.

Maya Ubud (Has rooms as well as villas) We did not stay here, but did ask for a tour of the premises including their villas. Each of the villas were about $380USD compared to the $500 at Four Seasons Sayan. However, we would rather stay at Four Seasons Sayan given its much bigger villa size and larger plunge pool. Also, your first impression of the Sayan resort is much more dramatic than at Maya Ubud.
LazyPaul is offline  
Mar 1st, 2005, 02:33 PM
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Here are the restaurants we tried this time:

Ubud Region
Terrazo – new style balinese food with fresh ingredients.

Mozaic - fine french dining using fresh local ingredients. Food is great and the price is reasonable when compared to a similar type restaurant in any major city. But we think the food at Terrazo is more interesting.

Ary's Warung - new balinese food. Have dinner on 2nd floor overlooking the street with candle lit tables. Good value.


Southern Region
Made's Warung - more traditional Balinese fare at reasonable price. However, there is no air conditioning so choose a table near a fan.

Seafood BBQ stalls - We recommend the stall called "Menega" in a line of stalls between the Four Seasons and the InterContinental hotel. For your fresh grilled fish, I recommend the “Crazy yellow fish” which is a white flaky fish but may not be available all the time. We also tried a stall called “Ubung”

Bumbu Bali - Balinese restaurant opened by a foreigner in the Nusa Dua region. We ate there for lunch which was okay. There was a sampler lunch menu which allowed you to try about 8 ~ 10 things for a reasonable price ~$15USD. We thought the food at Made’s Warung slightly better and a bit more authentic.

Kisik (in Ritz Carlton Jimbaran) - Good food, but at very expensive prices so much so that I think it’s not worth it. We had 1 grilled whole fish at $50USD. 1 Lobster would be about $70 USD. Also, you need to walk ~ 150 steps down to the restaurant from the resort which means you would have to walk up those steps after dinner. We recommend the seafood beach BBQ stalls instead.
LazyPaul is offline  
Mar 1st, 2005, 02:37 PM
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The Spa at Four Seasons Sayan – I would recommend a treatment at the Spa villas. The Sayan resort has some ayurvedic treatments which are only available here and NOT available at the Jimbaran resort. The normal treatment at the main lodge would be similar to any hotel spa.

Spa at Maya Ubud – I would recommend that one go just to see their spa villas. It is ideally located in a valley overlooking majestic trees and a fast flowing river. We tried the synchronized-four hand massage (ie, 2 masseuse simultaneously). The Four hand massage sounded better than it really was so we won't do it again.

The Spa at Ritz Carlton Jimbaran Bay – I tried the Thalasso experience and the Aquatonic pool. Thalasso experience was a massage using a specially formulated lotion developed by Thermes (France) while under a warm and gentle seawater shower. The Aquatonic pool is filled with heated seawater and has multiple water jet stations that work on different parts of the body. I think the Thalasso massage was a gimmick only as it was not comfortable under that running seawater shower. They also had problems controlling the water temperature (either too hot or too cold). The specially formulated lotion was very thick and helped keep me from moisturized in the seawater pool. The pool (similar to a high tech Jacuzzi) was an interesting experience, but I don’t think I will do it again.

In-room massages – My driver Ketut Suarya ([email protected], mobile: 08123609899) arranged a blind couple (husband: Ketut, and wife: Made) to massage us in our rooms. The price was very reasonable (90 minutes massage at $15 USD per person). So almost every night we asked Ketut and Made to come to our hotel at 10pm. You will need to meet them at the lobby (due to hotel security) and then guide them to the room. (I misplaced their contact information, but you can get it from the driver Ketut Suarya).
LazyPaul is offline  
Mar 1st, 2005, 02:38 PM
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Driver / Guide:

Putu Arnawa
phone: +62-361-976597
mobile: 08123608079 (+62-81-2360-8079)
website: www.balifriend.com
Email: [email protected]
Permanent address: Tanggayuda, Kedewatan, Ubud 80571, Bali, Indonesia
Mailing address: c/o Ni Gusti Ketut Sari, Ananda Cottage, Campuhan, Ubud 80571, Bali, Indonesia
Comments: Professional. Excellent English. Clean car (Toyota Kijang).

Ketut Suraya
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: 08123609899 (+62-81-2360-9899)
Comments: Nice guy. Good english. Okay car (Isuzu Panther).


[email protected] (Ketut)
Comments: N/A – didn’t use him.
LazyPaul is offline  
Mar 1st, 2005, 02:48 PM
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One tip on shopping in Bali:
If you see something you like in a boutique, then you should buy it because many times items are unique to one store.
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Mar 1st, 2005, 07:17 PM
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LazyPaul -

Great post with a lot of useful information. Thank you for taking the time to give us a report. I am going to print up your post and keep it for when we go to Bali this May.

Lynne
Auntylynne is offline  
Mar 1st, 2005, 07:44 PM
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thanks for the great report...did you travel around or just stay in the resorts??
rhkkmk is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2005, 01:13 AM
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Many thanks for all the details !!!!
Joelle is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2005, 05:48 AM
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Paul - You seem really pleased with your trip. I've heard others on this forus recommend against going to the town of Jimbaran Bay. I was thinking of staying at the Ritz in the cliff villas and wondered if you think this is better then going somewhere else in Bali for a beach experience. Also, when you weren't eating at the Ritz or the FS, what was a typical cost of meals. Are all of the options at the Ritz/FS very expensive?

Thanks
Chicago_Man is offline  
Mar 5th, 2005, 08:05 PM
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Dear rhkkmk and others
Sorry for the late response. I don't check this daily so please post and write me an email (as reminder) if you have additional questions. [email protected]

We hung out in the hotels/spas half of the time. The other half, we just checked out various towns and villages and bought little things here and there. We did not do any sight seeing though.

In the Ubud region, we spent a day exploring the various boutiques in the village. We spent another day checking out various villages around Ubud. We visited the Mas village for wood carving, Gianyar for weaving, another for stone works and another for silver/gold works. My advice would be to only pick the things you want to see and ask the driver to drive you to a few different places because some are serious tourist traps. If you end up at one of those stores, bargain AT LEAST 50% OFF (ideally more than 75% off).

Also, if you use Ketut Surya as a driver, he will suggest that you go to some restaurants or stores (of his brother or friends). If you don't have any preferences, then go ahead and check it out. However, if there are other places you want to check out, then my suggestion is to stick to your original plan.
LazyPaul is offline  
Mar 5th, 2005, 08:25 PM
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Dear Chicago_Man sorry for the late reply. If you have additional questions, then please post and email me: [email protected]

I highly recommend the Ritz-Carlton Cliff Villas as the setup is really nice aside from being brand new. The bathtubs in the new villas overlook the ocean and so a good place to check out the sunset (something I'm sure you and your wife-to-be would enjoy). The gazebo-like structure is really comfortable at the new cliff villas. And the plunge pool is the largest in Bali. Ritz-Carlton also has its own private beach but you have to walk down 100+ steps to it. Each villa comes with its own plasma TV and DVD players. You can buy some cheap DVDs around Kuta (~$0.50 each and will have latest selections even in-theater movies) and watch them in your room if you want.

In terms of convenience to beach and seclusion, I think Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay is a good choice. Just don't stay at Four Seasons Sayan beforehand. If you do, then you would be disappointed like I was. I think the Sayan villas are much nicer than the Jimbaran Bay Villas. If I didn't stay at Sayan beforehand, I think I would enjoy Jimbaran Bay more. It was because of this disappointment that we extended our stay and stayed at Ritz-Carlton afterwards.

By the way, I stayed at the Ritz-Carlton oceanfront cliff villas for about $575. You should contact the hotel directly to double-check your price quote.
LazyPaul is offline  
Mar 5th, 2005, 08:32 PM
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rhkkmk

In the southern region, we just checked out shops around Kuta and Seminyak. Kuta has the illegal copy stuff (purses, clothes, dvds, etc.).

Seminyak has many nice boutiques for furnitures and accessories.

I recommend Putu as your driver as he did a good job taking us around various places in the southern region.
LazyPaul is offline  
Mar 5th, 2005, 08:44 PM
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chicago_man

Another option for you would be to stay at FS Jimbaran Bay (1st) for a couple of nights since it's close to the airport then head over to FS Sayan for about 4 nights (you can get the FS Mountain & Beach package) and then go back to Ritz Carlton for a few nights before heading out. By the time you get to the Ritz, you would have gotten all the touristy things out of the way that you probably just want to do nothing.

I didn't quite understand your question on FS or Ritz options. what do you mean by options? In my opinion the room and dining rates were the most expensive at FS/Ritz(even high by US standards). However, the spa and gift shop prices were more acceptable.
LazyPaul is offline  
Mar 7th, 2005, 11:56 AM
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Someone asked about the issue of bugs/pests at FS Sayan property.

There were some bugs. During our stay, it was mostly ants and mosquitos. Harmless creatures and it was not nearly as bad as I thought it would or could be. On our first night, I saw a few (~5) large ants in our bathroom (large because it was about 2~3x the size of the ants here in LA). I called the front desk and asked whether I should be afraid of these ants. They were only concerned about bees (which I didn't see while I was there). I thought the Sayan property kept the bug/pest problem to a minimum.

At both Four Seasons properties, they offered complementary bottles of OFF solution (bug repellent) for the guests. Also, when they turned down the bed, they also enclosed the bed with mosquito nets so you can sleep worry-free. My suggestion to you in keeping the room fairly bug free while you're there is to close the doors/windows as soon as possible and keep them closed. If you would like to enjoy the outdoors of your villa, just sit in the lounge area or dip in the pool.

In my experience, the ant, mosquitos, and bug problem was worse at FS Jimbaran Bay and Ritz Carlton (all harmless just annoying). Who would have thought. I thought the pest problem would be much worse in a jungle than at the more developed beach resorts.
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Mar 8th, 2005, 03:04 AM
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It was me asking about bugs....
Thanks for the answer!

(phobic) Joelle...
Joelle is offline  
Mar 9th, 2005, 03:12 PM
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Here are some pictures:

FS Sayan, FS Jimbaran Bay, Ritz Carlton, Maya Ubud spa

http://www.ofoto.com/BrowsePhotos.js...de%3Dtrue&Ux=0
LazyPaul is offline  
Mar 10th, 2005, 01:31 AM
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Thanks for the link !
Joelle is offline  
Mar 10th, 2005, 07:11 AM
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Great information. We are going to Bali this summer. On our trip we will spend 3 days in Ubud between the beach resorts, and we will for sure try both Mozaic and Terrazo. We have booked The Maya after first considered The FS Sayan, but skipped it due to that we heard it would not be suitable for children. So, could you give some more impressions from The Maya. I understand that it is not so great as The FS, but was it still nice, good pools and gardens? Looked at your great photos!
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Mar 10th, 2005, 07:13 AM
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ttp
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