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bali hotel help...ayana, oberoi, tugu...etc

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Aug 1st, 2012, 07:35 AM
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bali hotel help...ayana, oberoi, tugu...etc

Hi,
I am going to Bali the first week of October for 7 nights. I have booked 3 in Ubud at the Hanging Gardens, now need to book the other 3. Will probably do night 1 at somewhere inexpensive near the airport as our flight arrives at 2am. As we are spending 3 nights in the Ubud area, my husband wants the others by a beach. I am content to do more days in the jungle, but he'd rather mix things up.

A friend recently went to Jimbaran Puri and said the beach was awful, so that one is out of contention. We like the beach, but I want to be somewhere I'm not limited to eating at the resort and can stroll around, so it seems Seminyak is a better choice. Not interested in Nusa Dua or something thta doesn't make me feel like I'm in Bali...no westins, conrads. Thoughts on the Ayana? Seems a bit big, but the rates are decent. Some other hotels that seemed interestng were the Oberoi, Ulin Villas and Tugu. The Oberoi however is not villas (we'd be in the cheapest level room) . Do these still feel quiet and private? Suggestions welcome- preferably not over $400 USD a night. I'm tempted to splurge on the Alili Soori as a friend recommended it...but it seems a bit wasteful. I don't need a 3000 sq foot villa.

Thanks in advance.
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Aug 1st, 2012, 07:59 AM
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I've only stayed at the Tugu. Although it is a wonderful property, I think you would be disappointed with the beach. Just south of the Tugu is Seminyak - the beaches there are not the greatest either. Several on this board like Sanur - I am sure they will chime in.
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Aug 1st, 2012, 08:10 AM
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Thanks. I thought the Tugu looked intriguing because it has a black sand beach. I'm fully aware the beaches in Bali don't hold a candle to those in other places (caribbean, Maldives, some in Thailand...) so I want to make sure the property is nice, and at least the beach isn't totally dirty.

Also some place that includes some activities - yoga maybe, would be nice.
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Aug 1st, 2012, 04:34 PM
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I would concentrate on Seminyak beach. It's long -- 10 miles or so in total -- and wide -- 100 yards at lowtide -- that's great for walking, wonderful sunsets, big waves that you can or cannot swim in depending on the waves and your ability.

Lots of shops, spas and restaurants nearby. It's a lively beach that gets a lot of use -- surfers, runners, families, temple ceremonies, weddings. It's not in the Robinson Crusoe pristine category, but with its dramatic surf and sky, it can be quite beautiful.

My favorite in Seminyak is The Legian (make sure you get the one in Seminyak). It's become quite pricey, but a studio suite may be in your range.

My other top choices would be the Samaya (assuming that the construction is completed by the time of your trip), and the Royal Beach Seminyak. Also the Anakara and Seminyak Beach resort, though those are lower on my list. There's a newish W, but it's a bit flashy. I'm not as enthusiastic on the Tugu or the Oberoi as I think they're both a little worn around the edges.

The Ulin is a villa complex that is about 15 minute walk from the beach. If you go the individual villa route you'll have dozens of choices. For a villa, my preference would be to concentrate on the Petitenget area. I like the Laksmana complex (about 2 minutes to the beach, but with quiet gardens.

For a very good value also 2 minutes from the beach The Colony is compact and charming.

If you can afford it, though, I'd try to stay right on the beach. Then you have the best of both worlds -- the sun and sand plus the serene garden. The resorts keep their beach fronts clean, but some of the public areas are less so.

The Ayana is a big, self contained property with various levels of accommodation, several restaurants and a nice spa. It's not so easy to get in and out of, technically in Jimbaran but on a cliff overlooking a little cove. To get to the beach you have to go down (and eventually up) quite a few stairs.

I far prefer Seminyak to Jimbaran, though Jimbaran -- like Sanur and Nusa Dua -- has a calm swimming beach.

Alila Soori is farther north, not near much of anything. The architecture and black sand beach are both striking, but it's really isolated.

I would suggest that you forgo the night near the airport and go directly to your resort. If you start in the beach area you'll be quite close, but even getting to Ubud is not so difficult. That way you'll wake up in a beautiful Bali environment.

Many of the resorts offer yoga classes and other activities, but if not, the Seminyak area is full of things to do.
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Aug 1st, 2012, 04:58 PM
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Sorry, that's Anantara.
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Aug 1st, 2012, 07:26 PM
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Thanks so much for the help. unfortunately, a few of those are out of the price range, the Anantara is also a bit more than I want to spend. After spending some time on trip advisor, a lot of the smaller villa properties just have photos of private pools and great accommodations, but not much else. I think i'd get bored! I realize that a bigger resort might be better for this trip.
Point taken about spending 4 nights at the same place, but i don't want to use $350 USD checking in somewhere at 3am. I am now considering the first two nights in a cheaper, large property - Laguna Nusa Dua or a Starwood, and then 2 nights in Seminyak or elsewhere in Ubud before we go to the Hanging Gardens.
Any recommendations in Sanur? It looks like a nice alternative to Seminyak.
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Aug 1st, 2012, 08:46 PM
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Transmets, I can't agree with you on the 3 AM part. Anywhere you stay on arrival is going to cost something and the aggravation of checking in and out and in plus not being where you want to be is, to me, a big disadvantage. You may end up saving $200, but you'll have a negative experience.

I'd say the best Starwoods are the St. Regis and the W, though neither would be among my top picks.

Villa living has pluses and minuses, but as a traveler I prefer resorts too. I'd try writing to The Legian and The Samaya and getting actual quotes for your actual dates. You may be surprised at the real rates, especially in October.

Sanur is completely different from Seminyak and certainly has its fans. It has a lovely sandy beach, rosy sunrises, and calm waters. a respectable number of okay restaurants. Not much in the way of shopping. To me the biggest drawback of Sanur is that the iconic properties are well into their third decades and are showing their age.

The important point is to stay where you intend to spend your time as "commuting" from one area to another is a real problem these days in Bali because of traffic snarls.
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Aug 1st, 2012, 09:23 PM
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Thanks again for the advice. The St. Regis is out of budget, and I'm not going to Bali for the (IMO tacky) W experience. I don't even like to stay in Ws in cities! The Laguna in Nusa Dua looked ok for two nights. I'll try contacting the hotels you mentioned directly as the Samaya comes up as $525 a night on their website.

What hotels would you recommend in Sanur? The Hyatt looks interesting, but aging. it sounds like Sanur might be better for us as I have no interest in shopping, aside from local type things in Ubud. I shop when I go to America, by far the cheapest place for clothing and things. Restaurants aren't a draw for us either as fancy/high end restaurants are not of interest to me, but the availability of non-hotel run, local, walkable casual restaurants/bars is important. I don't like feeling that I'm forced to eat at the hotel unless i take a taxi somewhere. I'm a picky eater, 95% vegetarian and my husband and I both don't eat seafood....so fresh fish on Jimbaran Bay is of no interest.

Would you recommend instead of a beach, the mountains in Central Bali? I do want to hike one of the volcanoes one morning, should we do this from Ubud? It's tempting to do 2 nights beach, 2 somewhere....else...then 3 Ubud.
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Aug 1st, 2012, 10:28 PM
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transmets, I thought you meant you had discounted rates at Starwood properties. If it has to be Starwood, I'd choose W over Laguna, not because I like W especially, but because it's a much better environment.

I have a lot of friends who swear by Sanur, so I try to stay positive, but truth be told. I'm not enthusiastic about the resorts, the beach or the neighborhood. I guess I'm just partial to Seminyak -- not so much for the shopping but for the bigwave, longwalk beach and glorious sunsets.

I don't like pretentious dining on vacation either, but the best restaurants in Seminyak are both casual AND good. Since you don't like seafood, I won't suggest my favorite, Sardine, but you'll have lots of almost vegetarian options. I like LaLucciola, Sarong, MamaSan, Metis, Hu'u, PotatoHead, the new Mosaic on the beach plus the many, many salad/sandwich/coffee/icecream places, beach joints, and Balinese cafes.

My inclination would be to extend Ubud to 4 or 5 nights, either all at the Hanging Gardens or HG plus one other, maybe in Ubud itself, like the Uma. Most of the non-beach nature destinations (like the mountains) are accessible from the Ubud area so it doesn't make sense to move unless you just want to experience another place.

Then I'd choose a beach for the remaining 2-3 days. There is no perfect beach in Bali. They all have upsides and downsides. Pick one and stay put.
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