where to stay in Bali?

Mar 25th, 2003, 11:58 PM
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where to stay in Bali?

Am planning to visit Bali either April or May and will spend 3 nights there. Am not too familiar with the different towns in Bali like Ubud, Kuta, Nusa Dua etc. Am only in Bali briefly so where should i stay? I've also read about the Ritz Carlton and the Four Seasons in Jimbaran Bay. Thinking about it but is it worth it? Which would you recommend?? Thanks!
daisy88 is offline  
Mar 26th, 2003, 01:24 AM
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Having been to Bali many times, I would say to concentrate your time in the Ubud mountain area rather than the beach areas, unless being at the beach is very important to you. However, if white sand beaches and turquoise water are what you are looking for, then don't go to Bali, as you won't find this. The beaches are pretty, but not in the postcard tropical way. The surf can be very rough (hence all the Australian surfers) and the undertow is also quite strong in many places.

Kuta and Nusa Dua are on the beach. Kuta is a largish town with great shopping and a vibrant nightlife. There is no village or town in Nusa Dua, and it is a bit of a remote area. It was specifically developed as an area for large international hotels, but it is not a strip like in Miami or even Hua Hin Thailand. In Nusa Dua, as your budget seems to be high-end, I would say either the Ritz-Carlton or the Four Seasons. I might give the slight edge to the Four Seasons as their beach access is better. At the Ritz-Carlton, the hotel is on a cliff and has no beach access. You have to take a little shuttle down to their beach area. That being said, the pool area is fantastic and you may just never want to leave it. The view over the cliffs is very beautiful, especially at sunset.

Kuta is a fun place, but a bit noisy and hectic. There is really only one five star hotel, the Oberoi, which is a bit out of the downtown area but still a good choice. My favourite places is Poppies Cottages, but this is not luxurious, it is more like a nice 3 star, although their rock pool and winding gardens are the most beautiful in Bali IMHO. This hotel has no beach front, it is behind walled gardens in Kuta. Still, IMHO, a very magical place. It is a quiet haven in hectic Kuta. Going down to Kuta beach for sunset is a nightly ritual for visitors and locals alike.

Ubud is the beautiful inland hill area with rice terraces, and is a better place to really feel the Balinese culture. (The Balinese generally shun the ocean, believing it to be bad luck. They tend to live inland.) My favourite hotel there is the Four Seasons Sayan, with the Amandari running a close second. The staff at the Four Seasons really makes me prefer this hotel, and the stunning lobby/restaurant area is another reason I love the hotel. They offer guided biking and walks, and you can also do white water rafting near by. Another popular hotel is the Chedi. The Kuppa Kuppa Barong is in a tremendous setting, although I don't like the facilities as much as the Four Seasons and the Aman. All these hotels are out of the main village of Ubud, but all can provide jeep transport to the village, about 10-15 minutes away. Ubud village is 2 intersecting streets with shops and some temples. As with Kuta, there are also lots of lodging choices in lower budget regions in Ubud. If you need websites for any of the above hotels, write back on this thread and I will list them for you.

As you only have 3 nights, it might be more of a pain than it is worth to move, but you might consider 1 night in the beach area and 2 in Ubud. If this were my trip, I would do 2 nights in Ubud first and then one night at Poppies in Kuta for shopping and the sunset. (I would of course not go for only 3 nights!)

Cicerone is offline  
Mar 26th, 2003, 06:06 AM
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I prefer the Sanur area, a nice village on the beach. I always stay at the Bali Hyatt (not the Grand Hyatt, which is at Nusa Dua). Kuta is filled with adolescents being loud and partying. If you are looking for a high-end resort, you'd be VERY disappointed with Kuta. Nusa Dua is removed from the rest of Bali, not easy to get places, and there is nothing of interest there. Others love Ubud, but while I always visit, I've never been that impressed with the town. Search this board, there are lots of opinions here.
Kathie is offline  
Mar 26th, 2003, 05:11 PM
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Thanks for response. How far is Ubud from Nusa Dua and from Jimbaran Bay? Can I just stay at one place and hire a taxi to go to the other places?

Is the Four Seasons/Ritz Carlton really worth it?

Thanks again!
daisy88 is offline  
Mar 26th, 2003, 06:16 PM
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Ubud is more the "real" Bali. You can do a day trip to the beach if you need that. Drivers are easy to hire and cheap--$30/day on average. Check out Maya Ubud (good pricing on www.balidiscovery.com) if you are concerned about cost of lodging--high end but much better value than Four Seasons.
Craig is offline  
Mar 27th, 2003, 12:08 AM
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The drive from the Nusa Dua area (including Jimbarayn Bay) to Ubud takes about an hour. There are some villages along the way, where you will find antique shops and a silver shops, especially in the Celuk area. It is an interesting and pretty drive on a two-lane road, although a bit congested at times. As noted above, you can hire a van and driver fairly cheaply to take you any place on the island.

A poster above also mentioned Sanur, which is another beach area near Kuta which has wide flat beaches, which you generally don't find in Nusa Dua. It has a little bit of a village with some shopping. There is a beautiful small hotel there which I have not been to in many years called the Tandjung Sari which you might consider. Very romantic with individual bungalows and a charming restaurant. You might run a search to get people's impressions of it as I have not been to that hotel in more than 6 years. I just looked at their website (tandjungsari.com) and it looks as charming as I remember it.

As to whether the Ritz and Four Seasons are worth it, that is really such an individual choice. In some ways, you miss the real spirit of Bali, which is found in the smaller family-run hotels and guest houses. In other ways it is of course wonderful. I have stayed in many types of hotels in Ubud, and rented a house there for 3 months, and I have to say that the Four Seasons Sayan in Ubud is definitely worth it. It is small and spread out enough that you get peace and quiet, and the architecture, setting, facilities and pampering are all totally unique. If you make the decision to stay in an international style hotel on Bali, then IMO the Ritz, Four Seasons and Aman hotels are definitely worth it over the other chain hotels on the island.

Another beach area to consider is Candidasa, further north along the west coast of the island. This is about a 2 hour drive from the airport/Nusa Dua/Kuta area, and about the same distance from Ubud. This area has black sand beaches and good snorkelling. There is a wonderful Aman resort there -the Amankila. Take a look at their website and the pictures will seduce you….amanhotels.com (this will show you the other Aman hotels in Bali as well.) This might be a good choice for you, as you will get the beach and sun and you can also rent or hire jeeps and explore the area. If you could, you might do 2 nights in the Candidasa area and 2 in Ubud (you said you only had 3 nights so this may not work.)

If you go to Ubud, try to get outside of the village, which I agree with Kathie above, is not compellingly beautiful although it has very good shopping, especially painting by local artists. The countryside with its rice terraces and view of the volcano at Mt. Bator and the small villages are really what make the Ubud area so wonderful. Ubud is also a center for music and art, so you will find wood carving villages, painters, and lots of music and dance, including a troupe of children playing gamelan music and performing dances. The area is great for biking (you can rent) and walking. There is a map called the Bali Pathfinder which you can find in tourists shops in Ubud that shows good waling trails through the rice fields and villages. This will really give you an opportunity to see Bali.
Cicerone is offline  
Mar 27th, 2003, 01:20 AM
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I have not read the other responses because quite frankly I don't want to, they are too long. So please forgive me if I am already giving information that has already been said. First off, both Four Seasons on Bali are beautiful. You should stay at either one depending on if you want to be on a beach or if you want to be in the jungle, either way you will have a fantastic experience. However, both come with a price, the Four Seasons at Jimbaran Bay averages a little over $500 a night. So then there is the Ritz. Also a beautiful resort, a bit larger, but a lot less expensive. For a standard mountain view you can get a package rate room for about $140 a night. They also have villas like the Four Seasons does at a slightly less cost. So in my opinion if you decide to go to the resorts on the beach you should make the choice based on how much you want to spend because both are excellent resorts. If you choose to be in Ubud, the Four Seasons is incredible, offering an entirely different experience. Two other famous resorts in Ubud are the Amandari and the Begawan-Geri (check spelling) Estate. These, in my view, offer a more traditional, less western experience than does the Four Seasons, but they are both beautiful, unique and well worth the price tag. All these resorts in Ubud cap at high $400 a night. If I were doing the trip you are doing, and money was no object, I would go with the Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay. I know there are plenty of other great resorts in the area, but this really is a resort that should not be missed.
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