Thursday, June 19, 2014

The heavenly St Regis Bali

Recently we were down at Bali for a long weekend. As we were planning for the trip, we thought long and hard to decide whether it's worth paying a bit more for a better hotel, after realizing how inhibitively expensive Bali travel package could get. At the end we figured since this is only our first vacation this year, we may as well splurge a bit more for some luxurious comfort, something we felt like we desperate need. Looking back, I think it's the money well spent as we had a great time at St Regis Bali.

The hotel is located on the eastern coast of Nusa Dua, the resort town of Bali not far away from the airport, accessible by the only toll road in the island. We were picked up by the hotel car after going through immigration, and 20 minutes later, we were sitting in the lobby sipping a glass of welcome drink.

St Regis Bali is an all-suite property so even our regular "room" was huge - complete with separate living area, walk-in closet, large balcony and bathroom and all that. To us it's more than adequate, but of course, there were also pool villas if you look for even more comfort and space.

The best thing we like about the hotel is its coziness and excellent service. There are only 100 or so suites/villas within the property, plus we came at the low season, so it's never crowded. I bet it's less than 50% occupied. In fact we hardly saw more than 10 hotel guests at any given time, even during breakfasts or as we were lying on the beach under the shades. And the service was impeccable. St Regis' known for their signature butler service, and everything we need was just a phone call away. They even offered to unpack for us and iron our clothes - and it's just part of their complimentary service.

Breakfast at Boneka Restaurant
Our travel package came with several meals inside the hotel so we were able to try out a number of different restaurants inside the resort. The highlight was definitely the breakfast served daily at the Boneka Restaurant. They don't have a particularly large selection at the buffet tables, but instead most of the items were made to order, including no less than 5 different kinds of egg dishes in addition to the usual choices, 10 different kinds of juices and smoothies, and all the pastries you could think of... this is simply Asian-style hospitality at its best. My favorite was the river lobster omelet which was served with the whole lobster on the casserole - that and you could order as many as you want. Every morning my struggle was to choose between that and the Australian wagyu steak and eggs.

The hotel has its own private beach, two huge swimming pools and plenty of cabanas around to chill and relax. As I said, it's never crowded - one morning we were the only two in the swimming pool. Who needs your own private pool? We also spent an afternoon at their Remede Spa doing one of their treatment packages. Well, it's not spectacular (considered the price they are charging), but nonetheless very relaxing. Originally we thought about going for one of the outside spa in the neighborhood, which would have been cheaper, but were just too lazy to look around.

Aqua Vitale Therapy Pool at the Remede Spa
My only complaint was the time we spent at immigration. I was led to believe (from reviews on Tripadvisor and their website) the hotel provides airport pick-up for all the guests and better yet, a fast track immigration service to let you skip the regular line. But turned out the pick-up service was only for people booking directly with the resort (and not through a travel agent like we did), and although after some haggles they agreed to extend that to us for free, there's no fast track service available - something I didn't realize until we got off the plane. We ended up waiting for more than an hour in line at the immigration counter. If we had known that earlier I would not hesitate to pay extra to get us out of the airport faster. That's something to bear in mind if you are considering staying here.

Other than that we were generally satisfied with everything at the resort and would not hesitate to recommend this to everyone.

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