Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bali Resort Reviews

Keraton Jimbaran
Finally wrapping up the Bali recaps: we stayed at two resorts in Bali for our 9 day trip in late November / early December: the Keraton Jimbaran for 2 nights and the Purist Villas & Spas for 6 nights. I like staying in Jimbaran for a few days of beach relaxation in the southern Bali; it's a lot more peaceful than Kuta / Seminyak, and less overbuilt resort-y feeling than Dreamland and Nusa Dua. Plus it's convenient to some excellent BBQ seafood at the beachfront warungs right on Jimbaran Bay. A few days is enough, I prefer to spend more of my time in Ubud, which has great food, local treks, shopping and massages, and is a convenient base to explore the scenery and temples of the rest of Bali. While clearly touristy, it doesn't have the young partying beach crowd of the South.

Keraton Jimbaran Review: Location was great, right on the beach with a large pool and lots of beachfront chairs and umbrellas. The architecture and decor is traditional Balinese style for the lobbies and building exteriors. Our room was very basic, not a villa or suite or anything, and connected to other rooms, but it was perfectly comfortable. Rooms could use a little updating and the bathroom could be a little nicer, but nothing to complain about for about $130 per night including a breakfast buffet. Restaurant was ok, not great, but the middle seafood warungs were right next door. We've stayed at the Four Seasons in the past, which was nice, but probably not worth 5-6x the price. The beach is actually nicer at the Keraton. Free wifi in the lobby only.
Nice gardens at the Keraton
Traditional, fairly ornate lobby
Purist Villas & Spas: I love this place and would stay here again in a heartbeat. It's a small, private place with only 7 villas. I love staying in resorts where I feel like the only guest. The decor is the Balinese modern style that I like, similar to Amankila and the Four Seasons Sayan, lots of dark wood and stone, clean marble lines and sleek fixtures. We had our own private deck / patio with a dining set and couch, where we had breakfast everyday and a little yoga most days, a large bedroom with a sitting area and a huge bathroom with double sinks, separate bathtub and shower as well as a fountain and goldfish pond. It was very private and quiet, with just an occasionally morning noise from neighbors that you could hear from the bathroom, but otherwise you never saw / heard anyone else. The complementary breakfasts were excellent, with lots of fresh fruit and juices, pastries and cooked dishes. We only had dinner once in the resort, which was good and never tried the spa services, but all the facilities looked nice. Service is excellent as you would imagine at such a small place. You definitely get to know the staff well and they are just the best, super accommodating for whatever you need. Wifi was a little spotty in the room, but available in the lobby. The location is a little remote, it's about 1 kilometer north of Raya Ubud, the main road which Ubud Palace is on, so it's a hike to the center of town if you want to walk, especially in the heat of the day, but was fine for us since we had rented a motorbike. We were able to negotiate a great deal since we were there for so many days, and it is so worth it. I've stayed at the Uma Ubud and Four Seasons Sayan in Ubud in the past, as well as Amankila in the North, near Manggis. Uma Ubud is really nice too, and convenient to Naughty Nuri's Warung and my favorite spa, Bali Botanica, but you get a lot more privacy and space at the Purist Villas for the same price. The Four Seasons Sayan and Amankila are stunning resorts with impeccable service (especially at Amankila), but for 4-5x the price, I'd rather stay at the Purist Villas.
Our bathroom goldfish pond

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