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Bali - 2009


We got off to a lousy start - Malaysia Airlines, 1 hour delay at Heathrow, then boarded find that the IFE was not working throughout economy.

No real problem - I had a good book. After the meal, the cabin lights were extinguished as usual - then we realised that the personal reading lights were not working either! My seat was uncomfortable, and whilst food was pretty good the staff were very bad at coming round with refreshments. A very poor flight overall and I was glad to get off the aircraft.

Transfer at KLIA to the Bali flight was simple (and short because of the Heathrow delay) and the flight to Bali was fine. We had pre-booked transport and after the hell that is visa on arrival (25 USD each), we were whisked off to the Bali Hyatt in Sanur (we had not stayed at the Hyatt before).

Bali Boats


Boats on Sanur Beach

The Hyatt stands in beautiful grounds and first impression was good. The reception Sala was rather bare, compared to other hotels we have previously tried in Bali, but check-in was fast, efficient and friendly. The hotel accommodation comprises 3 concrete 4 storey blocks, each surrounding a courtyard. Whilst there were trees, shrubs and flowers in each courtyard, the impression of the awful concrete blocks was overwhelming.

We had an ocean view room on the second level and whilst there was access at ground level (level 1) and on the 3rd level between the blocks, we were restricted to a single staircase (this will become significant later). The room was an older style, typical hotel room- not particularly luxurious and tired-looking but had a spacious balcony with a good view. For information, the higher the floor the smaller the balcony, as the outer concrete shell slopes inwards. The bathroom and air conditioning was poor (we had 3 special "cleans" of the bathroom to try to reduce the urine smell that became very apparent after a shower when the steam and humidity permeated the floor tiles). Staff, service, food and the beach were generally very good but the 2 pools, however, were far too small for a hotel of this size.

Breakfast was a particularly good meal, with a very good selection of English, continental and Asian dishes. Beach/Pool towels were plentiful and clean. The beach, sunbeds and staff were very good. We had one particularly indifferent evening at their "Balinese Night". The food was not up to the standard that we have experienced in our previous visits to other hotels.

Sanur was most enjoyable. There has been development since we were last there, but this has not detracted from the pleasant nature of the village. We ate out every night, vowing to avoid European food and the more western restaurants such as The Village and The Mezzanine. Food this year seemed better than ever and we particularly enjoyed Jepun, Wareng Pregina, Mades, Mings and the Indian restaurant near to Mings.

On one evening the whole of Bali suffered a power cut. Apparently all electricity is supplied from Java and there was a fault in supply. Many restaurants had no generator for power of lighting for the whole evening. We found a place which did, however, and were fortunate enough to get a table for the evening.

The Spa at the Hyatt was expensive, so we tried the Mandurah Spa at the north of the village (free transport). It was adequate but nothing to shout home about - massage, body scrub and bath (over 2 hrs.) for about GBP 8.75. The beach massage stalls seem to have reduced in both number and appealing location, so we had a daily massage (GBP 3 per hour) at a local salon, whose name escapes me. Their massage was excellent.

The beach walk is in good condition and we took frequent strolls.

At about 4am on 19th September, I was awakened by the emergency lights coming on outside the room and a (faint) emergency bell. On investigation we believe that it was caused by a minor earth tremor, although this was never confirmed by the hotel - in fact their feedback of information was terrible. We got up and dressed, but none of the staff knew what was happening or what to do, so we went back to bed.

Wife, naturally, fell into a fitful sleep but I couldn't settle and at about 6.30 I went off for a stroll to watch sunrise. At about 7:15 there was a major tremor, initially reported at about 6.4 (although I think this was subsequently revised downward). Apart from local Balinese people coming out, moving me away from buildings (I was in Sanur) and them trying to stop me returning to the coastal path (fear of tsunami), it would be fair to say that I was not unduly perturbed.

Back at the hotel, things were a little different. She Who Must Be Obeyed, was awakened by the doors, windows and furniture vibrating, to the extent that things were falling off the dressing table - even the concrete slabs were creaking! She dressed and then thought about leaving the room, but did not want to end up on the ground floor of an enclosed courtyard (remember earlier) with the possibility of debris falling inward. With no access, at our level, to other routes out of the building her choices were limited. Had there been another tremor she decided to leave by the shrubbery on the balcony. On looking from the balcony she could see locals, staff and other guests peering towards the sea, waiting for a tsunami wave - which fortunately never came. Following this tremor we had a few days of cloud and rain showers (some very heavy) - most unseasonal.

Ubud Bali - Balcony
Bali - Room Ubud

Ubud - Balcony

Ubud - Room

Whilst in Sanur, we decided that we would take our usual couple of days in Ubud - at the Ananda Cottages (room 26 overlooking a small pool and rice fields is recommended) having an upstairs air-conditioned room with 4 poster. Unfortunately, due to our last-minute decision, our favoured room was taken. Nevertheless we were allocated a lovely twin-bedded room.

Here they have an excellent spa, Bliss (owned by the hotel but outside of the grounds). We were not disappointed, although breakfast, here, is a long way from the best - be warned.

Ubud itself, especially Monkey Forest Road, seemed to be permanently gridlocked by traffic. A quick restaurant recommendation is Indus, almost opposite the Ananda Cottages. They serve excellent food, if a little pricey. Overnight, on our first night, we had some heavy rain in Ubud and decided to go back to Sanur.

Nevertheless we enjoyed our visit and all too soon (4 or 5 days later) were off to Denpassar for the flight to KL. Check-in (150,000 IDR departure tax each).

The fight and baggage collection were fine and we were off to our hotel by pre-arranged transfer (and it only took 45 minutes!)

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