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Bali - 2013

2013


Bali, was very much a last minute choice and governed by local weather, availability of flights and accommodation. Following the death of Janet's father and the cancellation of our Thailand trip, in February / March we were much in need of a break.

After much searching and jiggling we were able to get flights on SIA, via Singapore, and a club room at our preferred Sanur hotel, the Bali Hyatt. Surprisingly, we were also able to get a package from Hays & Jarvis, cheaper than direct booking with the airline and hotel.

The flight to Singapore on an A380 was excellent - food, service and seating were all better than anticipated. With a 2 1/2 hour transfer in Singapore there was not much hanging about and our flight to Bali (777-300) was also excellent.

Visa on Arrival is still USD 25 per person, but the immigration process was faster than we have ever known and we were soon on our way to our hotel.

Entrance to Hyatt Club Lounge
Morning - Hyatt Beach

Entrance to Hyatt Club Lounge

Early Morning - Hyatt Beach


Our reception at the Bali Hyatt was exceptional. We checked in at the club lounge where we were recognised by some of the staff and treated like old friends. The process was both efficient (much appreciated after a long flight) and welcoming. Our club room, whilst by no means new, was exceptionally clean with all amenities (including separate bath and shower), plenty of wardrobe and drawer space, and fresh fruit and flowers. Despite being tired we got our second wind, unpacked, showered and went down to the club lounge for early evening complimentary drinks and canapes - immediate relaxation - we were on vacation! Taking a room-service evening meal we were, however, in bed shortly after 10:00 pm.

This was always intended to be a relaxing break. Having visited Bali several times before, we concentrated on the beach during the day, the restaurants and village in the evening and an occasional (no, frequent) glass of alcoholic beverage. The beach was great, sunbeds well attended and served and the weather excellent (two, fairly light, early evening showers that never inconvenienced us).

This was, by far, our best experience at the Hyatt and in Sanur.

Sanur Restaurants.
Excluding our first night, we ate in the Hyatt no less than 5 times. The Talaga Naga, Chinese Restaurant was absolutely first class, the Omang Omang grill served a selection of good grilled meats and fish and we ate in both restaurants twice. We also had a good buffet Indonesian meal as part of an Indonesian themed night. A most enjoyable evening with Balinese dancing.

In addition to the Hyatt we ate in CharMing, which we found to lack atmosphere and the felt that the menu / food were poor value for money. Mings has now disappeared totally - we wish that it would return (in its old form). Similarly Jepun (lower cost) lacked any quality. We ate twice at Mades warung, low cost and reasonable food, and once at an "Italian" style restaurant, La BaRacca, which was good food and service and very good value. The best meal, setting aside the Talaga Naga, was at the Mezzanine at the Puri Santrian hotel. Excellent food, excellent service and in nice surroundings, if rather expensive. A real taste of civilisation.

Sanur Village
The village is changing with more western style shops and outlets. As yet it is not spoiled, but the Balinese "feel" is beginning to wane. Progress is inevitable and the Balinese people seem to have the ability to absorb change very well. I hope that the change is not too rapid and Westernisation does not overtake the local culture.


Early Morning - Sanur
Entrance to Bliss Spa - Ubud

Early Morning - Sanur

Entrance to Bliss Spa - Ubud


Ubud
We took our usual trip to Ubud, and this we found to be rather a disappointment. Ubud, always busy, was jam packed. If Westernisation is taking place in Sanur, Ubud has been hit even harder. With an influx of "designer" shops, quasi-sophisticated bars and restaurants ostensibly catering for every artistic, spiritual and bodily requirement, this was not the Ubud that we remembered. We booked in to an old favourite, Ananda Cottages, and obtained our favourite room. Unfortunately there were air-conditioning problems and a rather noisy Australian family with young children staying in the next villa, which rather spoiled the peace and tranquility that we had known.

We booked a two hour package at Bliss Spa, which we frequently use when in Ubud and which is a sister property to Ananda Cottages. As with most places they had changed. Despite having a booking, we were made to wait 30 minutes on arrival, shown to an aging upper floor massage sala and given a very ordinary (no, poor) treatment which ended with being told that the booked jacuzzi session was not available. Another sign, perhaps, that Ubud is changing. We rather wished that we had booked in to the Maya Ubud, where we had stayed on our last visit. Expensive, yes, but with top class self-contained facilities - the only drawback being its rather remote location.

Ubud did not live up to expectations, but neither did it spoil our holiday.



Balcony and Bedroom - Ananda Ubud
Ananda Ubud- View from Balcony

Balcony and Bedroom - Ananda Ubud

Ananda Ubud- View from Balcony


Time on this holiday really flew past. This was, I am certain, because of the wonderful service and staff at the Bali Hyatt, where we had to do little for ourselves. Indeed the most stressful (and extremely enjoyable) part was when I was asked to be the guest judge in a Hyatt Staff and children's painting competition - "Celebrating our People". An excellent day where the painting skills of the very enthusiastic participants, using bamboo "brushes" and acrylic paints. There were joint winners in the adult section, and I will finish this note by adding photographs of the joint winners designs.

Return to UK
Our flight to Singapore by SIA by 777-300 was, once again excellent and we had precisely 1 hour to transfer onto our UK flight. This flight, however, was one of the poorest long-haul, scheduled, flights that we have ever taken. Initially delayed by almost 1 hour, the A380 was packed. The first meal service was without hot drinks due to turbulence - cold drinks were served until the turbulence was passed. Unfortunately, our side of the aircraft never received this service, indeed, it was difficult to get any drinks for the duration of the flight. The regular juice and water service never really appeared. Similarly the mid-flight snack service, of sandwiches and rolls, never materialised. The toilets in our section went unchecked. Floor in one toilet awash with urine and in the other, caked with excrement. Not even a resupply of paper hand towels.

For some reason the pre-landing meal was served approximately 5 hours prior to arrival. Fortunately various complaints were obviously listened to and, at least, we could get refreshments. Singapore Airlines badly need to ensure a consistently good service is provided. We will certainly think twice about flying SIA when there are other airline "hubs" to use.

Hyatt-Joint Winner
Hyatt-Joint Winner

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