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March 12, 2017

REVIEW – Intercontinental Bali (Singaraja Room)

intercontinental bali

Intercontinental

  • Location: Bali
  • Room Type: Singaraja Room
  • Cost: 35,000 IHG Points
  • Chain: IHG
  • Loyalty Program: IHG Rewards Club
  • Status During Stay: Spire Elite
  • Date: January 2016


Our visit to the Intercontinental Bali came totally out of the blue. As a result of our flight rescheduling we had ended up with an extra day in Bali, during the very busy new year’s period and had to find somewhere to stay at the last minute.

The villa which we had booked for the following few days was unavailable and cash prices for most hotels were crazy.

Thankfully I had a stack of IHG points to burn and there was space available to burn these on a free night’s stay. (These points were gained by transferring miles over from Virgin Atlantic, this not only got me the IHG points but also the IHG Spire status).

The IC Bali is very close to the airport and our minimum fare taxi ride took less than 20 minutes, even with the usual traffic. As is the case with most resorts in this part of the world, we were greeted at a gate house by armed guards who smiled and waved us through to the beautiful interior courtyard.

 


Check in


The check-in process here made me feel very relaxed, instantly it felt like our journey was over and now we could really unwind.

We were greeted with infectious smiles and immediately asked how our journey was, how long we were planning to stay in Bali and whether it was our first time visiting, meanwhile our passports were taken and cold, lemongrass scented towels and fruit drinks brought in their place. The staff were so genuine and warm, it never ceases to amaze me how hospitable and endearing the people of Bali are.

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Each guest has their own check in area, as opposed to waiting in line at a counter, I love that about resorts.

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Our welcome drinks and cold towels

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A Christmas tree made out of orchids, amazing!

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Even cooler at night!

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The traditional Indonesian architecture of the IC Bali is very cool. One of my favourite aspects of the design are these intricate ceilings

During check-in we were informed that we had been upgraded from our regular room to a Singaraja Room. I asked if this was a club room and the host explained that it was a sort of Club ‘lite’. The Singaraja wings are in their own private section of the hotels and feature separate lobbies with their own concierge desks and have snacks and soft drinks available all day.

The key difference between this and club intercontinental seemed to be booze and breakfast.

Just as I was about to ask how much breakfast would cost, I was told that since we were such loyal Spire guests, we were going to be given complimentary breakfast the following morning as well!

IHG rewards club a notoriously stingy program, particularly when it comes to Intercontinental hotels – which have their own bifurcated program that generally supersedes the benefits of regular IHG status. So to get both the upgrade and free breakfast, on a last minute points booking no less, was a very welcome surprise.

The walk to our room took quite a while but served as a great tour of the resort.

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The first place we passed was this beautiful, colonial style billiards room.

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The hotel has a very clean and minimal design, focusing on natural materials and neutral tones. I feel like the non slip mat was picked deliberately to make the floor look like a super-long Indonesian flag.

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Honestly, this resort has way more rooms than the places I usually choose, although the impeccably landscaped foliage and abundance of flowing water really help to break the space up.

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The gardens of the IC Bali

Before heading into the room, our host asked us if we would like to check out the Singaraja area. We were introduced to the concierge, who gave us a quick rundown of all the available snacks and drinks as well as telling us to let her know if we needed any help with restaurant bookings, sightseeing or anything else.

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The Singaraja wing lobby (tables and chairs out of shot)

 


Singaraja Room


These rooms are exceedingly spacious and have both an indoor and outdoor sitting area. The beds are also huge and super comfortable.

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The classical, colonial style of the IC Bali’s Singaraja room

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The indoor sitting area

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The outdoor sitting area : Singaraja rooms all face out towards the pools, lagoons and gardens. A great place to drink a morning coffee, acquired from the lobby lounge.

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The furnishings are all very traditional but well maintained, technological advances are respected too, as evidenced by the TV and the excellent WiFi. The vibe within this room really reminds me of the Peninsula in Bangkok.

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I was surprised to see the generosity of the hotel expressed once again in the form of these two beautiful local gifts. The branding on the fan box just said IHG rewards club, without mention of my status level, so it is entirely possible that everybody gets these.

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Just as we were in the middle of picture taking, we heard on a knock on the door and were greeted by a smiling host bearing a fruit bowl for us. Those brown things are salak, aka. Snake Fruit. They are a next level fruit, tasting like a cross between custard and perfume and having the texture of shrink wrapped pencil erasers… in a good way.

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Our room had a very cool design feature, whereby the walk in closet acted as a direct entrance to the bathroom.

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Between the walk-in wardrobe and the bathroom there is a small vanity area.

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The bathroom itself is small but very well maintained and featured the copious quantities of marble that one expects from the Intercontinental chain

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A very powerful rainfall shower (although weird that there was no separate handheld shower)

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The dark wood and the wall engravings really give a local feel to the bathroom. If you do want to use a handheld shower, there’s one attached to the bathtub (with a non slip mat provided above)

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The standard IC toiletries from Agraria. Not my favourite but not the worst…

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A selection of amenities and rolled fluffy towels, the little luxuries really do make a difference.

 


Hotel Grounds


The Intercontinental Bali is one of the older luxury properties in Bali but has gone through a series of both internal and external refurbs over the years. The grounds are kept to an immaculate standard and serve to make the most of the expansive footprint of the resort, highlighting both the ocean and the greenery for which this island is so renowned.

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Bella Cucina, the hotel’s Italian restaurant, is particularly photogenic

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Had we spent longer here I would have loved to spend a lazy afternoon eating an al fresco lunch that last for hours…

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Just across from Bella Cucina is the Sunset Bar and grill…

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…which is an excellent spot to enjoy a nightcap, listening to the gentle crashing of the waves as the lanterns glow overhead.

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Their G&T menu is definitely legit

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The main pool was not really for me. It was overrun with people, including lots of noisy kids. I much preferred the other pools, visible from our room.

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The Intercontinental is located very close to the airport in an area of Bali called Jimbaran. It has a prime oceanfront location and is right next door to one of the Balinese Four Seasons hotels (visible in the middle of the image).

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These sun loungers are great for plane spotting too, the runway of DPS is that tip sticking out on the right.

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The hotel is transformed into an oasis of tranquility at night.

 


Breakfast


Breakfast in Asian luxury hotels tends to be a wondrous feast and the Intercontinental Bali is no exception. There is extensive air-conditioned seating indoors, next to the buffet as well as a beautiful outdoor terrace.

We opted for the latter, having a leisurely breakfast outdoors is one of the cornerstones of a great holiday for me!

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People on fad diets are well catered to…

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I was more interested in starting breakfast with a shot of traditional Indonesian Jamu, just like we did on our last trip to Central Java.

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Nice to see a local option of egg curry in addition to the usuals

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This enormous, inverted jackfruit was a real sight to behold. Another superb local addition to the buffet (as well as the salaks! )

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Cold cuts and salad

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Salmon en croute

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Hot options

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Noodles, soups and congee

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Japanese breakfast items

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Freshly made waffles and pancakes, as well as a selection of other sweets and pastries

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The carbs

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Sitting outdoors seemed like a great decision at first, we had a view of this peaceful lake and the whole outdoor area to ourselves.

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Ten minutes later though, the heavens opened although thankfully we were under the cover of a very large patio umbrella

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Even when it rains, it’s easy to smile when you’re in Bali.

The staff were very attentive and as soon as the rain began, they ensured that were comfortable and when we said we’d like to stay outside they brought over umbrellas, so that we could walk to and from the buffet without getting too wet.

The food itself was really varied, with a number of local items mixed in with the usual international fare. I would have been happy to pay, had the breakfast not been given to us as a result of our Spire membership.

 


Conclusion


The Intercontinental is a perfect place to stop for one night if you arrive late or are leaving early from the airport. Even if you only have one night in Bali, as a stopover, you would be able to immediately unwind with dinner in one of the seafront restaurants in Jimbaran followed by a walk along the beach and cocktails at the Sunset Bar and Grill.

The hotel is fairly big but doesn’t have the Disneyland feel of a mega-resort like the Ayana. The staff were universally excellent and the rooms and public spaces retained an authentic charm without showing the wear and tear that you might expect of a hotel of this age.

 


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