Villa Jiwa Bali
REVIEW – Villa Jiwa, Jimbaran, Airbnb (Bali)
March 22, 2017
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*DEAL GONE* Brussels to Cape Town – Business Class £1005 R/T
April 6, 2017

REVIEW – Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua

sofitel Bali

Sofitel

  • Location: Nusa Dua, Bali
  • Rate: £150 per room per night
  • Room Type: Luxury Ocean View Room with Club Millésime Access
  • Loyalty Program: Le Club Accor Hotels
  • Status during stay: Platinum

The area of Nusa Dua is very detached culturally from the side of Bali that I really enjoy; it is comprised almost entirely of very large resorts and is only accessible via a gated entrance to the hotel complex.

Each hotel also has its own series of security measures, all of which make you feel a bit like you’re hiding away in an Ivory tower.

Still, it is very close to the airport which worked well for us on our final night in Bali, as our trip home would be taking place quite early the following morning.

 


Arrival


We arrived in the late morning but didn’t take lobby and entrance pics until the evening, so please excuse the disjointed timeline 😉

Our first impressions of the resort were great; the decor is definitely a lot bolder and more modern than the Intercontinental nearby. Our bags were taken by an enthusiastic bell boy at the hotel entrance and we were quickly escorted to the very large check-in area.

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The vehicle waiting area of the Sofitel is beautifully decorated with a strong emphasis on Balinese design touches.

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Sofitel Bali Reception.

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Water feature on the way to the lobby.

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Everywhere you look at the Sofitel Bali, there are little decorative touches. There is no dead space anywhere.

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The vaulted ceilings of the main lobby are breath-taking. This has to be one of the most impressive hotel lobbies I’ve ever seen, more cathedral than hotel.

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One side of the lobby is completely open air and features this spectacular viewpoint from which to appreciate the majesty of Bali’s sunrises.

We were initially taken to an extremely crowded, albeit very nicely decorated, reception area but as soon as our reservation was found, we were asked to follow a staff member to the Club Millésime lounge. Accor Platinum status has actually come in quite handy for me on a number of occasions, particularly in Asia. I’ll miss it now that it no longer comes with the UK Amex Platinum card.

Stepping into the Club Millésime was like stepping into another world, a private hotel within a hotel. Whilst the regular check-in was full of people making noise, kids running around, trolleys piled up with bags as far as the eye can see…the Club Millésime was an oasis of tranquillity.

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Sofitel Bali Club Millésime entrance.

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Upon entering we were greeted very enthusiastically and offered a seat on the large grey sofas in the library.

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Check in at the Club Millésime.

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Check in at the Club Millésime.

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We were offered drinks whilst we waited. My double macchiato was expertly made and served in a very fine china cup.

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Check-in drinks at Club Millésime.

We were informed during check-in that we had been upgraded and placed in two connecting rooms with an ocean view. Our rooms were not quite ready. However, as it was only midday, we were invited to either spend some time hanging out in the lounge or go across to Cut Catch Cucina for their famous all you can eat brunch. No prizes for guessing what we decided 😀

 


The Hotel Grounds


We took the scenic route to brunch and walked all the way from reception to the beach and back…

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There are a multitude of sculpted and manicured gardens throughout the resort.

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Did I mention how awesome the design here is? Everywhere you look there are beautiful plants, sculptures, marble…

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Oli and I strike a very natural looking pose.

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One of the many vibrant bars dotted around the property.

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The Sofitel’s church, located in a garden, close to the beach.

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The resort has its own branch of Nikki Beach.

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it wasn’t too busy in the morning but certainly got livelier as the day wore on.

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The Nikki Beach loungers are for club patrons only. At first it seems strange to have a segregated area, which is off limits to regular hotel guests but then again I guess that’s exactly what the Club Millésime is too!

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The beach is pretty good but is somewhat blighted by the constantly passing shipping tankers – something of a hallmark of Bali’s Eastern beaches. The man made rock barriers also detract somewhat from the natural beauty.

 


Brunch at Cut Catch Cucina


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Cut Catch Cucina – Sofitel Bali.

As luck would have it, there was a promotion on, on the day we visited so the usual brunch price was further discounted! Even when paying the full 399k IDR++ for the non-alcoholic version of the brunch, I feel like you are getting excellent value.

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Luckily it wasn’t too busy on this occasion, which meant more food for us 🙂

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We toyed with the idea of sitting outside in the beautiful poolside setting but opted for aircon, given that it was the hottest time of day. Plus that way we didn’t have a door between us and the buffet!

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In addition to the buffet items, a selection of a la carte dishes was available to order. These were all included in the price and we made an effort to try most of them!

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Breads and cold cuts.

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More cold cuts.

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Grilled vegetables.

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I was expecting some sort of carving station. I was not expecting Doner Kebabs though!

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Even more freshly baked breads and pastries.

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An entire rack of beef ribs. This is pretty much my idea of heaven. I eat a slow smoked BBQ rib for lunch every Friday when I’m not travelling. True story.

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There’s something oddly satisfying about eating a ham that is glazed to the point of looking like show-home fruit.

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A selection of seafood: some for cooking, some for eating raw.

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After picking your raw ingredients and handing them to the chef, you can return to your table and wait for the food to be brought over. This saves cuts down on people hovering near the cooking station and means you spend more time relaxing and less time waiting around.

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This is where it gets really next level. Not only was there freshly popped corn but there were a selection of different toppings, sauces and flavour shakers too!

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Perfectly crisp, thin crust pizza.

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Tarte tatin and Clafoutis. The Sofitel proudly displays its French heritage. Bottom right is a Nutella and coconut pizza… just because.

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You can then finish your meal with some tropical fruit, in a bid to convince yourself that you’ve eaten healthily.

After an enormous and absolutely delicious meal, we were ready to see our rooms. We stopped by the Club, where a host met us and took us all the way to the far end of one of the hotel wings, to a pair of adjoining rooms, directly overlooking the ocean.

 


Deluxe Room with Ocean View


It felt weird going back to a regular room, in a massive hotel, after so many nights in villa style accommodation. Still, for an entry level room, I thought that the finishes and amount of space were excellent. Ordinarily Le Club Accor Platinum members can expect to either be granted a pool access room or one with an ocean view. We opted for the latter as we preferred the idea of the view versus having people swimming past our villa and only having a view of the gardens. If you have kids though, I can definitely see why you’d opt for the pool access room, particularly as these are closer to the centre of the hotel, where many of the restaurants and activities are located.

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The wardrobes face out towards the entrance and I found ours a little small for my liking. I guess we didn’t travel particularly light this time 😀

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The decor in the rooms is incredibly cool and stylish. I really like how much seating space there is, given that this is just an entry level room.

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I like how each area of the room has its own different type of lighting.

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In order to have adjoining rooms they had to convert one room over from two single beds into a double, I imagine this is because most of the time parents will be in the double room with the kids in the adjoining room with two singles. The result is that we ended up with the most outrageously enormous bed ever. Even bigger than the Park Hyatt Tokyo!

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Our Platinum Amenity: A small fruit bowl, mineral water and a selection of freshly made chocolates.

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These were all intensely delicious.

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The minibar, all quite low end.

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Ice bucket and tea set.

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Here is where I really feel the need to complain. The room had an Illy Espresso machine but THERE WAS A CHARGE FOR USING THE COFFEE CAPSULES! Absolutely unbelievable. I cannot imagine who came up with this idea but it is some of the lowest nickel and dime-ing that I’ve ever come across in a hotel. What makes it even sillier is that freshly made espresso drinks were free at all hours in the club. Seriously disappointing behaviour from the Sofitel here.

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The room got a decent amount of natural light as a result of the floor to ceiling glass doors…

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The view from these rooms isn’t exactly prime oceanfront but it is as close as the main buildings get.

 

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Sitting out here, rocking back and forth in these chairs was very relaxing.

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The bathroom featured a sliding wooden wall which really helped to open the space up.

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Beautifully designed free standing bathtub and natural stone and wood galore.

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Loads of counter space (don’t you just hate when hotels have those giant, extravagant sinks but nowhere to put your things?).

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The wooden box on the counter contained a variety of different amenities.

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The shower room was absolutely fantastic, the shower head is one of the biggest I’ve ever seen. I also really liked the natural stone shower seat.

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The toiletries were Sofitel branded. My understanding is that suites get Hermes.


Club Millésime


The Club is by far the best I’ve ever encountered at any hotel in the world. The service was absolutely flawless. Despite staying here for only one night, everybody knew our names and drink preferences. We were always greeted with a smile and served immediately. Glasses were cleared and refills brought within seconds.

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Soft drinks are available at all hours of the day, the opening hours for the lounge are 10am to 10pm.

Complimentary wine and cocktails are served are served from 5:30pm to 7:30pm.

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Past the initial lounge area was the main, restaurant style, seating area – with seats also offered on the balconies outdoors.

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Club Millésime.

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Wine and Spirits were served from 5:30pm to 7:30pm.

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Cocktail hour also features a selection of cakes and pastries.

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Freshly baked breads.

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Cold cuts, nuts, dried fruit and various fine French cheeses.

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Fruit selection.

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The bathrooms at the Club are particularly striking.

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The thing that really makes this club lounge stand head and shoulder above all others though is the private swimming pool!

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The pool runs all the way up to the hotel spa…

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…we swam under the barrier and came out within the spa, not realising that this was where the pool led. We gave the therapists quite a shock!

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The other end of the pool extends outdoors into a courtyard flanked by palm trees.

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This is where we spent a good deal of our last afternoon.

 


Conclusion


The Sofitel was my first ever experience of staying in a full blown mega-resort. Having club access definitely helped to make the experience feel more personalised but much like the experience of staying in villas without staff, I genuinely feel that choosing places like this means that you miss the best that Bali has to offer.

There is something truly wonderful about the serenity of a Balinese morning. Watching the sun rise above the jungle canopy or across a roaring ocean. You turn and see the villa manger walk across and offer you a cup of coffee, sit back in the poolside sofa, relax and enjoy the quiet sound of trickling water. This kind of experience is impossible to capture or understand when you are housed in a giant building alongside thousands of other people.

The Sofitel is great for what it is but if you are in Bali I would definitely recommend someplace smaller and more private.

Wake up early enough though and you can still capture some of that magical Balinese tranquility…

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