Megan and I took a two-week tour of Southeast Asia during our honeymoon in August/September of this year. Here’s the Trip Report Index:
- Booking the Honeymoon
- Asiana Airlines Business Class (SEA-ICN, HKG-ICN, and ICN-SEA)
- Seoul-Incheon Airport and Singapore Airlines Business Class (ICN-SIN)
- Singapore Zoo
- Singapore Airlines Business Class (SIN-DPS)
- St. Regis Bali – Part 1
- St. Regis Bali – Part 2
- Day Trip to Ubud
- Thai Airways Business Class (DPS-BKK and BKK-HKT)
- St. Regis Bangkok
- Westin Siray Bay Phuket
- Day Trip to Phi Phi Islands
- Thai Airways Business Class (HKT-HKG)
- Conrad Hong Kong
As I mentioned in the last installment, the St. Regis Bali provides complimentary round-trip transportation and porter service to all its guests. There were some cold, scented towels waiting for us in the small SUV along with some chilled bottled water and chocolate truffles. It was a very nice way to be greeted at the airport and certainly better than I’ve experienced anywhere else. My goal was to outdo Maui (since that’s where I proposed) and seemed to be succeeding.
The trip to the hotel, however, is quite long. I don’t think I ever saw a time when there wasn’t a traffic jam. As I write this, however, the new toll road should be open, providing direct access between the airport and the resorts at Nusa Dua. That’s good because a five-mile drive took well over 30 minutes.
I know many complain Nusa Dua is a secluded, high-end resort area that doesn’t give you any feel for the local culture. We passed through one security checkpoint just to reach the general neighborhood and a second checkpoint to enter the individual resort. It does feel a bit isolated. But honestly, we wanted to be pampered on this trip, and I’m not sure that Kuta Beach has the moral high ground. (A Google Images search implies it to Australians what Cancun is to Americans.)
Upon arrival at the St. Regis, you could immediately tell this place was different. Balinese musicians softly played in the corner all day, and the open-air lobby had two large sitting areas with just three check-in desks off to the side. But we were instructed to sit in the middle, and the staff came to us while we sipped on iced tea. I reserved a pool suite, which is located on the ground floor of the main building and has a larger sitting area with a plunge pool and gazebo. There is a gate to a path, but it’s rare you see anybody out there and it is still secluded with vegetation. Check out the hotel’s website for more photos and videos because they do it better justice than I can. I’m still trying to piece together which pictures I saved and which I lost.
I don’t recommend the standard suites or ocean view suites on the higher floors. Not that there’s anything wrong with them, but you’ve come all the way to Bali, and it seems a shame to settle. I recall the upgrade to a pool suite was something like an extra 2,000 points or $100 a night on top of what’s already an expensive award redemption. As a percentage, it’s reasonable, though upgrading to villa is much more. We’ll get to that. But we were very happy with the pool suite.
Everything in the room was perfect and clearly displayed attention to detail, attempting to anticipate guests needs. The foyer had a beach bag plus his and her straw hats (mine wouldn’t fit my giant head) as well as a coffee and tea set and more still and sparkling water than we could ever hope to drink. If we ever wanted something else, like an espresso, our butler offered to bring it to us right away.
The desk, sofa, chairs, and other furniture were all comfortable, luxurious, and well-built. Nothing flimsy or cheap. The bed was certainly comfortable, and opposite it was the television along with a honeymoon welcome amenity consisting of a giant chocolate heart and massage oils. Everyone gets a giant bowl of fruit that is replenished daily.
Our bathroom held the big surprise, however. It was already full and covered with rose petals, forming a heart and the words “I <3 U”. The water was cold, but it was the thought that counts. Besides the giant soaking tub, the shower, sinks, and everything else were wonderful. Great water pressure. Excellent toiletries (Remede is Megan’s new favorite). In the morning you could turn the wood slats in the bathroom to let in the light through the patio, which was very pleasant.
For the first time in my life I couldn’t find anything to complain about. Everything about our stay looked to be perfect. And then they one-upped themselves by serving lobster and foie gras at breakfast! Everything is included at breakfast, including a huge buffet and an a la cart menu. I was up to six pastries a day by the time we left, and the only reason I didn’t eat more was because my favorite dish, the croissant French toast, was enough by itself to ruin my diet.
We spent most of our time at the beach, reading and looking out at a beached ship on the reef. A couple times a day a crew of scavengers would head out and load up their canoe. The surf isn’t much because the reef is so far out, but the water is warm enough if you feel like going in. We just sat and read. Every now and then a waiter would come by with some samples (like Starbucks), or we’d order a drink of our own. The St. Regis Iced Tea is good, but we really enjoyed the Passiflora Mojito. Our biggest challenge each day was standing up and letting the waiter move our chair so it stayed in the shade.
About that. The staff here really keep an eye out should you try to do anything yourself. We’d walk to the beach in the morning and a young man would jump up with two towels for each of us, blanketing our chairs. My butler kindly reminded me three times that he could not take our clothes to the laundry until I filled out the form. He even offered to do this for me. And when I asked him to bring me an ironing board, he looked uncomfortable. But it was me, not Megan, who added the new iron to our wedding registry. I happen to enjoy the task. And when he finally did get to launder that coarse linen shirt, it came back so crisp I could have worn it with a tuxedo.
I didn’t expect to enjoy having a butler try to take my independence from me, though we soon learned the advantages. Basically, he was our link to the rest of the hotel. You want room service? He delivered it, along with table linens and a fresh pot of tea. He would say hello as we walked around the property, or leave a note when it was his day off and someone covered his shift. Rather than face a new person every time, the butler fulfilled many roles that other hotels would parcel out to different departments.
Not everything that’s perfect lasts forever.
We had only one problem during our stay, on the third of five nights. Upon returning to our room after dinner around 8 PM we saw that our room had been blocked off from the rest of the building and lots of construction was going on at the nearby spa. Of about 10 pool suites, ours was apparently only one of two that were still accessible. Yet no one had told us of this at check-in and the sign clearly stated that construction was expected to end at 5 PM each day.
I called the front desk and asked when they expected the construction to end. That’s all. And within five minutes the manager was at our door with our butler, offering to move us to a pool villa. I guess that was easier than halting construction. It certainly worked out well for us, though I would have preferred to avoid the inconvenience.
I realize that this post is taking longer than I expected, so I’ll halt here and finish Part 2 tomorrow. I’ll include a review of the Pool Villa, mention some of the other villas at this resort, and talk about our day trip to the village of Ubud.