Tag Archives: Kuta

The first striking feature visitors note when entering the lobby of the ibis Styles hotel at Bali Kuta Circle is a startling angular swimming pool, which seems to be suspended in air. Closer examination shows that it is.

Guests can walk under the pool, supported by pillars, and through glass windows set into the bottom, and swimmers can peer down to the floor below. Flanked by a cute bar and small but well-equipped gym, the pool is set in a quadrangle between white-painted and balconied hotel rooms rising several floors above the waterline.

RestaurantAccor’s ibis Styles group of 141 hotels, comprising the chain formerly known as All Seasons (rebranded in 2012), gives the lie to the old Ibis image of a basic hostelry with plastic shower cubicle, cell-like room and vending machines dispensing food and drinks. This is a transformed offering.

The corporate undertaking is to ensure each ibis Styles establishment has a different design and offers a resort or boutique-style experience.

Despite its not-too-snappy name of ibis Styles Bali Kuta Circle, this property, one of three “Styles”-branded hotels on the Indonesian holiday isle, has a bright, breezy, welcoming feel. It’s well-maintained and its public areas, like the room interiors, are painted in vivid colours. That, along with the sharp, colourful uniforms of the staff help impart a young, go-getter branding.

The hotel is in a busy business area adjacent to a mall, ten minutes from the airport and a brief, two-kilometre cab hop to the restaurants and buzz of Kuta Beach, Legian and Seminyak. It has a restaurant, “internet corner” and shuttle service.

The 190 rooms have good airconditioning, important in Bali, and include 32-square-metre loft duplexes designed to accommodate up to four. All rooms have king-size beds, safe deposit boxes, mini bars, hairdryers and free wifi internet access. Family rooms, also 32 squares, can accommodate the same number.

Room 2Online room rates start at around AUD 50, and include a full breakfast. Meeting packages start at around AUD 24 for a half day, including lunch, AUD 30 per person for a full day, or AUD 43 for full-board meetings, including two coffee breaks, lunch and dinner. Also thrown in are welcome drinks, free internet and discounts of up to 20% in the on-site spa.

There are two meeting rooms of 101 square metres and 83 square metres, able to accommodate up to 100 and 80 respectively in a theatre configuration. They have the AV, digital, wifi and other bells and whistles that come standard with vastly higher-priced facilities in other properties.

Interestingly, the group has embraced green principles, with flow regulators on taps, recycling of food waste for compost or energy, promoting of local food in the restaurant and in-room recycling. It’s also involved in a program to protect local children.

More info: Email H8118-RE1@accor.com

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As I step into the lobby of the Sanur Paradise Plaza Hotel in Bali (pictured above), the sound of traffic becomes muted and I find myself in a tranquil oasis, offering sudden respite from the island’s humidity. Smiling staff bustle about the airy space, which abuts a green-lawned courtyard.

wedding-1A turtle dove is cooing somewhere and a female crooner is singing moodily over the PA system as Stuart Bolwell steps up to greet me, hand extended in welcome. The 47-year-old expatriate New Zealander has been with this hotel for 11 years, and GM for the past three years, and the focus and continuity he’s brought to  the role helps explain why ratings for this property continue to head north.

Two-and-a-half years ago, the user-generated website TripAdvisor ranked the Sanur Paradise Plaza Hotel thirty-fifth in Bali’s busy coastal strip of Sanur on the southeast of the island. Now it’s sixteenth, says Stuart, and the good results are reflected in guests’ comments. Its sister property nearby, the Sanur Paradise Plaza Suites, is now ranked the second-best family accommodation in the country.

The largest four-star hotel in Bali focusing on meetings and events, the Sanur Paradise Plaza Hotel is half an hour’s drive from Denpasar airport and the busy tourist precinct of Kuta, and a few minutes away from good shopping and its own beach enclave.

One of nine properties strategically located throughout Indonesia and managed by Prime Plaza Hotels and Resorts, the hotel is set next to a verdant nine-hole golf course. It is quintessentially Balinese: everywhere, from the gardens surrounding the 110-metre-long pool to the private courtyards adjoining many of the 329 rooms, foliage sprouts in lush profusion.

Hotel PoolStuart Bolwell, pictured below, is a high-energy manager, as I can attest as I try to keep up with him on a brisk walking tour of the hotel and its 18 meetings and functions spaces, which include a ballroom, the ‘Griya Agung’. When all venues are full, the resort can accommodate 2,000 MICE guests, he says.

People expect more

“People’s expectations are much higher now,” says Stuart. “Those heading off for events or leisure are educated in travelling, and in what they want and expect. That’s why you’ve got to make sure you invest more in resources and energy to maintain standards and service these days. I keep reminding my teams of this.”

The strategy is working, as the hotel has a growing reputation for providing value for money and robust occupancies, he says. This dovetails with Stuart’s philosophy ‘to under-promise and over-deliver’.

“We don’t gouge in our pricing structure, so you’re never charged more than what you’d expect,” he says.

From USD85 per night

The rate for guest rooms, most of which have just been renovated, is USD85 per night for two people, including breakfast and wifi. Conference day rates are equally good value: USD35 per delegate, including lunch and two coffee breaks as well as the latest in AV and other necessary gear. A point-of-contact person is assigned to each event to take care of every request.

IMG_9120Roughly half of the resort’s events business is domestic, and the rest is mostly from Australia and Europe, says Stuart. “Our distinct advantage over competitors is that we’ve been here a long time and do what we do very well. Our staff are incredibly dedicated and we have long-established relationships with local companies and third-party contractors who supply us with their services.”

Recent events hosted here include those of international teachers’ and doctors’ groups and an Indian telco. For a recent Lions club conference, the hotel welcomed delegates from 33 countries. It lasted a week and many guests either arrived beforehand or extended their stay apres-meetings to explore the island, going on day tours to the central upland town of Ubud and to the ancient Tanah Lot temple, located on the coast, which has been part of Balinese mythology for centuries.

The ballroom, which can cater for 1,100 theatre style or 750 in banquet arrangements, is a spacious pillarless 950 square metres in area, together with its pre-function area. It has dedicated vehicle access and a 122 square-metre permanent stage.

The Siteseer was not a guest of the Sanur Paradise Plaza Hotel.

For more information, email stuart@sanur.pphotels.com or visit www.sanurparadise.com.

Pool Access Room