Beaches of South East Asia: Introduction
Beaches of South East Asia: KLM World Business Class SIN to DPS
Beaches of South East Asia: Grand Hyatt Bali
Beaches of South East Asia: The Laguna Bali
Beaches of South East Asia: Malaysia Airlines Economy Class DPS to BKI
Beaches of South East Asia: Hyatt Regency Kota Kinabalu
Beaches of South East Asia: Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort Kota Kinabalu
Beaches of South East Asia: Malaysia Airlines Economy Class BKI to DPS
The very first time I visited Bali more than a decade ago, I stayed at the Sheraton Laguna, as it was known then. Thus I wondered what happened to this property after such a long time and with new competitors in the market. The location is nearby the Grand Hyatt Bali though the hotel is much smaller in scale with less than 300 rooms. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in amenities. The lobby for one is really beautiful and when I arrived, the bellman knocks on the gong as a sign of welcome. While the agent checks me in, she gestures for me to wait in one of the sofas by the check-in counter as another staff came by with cold towels and a welcome drink of iced tea. I was looking forward to an upgrade into the lagoon access room where guests can have access to the lagoon pool from their balcony. But due to my late arrival around 8pm, all the lagoon access rooms were taken and I was provided with a deluxe studio room which are usually called a junior suite elsewhere.
While the room was large and spacious by any standards, an issue I had was the entrance foyer is elevated along with the bathroom. This means the bedroom is actually ‘sunken’ by several steps down. The stairs can be troublesome for some and this also means it is not very practical especially when you have lots of luggage. A comfortable seating area that could easily seat 3 awaits guests while the large coffee table is laid out with a fruit basket. Along the wall was the bar cabinet and a flat-screen TV that can be swivelled to face the seating area or the bed. The other side of the room lies the work desk. The studio rooms are generally at the ends of the corridors and they actually have a balcony. However the view can be a bit obstructed due to its location at the ends. Since there was ocean view in most of the rooms anyway, this is not a big issue, and in fact it provides slightly more privacy for guests.
As I mentioned, the bathroom is also elevated along the same level as the entry foyer. It was a huge bathroom though. On the corner was a large trapezoidal bathtub with louvred windows that looks out onto the bedroom. There was also an enclosed shower and a toilet at the other end. Unlike the Grand Hyatt deluxe club room, there was only one vanity counter but the bathroom felt a lot more spacious. There was a large wardrobe by the wall and a long luggage rack inside the bathroom as well. Not sure if this arrangement and layout works for most travellers but I do enjoy having easy access to my clothes after showering!
Bathroom amenities were nothing special since they are standard generic stuff. The scent is that of eucalyptus and the size of the amenities were decent. I also did not like that the toilet lacked the auto-bidet function in many luxury hotels that can be found in Asia. However the resort is indeed generous with amenities, providing me with a small box of pralines and another welcome gift filled with some bath scrubs, bath salts and other spa amenities. Very interesting indeed since they also gave me the platinum bonus points on top of these gifts.
Other amenities included in the room was a pair of straw-woven slippers that was nice to wear within the resort and adds to the island ambience. But what I enjoyed most about the resort was the lagoon swimming pool. Like I mentioned earlier on, there was a pool that surrounds the main resort building and ground floor rooms have direct access to the lagoon which is the draw of staying here. But on top of that there is also a man-made lagoon with real sand around it. For a smaller hotel, it also has a separate swimming pool. Somehow I did enjoy my swim here better than that in the Grand Hyatt.
Like all hotels in Nusa Dua, this one has direct access to the beach, though it was not as wide as the one in Grand Hyatt. It was also not as private since the Westin resort is just beside it. The waters in the beach is crystal clear though and the waves were very calm for a nice dip as well.
As SPG Platinum I was entitled to breakfast and this was what I enjoyed about this resort. I had the choice of having breakfast at the beach-front restaurant or the larger Banyubiru (Javanese for Blue Water) restaurant with seats around the lagoon pool. Based on my observations at both restaurants, I picked the latter venue since the larger restaurant was more comfortable and seems to have a wider selection of food. I particularly enjoyed the local breakfast delicacy on the buffet counter that allows diners to create their own version of Nasi Bali or Balinese mixed rice. For the meat there was fatty pork slices and fried chicken, and the vegetables includes long beans and bean sprouts. The garnishes can be spicy though but it was very tasty! I also had a glass of iced cappuccino to go along with the rice. The other highlights in the breakfast offering was a Japanese sushi counter, dim sum selection, the usual eggs station, salad bar and a pastry counter. It was also notable for their dessert which includes french toasts and waffles along with a chocolate fountain so naturally I had some fruit skewers coated with chocolate to end my breakfast.
Compared to the Grand Hyatt, I had a better stay overall in The Laguna. The service at both The Laguna and the Grand Hyatt is on par with most Balinese resorts and that is very friendly and hospitable with staff eager to cater to guests’ needs with a smile. Both are located in Nusa Dua resort complex which can be good or bad depending on your travelling preferences. And while the Laguna is a smaller resort, there seems to be more guests during my stay and many of the pool chairs were taken. For the beach, Grand Hyatt has a slightly nicer one but The Laguna has a better pool! Another thing to consider was the rate at The Laguna which I got for around US$160. Since the rate was usually lower at The Laguna, I would definitely consider this resort which had better amenities, a nicer pool and a much tastier breakfast!