The beautiful Indonesian island of Bali saw the new-build Ritz-Carlton Bali take its place among the myriad of luxury properties earlier this year. Having fallen in love with the island’s natural beauty, great value for money, rich culture, and friendly locals during a previous visit I hightailed it to the new resort in March 2015 barely a month after the grand opening.
The Ritz-Carlton Bali is located at the southern end of Nusa Dua. After arriving at the new airport, the trip to the resort took about 30 minutes via hotel car (50 USD each way). The ride was comfortable and cool, and the driver provided chilled towels and cold bottles of water. Pulling up to the resort there was the usual vehicle safety check, with just a quick pop of the trunk and a look underneath the car with mirror. After going through metal detectors I was offered a cold towel and tea and led to a nearby couch for check-in.
Check in was smooth, but due to some confusing wording on the website I first ended up in a Sawangan Jr Suite in a large concrete building. They made a great customer service recovery though, and I was placed in a Pool Pavilion villa.
The 1,049 square foot Pool Pavilion villa was brand new and in pristine condition. They come in sets of three, and mine was in the middle with one other villa on each side. One of the three villas has a private pool slightly connected to the shared pool for the other two villas by way of a slightly submerged wall. Luckily, no one was occupying either of the two villas next to me, but if I was booking one of these units and wanted a bit more privacy (assuming all 3 were going to be occupied), the one with the private pool would have been the best choice. Connecting doors were on both sides so that families/friends could book all three or just two and share the larger infinity style pool. The bedroom had sumptuous bedding, bedside lighting controls and a panel that slid open to connect it with the bathroom. The patio doors could be pushed open fully to make a large indoors/outdoors space, and there was a clean and inviting deep soaking tub outside. It was partially shaded so you could take a bath without being in direct sunlight the whole time too. The pool was fantastic! There were no units that looked down directly on the pool so it felt quite private. In fact, after walking around I found that this particular Pool Pavilion would be one of my top choices if I had to pick which one I wanted.
Thoughtful touches like bottled water, Toto toilet, colorful, fresh orchids, and outside and shower near the semi-private pool transformed the bathroom into an oasis. In the sink area I liked that there was gentle lighting and little cubbyholes on both sides of the sink; the bottom of each held a water bottle that was cleverly encased in a wooden container. The toilet must have had the sensor turned up on high because every time I even walked near the restroom the lid immediately lifted up, a light illuminated the seat, and the toilet emitted a happy sound.
Motorized blackout drapes, plenty of comfortable seating with colorful pillows in the sitting area with speedy wifi and silent yet effective air conditioning allowed me to be perfectly comfortable whether taking a nap mid-day or working while on the couch. There was a countertop that could be used as a desk, a TV and a DVD player. The top of the cabinet held an ornate box which contained the room service menu and resort information. There were also plenty of dresser drawers for storage. The flooring alternated between smooth dark wood and large tiles that were cool underfoot. There was a ceiling fan, and thanks to several windows the room stayed bright with lots of natural light. The room had a slightly too-sweet scent, maybe because of the recent construction. I unplugged some “air fresheners” that had discreetly been placed around the room, opened the doors to air it out and soon everything smelled fresh.
The Club & resort pools were large, there were a handful of restaurants onsite, and room service was tasty. Even though the resort was fully opened, there was still a lot of construction going on there as well as next door on a new property. Going from guest room to main pool, ocean or reception all took a long time since the resort was large. Leaving the resort would have been an ordeal as well. Even though the reception area was at the top of a cliff overlooking the ocean, I was surprised to find that very few of the units had ocean views.
Elite Status Recognition & Benefits
As a Ritz-Carlton Platinum member, I received 1,000 points, a platter of fresh fruit as well as some delicious dessert pastries as an amenity in the room. At check-in before the room change, I got upgraded from the lowest room category to a room with lagoon access. I redeemed a confirmed Club upgrade that came with the Ritz-Carlton credit card, which was totally worth it. The Club Lounge was one of the most outstanding parts of my stay, with delicious options like lobster thermidor for breakfast and cheerful, helpful staff. Oddly though, alcohol was only served during cocktail hour (with beer as an exception), and wines were a disappointment.
Cost & Summary
I went into this hotel stay with high expectations, and had mixed feelings at the end. I loved the Pool Pavilion I was in, but at an average rate of $900 a night it feels way too expensive considering the pool is shared, you don’t have a view of the ocean and the villa is far away from everything. You can redeem Marriott Rewards points (50,000) for a Sawangan Jr Suite which typically runs in the $400’s, though it is in a large concrete building far from the ocean & pool. If paying, for about the same price you could stay at a private villa elsewhere in Bali, possibly with ocean view. Perhaps a Club room is a good middle option because the Club Lounge has its own private pool for Club guests only and an extensive array of food. There was never anyone in the Club pool when I was there, and I found the Club Lounge ladies to be exceptionally warm and friendly.