We had not stayed at the Padma Resort in Legian for close on 5 years so decided it was time to renew an old friendship. The Padma is a beachside resort spread out over 17 acres of manicured gardens, lawns, pools and traditional style accomodation. If you have read the last blog about the Marriott then the Padma was just what the doctor ordered with 5 pools, each one completely separated from the next. There is the adults only pool with swim-up bar and sunlounges overlooking the beach at Legian. The Skai Beach Club has a small but sparkling infinity pool which was just wonderful to watch the Bali sunsets from. Coupled with the coldest beers, served in frozen mugs and the largest frozen Daiquiri's we have seen plus very reasonably priced food....what else could you want.
Legian Beach these days is really just an extension of Kuta, with a slightly less frenetic vibe but with all the choices of bars, restaurants, massage and nail treatment place etc. At the corner of Legian Beach road where it turns away from the beach there is a converted Kombi Van that sets up around 5PM in the carpark selling a wide variety of cocktails and the ubiquitous Bintang beers. They pump out some very chilled beach-style music to sit back and enjoy the sunset and the passing parade.
Our short stay at the Padma was unfortunately.....short...as we had a few other hotels we had on our list to revisit so it was on further slightly down the coast to the next place and the next review.
Our stay at the Padma was completely unsponsored so in our opinion very unbiased, if you'd like to see the video- Click below.
We've always tried to be objective as possible when reviewing hotels we've stayed at even if we've been able to get some sort of deal for a review. The Courtyard Marriott at Seminyak is a very nice hotel but....not what really appeals to us OR I would suspect the more mature traveller.
It is quite new, it's quite clean, the facilities are very good but the demographic would very much suit a younger age group.
I suppose the "courtyard" title is very accurate. The accomodation is 5 stories high on 3 sides surrounding the pool with reception on the fourth side which undoubtedly forms a courtyard. The pool is sparkling clean but has limited space around it for guests to enjoy lounging, so much so that the hotel proclaims a time-limit for unused lounges before towels etc will be removed to make way for other guests. Very fair and I agree, but it does say something about supply and demand if you are wanting to spend time by the pool you may have to wait or spread your towel on the plastic grass quite some distance from the water.
You should be offered a "Drinks Package" when checking in and although it might suit you the pressure is on as the offer is only open for the day of checking in. There are various levels to buy so much credit to receive extra value but during the process of checking in it is probably not the best time to make a decision of some $100's of dollars.
Anyway, a very good hotel with good facilities that just does not have the physical space for all to enjoy those facilities at certain times of the day. Coupled with loud music for a couple of hours every day around cocktail hour when you might like to enjoy a quiet drink it just didn't suit us, but each to their own. See our review on Youtube-
It has been a long time since we have stayed in Seminyak and were very interested to see any changes. Seminyak has developed a reputation of being slightly more upmarket than say....Kuta or Legian and this is probably true in most instances. There is any number of coffee shops and boutiques spread thickly amongst the interestingly decorated restaurants and plenty of choice from Vegetarian to Italian.
The prices here also reflect the quality you receive so be prepared to dig a little deeper than some of the other Bali locations but the old adage, "you get what you pay for" applies in most cases. It however does lack a little of what I would call the old Bali "flavour" which may suit you down to the ground. You are more likely to find stores with fixed prices so if haggling is not your scene then this is the place. You are also less likely to find the local Balinese shopkeepers that seem to have a sixth sense that enables them to pick a passer-by's nationality and imitate their accents impeccably. I never thought Australians had a particular look but who knows.
There is one Seminyak institution that we never miss paying a visit to and that is the Potato Head Beach Club. It has been in existence for nearly 10 years now and still presents as worthy of an afternoon's laze by the pool or enjoying a crisp cold one viewing the water from a comfy lounge.
We have booked six nights in the Marriot Courtyard Seminyak so will fill you in on our experiences there shortly.
View our Seminyak and Potato Head video on Youtube-
It is not often these days we stay at a hotel where we feel like all the staff are happy to have you stay with them and immediately feel welcome. However this was the case at the Novotel Ngurah Rai Bali airport. Now, I will be upfront here, we are Accor Plus members and I was lucky enough to win the Australian Ambassador competition for Novotel but this has not influenced our review of this hotel. Yes, it is quite a new facility being opened in 2015 which still has that "new" feel to it but it surely is the staff that make a stay there enjoyable.
Being an "airport" hotel one expects just a place to get a decent sleep then move on the next day but this one actually would be a place I would spend a day or so comfortably chilling by the pool which although has a nice view of the control tower is amazingly insulated from aircraft noise. There is a reasonable gym to exercise in and for any plane spotters there is a great view of the runway from the rooftop bar that is open only during the evenings though is accessible all day.
We were so impressed by the level of service and the quality of the facility I have even booked another night here in a few weeks when we bring Jo's Mother back to Bali for her 80th birthday and if someone has enough faith in a place to bring their Mother-in-law there I think it speaks volumes.
Want to see for yourself? then view our review at our Youtube channel-
We start with a lunch-time departure from Tennant Creek as we have a 500 klm drive to Alice Springs before our 5:00 PM flight to Darwin. This flight gets us into Darwin around 7:30 PM and a departure at 11:00 PM to Denpasar.
The drive goes smoothly and we leave our car in the long-term carpark at the airport with only time enough to grab a quick drink and snack at the Qantas Club. It is just over 2 hours flying time to Darwin and the flight is quite painless and we arrive on time. Our layover is long enough to be able to leisurely check-in, grab some Rupiah from the international ATM at the airport and even enjoy another snack and drink at the restaurant in the airport.
The only choice from Darwin to Bali is a Jetstar flight which isn't renown for excessive leg room but as its less than 3 hours I can manage it without doing any irreparable damage to my joints. Arriving just after midnight in Denpasar Airport we find very few people ahead of us at Immigration and sail through and as we have no checked luggage are out through arrivals in record time.
Tonight we have booked into the Novotel Ngurah Rai which is attached to the airport but as we have never been there before are a little hesitant of the best way to find it. There are some overhead signs pointing us in the right direction but after negotiating a few ramps we seem to be on the roof of the airport with very little lighting. We persevered and a little further on we spot the blue Novotel sign like a beacon in the night leading us onward. If you want to see the best route check out this video on our Youtube channel.
The check in was very smooth and being an Accor Plus member paves the way even further and very thankfully we let ourselves into a very clean, comfortable hotel room.
As with a lot of things when your looking forward to something it seems to take forever then all of a sudden it's down to days and you find yourself rushing to get ready. Jo is to finish up at the community she's been at since before Christmas and put forward the idea of a week in Bali just because we can! Well didn't have to twist my arm too far and before you could say Suksma we were booking flights to Denpasar.
As usual in Australia the domestic airfares end up costing more than the International ones. It is no more evident than airfares out of Alice Springs as there is very little choice for times and even less competition. The cost of the one-way fare from Alice Springs to Darwin was more than the return one to Bali!.
This time we have booked for 6 nights in Seminyak at a Marriott hotel named The Marriott Courtyard. We haven't stayed in Seminyak in years so are interested to see how we find it. This week we are hoping just to chill around the pool with maybe a few excursions out to see what has changed in Seminyak.
The only pressure now is that by the time we get back I will only have a few days before finishing up work so will have to try to be 90% sorted before we go. That includes getting our old caravan in a state that it is usable and towable down to Alice Springs where we can leave it at our house there. Again I take it as an opportunity to prune back any "stuff" I haven't used in the last 12 months.