Bali remains to be one of my favourite beach destinations in the region. I love the resorts in Nusa Dua, the people, the food and more importantly, that sense of calm right from the moment you step out of the airport. While I absolutely love the Conrad Bali, I have decided to stray away from checking myself in to the same property three years in a row and so I have decided on the Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort where I checked out the highly-acclaimed Sunday Brunch at the end of 2014.
While there are no lack of prepaid taxis from the airport, I have always either arranged transport with the hotel (even though it may cost significantly more) or pre-book my transport prior to arriving in order to save myself from any potential issues that may arise - that really is the last thing I want to deal with in Bali personally. Getting from the airport to a hotel in Nusa Dua takes approximately 20 minutes by car. Upon arriving at the Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort, I was quickly escorted to the Club Millésime where a private check-in has been arranged away from the rest of the arriving hotel guests. A hot towel and welcome drink was served before showing me to a place to sit as the lounge staff got me checked-in and my room ready with much haste.
During my stay at the Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort, I stayed a Luxury Room (lead-in room category) with access to Club Millésime. The hotel staff that escorted me to the room was also kind enough to give me a basic room tour to show me where everything is and how to operate the lights (always a good thing since good hotels have too many light switches). The beautifully-appointed room comes with 48 sqm of living space (inclusive of a decent-sized private balcony) and connecting rooms are available upon request - just be sure to let the hotel know in advance in order to guarantee them. Complimentary WiFi is also provided in the rooms and around the property so you can upload amazing photos to make your friends and family envious.
There is also a small living area within the Luxury Room that comes complete with a comfortable sofa and small coffee table where you will find your welcome amenities. Next to it you will find a very well-concealed minibar that is stocked with cold beverages and snacks (chargeable). Basic coffee and tea-making facilities are also provided in the room. If your sharp eyes have already spotted a coffee machine in the photo above, you are right, the room does come with an illy coffee machine but guess what? The illy coffee pods are actually not complimentary as they are part of the minibar list of items. To be honest, I was rather surprised to find out that a leading luxury hotel chain actually charges for coffee in-room. While I am always a lazy-enough traveller to pay a premium for in-room dining, it is definitely my first time seeing that coffee pods are charged in a full-service luxury hotel. If you have access to the Club Millésime, save yourself some money and take a stroll down instead.
I loved the welcome amenities found in my room at the Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort. While they were not over-the-top luxurious or anything, I love how beautiful it looks - chocolates and a beautiful macaron on top of that stone slab just stole my heart. I also love that a handwritten note was given instead of something that the computer generates and prints. Apart from the chocolates, I also received one of the fancier bottled water and a platter of fruits.
The Luxury Room at the Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort also features an open-concept bathroom which ultimately gives a great sense of space and ease of access. If you are sharing the room with someone else and you would like a little more privacy, there are sliding doors that you can draw. That deep soaking tub is definitely one to behold (and one you will be thankful for at the end of the day)! Complimentary drinking water are also provided by the hotel each day and since these glass bottles do not have a twist-off cap (unlike bottled beers in Australia), you may have trouble opening them with your bare hands but fret not because there is actually a bottle-opener on the side of the wall next to the sink (something I wish the hotel staff told me during the room tour). A small work desk can also be found in the room should you need (or wish) to get something done but do yourself a favour and head outside instead. I mean, you didn't come to a resort just to stay in your room so grab your laptop and head down the beach (or the club if you are in need of air-conditioning) since WiFi is readily available throughout the property.
Here's something I was surprised to see in the bathroom of the Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort - Sofitel-branded bath amenities. From what I understand, the hotel has been using Hermès-branded amenities for the higher-tier rooms and suites and for everyone else, amenities from LANVIN. I am not too sure if these in-house branded amenities were utilised because of a potential shortage or is this the new brand standard that the property adheres to but it would be interesting to see if they stay. The amenities themselves were not bad but I have just personally not seen these around.
After settling in and unpacking, I headed down to the Club Millésime for some afternoon tea which runs from 3PM to 5PM on a daily basis. As a Club Millésime guest, you will receive the following privileges:
- Welcome drink and fruits upon arrival
- All day refreshments (tea, coffee, juices and soft drinks) from 10AM to 10PM
- Complimentary local landline calls
- Complimentary pressing of two garments per stay
- Daily afternoon tea from 3PM to 5PM
- Daily buffet breakfast from 630AM to 11AM at Kwee Zeen or at Club Millésime
- Daily evening cocktail/ Millésime wine tasting from 530PM to 730PM
- Use of books and magazine
- Personalised check-in and check-out at Club Millésime lounge
- Butler service (only for Suites & Villas)
- Shoe shine service (only for Suites & Villas)
- Late check-out at 4PM for Le Club Accorhotels Platinum members (subject to availability)
If you are trying to cool off from the heat, try an Iced Latte or my personal favourite, Lychee Iced Tea - just remember to tell them to hold off the sugar though. Even though the spread wasn't extensive in the club lounge, I thought that they were quite well-executed and I also liked that there was a mixture of both hot and cold items.
The Club Millésime is actually a pretty cool place to hang out in. I mean, if you do not like the ocean, the swimming pool or the sun (in which case, I wonder what are you doing in Bali), this area actually allows you to select from a decent range of books and magazines, play some video games or even a game of pool. If you love the sun but cannot convince yourself to stay away from this beautiful space, there are outdoor seats that you can bake in.
I took a walk around the beautiful property after some light bites from the club lounge and was rewarded with this amazing view. The Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort has 415 beautifully-appointed rooms, suites and villas. No matter which accommodation type you opt for, you will have access to the same facilities here (unlike the Conrad Bali where the Suites enjoy a private pool, restaurant and entrance). The beach is also within walking distance (less than a minute from the swimming pool) where you will also find one of the leading beach clubs, Nikki Beach.
I headed back to the Club Millésime shortly after for Evening Cocktails and Wine Tasting (530PM to 730PM). Surprisingly the club was not too crowded - most city hotels are filled with people at cocktail hour so I guess contrary to popular belief, people on a vacation actually do not need a drink as much. I was also surprised to see that many wines that are available in the club since most club lounges only have two to choose from. I did not find them to be fantastic however so I ended up with cocktails for the rest of the night. I really enjoyed the Piña Colada and the Mojito at the Club Millésime.
Much like the other luxury resorts nearby, the food selection at the Club Millésime was average at best. I do think that this is something the hotels do to make sure that the guests do not overeat and therefore skip dinner at one of their restaurants - this is a personal observation. I've heard of some luxury resorts in the Maldives that do not even provide a water kettle because they do not want people to cook instant noodles in the room which in turn lowers their expenditures at the property. You do however get quality over quantity here though - the hot canapés were well-executed and delicious but I just wish they were available for the guests to take - when I visited, they were only passed around by the lounge staff at random intervals.
Since the food in the club wasn't satisfying enough for me (yes, I am a glutton), I ended up getting some room service for dinner instead. The food were all reasonably priced and while I do not remember the exactly amount I paid, I think it was somewhere between S$30-40 for a Mee Goreng, Sate and Soto Ayam. For a luxury resort in Bali, I thought that the prices were quite reasonable and the quality of food was actually quite good!
I woke up super early (approximately 5AM) for some photos the next morning and even though it was perhaps the most difficult thing I did all weekend in Bali, I was rewarded with some pretty cool shots of the property. That peace you get in the morning by the beach is something everyone has to experience. To be honest, since Nikki Beach is literally on the beach, you tend to hear dance music whenever you walk around the property in the day so this sense of peace and quiet was actually a much-welcomed change.
Since I was walking around the property pretty early, there was no one in the swimming pool - the pools are really popular in the day and it's always filled with people. Walking around the Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort in the early morning is truly a different experience - I love how quiet it was and how pretty everything was with a golden sheen from the morning sun. At some point, I was even tempted to jump in the pool since it looked so inviting but I decided against my poorer judgement since I was carrying a bunch of photography gears.
I made my way to Kwee Zeen (all-day dining restaurant at the Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort) for breakfast instead of the Club Millésime since I felt like I have been to the club lounge one too many times in the past 24 hours. It is perhaps my first time arriving at the restaurant before 9AM for breakfast - the buffet breakfast here at Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort runs from 630AM to 1030AM daily. Since it is a resort after all, I would have preferred it if breakfast ran until a little bit later. The space at Kwee Zeen is pretty amazing and I love how pretty the place looks. Since the restaurant is located on the lowest level and it shares the same building structure as the lobby and the medical spa, Kwee Zeen enjoys really high ceiling and the restaurant itself is slightly dark (even in the day!).
I love that Kwee Zeen offers a vast range of seating configurations indoors and outdoors - perfect for people traveling with family or with a large group of friends. The food selection is also quite extensive with a number of cook-to-order food stations. My personal favourite station at Kwee Zeen during breakfast is the fried rice and noodles live station where you can pick from a number of different ingredients before someone cooks it in front of you - nothing fancy just delicious and good Indonesian food.
For those of you with a more Westernised palate or a healthier diet, there are plenty of fruits, yoghurts, cereals and all that jazz for breakfast. Fresh juice is also available upon request so make sure you walk around Kwee Zeen to see what you want - the entire restaurant is built around this massive spiral staircase from the lobby so be sure not to leave anything out!
I chose to sit out in the sun since it was quite early in the morning and it was not actually that hot yet. In any case, perspiring just gives your a good enough reason to indulge in that massive tub back in the room. Like I have mentioned before, I really enjoyed my morning (and Kwee Zeen's buffet breakfast) at the Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort since it was a lot quieter with no music playing in the background.
The Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort is one of the prettiest resorts I have been to in Nusa Dua - architecturally everything looks beautiful and no details are left out. The rooms are amazing and they have the best air-conditioning systems (seriously!). I love how big the space is and how everything is thoughtfully planned out. With all that being said, I thought that service in general felt rather scripted. I seem to get the typical "is there anything else I can do for you" from everyone with every request that was being fulfilled. Also, it is important to note that the Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort offers a different experience to some of the other more relaxing beach resorts in Nusa Dua. The existence of Nikki Beach adds excitement and energy to the resort but if you are looking to spend a quiet time in Bali (with little distraction) with your family and friends then perhaps you should consider getting a room with Club Millésime access.