Bali is one of my favourite destinations and I have been there on multiple occasions - I tend to go back at least once a year but from time to time, I revisit this slice of paradise a lot more than I should (four times this year!). The cool kids typically go to Seminyak and I have tried to be part of this club by staying at the Anantara Seminyak Bali Resort early last year but I did not actually like it - I liked the resort but not so much waking up in Seminyak. It goes without saying that if you are a Hilton Honors Diamond member, the place you can stay in Bali is the Conrad Bali as it is located in the quieter side of the island - Nusa Dua. I have stayed here previously in a Suite as well as a Deluxe Ocean View Room (even though these are currently being refurbished) but I was rather eager to check out the brand new Pool Villas which are newly-built.
There are almost twenty flights that connect Singapore to Bali each day (if you include low-cost carriers as well) but if you are looking for the best flight, Singapore Airlines is the way to go (do note that SilkAir operates certain routes as well so make sure you double check especially if you intend to fly in Business Class from SIN to DPS). KLM offers pretty good deals between Singapore and Denpasar from time to time and I actually managed to snag up a Business Class fare for under S$500 which I will be reviewing in a few months.
Getting from Ngurah Rai International Airport to Conrad Bali is incredibly simple and the best way is to arrange transport with the property itself. At the time of writing, the most affordable ride will cost you USD 22 (SGD 29) per way (up to four passengers) which I think is fairly reasonable. If you are looking for cheaper alternatives, Klook offers affordable rides from the airport to any hotel in Nusa Dua (where the Conrad Bali is located in) for S$16.10 (toll fees are not included) - you may also get S$4.20 off your first booking on Klook if you sign-up using my referral link! Since I have already pre-booked the pickup service with Conrad Bali, I walked straight to the hotel staff holding the Conrad Bali sign outside the arrival area and was quickly escorted to my vehicle. My luggage was loaded into the car before cold towels and a bottle of water was offered. The journey from the airport to the hotel took slightly longer than usual as there were some ongoing roadworks near the airport which required us to make a detour - I finally got to the property after 30 minutes (as compared to the usual 20 minutes) which is not too bad.
Returning back to the Conrad Bali feels a little bit like coming home. As I have mentioned earlier, I have stayed in this property four times now and this was also the first property that I have stayed in Bali. Even though the Pool Villas are considered to be part of the Conrad Suites Wing (which has its own separate entrance), I was brought to the main lobby instead of check-in but it was a painless process - my reservation was quickly located before the keys to my villa were given (I actually arrived ahead of time but one of the perks of being a Hilton Honors Diamond member is the enhanced probability of an early check-in).
The Pool Villas in Conrad Bali are located fairly close by to the private pool in the suites wing and if you have been to this property, they are actually tucked away between the reflections lounge and the executive lounge. As I have mentioned, the Pool Villas are part of the Conrad Bali Suites wing (it is also priced higher than the average suite here) and therefore guests staying in the villa will have access to the executive lounge as well as its benefits during the stay.
The actual built-up area of the Conrad Pool Villa is not massive and it measures 62 sqm (which is almost half the size of the Conrad Suite) but it is built on top of a secluded garden that measures 235 sqm in size. The villa consists of a steam room (which doubles as a shower area but more on this later), private plunge pool, sun terrace, outdoor bathtub as well as plenty of green space for your to enjoy a secluded and romantic retreat. The villa is designed for a single or double occupancy (even though the sheer size of it makes it possible to sleep more people) and upon walking in, you will find your bedroom as well as a walk-in wardrobe to the side.
There is a semi-private partition that separates the bedroom from the main area (where you first enter the villa) but as I have mentioned, this place is really designed for the couple in mind. There is also a small table here where you will be able to find the compendium as well as some stationery - this is also where you should leave your daily tip for housekeeping!
The bedroom itself looks out to both the outdoor bathtub as well as the manicured gardens (on alternative sides). Sliding doors on both sides can be opened if you prefer to enjoy the tropical climate of Bali and they can also be closed and locked if you prefer to keep the mosquitoes out (in the evening especially!) and the air-conditioning in (definitely my choice regardless of time of day!). There is also a ceiling fan if you prefer to enjoy the natural breeze - yes I know of travellers who genuinely prefer that!
As part of my welcome amenity, I received a letter from the General Manager of Conrad Bali as well as a platter of fresh tropical fruits. Located behind the fruits were little bamboo baskets containing snacks such as macarons, cookies as well as chocolate pralines (I actually found out about these much later since I did not open them initially).
Teabags are provided by TWG and if you like coffee, there is a capsule coffee machine in the room (not a Nespresso unfortunately). While the coffee quality was reasonable, I did have some problems removing the coffee capsule from the machine after I have utilised it - somehow the capsule seems to get stuck so I actually have to request for engineering to come fix it (fortunately for me, I could do it via the app!).
Similar to other Conrad hotels around the world, the Conrad Bali has its own version of teddy bear that guests can take home - in this case, a monkey. Even though a grown man probably does not need a plush toy, they make nice gifts for the little ones back home.
The squarish layout of the Pool Villa makes it very easy to get around in various fashion - you do not need to say, walk through the bedroom to get to the bathroom for instance. The bathroom of the Pool Villa here at Conrad Bali comes with double vanity sinks, a private bathroom (one that you cannot look through even if you leave the main sliding door open) as well as a large shower area which doubles as a private steam room.
There is also a separate control for the air-conditioning unit here in the bathroom so make sure you check this if you are feeling a bit warm - the sliding doors have to be closed as well, otherwise the air-conditioning automatically switches off in the bedroom and bathroom. Make sure you try the steam room if you are staying in one of the Pool Villas - they are operated via a panel located next to the sinks.
Strangely enough, the Conrad Bali was still using bath amenities from Aromatherapy Associates when I visited in early January - these should have been replaced with the new Shanghai Tang range as per the new brand standards. What is even more strange perhaps is the 'Mandarin Tea' branded amenities that have the same colour as the Aromatherapy Associate Shampoo in Purple. In any case, I presume these are now replaced with the new Shanghai Tang bottles but I will definitely be looking out for them when I revisit in a few months.
There is also a small sun terrace where you will find two lounge chairs that will help you to work on your tan - the outdoor bathtub is also located in this area and it is actually sheltered so in the event that it is raining, you can still enjoy a good soak without having to worry about... getting wet (the irony, I know).
The bathtub is actually massive enough to fit two healthy adults without having to squeeze at all. There is no indoor tub in case anyone is wondering so if you prefer to enjoy a hot bath in a cold air-conditioned bathroom, the Pool Villa is probably not for you.
The Pool Villa here at Conrad Bali also come with a private plunge pool that you can access directly from the sun terrace. Now I have to warn you that this pool right here is really for you to sit around and busk in the sun - if you are thinking about doing laps, you really have to head down to the Conrad Suites pool or one of the other swimming pools instead.
There is plenty of private garden space in the Pool Villas which I thought should have been converted into more 'covered villa space' but having this adds to the privacy and that sense of peace that you get when you wake up in the morning. There is also a bale bengong of some sorts in your villa but honestly, I did not even spend a single minute there since it is hot outside - in any case, I would rather be sitting in the pool.
I could not resist jumping into the pool before heading out for lunch (even though I was already hungry by the time I was done with photos). Honestly, having a private pool to yourself in this weather is quite a luxury!
I chose to have lunch at Suku restaurant which is probably my favourite restaurant in the whole of Conrad Bali since it offers a good selection of local delights. Unfortunately though, I have gotten an email approximately a week back on the closing (for refurbishment) of Suku restaurant from 01 April 2018 to 31 August 2018. As some of you may already know, the Conrad Bali is undergoing renovations and refurbishments - the restaurant, swimming lagoons, the main swimming pool (I know!) as well as Eight Degrees South will all be closed during this period so it is not great. With all that being said, There is a new Spice restaurant that offers authentic street food from Bali, Java, Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore - this is probably Suku's replacement where cuisine is concerned. There is also a brand new Azure Beach Club that will be offering a full F&B menu that will open from 01 April 2018.
From what I have gathered from the Conrad Bali website, Spice will continue to offer most of these dishes that I have photographed so not all is lost! Soto Ayam (IDR 130,000++) is something I always end up ordering even though the thought of drinking hot soup by the beach is not exactly everyone's idea of a dream vacation but I am sure someone out there can sympathise with me.
The Ayam Betutu (IDR 225,000++) is made wrapping the chicken in banana leaves in order to keep the moisture in - the result of this is a beautifully-executed dish that is not only fork-tender but deliciously flavoured as well. If you have been to Bali on multiple occasions, chances are that you have eaten this dish or the duck version (bebek betutu) outside. Since I was staying in a Pool Villa and had access to the Conrad Suites benefits, I had 15% off all food & beverages incurred during my stay.
The Conrad Bali also runs this Eat Drink Hilton promotion on a monthly basis where they feature locally-sourced produce. When I visited back in January, the property integrated Mangosteen into a commonly-known panna cotta for that extra dimension - perfect solution for the heat situation!
Staying in the Pool Villa at Conrad Bali meant I had access to all the Conrad Suites benefits (these also apply if you are a Hilton Honors Diamond member) and therefore, I made my way to the Conrad Suites Lounge for evening cocktails shortly after lunch:
- Breakfast from 7:00AM to 10:30AM at RIN restaurant
- Afternoon tea from 3:00PM to 5:00PM at RIN restaurant
- Evening cocktails from 5:00PM to 7:00PM at Conrad Suites Lounge
- Complimentary internet access
- Complimentary laundry & dry cleaning
- 15% off food & beverage in restaurants and bar
- 15% off meeting room rental
- 25% off all Jiwa Therapeutic treatments
The Conrad Suite Lounge is located directly above RIN which is typically open for lunch and dinner (as well as breakfast for Suites and Hilton Honors Diamond guests only). There is also an adult-only Conrad Suites Pool (which will be open to children from 01 April 2018) here in front of RIN so that's nice. The Conrad Suites Lounge here at the Conrad Bali offers a rather extensive list of beverages to choose from and if you would like a recommendation, you will not go wrong with the piña colada. Canapés are also served here every evening and even though they are replenished as and when you finish them, I do not find them to be sufficient for a proper meal - head downstairs to RIN instead for a good Japanese dinner after!
RIN serves up a variety of Japanese dishes that range from fresh sashimi to Japanese curry, ramen and even shabu-shabu. Seriously, whatever that comes to mind when you think about Japanese cuisine can probably be found in this restaurant! The prices are also fairly reasonable since they range from IDR 60,000++ to IDR 90,000++ for each type (which comes in four slices).
I really like the idea of having an adults-only pool especially since the suites are mostly located in this area - keeping the children out of this pool minimises the probability of noise (even though I have actually encountered adults who cause a lot more problems). If you intend to hang out here in the evening, make sure you bring along some mosquito repellent - you can also get it from the hotel if you do not have your own.
The Pool Villa that I stayed in was only a minute away from RIN and when I got back, I realised that the entire villa has already been turned down for the evening. All the bath and pool towels that I have utilised in the afternoon have been replaced and a new set of bath amenities were also placed by the outdoor tub for my convenience - there is nothing like coming back to a freshly-made bed and cold room at the end of a day!
Waking up to the sound of birds and the gentle waves crashing onto the shore is truly a luxury in Nusa Dua - this sense of peace and quiet is probably unrivalled and I was not able to get this when I was staying in Seminyak back in 2017. I took a slow walk along the beach before heading back to RIN for breakfast.
Being a Hilton Honors Diamond member meant the option to enjoy complimentary breakfast each day in either RIN or in Suku - I opted for the former because Suku is really better during the lunch and dinner service. Also, I was truly craving for some peace and quiet. Therefore, RIN was the perfect choice - located by the poolside, breakfast here includes a small buffet section as well as an a la carte menu that you can order from.
The a la carte menu here at RIN consists of an egg section (where you can order dishes like omelettes and eggs benedict) as well as a 'breakfast favourites' section where you will find things like steak and breakfast burrito. The serving size may not be big but remember you are not limited to just one item - feel free to order to your heart's content but make sure you finish them!
I did not venture out of the hotel much and this is basically what I do every time I stay in Nusa Dua - I just stay in the enjoy the facilities, spend time in the pool, eat and catch up on Netflix. Honestly, this is my idea of a dream vacation where resorts are concerned.
When I got back to my room, I realised that my laundry have already been done and they are all carefully folded and returned to me - I actually sent them in the previously evening so it is fairly impressive! In case you do not remember, all guests staying in the Conrad Suites wing (which include guests staying in Pool Villas) have unlimited complimentary laundry during their stay. I am not even sure why I find this exciting but I really did - the thought of being able to wear linen without having to worry about washing and ironing is really a luxury (only a working adult would understand this!).
Even though the Pool Villas in Conrad Bali do not rival the villas over at the prestigious St. Regis Bali Resort, they offer great value if you intend to stay in the property to enjoy all the facilities. Staying in one of these villas make plenty of sense especially during 01 April 2018 to 31 August 2018 since the Conrad Suites Pool will no longer be an adults-only pool and having a private plunge pool all to yourself is a luxury. Having stayed in a number of properties in Nusa Dua, I dare say that the Conrad Bali remains to be my personal favourite. The upcoming renovations are a little bit of a pain and to be honest, I am not looking forward to them at all but I am really interested to see how the new rooms (and probably suites?) look like!