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As I was in Bali for my 40th birthday, I was very keen to celebrate it at the InterContinental Bali hotel as I had heard and read so many great things about it. My IHG Ambassador status meant that I was entitled to a complimentary “weekend night certificate” which enables you to book a weekend night at any of the more than 170 InterContinental hotels worldwide and get the second night free. As you can imagine, this can result in a great deal if you know where to look.
To my surprise I was able to find plenty of available rooms at the hotel during the period I wanted to go (the weekend of 29 April to 1 May, FYI) and I decided to book a club duplex suite. Why didn’t I book a standard room? Well as an Ambassador you will get a guaranteed room upgrade to a bigger room or suite, so I wanted to see where this more expensive booking ultimately took me.
I was way too impatient to wait to get the upgrade confirmed upon check-in, so I decided to take matters into my own hands and send an e-mail to the hotel (which is by the way a great little travel tip that we have advised before). I informed them that I would be celebrating my birthday at their hotel and asked them politely if it would be possible to get an upgrade because of this occasion.
It wasn’t even 24 hours before the reservation desk at the InterContinental Bali sent me confirmation of the upgrade. I would be spending the weekend in a Balinese suite, which is over 100 square meters in size.
As my dad passed away unexpectedly in January this year I decided that both my mum and brother needed a break as well to get away from everything and I decided to take them with me to Bali. I didn’t have a spare voucher and you’re actually only entitled to use one every year, but I went ahead and booked them into a club duplex suite as well for just one night. They would be flying home on 30 April late at night and because I booked the room under my name, they were entitled to a late check out, which is one of the other benefits of being an IHG Ambassador.
Reception & Check In
On my actual birthday a driver from the InterContinental Bali came to pick us up at the White Rose Resort & Spa in Kuta where we had spent the past 5 days. All our luggage got loaded into the luxury minivan and the drive through the busy streets of Kuta began.
The minivan had everything we needed: comfy seats, aircon at full blast, bottles of water, some sweets and each of us received an ice cold towel to fresh up. As soon as the driver got into the car he handed me a tablet which had all the information about the hotel: restaurants, activities, club lounge, Uluwatu Spa and so on…
The driver told me that the club lounge manager would call me as soon as we were on our way – well that was a first. It wasn’t even 10 minutes later that the phone in the car rang and it was the club lounge manager! He thanked me for my loyalty to IHG and said he was looking forward to welcoming me on arrival at the hotel.
Sure enough, Jiri the club lounge manager was waiting for us when we arrived at the hotel, and took us straight through the huge lobby of the hotel and to the club lounge, where we checked in. First impressions were phenomenal: the sheer size of the lobby, the friendliness of the staff, we almost felt like royalty.
The temperature in the club lounge felt a touch chilly as we had just arrived from the hot weather outside, but after a couple of minutes we got used to it. They offered us a drink while we were waiting, either a local ice tea or some champagne! I quickly made my choice and went with the bubbles.
Next thing we know Ari, the butler, came to introduce himself and asked us if we were ready to be taken to the club duplex suite of my mum and brother. Their room was ready and I was told that my Uluwatu suite would only be ready at 3 PM. Hold on, wait a minute! Didn’t I just get an upgrade to a Balinese suite? Well at first I did, but because it was my birthday, Jiri had decided to give me a double upgrade to an even bigger suite!
Club Duplex Suite
We followed Ari from the club lounge through the maze that was this huge hotel and finally got to an elevator which would take us up to the 4th floor where the club duplex suite was located. Room 6406 was the suite where my mum and brother would be staying and upon entering the room they were just amazed. I explained to them that being able to spend a weekend in a hotel like this is one of the reasons I love my crazy hobby.
All of the luggage was stored in the club duplex suite, pending my suite being ready later that afternoon. Our butler then gave us a quick tour of the two floor suite.
After entering the room there was a toilet immediately on the left and then further into the room was a minibar which had more or less everything you could possibly need from a minibar on it.
There was a small seating area with a table, TV and so on. Indeed this place was more like a small apartment than a hotel bedroom!
The ground floor of the suite gave had a balcony with a view over one of the huge hotel gardens.
Ari then took us upstairs where the bedroom and bathroom are located, this place was amazing, such nice finishing touches on everything!
My suite was ready at 3 PM so I told our butler that I would be waiting at the club duplex suite, and with the precision of a Swiss watch Ari rang the doorbell. My (intrigued) brother and I followed him to the ground floor on the other side of the building. I had arranged a hot stone treatment for my mum at the Uluwatu Spa so the plan was to pick her up later and show her around my suite.
The Uluwatu Suite, room number 6123, was on the other side of the building and if I thought that the club duplex suite was big in size… think again! This room was just ridiculous, without a doubt the biggest hotel room I ever stayed in. Ari gave us a small tour and explained how some of the controls worked and after he left we had a good old explore of the suite ourselves.
There were several welcome gifts on the dining table: a box of chocolate, a basket with fresh fruit, a box of cashew nuts and a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc in an ice bucket. On another small table against the wall there was a wooden case which held a bottle of red wine.
There was another card on the dining, which I first thought was from the hotel staff but I got a pleasant surprise when reading it as it was from InsideFlyer! After that I just couldn’t control my emotions anymore as I started thinking about my dad… I realised that it was my first birthday without him being there and how he would have loved this hotel. It all got too much and tears started flowing, it makes you think about all the small things in life, how lucky I really am to be experiencing all of this and how we shouldn’t take anything for granted in life.
The size of the suite was over 100 square meters and was very spaciously divided. There was even a bar with all kinds of things on it and in it, but as we had club lounge access for the entire weekend, I wouldn’t be using it much.
From where the dining table was located, you could go left and there was a seating area with a big flat screen TV.
If you then continued to the next door room, you ended up in the very spacious bedroom. A huge kingsize bed was the centre piece of the room and it came with a very snug and soft carpet at the end. In the right corner of the bedroom there was a sofa with a small desk next to it.
The bedroom also had its own large flat screen TV…
The entrance to the dressing room and bathroom was located right next to the TV. I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that there was a jacuzzi in the bathroom as well as another toilet, bidet and a rain shower big enough to host a party in it!
On the outside of the suite there were two terraces, which both had two chairs and a table. One of the terraces was located right outside the bedroom with a separate door to access it from the inside. The bigger terrace on the living room side also came with a lounge chair.
The view I had from my room and terrace was brilliant, I was very close to the Club Pool, literally only a couple of steps away… Oh and this pool is only accessible to people who have booked a club room.
It only took me about 10 steps to reach the club pool and bar which was great because in the afternoon at 4.30 PM happy hour (free drinks!) started and lasted till 7.30 PM. They served all kinds of snacks and all drinks, including wine, beer and spirits…
For those unable to survive a holiday without internet access there is good news, as every room had its own wifi router. This resulted in a very good signal strength and the speed was phenomenal. I was even able to stream TV shows on Netflix. This wifi is available through the entire hotel except for the villa retreats due to their remote location.
I can only say good things about the Club Lounge at the InterContinental Bali hotel. Every single time we went there the staff were unfailingly friendly and welcoming. This included regular checks to make sure that we had everything we needed, and every dingle staff member spoke excellent English – indeed they were always ready for a chat.
In the morning you can either have breakfast inside the Club Lounge (where the aircon was running) or sit outside on the terrace overlooking one of the ponds. You can also either pick from a breakfast buffet or order some à la carte dishes.
There was quite a spread on the breakfast buffet, including several kinds of smoked fish, a tasty selection of cheeses, cereals, all kinds of fresh fruit, freshly baked bread, fresh juices and so on. There was also a very big selection of coffees and teas, so there is something for everyone.
The Club Lounge also offers lunch, but this is not included in your room rate. We had lunch there on the day we arrived and the food was delicious: my mum had a dish with smoked salmon, my brother had a salad and I went for a club sandwich.
While we were having lunch I had a weird feeling that we were being watched. I can’t explain how or why, but I tend to have a sixth sense for these kind of things. All of a sudden all the staff members in the club lounge disappeared, and a couple of minutes later 8 staff members came around the corner clapping their hands while singing happy birthday. They also brought me a fantastic chocolate birthday cake! What a surprise and what a way to make a customer feel at home! The chocolate cake was delicious, but proved way too much to finish after our lunch.
The InterContinental Bali has a very well-known spa and beauty centre on its premises. It’s called Spa Uluwatu. Most treatments are at the Spa itself, but you can also choose to get a massage on the beach or at one of the villa retreats.
I had booked a hot stone treatment for my mum as a surprise on the day we arrived. That aside, they offer an enormous variety of different treatments. Just one essential tip: make a reservation!
During our stay we saw plenty of people that came back disappointed from the Spa Uluwatu as they wanted to book a last minute treatment, but there were no more available slots. I had arranged my mum’s hot stone massage before our stay via the website.
I had given myself a birthday gift in the shape of a 4 hour massage treatment named Sea Of Love (no chuckling please, it wasn’t that type of place). So the next morning I went to the reception and asked where the villa retreats were located. The receptionist called someone to come and pick me up, as apparently it was too far to walk in the heat. A couple of minutes later one of the staff members showed up and asked me to follow him so he could drive me in a golf buggy to the villa retreat.
Upon arrival I received a welcome drink and I had to chose the kind of oil I wanted to be massaged with. The other important thing I had to do was sign some kind of a health statement, to let them know if I had any chronic injuries. The only issue I had at that time was seriously sore legs because of my hike up Mount Agung.
I was introduced to the therapist, her name was Tari and she had been working at the InterContinental hotel for over 20 years as a therapist. It turned out to be the same lady that had done the hot stone massage on my mum.
I will spare you all the details of my spa pampering but suffice to say four hours flew by, I came out a changed man… totally relaxed and at one with the world.
Sunset Bar & Grill
At the InterContinental Bali hotel there are several restaurants to pick from where you can have dinner at night:
- Ko (Japanese restaurant)
- Jimbaran Gardens
- Bella Cucina (Italian restaurant)
- Taman Gita Terrace
- Sunset Bar & Gril
On the night of my birthday we decided to have dinner at the Sunset Bar & Grill as it’s located right on Jimbaran Bay beach, and so gives you a great view over the Indian Ocean. The setting at night is incredible, with the purple-coloured lighting and they did a good job of not stuffing the entire beach with chairs and tables.
The nice thing about staying at one of the club rooms or suites at this hotel is that the happy hour is also valid at the Sunset Bar, so any alcoholic drinks or cocktails you order between 4.30 PM and 7.30 PM come for free!
We got there just as happy hour ended, but the staff was friendly enough to make an exception and not charge us for our drinks. I can really recommend the Mango Daiquiri and Mojito and believe me when I say that they put plenty of alcohol in the cocktails.
The menu is fairly simple but all the dishes we tried were really good and prices are reasonable, particularly when compared to the Italian and Japanese restaurant in the hotel.
The Sunset Bar & Grill is a truly nice place to be and the bar stays open until 10.30 PM. The lighting, the scenery and the view just make you feel good.
I hope my review helped to give you something of the feeling I had during my stay. Suffice to say, I really liked this hotel! The only downside was that this stay wasn’t cheap, especially when you stay in a club room or suite for a weekend. Luckily I had the InterContinental Ambassador voucher which enabled me to save a bit of money.
I’m sure I will return to this hotel in the future because there were so many things that contributed to a very nice stay: the staff, the Uluwatu Spa, the food, the recognition for IHG elite members, the way we were welcomed during our stay and so on… In short, it may not have been cheap but this was without a doubt the best hotel I have ever stayed at!