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I recently took an around-the-world trip from NYC (with a stay at the new Park Hyatt New York) and then on to Tokyo for 62,500 AA miles and $5.60, with award seats on American’s A321 first class JFK-San Francisco (SFO) and JAL’s Boeing 777-300ER first class SFO-Tokyo Haneda (HND). I hadn’t visited Tokyo for a long time, but it took me no time at all to fall back in love with the city during my stay at the Andaz Tokyo. I was then on to Kyoto and The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto, followed by a Malaysia Airlines flight bound for a whirlwind trip to Kuala Lumpur.
After that, I was thrilled to go to the Indonesian island of Bali, where I stayed at The St. Regis Bali in the resort area of Nusa Dua—and here’s my review.
The St. Regis Bali Resort in Nusa Duais 20 minutes from Bali’s Ngurah Rai (Denpasar) International Airport (DPS), and the hotel arranges all guests’ airport transfers in an air conditioned Mercedes with WiFi. Accommodations include Suites, Villas, the Grande Astor Presidential Suite and the Strand Residence, and in addition to airport transfers, all these room types include Internet and butler service.
As this is a Starwood Category 7 property, a free night requires 30,000—35,000 Starpoints, depending on the season. (Note that Cash + Points isn’t offered at this particular resort.) Specialty rooms start at 36,750 points per night, and Speciality Select rooms start at 37,750 points per night.
As I explained in an earlier post, booking via Amex FHR is generally a better idea since I value SPG at about 2.4 cents a piece, and most rooms here usually cost about $500. SPG resorts (rather than hotels) generally manage to wiggle out of program perks, while Amex FHR at The St. Regis Bali gets you free full breakfast (including room service), free spa access, and guaranteed early check in/late check out.
The open-air lobby announces that you’re in Paradise… I mean, Bali. The sights, sounds, and flower-perfumed air were all immediately relaxing. The staff, which hails from several countries, all speak beautiful English and couldn’t have been more accommodating.
I had booked a Suite (which start at $390 a night), but because I’m a top SPG Platinum and on Amex FHR (which comes with its own upgrade), I was upgraded to a Villa.
Any room that comes with butler service is a good room in my book—and Carlos and Agus, the butlers for my Villa, were deeply kind and thoughtful. As a convenient bonus, the resort allows you to arrange for everything by email; here’s an example of just one of the messages I received:
Would you like to have your triple espresso over the ice with skim milk and some fruit platter and fruit yogurt at 06.30 am?
Why, yes I would—thanks, Agus!
Agus in particular looked out for me like a combination best friend/father, and would always be waiting when I got back from activities so he could take me back to my Villa in a resort golf cart. When he learned that my surfing lesson with an outside company was a complete bust, I was amazed to find that he’d comped my lunch and taken the surfing lesson off my bill.
As for the room itself, it was beautifully decorated, but could have used some technological updating. I didn’t love the fact that at night, there were roughly 20 manual lights that needed to be turned off before I could go finally to bed. A master switch and power plug at the bedside would have been extremely welcome.
However, I had plenty of provisions. The Villa was mega-stocked with about a billion Nespresso capsules, as well as water bottles, fresh fruit and flowers. The bathroom was top of the line, kitted out in marble, with a bathtub and a shower. There was also a TV in there, in case I’d wanted to grab a DVD from the resort’s collection and chill out in the bath with a movie.
My Villa came with its own outdoor area and private pool, which got a lot of use—both night and day.
Enjoying a drink in my Villa was a joy each evening, while the poolside pagoda made an ideal office during the day.
The resort’s stunning Remède Spa is free with an Amex FHR booking, and features daily aromatherapy steam menus, tranquil pools, a fitness center, a Finnish sauna, and loaner bicycles for general use.
I had a few private yoga sessions here, which were almost like hot yoga because of the tropical temperatures; it was great to get my sweat on and then jump into my private pool. I also had the best massage of my life—or I should say massages, because I definitely had several during my stay—and some soothing paraffin treatments on my hands and feet.
SPG Platinum amenity choices are between:
- 500 points
- 30-minute foot massage for two (once per stay)
- Breakfast at Boneke (I wish I’d known this, so I could have booked a cheaper prepaid rate)
There must be some kind of law prohibiting bad food in Bali, because every meal I had was delicious. The breakfast at Boneka was a combination of Western and Indonesian cuisine, and was just about as near perfect a meal as I’d ever had.
Happy hour was quite an event. I’ve seen saber displays at other properties, but the happy-hour torch and drum ceremony at the resort was on a whole other level.
The St. Regis Bali certainly has a few drawbacks, namely that its Category 7 status doesn’t make it the best use of points when Bali’s rates are pretty cheap, comparatively, and Nusa Dua is one of the most crowded, touristy parts of Bali—despite not having an especially nice beach. However, I still feel that the resort itself is a gorgeous, comfortable sanctuary where you can relax, eat, do some yoga, hit the spa, and then relax some more. I’d highly recommend a stay here.
Know before you go.
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