Entering the Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort might seem a bit of a hike at first: security at the boom gate, up a bit of a drive, an escalator ride to reception, this being an expansive space that looks more sparse art gallery than cosy hotel lobby. Then there’s the several-minute wait while front desk shuffles paperwork and cross-checks that you’re actually meant to be there.
Yes, it is pretty militant in its exertion, and while you can’t fault the strict security measures in this overcautious era of ours, it would be nice to see a couple of ottomans or flower vases dotted along the way of this great trek, at least to soften the stringency.
The hotel lies opposite popular Kuta Beach, helping to lend an otherwise tarnished part of Bali (due to surfer and backpacker action) a more polished, classic-meets-contemporary aesthetic.
That said, once things are officialised, and you’ve gotten a fresh coconut cocktail in your hand – in an actual fresh coconut – all is suddenly forgiven. Now you can relax at a hotel whose well-established name has boasted confident hospitality for eons.
You also quickly learn that the hotel is perfectly placed: just a hop to the shopping and market precincts, and a skip and a jump to the beach itself.
The Sheraton Hotels & Resorts group have adapted fairly well to the contemporary hospitality market. Now part of the Marriott International chain, Sheraton can boast 450 hotels and resorts in over 75 countries around the globe. The brand has wisely brought its nightly rates down to compete with the ever-growing beast that is AirBnB, and it has also upheld a progressive tactic in keeping up with appearances. In fact, the younger in development a region, the more you can expect the look of the hotel you’re booked into to be, well, ‘cool’.
Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort lies opposite popular Kuta Beach, helping to lend an otherwise tarnished part of Bali (due to surfer and backpacker action) a more polished, classic-meets-contemporary aesthetic. Greenery is a key feature of the hotel, both at its heart (check out the gorgeous centre courtyard view) and on the outside, with hanging gardens throwing you back a few millennia, if only for a moment.
The award-winning resort features over 200 guest rooms and suites ranging in size from 46 to 265 square metres. We stayed in a spacious ocean front suite that was closer to the three-figure square metre end of the spectrum. Were we poilt? Yes. Were we happy? Extremely.
The suite featured an open-plan living space with windows facing not only the ocean, but bustling Kuta markets and shopping precinct to the side. You all know that saying ‘enough room to swing a cat’. Well this was enough room to swing an entire menagerie. I’m talking HUGE.
Of course space isn’t everything, and thankfully the suite checked all the other boxes, from functional design to classic-meets-contemporary decor, comfy bedding to quality (and regularly topped-up!) amenities.
The hotel/resort is proud to show off its ‘Sheraton Signature Sleep Experience’, and once you’ve spent a night in one of its generously sized beds you’ll realise what all the fuss is about. Here, guests get to pick and choose what they want in a bed: what sheets, what pillow, how many, and if they’d like extra blankets. Each bed features a plush-top design mattress that delivers all-night comfort, along with big, fat, fluffy feather-and-down pillows.
Guests have been so content with their sleepovers at Sheraton hotels, they’ve begged to be able to buy the bedding, and so the brand now has its own online store selling the stuff (currently offering 25% storewide, by the way!).
The bathroom space is generous, especially compared to your smaller boutique hotels – who often squeeze too much into one claustrophobic space. Here, instead, the shower head is high up and strong in its pressure, the toilet far from the sleeping area, the basin big, and the mirror nice and bright.
Actually, take a closer look at the circle-shaped centre mirror and you’ll discover built-in lights playing glamorous tricks on your eyes. Mirror, mirror, on the wall, indeed!
Best of all, sitting at the edge of the bathroom is an actual bath – which you don’t see a lot of these days – which once flowing with salts, will soothe away the aches from having walked around Kuta-town. My travelling partner loved the bath so much, he often bathed twice in one day. And that’s on top of regular showers.
Our room was also equipped with the expected mod-cons including coffee maker with pods of very good coffee, kettle, mini bar fridge (hot inside, so be prepared to keep asking for ice buckets to be sent up), flat-screen TV with DVD/CD player (in fact, two TVs – one in the bedroom), airconditioning and, most importantly, some of the fastest Wi-Fi we’ve experienced in Indonesia. I’ve always wondered why places overseas are so up-to-date with technology and internet speed while in Australia we’re still having tech problems, with or without NBN!
Anyhoo, I digress, so… back to good life…
If you can manage to get yourself out of that big, comfy bed, or away from those infotainment options, you might like to take yourself out of the room to the hotel’s pool area on the ground floor – a space purposely placed directly opposite Kuta beach itself, so that when you’re in the middle of the infinity pool, it looks as though you’re connected to the horizon on the beach.
Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort offers glorious dusk experiences, too, where you’ll view one of the most spectacular sunsets you’ve seen from the vantage point of the venue’s Bene restaurant. Pop a cocktail or mocktail in your hand, and you’ll wonder if this is what heaven feels like.
Stick around at Bene on Friday nights and you can partake in the feast that is
#ThankGodItsSeafoodMartiniFridays where you’re spoiled for choice with an extensive cocktail list and glorious seafood smorgasbord.
While the dishes on Bene’s menu are bursting with colour and flavour, the restaurant’s design is more of a pared-back affair.
Bene, as its name suggests, is very, very good when it comes to serving fresh produce and innovative fare. While the dishes on its menu are bursting with colour and flavour, the restaurant’s design is more of a pared-back affair. I particularly dug the large writing on the wall as I walked up the restaurant’s steps, set in classic Times New Roman font but with wording in Italian.
If you feel like eating out, away from the hotel, most other hot spots are a mere 30,000 to 50,000 Rupiah away (ie: $3 to $5) – peanuts compared to getting around in places like Perth, Paris or the even more absurdly priced New York or L.A.
Still, with the quiet and comfort of our spacious room, a terrace with magnificent Indian Ocean views, optional experiences at the hotel’s excellent ‘Shine’ spa, big breakfasts at Feast restaurant, and fine dining at Bene, even a fully equipped gym to contemplate, there’s no real reason to leave this place for too long.
I certainly know what accommodation I’ll be booking for my next visit to Bali – at least for a couple of decadent days!
For more information or bookings, phone +62 361 846 5555 or email to Reservations.Balikuta@sheraton.com or visit www.sheratonbalikuta.com.
The writer stayed as a guest of Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort.
Photography by Cream Magazine with additional photography by the Sheraton Hotels & Resorts group.