HOTEL REVIEW: The Oberoi Bali

While a lot of popular cities have already industrialized and abandoned their ancient culture, Bali, Indonesia begged to differ. Throughout the years, the city has been influenced by Indian Hinduism and Buddhism, East Javanese culture, Islam, and Dutch colonization and resistance. However, it did not abandon any of these influences. Instead, it cultivated them and developed them into something uniquely Balinese. The tropical island is filled with beautiful and rare flora and fauna, surrounded by sparkling beaches and decorated with simplistic and natural temples.

The Oberoi Bali

Bali has long attracted high-profile visitors that include international celebrities, politicians and royalties. As a result, the site for what would be known as The Oberoi Bali was built, but it was previously only intended for the use of an exclusive private club called “Kayu Aya.” The location was considered legendary for exclusive, moonlit parties of the rich and famous until it faced abandonment in 1974.

Ever since its inception, Australian architect Peter Muller led Balinese craftsmen and artisans to combine Eastern and Western hospitality characteristics to build the club and expand it into the hotel that it is today. The Kayu Aya witnessed a lawsuit that would change it into luxury resort Hotel Bali Oberoi and several renovations in the 70s, 80s and 90s. Now, The Oberoi Bali is known as the first luxury five-star beach resort in Seminyak, Bali.

LOCATION

The Oberoi Bali is located in Bali’s chic and upscale resort area, Seminyak Beach. The beach is where the majority of modern, sophisticated life is concentrated, which is a pretty startling difference compared to the island. The resort-slash-hotel is in front of the public beach. It is composed of 15 acres of tropical gardens and the Balinese seaside.

SUITES AND VILLA

The Oberoi has 74 rooms in total. These comprise of 14 villas that have a walled courtyard ensuring absolute privacy, a dining pavilion, air conditioned bedroom, and an en suite bathroom. Most have their own full size swimming pool. Meanwhile, the 60 Lanai rooms feature a terrace for outdoor dining, and an air conditioned bathroom with sunken bath.

RESTAURANTS

The Oberoi Bali currently has four restaurants, all with distinct and rare features, scenery, and cuisine. The highlight of each restaurant is in the unique experience, cuisine and atmosphere it offers. The first one, Kura Kura Restaurant, is an open air thatched pavilion overlooking lotus ponds. Diners can look forward to eating Indonesian, continental, and Asian cuisine while enjoying cultural performances comprised of traditional ‘Angklung’ music and a variety of Balinese musical troupes, including West Bali bamboo orchestra. The second restaurant, Frangipani Café, is exposed to the Indian Ocean, making it the right place for breakfasts and lunches in the open air. The venue is chic and tropical, filled with parasols, trimmed lawns, pandanus, coconut palms, and of course, frangipani trees. Meanwhile, the third restaurant Amphitheater, is known for featuring Gamelan music an classical Balinese dance performances. Dining here is best at nighttime, under the stars and with crashing ocean waves in the background. Lastly, find the Kayu Bar for cocktails made of tropical fruits grown on the island. Expect light meals and snacks to be served throughout the day.

OBEROI SPA

In 1980, the spa was added as part of the renovations to The Oberoi Bali. Visitors can access private therapy rooms housed in traditional, open-air pavilions, along with tropical garden views. The spa offers specialized therapies, which include Balinese, Thai, Western, and Oberoi signature treatments which use natural ingredients. Guests can also request aqua Pilates and beachfront yoga in the hotel gardens.

CLIENT PROFILE

According to The Oberoi, it has two main groups of clients, honeymoon couples and executives aged mid-thirty upwards. A lot of honeymooners come to the hotel on the recommendation of their parents who are previous guests of the resort. Meanwhile, many executives choose to stay in the villas with private full sized swimming pool, surrounded by walls of local stone, in order to enjoy some privacy.

INTERNATIONAL MEDIA AWARDS

The Oberoi Bali has received awards for nearly a decade. It was hailed the fourth best resort hotel in Indonesia, based on a survey of Travel + Leisure USA’s readers in 2016. Other notable awards include Travellers’ Choice from Trip Advisor in 2016, a Platinum Award from Tri Hita Karana Tourism Awards 2015, and 25 Top Asia Resorts in 2008 and 2009 from Conde Nast Traveller USA.

HAPPINESS SCORE

Resort Location: 10/10

The Oberoi Bali is in a convenient location. The beachfront resort is beside the traditional flea market - Kaya Ayu Village - and a stone's throw away from the Seminyak Square and various restaurants, bars, spas, and shops. The location makes it easy to interact with village life and still be in proximity to the hotel’s conveniences.

Historical Value: 10/10

Bali, Indonesia is a unique city where a lot of civilizations have already mixed and evolved together. Yet it retains its character which is close to nature. Furthermore, The Oberoi Bali is the first luxury five-star beach resort in Seminyak, Bali. Every detail about the hotel’s architecture, dining and music screams Balinese.

Aesthetic Design: 10/10

We appreciate The Oberoi Bali because of its respectful homage to Balinese architecture and the way of life surrounding it. Its home island is considered as the island of the Gods and it is filled with several temples signifying its population’s strong religious practice. In fact, one of its holiest temples, the Pura Petitenget is located just north of the hotel’s beach and even The Oberoi Bali’s Pura Dalem Temple itself is considered one of the holiest places in Bali.

We have also learned that the style of Balinese architecture uses local materials like thatch roofing, coconut wood, bamboo poles, teak wood, stone, and bricks. Structures are also built around seven philosophies which exhibit the relationships of nature, humans, and gods. As a result, Balinese architecture is built around four strength aspects: good ventilation, strong foundation that is comparable to a human, a massive yard, and a guarding wall. We saw that all of these were well-incorporated into the way we experienced the hotel.

Lantana Villa #211: 10/10

Our villa was simply splendid. Our favorite parts of our accommodation include the private swimming pool which was tastefully framed by blossoming frangipani trees. We were also treated to a porch facing the ocean and our very own open-air dining pavilion. Our villa also comprised of a spacious bedroom with cushy sofas for lounging away the day in comfort, and a luxurious toilet and bath with sunken marble tub with private garden views, his-and-hers vanity sink, shower room and toilet room. It also had a koi pond that was a very welcoming feature of our space in the hotel.

Food and Beverage: 9.9/10

In general, our experience with The Oberoi Bali’s food and beverage services was enriched by amazing staff that served us a consistently delicious menu. Our favorite restaurants are the Kura Kura Restaurant, Kayu Bar and In-Villa Dining. The flavorful food in these restaurants was made even better by the ambiance. Each restaurant provokes the senses in their own way.

Customer Service: 10/10

The Oberoi Bali delivers an extraordinary level of customer service with an acute eye for detail. We’re gonna return the favor and list our favorite details of the hotel’s customer service. All our requests were done exactly the way we wanted.

During the turndown service, we were provided with the list of daily activities as well as the weather forecast for the next day, sunrise and sunset hours, and high tide and low tide hours. Also, at this time, our bed was neatly made up, the stuff toys were properly arranged, the in- villa breakfast menu was placed in the bed, bedroom slippers were in the bedside mats, bath towels and bath amenities were replenished and pool beds were covered.

As requested, everyday before 7 a.m., the staff set up our pool beds with pillows and fresh beach towels and put a jar of lemon water together with two bottles of face mist and two bottles of sunscreen on our poolside table. This made us more excited about our pool time!

We once left our iPhone and iPad cables in a table, and when we returned, the housekeeping staff tied them neatly using the hotel-provided velcro straps.

We were provided soft slippers for our room and rubber slippers for outside use. Our fruit basket, coffee and tea, and minibar were also replenished everyday. Our villa was always clean and good-smelling. These might seem like small things, but these helped us appreciate the staff’s attention to detail.

Guest Services assisted us in booking our horse ride and gave us several options and recommendations. The concierge also gave us a lot of useful information about Bali.

Overall, all the staff that we’ve interacted with have a gentle demeanor with soft tone of voice, graceful gestures, and pleasant facial expression. We felt very welcomed at the resort. We’ve never bumped into any staff who didn’t greet us. The staff were engaging and friendly but not in an intrusive manner.

We’d also like to note the General Manager who made an effort to know all the in-house guests by sending an invite for a cocktail meet-up.

Leisure Facilities: 10/10

The Oberoi Bali is designed for cultural immersion, pure relaxation, and interaction with nature. We were treated to healthy dining and Balinese arts and crafts lessons, which we loved. We also enjoyed watching the traditional performances. Other resort activities we recommend are swimming, walking, yoga and meditation, gym, tennis, and spa.

The Oberoi Spa: 9.9/10

The Oberoi Spa is one of the highlights of our stay. We highly recommend the Frangipani body scrub and the Island Sampler which is a 90-minute full body massage + 30-minute soothing facial. We have no words to describe the happiness we felt after our treatment. It's just perfect. It’s also worth mentioning that the spa uses Omorovicza, a luxurious range of skincare products derived from the healing minerals of Hungary’s thermal waters and the patented Hydro Mineral Transference Delivery System. However, please note that there is no dry sauna, steam room nor jacuzzi here. When we asked the spa receptionists and the masseuses, they said they don't have any of them. Good thing the spa treatment was extremely satisfying. Personally, I think it can make up for the absence of the basic spa facilities.

Security: 10/10

We felt very secure during our whole stay in the The Oberoi Bali. The resort is very well-secured with guards and CCTV cameras in some designated areas of the hotel.

Client Profile: 10/10

The clientele who stay in The Oberoi Bali are typically financially successful who prefer a hotel where their privacy is respected and guarded. We think the clientele profile helps the hotel uphold a sense of privacy for its guests. It makes it a space which is away from the indiscreet crowd.

According to the hotel, 47% of their guests are from Europe, 17% are from Australia, 21% from Asia and 7% from USA.

CONCLUSION

We stayed in The Oberoi Bali for 6 days and 5 nights, and we definitely enjoyed it. One of the highlights of our  experience in it include the spa which incorporates Bali’s specialties. We also commend the food quality, the dining services, the live entertainment and the unique tropical ambiance of its restaurants. It's also worth mentioning that we never ran out of activities to do in the resort and although the beach in front of it is a public beach and it is not good for swimming because of the strong waves, it is considered by the Balinese to be one of the holiest on the western coast of  Bali. Moreover, we grew more appreciative of the resort's architecture, which gave a strong sense of privacy and a connection to nature and spirituality. All in all, our experience was enriched by the warm and lovely staff. We will always remember our stay in the hotel. 

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