Hotel Review: Conrad Bali (Conrad Suite Twin)
A brief interruption before resuming with that mega trip report I’ve got planned… (hopefully I can get that done before December rolls round!)
I recently had a short 2-night stay at Conrad Bali – recent posts at the FlyerTalk thread didn’t seem all that hot about the property, so my expectations were relatively low going in – this ended up perhaps a good thing, since the stay far exceeded my expectations and the property is now in the running for (my mental list of) best Conrad properties around – possibly the best if taking into account value, considering the relatively low cost of a stay there.
Upon checking in, we were notified to some awesome news – we had been upgraded to the new(er) Conrad Suites wing. I got a welcome letter as a Diamond guest – I’m pretty sure the first three benefits listed would apply to any guest staying in a suite; I’m guessing that Diamond members would get to enjoy them (essentially lounge benefits) even if not upgraded.
It wasn’t all perfect – I’d originally booked a basic king room, but the upgraded room came with twin beds. Having said that, these are two queen beds we’re talking about – I wasn’t about to reject a suite upgrade just because of that.
Part of the welcome package includes a map of the property (it says a lot when you need one to help navigate yourself around the grounds). The Conrad Suites wing is at the top right of the map (IV), pretty much the opposite end from the main entrance (1). If this is your first time at the property, it probably makes sense to just let a porter help you with directions and your luggage – they don’t seem to necessarily expect tips, but given the exchange rate even tips of <$1 would probably be plenty.
Walking towards the Conrad Suites wing at night, we were led past the Conrad Suites pool area – it’s a rather stunning view; one that my mobile phone camera really fails to do justice to. Thankfully, the internet offers superior alternatives.
(Image from pic-travel.com.tw)
(Floor plan from the Conrad Bali website – my room was essentially a mirror image of this with twin beds)
When you first step into the suite, you really only see about half of it. Already that’s pretty huge. At an advertised 110 sq. m./1184 sq. ft., the entire area is probably bigger than many homes in Singapore (keeping in mind that there are no bay windows, planters or bomb shelters in here)…
A welcome platter of fruit on the dining table near the entrance. This was changed daily – I felt pretty bad since I didn’t really touch any of it (little space left after stuffing myself at other parts of the property). Hopefully the staff get to feast on untouched items, rather than just disposing of it…
Power sockets at the dining table cleverly hidden away – this hiding thing is pretty common throughout the room. Given that there’s no dedicated work desk (who works while staying at a resort? Probably lots of people, sadly) this allows the area to function as one.
Just behind the dining table lies the kitchenette area, equipped with a sink and Nespresso-compatible (counterfeit?) coffee machine.
Complimentary Nespresso-compatible coffee pods and TWG teabags. They replenished these while tidying in the morning as well as during evening turndown service, so you know what to do if you’re aiming to maximise your souvenirs from a stay…
Tucked away from view are two mini-fridges (mini-bar plus an extra one with some extra bottles of water), the bin, cutlery, crockery, a kettle, a toaster, and even a juicer. I guess that was one thing I could have done with some of that complimentary fruit.
Adjoining the dining area is the living area, with plenty of sitting space and a flat screen TV. There’s a ceiling fan here for air circulation, in addition to the air-conditioning. This was the only TV with easy access to HDMI ports, and though they seemed to have disabled the input button on the remote, it was possible to switch to HDMI input using the physical button on the TV set.
Just outside the living area was a little balcony. Not pictured – a day bed. I was on the ground floor, though, so the balcony lacked privacy. It allowed quick access towards the pool, but since there’s no way to lock the door if you exit that way, it ended up not being used very much during the stay.
At this point we’re only halfway through the suite – here’s a quick video to give an idea of the scale of the place, unfortunately taken in that annoying vertical format that works better for mobile viewing (yes, it was meant for Instagram use).
The bedroom area is also equipped with a ceiling fan. When checking in, the front desk officer had offered to push the twin beds closer to each other to form a mega (faux super-king?) bed. We’d declined the offer, but given the default positioning of the twin beds, I’m not sure how much this would have changed anything!
(Not pictured – another flat screen TV for your in-bed viewing pleasure. This one is recessed more deeply in a fixture and doesn’t offer easy connectivity to personal devices.)
Conrad Bali offers a free monkey toy (presumably a reference to the Monkey Forest near Ubud). We initially thought it was a female monkey wearing a dress, but now we think that’s actually a sarong.
More stuff hidden at the bedside tables – apparently, a simple bottle of water is too unsightly to go uncovered.
The bedside radio offers support for mobile device connectivity, but it’s older equipment supporting older iOS devices. Better than nothing, I suppose?
Moving on towards the dressing area, there’s a dressing table opposite the closet.
Yet another hidden object – this time, a hairdryer.
Also a hidden power plug (presumably for the said hairdryer) and various miscellaneous kits.
Closet. Open; functional. There are nice, fluffy bathrobes provided – also more fanciful-looking (traditional?) robes.
It’s probably a worrying sign when a hotel provides bug spray in your room – I think you get mosquitos at the balcony area, but if you keep the doors closed you should be fine. They also provide a straw bag that comes in handy when going to the pool.
Finally, there’s the bathroom. Two sinks, a bathtub accompanied by a small TV, a toilet and shower. There’s a gigantic ottoman in the middle of the bathroom that looks pretty comfortable… but also rather unnecessary?
The default Aromatherapy Associates bath amenities, as with other Conrad properties, can be swapped upon request – I usually prefer the Shanghai Tang ones, but I think the default ones are fine too.
The lagoon and main pool in the resort are less exclusive than the suites area (and thus more crowded), but still pretty nifty. I thought the lagoon in particular was pretty interesting since it sloped into sandy beach-like areas at certain parts, offering an area for kids to safely play with sand.
I saw some floats being used in the main pool, so I guess it’s cool to use them there. Plenty of opportunities for fun for kids, which is great since they’re not allowed at the Conrad Suites pool.
There’s a gym on the property – other than acknowledging its existence and providing these two pictures, I can’t really say much more about it.
There’s a general lounge area called Reflections that has some seating and a pool table. It was unattended when we walked past at night, but we were able to help ourselves to the pool equipment on our own. Unfortunately, there was only one proper cue stick, and the table was also in pretty poor state.
Near the Conrad Suites wing is a chapel – it seems like the property handles numerous weddings.
Beyond the chapel is the beach. It seems to be a public access area, since there were some hawkers walking around trying to sell their wares. Regardless, a very nice area. There are cabanas along the beach maintained by the property, though you’ll need to pay a fee to make use of them. No such charge for the beach chairs.
The beach faces east, making it a great place to enjoy the sunrise.
Once you get back to the Conrad Suites wing, you’ll see a sign reminding you that children are not allowed at the pool. It helps to maintain an exclusive feel, but given that the suits are so huge (and thus great for families), it can seem rather counter-intuitive to make families travel further to the main pool and lagoon.
The (restricted) poolside cabanas here are free to use, unlike the beach-side ones around the rest of the property. They’re great for just spending a lazy afternoon, with the option of easily going in and out of the pool.
Hotel staff send you wet towels and ice water when using the cabanas, with a menu to make additional orders. They’re not pushy about it – we didn’t order any additional items, though they looked relatively affordable as far as resorts go.
The Japanese restaurant at the Conrad Suites wing serves as a possible venue for breakfast. It’s the one recommended for Suites (and Diamond) guests. I also suspect that the quality of food is better here than at the other restaurants.
When having breakfast there, you can order a number of items off their a la carte menu. A special shout out to their French toast in particular – it’s done with thick-cut French loaf, which was remarkably soft and really quite delightful.
You could also head into the restaurant to help yourself to the buffet spread. Various options including hot food, pastries, cereal, salad and fruit. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
I was particularly impressed by the stir-fried (Japanese style) beef they had on offer. The chicken katsu was pretty good too (a little tough, but very tasty).
On our second morning we tried out breakfast at the largest on-site restaurant.
You also get to order from an a la carte menu.
The spread here was even larger, at least partially by virtue of being a larger space catering to more people. Again, I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
I particularly enjoyed the wider range of fruit available (including mangosteens and passionfruit).
All in all, despite the larger spread available, I thought the quality of food was better at RIN. That said, it was still a very enjoyable meal.
Afternoon tea (RIN)
Afternoon tea is served at RIN from 3-5pm. You get to order drinks off a menu and they serve a tray of snacks and pastries for tea. We generally found these all to be enjoyable.
Evening cocktails (Club lounge)
From 5-7pm you can go to the club lounge (just one storey above RIN) for evening cocktails. Again, you get to order off a menu – quite similar to the tea drinks menu, but with alcoholic options as well. We didn’t realise food would be provided as well; these were also quite enjoyable.
Given that it’s an Asian beach resort, an immediate comparison with Conrad Koh Samui jumps to mind. When I’d stayed there earlier this year, I was pretty much blown away by the experience. Conrad Bali hasn’t dethroned that experience, but given the price difference I’ll have to say this place offers a lot more bang for buck (I’d paid about S$180 per night including taxes for this; it was a sale rate, but if you manage to catch it a 50% flash sale it’ll be even cheaper). Imagine pairing this with the Citi Prestige 4th night free offer – 4 nights here at less than S$600 would be pretty sweet!
Even if you don’t get upgraded to a suite (I suspect it’s rare for Golds or lower), I’d say that there’s enough on the property to make for a very pleasant stay. The suite experience might be worth an additional investment, though it would severely erode the bang-for-buck advantage.
Conrad Koh Samui was kinda a bucket list item of sorts for me, but I personally find it too pricey (even if paid in points) to justify a return visit anytime soon. An affordable alternative, Conrad Bali has sufficiently impressed me to to displace it as the go-to option for a nearby beach resort.