Thursday, June 19, 2008


People travel to Bali for various reasons - the surf, the spas, the bohemian nights, the culture, the architecture, the food, the gamelan, the dance, the shopping, the hills, the temples and many others.
I came this time to once again attend the opening ceremony of the Balinese Arts Festival and to engulf myself in everything Bali (except the Babi Guling lah).
Bali and Indonesia (note that I separate the two) and Thailand, to me are the three most fascinating destinations in the region in terms of arts and culture. Everything they do is steeped in culture. Including their hospitality industry.
Most people are spoiled for choice when choosing for a place to stay in these places. So I thought, I might as well come out with my own recommendations.
Please note that these places that I chose to stay in are selected due to my own particular reasons. For example, during this trip, I decided not to stay in boisterous Kuta - as it was time for me to relax, recuperate and rejuvenate after at grueling 50-day shoot.
So I browsed the internet and found about a resort called Segara Village in Sanur.

It was listed as a four star hotel averaging about USD100 per night. Pricey - but then again the photos on the site begged me to try this place. Furthermore, it is quite near to the location of the Bali Arts Festival in Denpasar (as opposed to more popular hotels in Kuta and Nusa Dua).
Segara (Ocean in Balinese) Village is a wonderful resort. It is located in Jalan Segara Ayu in Sanur and is secluded enough to offer you a sense of being away from it all.
The Balinese features of the newly renovated resort welcome you and lulls you into a sense of well being. Music resonates throughout the whole resort (piped in through hidden ground speakers). One would have preferred 'live' music welcoming you, but the mellowness of the jegog and gamelan sounds from the many hidden speakers forgives the resort for not hiring live musicians.
The resort sprawls over a few acres and has three pools - including an enticing jacuzzi bar.
The room I had was situated in a cul-de-sac facing a small pool (pic below). Whilst the exteriors were Balinese, the interiors of the rooms were very Ikea-ic.
Plus points for the room was an excellent bed (firm and big) though slightly on the high side. I personally do not like spring beds and therefore would have given the resort minus points if it had low quality spring beds. It also has a full blown home cinema system allowing you to view your RM4 pirated DVDs in relative peace.
Minus points? It isn't a Balinese room. It doesn't have the traditional open air shower. The room is also hardly romantic.
The resort is, of course, connected to the Sanur beach. Its infinity pool, situated alongside the resort's cafe, stretches to the entrance to the beach (see picture below).
The beach isn't much to shout about. It isn't that white nor powdery. The waves too aren't that huge. but I guess for the many mat sallehs that I see, they were more interested in sunning themselves than wetting themselves in the sea.
Nearby, a few restaurants and shops dot the beach and therefore you don't really have too many locals hawking their goods to your face every other second.

Sanur itself is a laid back area - mostly restaurants and minimal souvenier shopping. Those who wants a rollicking good time may instead opt for hotels like Hard Rock Hotel and Harris in Kuta, but if you need a quiet holiday, Segara is a good choice.
My rating: 7 out of 10 stars.
The resort I'll be reviewing next will be the Alila in Manggis.

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