This will be our third stay at this property in 10 years -- the other two times under the Ritz Carlton name. We have had a lovely time, thanks to the wonderful service and the fabulous facilities, so please take my criticisms in the spirit in which they are meant, which is to give the reader the pros and cons of choosing this hotel over other very good choices in Bali. Please remember that we paid half the price of a two bedroom villa at the Four Seasons and that my expectations are still that this hotel is of Ritz Carlton calibre -- which it is as far as the service is concerned, but alas no longer due to ongoing maitanence lapses. As always, one gets what one pays for!!!
1) The location: The hotel is located on the isthmus between the main part of Bali and the southern part that houses Nusa Dua and all the big hotels with golf. It is 15 minutes to the airport, 20 minutes to the chic areas of Legian and Seminyak for dinner and shopping. It also is close to the by pass that puts you on the road up to Ubud. It sits on top of a huge cliff, facing north west, so the sunlight is gorgeous beyond belief in the late afternoon. And unlike the other luxury hotels in Jimbaran (Four Seasons, St Regis), the main parts of the hotel are on flat ground without a million steps between different sections of the main part of the hotel. The absolute worst part about the location is the drive from the airport past the abandoned quarry in Jimbaran, but as soon as you reach the entrance to the hotel, one forgets all that.
2) The buildings: The main hotel buildings have very standard rooms with balconies that look over the sea. The villas are why one stays here and they are HUGE. We are in a 2 bedroom villa (Villa 1005) on the edge of the cliff and I am sure it must be over 4000 ft2.... We are traveling with 3 of our sons and I actually booked an additional room, because all are over 6 feet tall and not exactly rollaway size any more, but it was not needed and the staff very kindly allowed us to cancel it when we saw the size of the villa. Their part of the villa has a living area with two heavy chaise lounges that when pulled together, make an 8 ft long bed, which our youngest, Richie has happily slept on. The villa has another living room, master bedroom with a walk in closet, double sink and separate bath/shower room with a chaise and access to an outdoor shower. It is huge. The boys' bedroom has two double canopy beds, a large closet, bath with double sinks, a soaking tub and separate shower. There are two terraces, a very small infiinty edgevpool and a 9X9 ft bale with cushions all leading out to a huge lawn at the cliff's edge. The only drawback to these villas is that they are not private -- if you are interested in nude sunbathing, best take an "ocean view" villa that has a wall for privacy....
The amenities in the rooms are luxurious -- L'Occitaine and very plush towels. The beds and mattresses are firm and comfortable. But look closely and this is no longer a hotel that matches up to the standards of a Ritz Carlton, St. Regis or 4 Seasons..... There is a noticable downgrade in the maitainance of our villa. For instance, daylight can be seen at the edges of the thatched roof, there is mold on the (lovely) etchings on the wall in the bathroom and there are cracked and broken tiles. The most noticable thing for even a casual observer is the dimness of the villa at night: all the light bulbs in the villa have been changed to a low wattage variety so that it is very difficult to find enough light at night to read by. There are also many bulbs and outdoor lights that are broken and have not been replaced -- the telltale wires still hanging from the stonework. The painted trim on the villa needs a new coat of paint and the upholstery and pillows on the sofa in the living room need to be replaced. The saddest thing are the pots of water lillies and other water plants in the water garden that look like they have not been pruned or revitalized in a long time.
Since our last stay, they have built an additional section to the hotel with a separate entrance, restaurant (Dava), and pool for the exclusive use of villa guests. This was a great idea because it makes for a real "boutique" hotel experience within the larger context of a luxury hotel. While the idea is a good one, it's execution leaves a lot to be desired. The building itself is in the shape of a lotus blossom done in white concrete, which is a lovely idea but it has little to do architecturally with the rest of the hotel. Further, the driveway to the villa entrance has a gorgeous tree but none of the other very Balinese things it should have. There is no sense of arriving at a beautiful BALINESE place at the driveway. The building mixes so many materials in such a small space that it is not visually appealing at all. Further, the construction standards are subpar and now with the new operators, it is clear that the work is not going into maintaining what was built. (A few examples: the reflection pool in the main reception lobby has sprung leaks that are fully visible to anyone upon entering, the lighting is dim, there is a platform built for a gamalan group to greet guests on arrival and in three days I have not seen them once, the volcanic rock tiles in the villa pool have corroded and make for a very unpleasant on the feet journey into the hot tub or down the stairs into the pool) ...
3) Facilities: The main pool has two levels and is very user friendly. The lower level has a lovely waterfall, behind which used to be a lovely saltwater reef aquarium, which is still there, but the tank is grimy with algae, not lighted and most of the coral seems to have died. The water slide is fun for little kids and there are some handy lounge chairs for parents to watch the kids. The whole lower main pool opens onto a big grassy lawn so there is plenty of place to run around for kids too. There are two tennis courts. The beach is a golf cart ride away with about 100 very steep steps to get down to it. -- the handrail has not been maitained well and is rotted in places, so really anyone with trouble climbing stairs should not attempt the trip. But for those of us lucky enough to be of sound body and small child free, the beach is quite lovely. There is plenty of shade, lovely sand and a rocky surf. They serve drinks down there and have nice beach towels. but lunch must be ordered an hour in advance, so be prepared for that. There does not appear to be a lifeguard so children must be watched vigilantly as the surf can be difficult for a weak swimmer.
Finally, there is a new rock pool and bar most of the way down the cliff from the main hotel. The rock pool is small, with an infinity edge right above the crashing surf. Very dramatic and beautiful for lounging, but of limited use for swimming... The best part about it is it proximity to the rock bar, which is a very hip well appointed outdoor bar cantilevered over the surf. Sunset is the busy time at the bar, with many outside guests, but not "the beautiful people" the evening we were there. There is a DJ playing pretty standard club music, which lends a beat over and above the pounding surf. It is an AWESOME spot, so I think the concept could be great and would be a big draw for the hotel if they tweaked it a little -- if they improved the food and ambience at the Kisik restaurant, which is near the rock bar -- then outside guests who made the trek from other areas could watch the sun go down at the Rock Bar, walk across to Kisik for a lovely dinner in the sand and then head back to the Rock Bar to dance it off. A better DJ would help too.
Here is a final example of why hotels MUST spend what is needed for upkeep: We just returned from an aborted attempt to eat dinner -- right after we received appetisers, the electricity went off in the entire hotel. Staff was excellent at getting each table extra candles, but we gave up when it was clear the kitchen would have to start from scratch after the lights finally went back on. We walked back to our rooms and will happily order room service later if we get peckish. The problem, apparently, was the hotel's generator, which is a MAJOR issue for maitainance and engineering.
4) Service: totally top notch. From the waiters, to the pool attendants, to the front door staff. This is a group of professional, loyal, well trained people willing to answer our every need. .
5) fFod: Kisik is dreadful, Dava is FABULOUSLY DELICIOUS for breakfast and very good for dinner , the pizzas and food by the pool has all been very good. I think they make the best Nasi Goreng in Bali. We tried Padi tonight, but got blacked out. What we ate was very good.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The award-winning AYANA Resort and Spa Bali is a world-class destination resort located on 90 hectares of cliff-top land perched above Jimbaran Bay, just 10 kilometers from Bali airport. AYANA’s majestic sunsets and ocean-front views are complemented by white-sand beach and shared facilities as Bali’s only integrated resort with RIMBA Jimbaran Bali. With full access to all dining and recreation at both AYANA and RIMBA and complimentary resort shuttle, guests enjoy the most extensive on-site facilities of any resort in Bali. There are 15 restaurants and bars including the famous Rock Bar; exclusive private beach; 11 swimming pools; world-class Spa with Aquatonic Seawater Therapy Pool and Spa on the Rocks treatment; golf-putting and fitness center; and complimentary WiFi. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ayana Hotel Jimbaran
- AYANA Resort And Spa Bali/Jimbaran