We spent the last couple of nights of our Bali holiday at the La Taverna. This was the 2nd time we had stayed here, having previously stayed 2.5 years ago. On our previous trip we had arrived with our internet booking confirmation in hand only to be advised that La Taverna had no record of the booking and had received no payment. Our only option was to go somewhere else or pay La Taverna up front again! As we were travelling with other family members whose booking was in the system and honoured we chose to do the later and pay again - giving the hotel the benefit of the doubt that it may have been an issue with the booking agent.
This trip started no better. On arrival we were advised that despite deliberately booking a room that the website states can accommodate 3 people (Garden Suite) - AND paying more for this room than standard rooms - our booking was only for 2 people and that we would be charged an extra AU$55/night for the use of the bed/couch that was already in the room for our 8 year old daughter to sleep on.
When I disputed this the staff called the manager - an agitated and aggressive Swiss gentleman who very aggressively advised me that the room fees were non-refundable and there was no choice other than to pay the extra $55/night.
So now the Garden Suite was costing us almost the equivalent of what we had paid per night at the exquisite Katala Villas for a 2 bedroom villa with a private pool earlier in the week! I should have taken more notice of previous Trip Advisor reviews that mentioned additional hidden costs at La Taverna.
The good parts of the stay:
1. The location - great location;
2. The Balinese staff - individually, like all the Balinese we encountered we lovely;
3. The size of the room - it was a good sized room and the Aircon worked.
The bad parts of the stay:
1. Our booking - as mentioned, this was handled appallingly;
2. Management - definitely not guest friendly;
3. The hotel is decaying terribly - the roof around the restaurant is visibly sagging, the pool is mouldy with algae growing on the steps, where there has been a lick of pain applied in the last few years it has just been splashed around;
4. The rooms are dated and in desperate need of a makeover - especially the bathrooms;
5. The gardens and grounds are dilapidated and quite frankly sad. Our Garden Suite reminded me of the lawns and gardens of student share house that I used to live in 30 years ago when I was uni, with more weeds than grass and overgrown unappealing. There were 2 garden lounges in our Garden Suite that don't look like they had been touched in years (see uploaded photo) covered in leaves and grime that I wouldn't be game to sit on (not that the garden had any appeal to enjoy).
The sad part of our stay
1. While individually, the Balinese staff were lovely, collectively none appeared happy to be working there and there was little enthusiasm surrounding their jobs. Perhaps as a result of a rigid and controlling management culture. This is in complete contrast to our stay at the Pondok Pundi in Ubud where happy and engaged staff created an open and happy environment in which other guests from all over the world interacted with each other and had a good time. At La Taverna all the other guests staying there crept about, slinking to and from the pool and other public areas if they were trying to hide - with no interaction or obvious enjoyment. It's amazing how the vibe of the staff can influence the entire dynamics of an environment;
2. The restaurant - the restaurant was another example of the decay of the hotel. While once upon a time it was deliberately positioned for European visitors and this worked for them - now it's just 'old'. Each day a page offering the evening dinner special was delivered to our room which for eg was bruschetta, spaghetti carbonara and a soft drink for 150,000 rp. Indonesian options were more expensive and extremely limited on the menu. We fed all 3 of us good Indonesian food, with a couple of Bintangs for that 50 meters down the beach. Similarly, the included breakfast menu comprised a couple of pieces of bread, a couple of croissants, 2 eggs and a single hash brown with fruit and juice. If you wanted an Indonesian option you had to upgrade your breakfast menu and pay more (another example of those additional hidden costs). It is little wonder that the restaurant was always empty apart form breakfast.
The mad parts of our stay
1. We were quite simply gobsmacked to see a prominent laminated sign at reception stating that if you consumed beer not purchased on the premises you would be charged CORKAGE of 75,000 rp (I didn't bother to check if this was per person, per day or per can)! This might be reasonable if they weren't charging 37,500 rp/can of Bintang in your room - when you can purchase it for 16,000 rp/can right next door at the Circle K or have served to you in a nice cold glass for around 22,000 rp at cafés on the beach. Again it is no wonder that we didn't see a single person at the La Taverna bar. Never have I encountered such a policy at any hotel in the world that I have stayed at.
La Taverna needs a complete rethink of how the business is run.
Given that you can stay in a luxurious villa for almost what we paid for La Taverna - save $$ and get much better value elsewhere!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- La Taverna Suites is a small privately owned hotel set within lush tropical gardens that open directly onto the golden sands of the Indian Ocean. La Taverna Suites has over the years played host to artists, writers, musicians and a wide assortment of other colorful personalities. Its European owners have endeavored to maintain the spirit of old Bali, whilst also providing a relaxed, informal environment with emphasis on the personal. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Ctrip TA, Travel Republic (UK), Agoda, Expedia, Hotels.com, TripOnline SA, HotelQuickly, Cancelon and Evoline ltd so you can book your La Taverna Suites reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- La Taverna Hotel
- La Taverna Sanur
- La Taverna Suites Bali/Sanur