Saturday, July 15, 2017

Grand Istana Rama Hotel - Super Near to Kuta Beach @ Bali [Indonesia]

Time for me to blog about the hotel that I stayed at for three nights in Bali but before then, i must declare that i arrived only at about 10 pm which means I am rather exhausted and pictures taken at night, as expected, were just not as good. 

Therefore, let's start afresh the next day at the first point of entry for every hotel stay; the reception area which was large, bare and generally wood-based in the Balinese style.

You can feel its age although the elevated bowl of water rangoli in front of the reception counter put on a few touches of youth, just like makeup! It was made up of fresh flower petals, by the way. 

Grand Istana Rama is actually located in an extremely prime area in Bali and takes up 1.7 hectares with mainly one to two-floor buildings and greenery that would be considered as luxurious in such areas. 

Balinese architecture that was lost on us when we arrived at night as the path was dim and i think the operator would switch off the lights after 10 pm, likely for energy saving. 

There are five types of room at Grand Istana Rama and if you choose the ones for Upper Superior Upper A / B or some of the deluxe rooms on second floor, do keep in mind that there's absolutely no elevator. The buildings are also not connected via a sheltered walkway and you may need to dash if it were to start raining! 

Although I am not that old to be defeated by the flight of stairs, I would definitely pay for a ground floor room if i am bringing my parents. p.s. the above photo and the one before were taken at night. 

The reason why i said the hotel was on prime land; it was literally a stone's throw away from one of Bali's most popular shopping mall; the Beachwalk Shopping Centre! See, H&M was directly opposite the corridor of my hotel room! 

Room
Now coming to the room; 524.

I know from the hotel's website that 524 is classified as the Superior Upper B (With Balcony without Bathtub) room type; nothing impressionable and the style looked like it belonged to the 80s with tiled rather than carpeted flooring. 

A few photos for your viewing pleasure and reference should you want to book this hotel; it was pretty clean except for a ball of hair i found on the bed. Shocked to see it yet I merely flicked it only the floor so that I am all ready for bed after a nice shower. 

Mirror that faced the bed; I still remember my first school trip in secondary school when we would congregate in one room to share ghost stories and one of them was about the superstition of sleeping on a bed that has a mirror facing it. Trust me; a lot of us covered the mirrors with towels that night. Haha! 

Two complimentary bottles of mineral water would be given on a daily basis; so do make use of them. I even purchased a few bottles of 1.5-liter distilled water as the tap water in the hotel had a funny taste. Do also check the insides of the electric kettle; call housekeeping for a change if it's rusty and you have the tendency to use it. 

Comb, sewing kit and a bible in the drawer; another superstition i recalled from my secondary school days! Hotels with bibles are always rumoured to be haunted but as my colleague mentioned, it's not that uncommon to find bibles in most hotels nowadays. 

Inside the wardrobe; the slippers, umbrellas, the safe and most importantly, i think there's an electric insect repellent above the safe! Many of Alex's colleagues who went on this Bali trip were disturbed by mosquitoes in their sleep! 

Our balcony which was accessed only once as I am not those relaxed type who can just chilled outside when my precious overseas time can be spent exploring outside the hotel.

View from the balcony; you would have thought you are in some quiet place and never would have guessed the hotel has a crowded shopping centre as its immediate neighbour! 

Drinking beer is a culture in Bali and there's even a bottle opener that's fused to the door frame so that you can happily down bottle after bottle, until you concuss on the bed. 

Be warned, I have a ton of complaints for the bathroom.

Before my ranting, maybe you could take a look at what's provided in the bathroom. Well, not much difference from what other hotels would provide. 

Kudos, the toilet bowl worked and flushed well. However, take a look at the shower cubicle. I am okay with not having a bathtub as i usually don't like to spend time staring at the ceiling in a small pool of water.

The cubicle used to have a sliding door but it was replaced with shower curtain! Now, it's hard to maneuver in the small, constricted space and when you are wet, the curtain was very fast to stick to your body! 

Alex's colleagues were also complaining about the water pressure for the shower which wasn't too bad in our room. Having said that, the tap for the sink was disgustingly stained and i sure hope the one in my house would never get to this poor state. 

Hair dryer was placed on the basin counter as the holder was spoilt! Even though I don't use hair dryer (unlike my mom), it's still an electrical hazard! 

The original wooden door seemed to have another layer of material screwed to it and it totally didn't gel with the overall decor. Did it make me uncomfortable? No, it didn't. Can i still sleep? Yes, i could.

Amenities
Hotel was big; however, i didn't have much time in Bali and hence, didn't manage to check out everything that Grand Istana Rama has to offer.

For example, the squirrel feeding and the fish feeding. There could be more interesting things within the hotel's compound like the supposedly big banyan tree and a temple at the back. 

Hungry for a snack? Need a few bottles of beer? Require that sun block before you walk to the beach? Get them from the mini mart known as G-mart. Please keep in mind that it is open from 7 am till 11 pm. 

There's a tour desk where you can arrange for tours; prices were on the high side and i am unsure if you can bargain as we did at the sea-sports centre a few days later. 

Prices for the Sailla Spa were not too bad in comparison to how much the same thing would cost in Singapore! A traditional Balinese massage cost only 175,000 rupiahs (about S$20) for an hour. Nonetheless, the prices along the streets can go down even lower; the one i had at Smart Spa was 125,000 rupiahs, if i recall correctly.

Swimming pool for the hotel; it looked kind of secluded although it was in reality pretty near to main road (the word main is an overstatement as roads at Kuta are narrow)! 

Live band at the resident restaurant, Samudera, which offered all-day dining and even a view of the sunset on its rooftop garden. 

Samudera was right next to the "main road" i mentioned earlier; we didn't opt for breakfast so i can't tell you how good / bad the food is. Music from the live band was pretty good though. As you can see from the above picture, Grand Istana Rama is really very near to Kuta Beach (just right across the long perimeter wall)! 

Only problem is that the main road isn't wide and as the road is one-way traffic, you would take a long time to reach Grand Istana Rama, which is almost at the end of the main road, if there's a jam! Sometimes, it's faster to walk! 

In spite of my complaints on infrastructure matter, i have to be fair to the hotel staff members as they were generally nice, friendly and spoke good English. The housekeeping team even made a bespectacled towel elephant for us after finding Alex's glasses lying around the room. 

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Location
Jl. Pantai Kuta, 
80361 Bali, Indonesia

Map
As above.

Website
For my short 4 days, 3 nights' itinerary to Bali, please click here.

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