Michael Taylor is currently in Bali, Indonesia, where he is spending three weeks exploring the sights, sampling the food, learning about the culture, and checking out what's hot and what's not in one of Southeast Asia's most exciting travel destinations.
Michael is staying at several hotels and resorts at various price points during his stay. The first hotel on his itinerary is the Grand Mirage Resort, which is located in Nusa Dua, Bali, but not within the gated community. He spent three nights there, checking out three days ago on 5 November 2012.
My arrival in Bali was a bit traumatic because my suitcase had not accompanied me on my flight from Hong Kong to Denpasar.
It was a bit reassuring, therefore, when I emerged from the airport terminal and found my name – alone among the multitude of greeters holding names printed on pieces of paper or cardboard – neatly printed on the screen of a large smart phone.
Say what you want, but first impressions DO count …
In a travel destination as competitive as Bali, each hotel or resort has to find a unique selling point. In the case of the hotelt, it is dubbed “all inclusive”. When I asked about this, I was informed, “It's similar to Club Med.”
Basic packages include bed and breakfast, which seems standard throughout much of Asia – a buffet breakfast is included in the price of the room. Splash out a bit more, and you can get access to three buffet meals a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
If you really want to indulge, you can go for gold with a package that allows you to order ala carte at the hotel's four food and beverage outlets as well as room service, plus free access to non-motorized water sports and a 30% discount of alcoholic beverages, among other privileges..
In terms of demographics, it's hard to say who this resort carters to. During my stay, I noticed a lot of French and Russian being spoken – in addition to English with Australian accents. But I also heard Chinese, Korean, and Japanese.
When I inquired, I was told that it depended on the season. During school holidays in Indonesia, for example there would be more domestic clientèle.
Surprising was the average length of stay. Australians often spent one month at the resort – Northern Europeans and Russians could spend as long as three months escaping their long, cold winters.
The resort was lively. The beach, the swimming pool, and the lounge chairs were chock-a-block with humanity, but not overwhelmingly so. I got the impression that this resort had a loyal following of guests that came back year after year.
Adjoining the business centre, the hotel had a games room with TV games, board games, ping pong, billiards, and tabletop football, among other amusements.
There was even karaoke equipment – but, thankfully, nobody took advantage of it while I was working on my computer in the business centre! This could definitely described as a "family friendly" hotel!
Food and Beverage
In terms of food, I had breakfast all three days at the Grand Cafe Restaurant, which has both indoor and outdoors seating overlooking the gardens and swimming pool. There were both interntional and Indonesian choices on the buffet tables, and eggs were cooked to order.
I especially enjoyed the yummy choices on the menu at the Jukung Grill, an outdoor eatery on the beach, where I enjoyed lunch on the three days that I spent at the hotel. In terms of recommendations, I'm not sure if I liked the smoked salmon or the grilled salmon better! The chicken dishes were also very yummy, and the salads were both innovative and satisfying.
I enjoyed a buffet dinner on my first night. A Balinese show was inclded, and there were photo opps with members of the cast after the show finished.
On my second night I returned to the Jukung Grill. On my third and final night, I had dinner at La Cascata, the hotel's fine dining Italian restaurant. The menu ran from salads and soups to pasta, pizza, and grilled meats and seafood.
I opted for a set menu. Thickly and generously cut, the veal was flavourful, juicy, and oh so tender.
The dessert was absolutely decadent! After two or bites, I asked the waiter to take it away. He looked a bit disappointed, asking if I'd like him to wrap it up so I could take it back to my room.
I'm sure the waiter thought I didn't like it, but the fact was, I liked it TOO much and was afraid I'd succumb to temptation and finish it off one bite at a time. I always gain weight on trips despite my best efforts not to, and this was only day two of a 22 day trip.
A highlight of my stay was the 50 minute Affusion Massage Shower that I enjoyed at the hotel's spa, which is located within the resort.
All good things must end, and I was reluctant to check out of the Grand Mirage Resort. I bid adieu to my charming hosts. But I also knew that other hotels and resorts awaited.
To Be Continued