Pop Hotel Kuta Beach gets a thumb's up for comfortable beds, hip style, simple breakfasts, and excellent swimming pool. This review was first published in November 2012 and updated in November 2015 with more pix.
Bali Part 10
Pop Hotel Kuta Beach is part of a budget Indonesian hotel chain that is targeted at domestic travelers. Expect comfortable beds, capsule bathrooms, a simple but yummy breakfast, and an excellent swimming pool.
This is my 2nd stay at the Pop Hotel Kuta Beach following a 3 year absence. This review was written on 13 November 2012 and updated – with more pix – on 15 November 2015.
I am currently in Bali, Indonesia, where I am 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.
I am staying at several hotels and resorts at various price points during my stay. The first hotel on my itinerary is the Grand Mirage Resort, which is located in Nusa Dua, Bali, but not within the gated community. I spent three nights there, checking out 5 November 2012.
The second hotel on my itinerary is the Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa, which is located in Nusa Dusa, WITHIN the gated community. I spent two nights there, checking out on 7 November 2012.
The third hotel on my itinerary is – are you sitting down? – a budget hotel that set me back only US$40 a night! And if I had had the foresight to book ahead, it would have been less than US$30 a night!
UPDATE: because it is the off season and I booked the hotel on line on a third party website, I am only paying US$21 a night (17 November 2015).
Time for a Reality Check
It's my fourth trip to Bali, and so far I have only stayed at five star resorts, private villas, one four star boutique hotel, one holistic health retreat, and one wooden bungalow on stilts above the rice paddies. If truth be told, the last was my least favourite – a bit too rustic for my taste.
UPDATE: I am now on my sixth trip to Bali (17 November 2015).
Having said that, while there, I WAS invited to an extravagant dinner party in the garden of the owners next door, a world renowned jewelry designer. Can you guess who he is?
Some of my friends have questioned my addiction to five star resorts, but if truth be told, I'm a travel writer, and that's usually what the commissioning editors of the publications I contribute to expect me to write about.
“Don't forget your readers,” the editor of a luxury lifestyle magazine once admonished as I was setting up a trip.
“No four star hotels!”
Not that all of the readers of such publications can afford to stay at such places, but many people DO enjoy reading about them.
Facebook to the Rescue
With a gaping one night hole in my three week itinerary, I turned to Facebook for help, asking a friend if he knew of an inexpensive place to spend the night.
Within moments, I had been informed of some hotel chain called Pop Hotels, which had a hotel in Denpasar, Bali's capital city and home to the island's international airport.
Thanks to Google, I quickly learned that there were currently two Pop Hotels in Bali – one in Denpasar and another in Kuta Beach (with two more on the way).
UPDATE: There are now six Pop Hotels in Bali (17 November 2015).
I inquired at the concierge counter at the hotel I was staying at and learned that the latter was substantially closer to where I was staying than the former. Not only that, it was near to the beach. Within minutes, I had booked a room and printed out my reservation.
What a Pleasant Surprise!
I wasn't sure quite what to expect. The taxi driver had never heard of the place – never a good sign. He kept asking ME for directions, as if I would know my way around better than he would.
After heading down an alley and turning a couple of corners I was surprised to be confronted by a very stylish looking building.
“I think this is my hotel,” I sputtered.
I've learned through the years that budget accommodation can be excellent value, and the this budget hotel was certainly no exception. In fact, it exceeded my expectations.
The lobby was hip and colourful, and there were several computer terminals at your disposal. The infinity swimming pool was more than adequate – downright cool, I might add, and perfect for doing laps.
There was a snack bar next to the pool, and as I surveyed the surroundings, the gathered staff greeted me enthusiastically.
After spending five nights in five star hotels, my room seemed a bit small, but it was well laid out. Most important, it had a VERY comfortable king size bed. There was a sink in one corner.
The toilet and shower unit were in what Pop Hotels calls a “pod”. There were some hooks on the wall for your clothes, but no clothes hangers.
Rather than having furniture, there were two simple counters running the length of the room . One was the same height as the bed. The other was a few feet higher and much narrower.
You could sit or lie down on the lower one (it could serve as a bed for a third person) or put your suitcase on it. And could put smaller items on the higher one.
I had no problem getting on line, but I had to type on my laptop sitting up on my bed because there was no desk. Thoughtfully, however, the electrical outlets – which included a universal outlet – were right behind where the headboard should be. There was also a strategically placed light.
Following a good night's sleep, I headed downstairs, where a yummy Indonesian breakfast awaited my arrivals. There were two choices, both wrapped in banana leaves. I'm not sure what I was eating, but it was yummy, with sweet bits, crunchy bits, sticky bits, and spicy bits.
UPDATE: There is now only one choice for breakfast – something wrapped in a banana leaf, which is the same everyday - and some of sticky rice. White bread with grape jelly (but no butter) and corn flakes and milk have also been added (17 November 2015),
Best of all, nobody greeted me with that annoying question, “What is your room number?”
Location, location, location
The hotel is hidden away in a back alley, but mini marts, a bookstore, restaurants, cafés, and boutiques selling inexpensive clothes and surfer supplies are all just minutes from the front door.
Most important, perhaps, the beach is just a 10 minutes' walk.
Overall, I'd give the Pop Hotel Kuta Beach an enthusiastic thumb's up. If I were going to spend just a few days in Bali, I'd happily book myself into a place like this.
If I were looking to save money on an extended vacation, I'd book myself into a place like this for the first couple of nights and then explore the neighborhood in search of a better deal.
To Be Continued