I want to take a quick relaxing holiday to have a break from my hectic work schedule and obviously, Bali comes to mind. I decided to try the Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay and booked an ocean villa thru my agent.
I booked a car pickup from Bali airport on arrival. A four seasons staff was on hand to greet me and escort me to the car, a BMW SUV. The resort isn’t far away from the airport, about 15 mins ride. On arrival, there was strict security check which I felt is a good thing given what happened to Bali not that long ago. I was greeted warmly on arrival and after the check-in formalities; I was escorted to my villa with a buggy. A staff was already on hand to introduce me to the features of my villa.
The Villa is about 200m2 and comprises of a indoor section on one side and an outdoor section on the other. The indoor section houses the sleeping quarters with a large king size bed and an ensuite bathroom with outdoor shower. The outdoor section comprises of a sitting room with sofas and dinning area. A small plunge pool with cabanas and a view of the India Ocean. The architecture is traditional Balinese, and so is all the internal decoration and furniture.
This is a old resort, coming to 19 years this year and accordingly, the villa is old and despite extensive maintenance and periodic refreshing, it’s showing it’s age. However, there’s a particular charm to it. All the furniture used are traditional Balinese style and while old, still functional. The villa was kept very clean and well maintained. Pest control is good as I hardly notice any insects, can’t say that of other resorts I have tried so far. The bedroom has good natural light, with a functional workdesk, a large comfortable king size bed and also a A/V entertainment system from Bose, and a iPod dock is also thoughtfully provided. Unfortunately, they paired it with a sad and out-dated 32” LCD TV.
The bathroom is great with good water pressure. Besides a large tub that can (arguably ) fit two, there’s also a rainforest shower and an outdoor shower. Toiletries are thoughtfully stored in nice porcelain jars and there are lots of bath towels of all size.
The outdoor section is rather cozy and a relaxing place to chill out or have a meal. The plunge pool is not big enough to do laps and the villa is not private enough for skinny-dips as just beyond the pool is a walking path not far from the edge of the pool. I was upgraded to a Ocean Front Villa that supposedly offers a better view. Unfortunately, there’s a large tree blocking the view. Anyway, it perhaps makes no sense to pay more for the view since all villas have the exact same equipment, layout and amenities. The view, a short walk from the villa at the edge of the resort is far better than from the villa itself.
Common Areas and F&B
While the villa is nice and comfortable, it’s the surroundings that impressed me, and my gosh!, this is breathtakingly beautiful resort. Stretching along the east-west shoreline of the Jimbaran Bay with direct views of the Indian Ocean, the views are amazing, especially during sunset. Along the coastline of the resort, there are many corners and sitting areas for one to enjoy the view and relax, and few things in life are as relaxing as just watching the ocean and hearing the sound of the waves crushing on shore.
The resort has an Italian restaurant and a Indonesian restaurant on site, a lounge and two outdoor casual dining eateries along the beach and the pool that served snacks. Food served is of good quality but very very expensive, almost unreasonable. I tried the Indonesia food, satay and a crispy fried duck, no wine, just soft drinks. The chef was kind enough to ask for my feedback but I want to spare him the embarrassment of complaining about the price so we just had a chat about Indonesian food. To be fair, the food quality is good, but hard to justify such a simple meal costing USD70/=.
In-room dinning is even more expensive, with simple nasi goreng costing a ridiculous Rp250,000 and that’s before tax. The other entries in the in-room dining menu also come with similarly eye-popping prices. Fortunately, the burden of my food cost was partially offset by the hundred dollar F&B credit included in my stay. Now don’t get me wrong, as a foodie also, I don’t mind to pay top dollars for really high quality food. However, this was not the case. For example, I am a regular guest of Four Seasons Hong Kong and their food prices are also extremely high, but they deliver top top quality that makes it worth paying for.
I had morning breakfast at the Italian restaurant and find the quality to be very mediocre for a supposedly top class Four Seasons resort. The pastries tasted stale and the egg omelet wasn’t properly made. There are some seafood restaurants within walking distance of the resort, but otherwise, the resort is pretty secluded. So if it’s raining which happened during my stay, then there’s no option to eat at the resort for lunch unless one just do with snacks or order the expensive in-room dinning.
As expected of a Four Seasons, the service is generally very good. Staff are attentive, warm but never intrusive, many which as I understand have been with the resort for many years, that even before you asked, they already anticipate what you want. All request were promptly and quickly responded to, and to their credit, they already know and addressed me by name right from the first day. Perhaps that’s not much of a feat because there seems to be very few guests during this low season, but still commendable for the effort.
It’s not perfect though, there were some mix-up of the reservation details during check-in and check-out. These are however minor issues. I shortened my stay from 2 nights to one at the last minute and the resort was gracious enough not to leverage any penalties, which is much appreciated.
The Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay is by and large an outstanding resort on the surface. It boasts a prime if secluded location with fabulous ocean views. The resort with its sprawling compound is a pleasure to walk around, especially in the relatively cool evening, and the landscaping and gardening makes for a dreamlike and romantic atmosphere. I can see why this resort is very popular with honeymooners and it’s also ideal for anyone else that just want a peaceful and quiet place to relax. The villas are a bit old and could use some extensive renovation, but otherwise, its well maintained and equipped.
What I don’t like are the F&B offerings in the hotel and the fact that so many things in this resort are over-priced. The options are so limited especially for lunch because both main restaurants do not open for lunch. So the only available option is in-room dining as described earlier.
My rates comes with a lot of perks ( ie extras ) like free breakfast and resort credits that helped to offset part of the cost of my stay because I booked it thru a Four Seasons preferred partner agent. Guest who just booked online and paying rack rates will be getting a relatively poor value for their money as they have to pay for airport transfer which is also very expensive ( USD70/= for a 15 mins car ride ), expensive breakfast and meals in the resort. Thus if one only consider the facilities and environment of this resort, it rates a solid 4/5. However, I cannot ignore the poor value for money and the lousy breakfast, I will have to rate this resort a 3/5 only.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.