I spent 12 nights at the Griya Santrian in January 2013 on the recommendation of a friend. It was my first time in Bali and I was planning to travel around a bit. Travelling independently, I booked directly and asked them to arrange a pick up for me from the airport. All was well with the pick-up, driver spoke good English and carried my bags for me. The transfer in itself isn’t far – but Bali traffic means that it took about 40mins! The road was being rebuilt – chaos – lovely chaos though!
On arrival I was told that I had been “upgraded” – I had booked a basic rated garden room online about 3 months previously so I was delighted with this. Sadly my “upgrade” was to a very old, tired room right next to the main pool and restaurant (noisy). This room stank, and the bathroom's cleanliness was questionable - I’m not sure if it was drains or bug spray… but I wasn’t happy to stay in it. It was pouring with rain and early evening. No one was really around and I was beginning to despair that the relaxing part of my holiday was going to feel like 1970’s Benidorm!
The chap on the reception was adorable – but just how well I was understood is debatable. I asked to see the room I had been “upgraded” from – this was at the back of the hotel gardens, the very back. Beautiful gardens, lovely pools, stunning new room blocks with the rooms from the website pictures in them. Back I trailed behind the chap who was kindly trundling my suitcase along, I was soaked and so was everything I had with me by the time we got to the room. Ironically this was more modern. The bathroom didn’t smell – but was tiny. Just a shower room with your chin in the sink when on the loo! It was clean and I was tired so I accepted it. It rained some more – Obviously this is not the Hotel’s fault and they did their level best to contend with the storms in the restaurant… but the fabric walls/blinds weren’t really up to it. It was a memorable first night in Bali – particularly the multitude of frogs I had to contend with on my way back to my room… all part of the experience and actually quite funny.
Breakfast (included in my rate) was average at best. The fruit was out and uncovered with a few flies dining heartlity - which put me off it. But the cooked to order how you like them eggs were excellent, as was the coffee – absolutely NOT worth the $16 extra they charge on the website for this. The short walk into Sanur provides some brilliant cafes and restaurants which do a much better job at a fraction of the cost.
After two days of wandering round the (whole of the) grounds thanks to the location of my “self-down-graded” room I had had enough – I wanted a shiny room like the ones on the website – and when I looked at the rates on line it was only $20USD extra per night to book a “deluxe” – so I asked if I could upgrade. This was met with genuine sorrow that I was not happy in my room. This was lamented at great length – though nothing other than $30 extra per night was forth-coming from the reception staff who could do nothing but pray for enlightenment about why this was more on site than it was on line.
I thought – what the hell, I’m on holiday – I was due to be there only 3 more nights so I took the $90 extra on the chin and moved into an absolutely wonderful room near the front of the hotel, set back from the pool with a beautifully appointed glass shower room and a huge bed, flat screen TV etc etc. Much happier – and the drains didn’t smell at all.
As it happened I was forced to cancel the next part of my trip – and thought it would be good to stay put for an extra 5 days. This was the most difficult thing I had to arrange in Asia! I couldn’t do it at reception and I had to call the reservations people from my room. The relevant person was “in a meeting” for 2 whole days and when I finally got an answer it was not exactly what I wanted. I was told that the internet rate was cheaper because you didn’t have to speak to someone and that my rate for the room for another 7 nights would be $20USD more than then published rate on their website. At least I got to stay in the same room - but the following morning I found out that I was no longer on B&B. Not a great loss but I felt utterly fleeced. I tried very hard to tell myself that this was due to lack of communication skills on behalf of the staff. The scary woman at breakfast who gleefully told me “you are not a breakfast guest” (quite loudly) wasn’t going to win any hospitality awards – ever. Sadly, I feel on reflection I was a captive audience and they simply fleeced me – not a way to retain customers at all.
I had a lovely time in Sanur – the town is fantastic – stay away from the beach hawkers if that bothers you because they are fierce and I didn’t go to the beach after that at all. It’s a good place to base yourself to do day tours – though there has to be a way around booking them with the drivers outside the hotel (who do the airport transfers) directly. You get the idea that it will be $50USD a day – my elephant trip ended up costing nearly $200… then again I have now learned.
The food in the hotel isn’t generally very good. The Indonesian stuff is very good – don’t bother with anything else – they make an effort but it’s not the same.
All in all, I actually ended up in a lovely, clean, well-appointed room in a lovely place – not the end of the world – but I do feel like I paid for it.
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- Also Known As:
- Griya Santrian Hotel Sanur
- Griya Santrian Sanur, Bali