We were so delighted with our trip to Bali and Kamuela last year that we booked again for 2012 as soon as we were able to and planned to bring my parents as an anniversary celebration. Apart from the issues with the 'Porters' at the airport (watch out for those pushy guys, they are not airport employees despite the uniform, and will grab your bag and then expect to be paid!) we arrived smoothly and were welcomed back to Kamuela. It was great to be back and our 2-bedroom villa was a nice way to relax after a long day travelling. All the same things we loved were there waiting, but I have to say that the things you dismiss on your first visit seem a little more obvious the second time around.
The staff are still wonderful and welcoming (thanks to Weti and the team at Caramel restaurant for looking after us so well), the villa private and charming and the location quiet and tucked away. But the place is a year older and it looked it. Suddenly I was noticing the little things that weren't so convenient or done to such a high standard. We had breakfast delivered to the villa each morning and it was cold 6 out of 8 days (the exceptions were the days we all ordered the same thing and the dishes must have been cooked together). We were missing milk for coffee (despite making a note) or the coffee was instant instead of brewed and the juice was clearly from a packet some days. Not a hugely big deal, but it made the meal difficult to enjoy.
The villa has beautiful open air bathrooms and it happened that ours backed onto an open field. The downside was that the bar which had a band playing until 1-2am most mornings had a wide open space to pump music into our bedroom - my parents didn't hear a thing from their room (we also got to hear the local football game, but my husband quite enjoyed that). That is not Kamuela's fault, but it was hard to sleep between that and the blind that didn't close and funnelled sun into my eyes at an early hour. We were also very close to the hotel on the other side where they seem to have their 'handyman' shed located and so we were treated to the sounds of banging and clanging of equipment and workmen coming and going while we were having quiet time by the pool. Again, not Kamuela's fault, but I would not want to be in a villa on this side again.
There was no overhead light in our room and the incredibly dim bedside lights hard to turn on and off - the switch kept falling off. I see in the brochure that Kamueal Nusa Dua has iPhone / iPod docking stations, but we struggled to find a spare plug to put the adaptor in to charge our various devices (2 iPhones, 3 iPads, 2 Kindles, 2 laptops and 2 android phones plus cameras between 4 people, about normal, right?). Despite this, we only had 2-3 devices connected to the WiFi at any one time, but the service was absolutely maddening - it would fade out every 30 seconds at some stages. I know it's free, but when you have access to it, you want it to work. Housekeeping and turndown service were intermittent but adequate and we did have quite some trouble with mosquitoes in our room, despite the spraying, presumably through the open bathroom. The hairdryer in my mother's room gave up the ghost on the second day and she returned it to reception to be repaired / replaced, but we never saw another one - luckily she brought her own and we used our own power converter. We were queried about the 'missing' hairdryer on the way out and when told what had happened, they commented "we wondered why this was sitting at reception all week".
We ate out a few times, but this strip of Sanur is not on the 'main drag' and the restaurants are a bit varied in quality. Caramel restaurant rescued us in this regard and we ate there more than half the time and had some lovely meals. We did order a couple of local dishes that let us down in terms of flavour and spice / heat and I assume they are toned down for western palates. If you want good shopping and a nice beach, you will need to go a bit further afield that this part of Sanur.
We will come back to Bali and we may consider Kamuela Sanur for short stay and perhaps mix it up with one of the other properties for variety and a new location. We will also be a bit more picky about which villa we book, especially for the price we paid. I suggest Kamuela start to get serious about upgrading facilities and rennovate to keep things looking a bit fresher and meet the needs of their target travel audience, who all come armed with multiple devices, even on holiday.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Kamuela Sanur, formerly Aston Legend Sanur, is nestled in peacefully quiet Sanur, featuring six private villas with one, two and three bedrooms set in immaculate walled gardens. Each villas has its own private pool, semi outdoor lounge area with a gourmet kitchen, dining area and air-conditioned bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Kamuela Sanur Hotel Sanur
- Aston Sanur
- Sanur Aston
- Kamuela Sanur Bali