The sign outside The Puncak says "Exclusive Villas" and its website refers to it as a "boutique hotel". I disagree. Its a B&B. Its quite a good B&B, but its a B&B nonetheless and it therefore has some limitations about which you should be clear before staying. If you don't like B&Bs, then don't stay here. And note this too: they don't take credit cards.
Firstly, the view is supreme, no doubt. Sitting outside your room, or in one of the two pools outside the rooms, with a Bintang in hand, watching the boats, the palm trees, the surf, the heat haze and the sunsets is just fantastic. Of course the trade-off for this is being at the top of a long, steep road and needing to get taxis in and out of town. The drive down the road is 5 minutes, then its about 10 mins to the centre of Sengiggi. We walked one day and it took over an hour (in blistering heat!). It is surprising that such an "exclusive" property in such an "extreme" location does not offer free transport into and out of town (or airport transfers).
The rooms are very basic in design, with unpolished timber floors, but comfortable and tastefully decorated. They are 5 concrete "boxes" next to each other, facing West with a the front wall all glass and a sliding door. Three rooms are separated from the other two by the kitchen/staff area. Each group of rooms have a plunge pool in front. There seems to be no restriction on which poll you use, but it is natural to use the one in front of your room.
One surprising thing for an "exclusive" property, the drinking water is provided in unmarked, unsealed bottles with plastic corks and paper wrapping with "The Puncak" printed on (as has every towel and even the toilet paper wrapping). These bottles are refilled daily from some mysterious source of potable water. The lighting, especially in the bathroom, is dim.
The aircon is barely up to the job of cooling the rooms and the toilet cubicle does not seem to get the benefit of the airconditioning at all, which makes it a sweat-box. As the villas get full sun all afternoon, the rooms can get very hot, even with the air con and fan going. Also, the aircon (in fact, all electricity) was turned off for a few hours in the middle of every day, which was very annoying and meant the cooling had to start from scratch in the hottest part of the day. The staff seemed to suggest this was a power supply problem beyond their control, but if so, why don't they have a generator? (it may have had something to do with the building site across the road, which pumped out loud music and hammering sounds all day). The afternoon sun can be absolutely scorching and the only way to get out of the sun in the afternoon is to retreat to your room and close the curtains, which takes the view out of play.
In the rooms there are no internal doors to the bathroom area, so noise is a factor - its very hard for one person to sleep while the other is using the bathroom or opening/closing the huge sliding door to go in/out of the room. I agree with comments in other reviews that there is not much privacy between rooms - you need to always have the curtains shut if you want privacy and, again, this takes the view out of play. Likewise, sitting outside your room by the pool, you are right next to your neighbours, with no privacy. Further, the staff seem to lurk around all day and walk past the rooms a lot, as the entrance to the kitchen/staff area is right between two of the rooms.
The much vaunted breakfast is indeed huge, in fact probably a bit over-the-top and ordering anything specific was very haphazard. Even if you order something specific, you still get the full breakfast production as well, which is too much to eat. In a country with such poverty, wasting so much food seems wrong. It might be better to just take an order from the guests as to what they actually want and use the money saved on breakfast to provide free wi-fi instead. Also, I twice ordered the (cooked) Indonesian breakfast but it never came and when I tried to order some bacon (which my wife got with the eggs she ordered), they took hers and gave it to me!
Lunch was non-existent. I'll say that again. There was no lunch. I note the other reviews which claim that the kitchen was responsive to requests. Well not to us they weren't. The only option for lunch was to go into town. There is no room service menu and (at least when we were there) no lunch service. This was despite my enquiry on the first night about lunch the next day and being told "yes, you can order lunch one hour in advance" however when it came to lunch time next day I tried to order and was told "the kitchen opens at 4pm". Which of course means you have to get out of the pool, get dry, get dressed, order a taxi and head into town for lunch. Then you have to get back up there.
That was the key thing for me that makes The Puncak a B&B rather than a hotel. They obviously expect you to be out all day. There's no room service menu. You can't get a club sandwich (or anything else) when you want one and we were specifically told on check-in that it is not permitted to bring food into the rooms. Also, there's no bar area, just a mini bar in the room (items from which you are asked to sign for every day). They have no wine or spirits. They give you little cocktails at sunset, which is very nice, but when we asked for some more (which we were happy to pay for) the staff said they had to ask the owner and the response (by text message, apparently) was that they needed the orange juice for breakfast.
Adding to the B&B status, is the fact that the owners live upstairs with children and a dog. While we never heard any footsteps or noise, as noted in other reviews, they have no separate entrance and there was a lot of coming and going, including one afternoon when the owners had some friends over and they sat with them in the poolside area while we were swimming and relaxing - again, no privacy. You are in their home. It is a B&B.
But perhaps the least "exclusive" thing of all is that they don't take credit cards. None. Just cash. They said this was due to the "extreme" location. But surely, if you have Wi Fi and a phone then you can have a credit card machine. This situation meant we had to get an estimate of our bill on the last day and get a taxi into town to withdraw from the ATM sufficient cash to pay the bill. Also, they don't give receipts and had to be asked twice to sign/stamp the bill as having been paid.
Overall I think the Punchak is pretentious. It is not "exclusive", it just has its name embossed on all the towels and is quite difficult to get to. Its a decent B&B, but as I have never liked B&Bs, I will not stay at this one again, despite the view. I think a nice hotel on the beach is ultimately more relaxing and gives you more options. You can drive up in a taxi and see the view whenever you want.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Good Day Vanmerino, Dear Guests,
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As reviews are anonymous we had some difficulties to recognize you. You were probably part of a group of persons staying lately with us and we were pleased to have all of you as our guests.
Accommodations are having all their own style, their own touch and guests having also different awaiting s, expectations. However it is rare nowadays , that expectations are not fulfilled for most of the travelers. We are really regretting that we couldn’t respond on your requirements; however we are used to handle all kind of situations and mostly with satisfaction for the customer. Lots of information about an accommodation can be collected before a decision of booking.
We are thanking you for your description but wanting just to clarify a few points :
• Drinking water is mineral water (Aqua ) coming from Gallons. We are filling in jugs of mineral water room by room to avoid the use of plastic bottles as we try to have an ecological behave and to avoid as much as we can plastic trash as we are situated in such a magnificent nature ;
• Short electricity breaks can happen as we are in a tropical island and some facilities cannot always be considered for granted – we are mentioning this point before check in ;
• It is correct that the sun can be hot especially during the afternoon. Many guests are taking advantage to have an agreeable moment in our fresh swimming pools in that moment and just enjoying that warm sunshine sometimes missing in their own country ;
• The designed rooms having all en-suite bathrooms as a configuration existing in many places in Asia ;
• The private room terraces & porches are separated from each other giving a maximum of privacy when no full occupancy (what we are trying to handle –it is not our target to be full booked) - You were part of a group of friends having probably more passing’s and having this feeling of lack of privacy – mostly the privacy and intimacy in our place is greatly respected as we are mainly a honeymoon destination ;
• Our staff is trained to be as discreet as possible but directly available when needed ;
• Our breakfast has been created according to many researches as an individual table service, not a buffet. So far – rarely guests were complaining about ‘ to much’ and if this happens in some cases, we are never wasting food as we know the hard value of life in Indonesia…
• We are dedicated to personal service and being small we can focus on details. It would be exceptional we did not respond on your order or switching ingredients from one plate to another as this is strictly forbidden hand lings in our service standards and staff members would directly be warned . We are apologizing and are following up because this can never happen… practice is: never say never in this world where we need a big brother eye everywhere also in daily hospitality business…
• Our Restaurant – at least during your stay – you are correct – was open between 4 and 9 pm. Normally Lunch can be served from 2 pm but during your stay we had some technical issues to resolve. If you had ordered lunch before we would certainly have done all we could to serve you - Wines and spirits are available and mentioned in our Menu card ;
• The owners are discreet and committed people to their business. They have a separate entrance and are very careful as they are daily active in The Puncak. Managers from other hotels are also living around their hotel. That they would have a dog (there is only 1 security dog, a Doberman, animal friendly attached during day time) or a child has nothing to see in any appreciation of the activity - encountering them –even in their private- will always being a positive input during your stay ;
• Before Booking and even before check in it is clearly mentioned that there is no bankcard payment system, but there is Paypal or cash ( different currencies are accepted)
Dear guest, we are respecting your analyze about Hotel or B&B.
For us it doesn’t matter because our main goal is to make our guests having a memorable stay and so far we could achieve this goal. The reality is that many guests are leaving us with emotion and with a feeling of satisfaction. It is easy for some reviewers
to destroy in a few sentences of a review the buildup reputation of a business - behind a keyboard in anonymous way, no risk.
We agree we are small and missing some facilities you can find in bigger hotels, but we are proposing a personal feeling and touch. Our kitchen, handled only by owner and Chef Nury has a great reputation crossing all over the boarders by professionals in that industry.
You have probably never tried our kitchen for dinner if we are right, how can you talk about the fact that we would have no valuable hotel restaurant and being a B&B?
Thank you for your input , we are always looking for improvement when possible and note that we don’t know what being pretentious is ( negative connotation ) as we are hard workers and yes The Puncak is an Exclusive place, a Boutique Hotel were ' discerning' people will always find an enjoyable moment …
Jean-Paul & Nury
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.