If you want 4 to 5 star service, don't mind the crowds (because it is very popular), like it a little quieter than Kuta and don't want to pay resort high prices, then the Pullman Nirwana in Legian is the place for you to stay in the Kuta-Legian-Seminyak area.
The rooms are great - everything works: air-conditioning (adjustable); plumbing, electricals, WiFi, fridge, safe. If you need anything then put a call into reception and it will be taken care of. Didn't have a single problem in the whole week we stayed there.
We had a garden facing room and there was absolutely no noise except the fireworks for an hour or so at night on a couple of days.
The rooms are clean and tidy and kept that way and you will be topped up with bottled water every day.
Absolutely great central location right on Legian Beach. All the great places for shopping (local markets), massages (PIPS just a 3 minute walk up the road Jalan Malasti), eating out, beach walk south to Kuta or north to Seminyak. If you are homesick for a shopping centre then BoardWalk (look it up on the internet) is a 10 minute walk south - the walk along the beach is much more pleasant and safer.
The beach is safe - there are tourist police located at regular intervals along the main road day and night - and if you are approached by a hawker then once you say no politely they will not hang around. A lot different and more pleasant from what it was 15 or 30 years ago when we were last here when the hawkers would simply swarm!
Two pools - a family pool at the ground level inside and an infinity pool on the top at the front. While not exceptionally large for the size of the hotel, there was always a spare lounger seat and room in the pool. Bar service at the infinity pool is a nice touch.
Main reception area and hotel dining room is open but not air-conditioned. Nice to have breakfast on the veranda facing the ground-level pool but you will need to be early to get a seat there. Check in at the desk for a table. Plenty of room otherwise inside or through the panels into the Sembilan Restaurant area. Huge selection of breakfast options on offer - you can even freshly squeeze your own juice. Table service for tea or coffee.
Specialty dining at the Sembilan Restaurant is 5 star and a special treat. Should not be missed just because it is in the hotel you are staying at. Please refer to our separate review. Recommend the Nasi Campur (Balinese food at its best) Dinner and Jimbaran Seafood Dinner.
Reception were efficient. We arrived early at 5am from New Zealand and with normal check-in time of 2pm we had to wait for our room to become available. Had the use of the Connectivity Room (with PCs, Internet, showers and toilet but not air-conditioned) while we were waiting. Were offered a Deluxe Ocean-view room in the interim but decided to wait until our Grand Deluxe room which became available before 10am.
Staff were efficient, helpful and courteous at all times.
Good security - all cars, bikes including boots and backpacks are checked at the gate on Jalan Pantai Kuta and the gate out at Jalan Malasti. And no hawkers!
Only provisio is that the hotel is extremely popular - at times you will think you are (back) in Australia with all the heavy East Coast accents. And the occasional surfer in his dripping wet boardshorts carrying his surfboard through reception! And the reason for that is that it is one of the best priced and the best located 4 to 5 star hotel in the area.
Recommended tip: Include breakfast in your accommodation package.
It simply isn't worth your while spending time shopping for breakfast or having to go out and come back again in the heat when you can eat as much as you want of all the European food on offer at the hotel breakfast and set yourself up for the day before leaving the hotel.
Something different: Check out the temple in front of the hotel on the corner of Jalan Pantai Kuta and Jalan Malasti. It is a nice spot to wander around on your way back to the hotel from the beachfront.
Recommended taxi tip:
Unless you are within reasonable walking distance take the taxis. They are cheap. Bluebird (Bali Taxis painted light blue) are recommended because their meters are checked and certified. However, you must check that they are turned on when you first get in. If not, then ask that the meter be turned on. If they offer a "special" price (normally twice the meter fare) tell them to turn it on or you will get out and take another taxi. There is absolutely no problem flagging down a taxi from the footpath. There are simply too many taxis and they will be constantly honking you for a fare even when you are out walking!
The drivers that have you on by not turning on the meter or offering you a "special" price will be relief (second or third) drivers (not owners) who will pocket the cash.
To pick up a taxi from the hotel just go to the entrance to the hotel and the staff there will ask where you are going and get you a taxi. As well they will give you a chit with the taxi number if you need to make a subsequent complaint.
If you follow the recommendation above you will most likely be taken the long way round to your destination but as the difference will be only a matter of a dollar or two, it is not a big deal. Best to just let it go. The rest of the Balinese you meet, including the hotel staff, will be delightful.
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