1. Poor signage: the Gang Melati sign at the junction with Jln Plawa is grey print on a grey background and hardly 1 m above the ground – poorly visible, especially at night and my would-be visitors often could not find the entrance to Melati. The big 40 at head of the 50 m long lane leading to the villa from Melati needs an additional sign that says Phils Place with an arrow – a similar sign at the junction of Plawa and Melati would also help.
2. Smoking: as one of the 82% of Australian males who does not smoke I found the level of smoking in Bali appalling (estimated at 66% of Indonesian males). It was distressing to have to deal with staff at reception who were smoking while on duty (breakfasts and drinks are prepared from there as well) though, in the absence of laws that prohibit smoking in public areas, nothing could be done about guests who also sat at reception and smoked. My problem is I had to pass through the area to get to my room (the doors to 2 and 3 are located within 2 m of reception) and smoke wafted into my room when the door was opened. In all my years of travel I have never before been served by smoking reception staff.
One of the staff alerted me to Moka’s Café in Jln Seminyak where the main section is air-conditioned and therefore smoke-free. The meals were good quality and prices reasonable (just the iniquitous 10% tax – surcharges (in all countries) should be included in the quoted price and not added at the end to mislead you what you will pay) and if you ordered an entrée instead of a main course you had room for one of their fancy cakes! The Japanese Restaurant (Suishi) is also air-conditioned. No doubt there are others at the more expensive end of the market.
3. Rooms: I paid US$81 for Room 2 with garden access through Bali Friendly (April 2014) – it seemed the only way to get a price apart from contacting PP directly. I was a bit surprised when the manager of BF appeared the morning after my arrival expecting me to pay the 75% owing for the entire 14-day period, since it is usual practice to pay at the end of one’s stay. The room was fine though the chair and table were not comfortable for my many hours of sitting at my laptop. There was no fridge or tea/coffee making facilities – tho there was a fridge in the lobby and the staff readily made me tea on request. I did not like the way water from the shower just flows out onto the tiles and there was no shower curtain. The garden is lovely though a source of mosquitoes that invariably found their way into my room – an evaporative insecticide device was provided but I did not try it.
I was obliged to stay in one of the upstairs rooms for one night – US$45 from BF. There was no rail on the stairs and the steps are widely spaced so that made the stairway difficult to use with my arthritic legs. The toilet-bathroom is downstairs opposite reception and past the eating area making visits there very public! Since the water from the shower flows past the toilet bowl to the basin diagonally opposite the floor was flooded and it soon became a sauna. The staff did towel the floor after morning use, however, which meant you could get to the toilet without getting wet feet later in the day. Needing to urinate at least twice a night with my prostate problem I resorted to using empty cans and bottles to relieve myself rather than negotiate the steps in the middle of the night. If you like billiards, you might note there is an old table upstairs that at least has a full set of balls.
The garden is a delight. The lieback chairs are in the sun and I never saw them used while I enjoyed the large chair in the shade. There is a charming freestanding massage room in the garden that doubles as a drinking/rest area at other times but I never saw it used for that – the massage I had there in a pleasant setting was excellent.
4. Unsafe access by foot: Plawa is dangerous to traverse by foot – there are no footpaths, parked cars and bikes jut out onto the road (typical of Indonesia generally) and you are often forced to walk in the middle of the road. I found walking the 400 m to Jln Seminyak and then a further 100-400 m to a decent restaurant quite a chore, especially during the heat of the day. Nevertheless at least one of the boys at reception was happy to take me to my chosen restaurant on his motorbike (I tipped him 10000 rp though he did not ask for it).
5. Meals: No food is available other than a (full fry-panned based) breakfast, though a limited selection of soft through to hard drinks is available at reasonable cost. You can order food through reception but it can take 45 minutes to arrive and is hardly warm (I did that twice from different restaurants). I bought sweet corn cobs back from my visit to Ubud (6 for 10,000 rp!) – the corn was growing behind the stall – and one of the staff boiled them for me on two occasions and reheated in the microwave as required – delicious!
6. Final bill: my laundry (dirt cheap) and drinks came to 250,000 rp at the end of my stay. I handed over my credit card to be told PP only took cash – I was flabbergasted! I had carefully worked out cash for my departure tax (200,000 rp), tip for the taxi driver and food at the airport – who wants to take rp home?! So I had to use my precious cash to pay for my final PP bill – if I did not have the required amount I would have had to go to an ATM, assuming a staff member was free to take me there, make sure it took Visa (the first ones I visited later on the way to the airport did not) – I had not used my card at an ATM during my trip as I had taken cash for the entire trip – except for my accommodation as noted above, so there was the risk it would not work, and get back to PP and not be late for the booked taxi. I pointed out to the manager that it was a) a reasonable assumption of mine that the villa would take credit card as I had already paid my accommodation that way (but BF is separate from us, I was told); if that was not so, then b) there should be a card placed conspicuously at reception (or, less satisfactorily, in the room information file) that noted PP took cash only.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Gay guest house in Seminyak, Bali - 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms. Close to gay bars (10 minutes by foot), restaurants, shops and beach. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Phil`s Place Hotel Seminyak
- Phil's Place Bali/Seminyak