I have to admit I loved this place. This is exactly the kind of hotel you probably want in Bali: it's close to the beach, affordable, and oozing Balinese character.
It's only about 150 metres from the beach. There are only two hotels between this one and the beach. What more needs to be said about that? To be honest, the chances are good that staying at a hotel right on the beach in this part of Bali is out of your price range. This is as close as it gets for most of us. (I should add that the beach is usually a mess in the rainy season when the winds are easterly, around January to March. Better to come at another time. This is true for all of Kuta, Legian and Seminyak.)
This hotel is not expensive, especially for what you get. Most hotels near this one are considerably more expensive. There's one exception: Grandmas Hotel next door, which is about the same price and yet brand new. Which hotel you prefer depends on whether you prefer a grand, old, slightly dishevelled Balinese dame (Puri Cendana) or a slick new easyhotel (Grandmashotel). To me it's a no brainer.
Puri Cendana consists of six two-storey buildings constructed in Balinese style. The property is not large, but the grounds are tropical, verdant, exotic, serene and filled with Balinese touches that never let you forget where you are. You feel yourself getting calmer just walking to your room. Flowers, frangipani, hibiscus, star fruit, mangos, coconut, birds, butterflies, snails, shrines, incense, statues. Duelling house cats. The fattest dogs you've ever seen. Is this a hotel?
The two rooms I stayed in were identical. Spacious, Balinese design, cool, dark, a little primitive, high ceilings, stone, wood, Balinese art and furniture. The bed has a mosquito net, but I didn't really notice a mosquito problem. Wooden bolts with padlocks rather than modern locks. (Should I worry about that?? Nah.) This is not a modern complex. It was built some time ago, by people who care about Bali.
The bathroom is a surprise: wooden doors, huge, sunken, with glass walls and a view of your own private courtyard garden. And the tub may have been the biggest tub you'll ever have seen. Big enough for the two of you and your two kids as well. So big you have to take a set of stairs to get into it. You have to DISCOVER this bathroom and it doesn't always do what you want. The window doesn't quite close. You have to wait for the hot water. The tub is, well, too big too fill. You have to sympathise with the cleaning staff.
Aircon worked really well, surprisingly for such a big space. Modern TV. There were no English stations in my first room. Turns out you have to pay a little extra for international TV, which explains why I switched rooms after a few days. I tried to hold out as long as I could. Once I switched though, I wondered whether it had been worth it. There were only about 5 English stations anyway.
The restaurant served a standard, unvaried breakfast, with three different options. Not a buffet, not luxurious, but it was enough and it was tasty. Fresh bread and fresh fruit.
I had quite a few meals at this restaurant because it was convenient, inexpensive, standard fare and I could eat it around the pool. Mostly western food, but some Indonesian. The service was usally quite good. I liked the fruit shakes.
The pool area was small and not large enough for the hotel. But most people seemed to be enjoying it. It suited the rest of the hotel and gave the place a resort-like feel. When the weather was nice it was the perfect place to read a book and cool off. They even had a massage set up in the back and it seemed to be popular.
The hotel is located on a main road leading to the beach. It's busy up to the hotel, but then from the hotel to the beach it's fairly quiet. There are many convenience stores, restaurants and bars nearby. Laundry, bank machines, etc. It's all there. If you walk up to Legian Road you get to that part of Seminyak that has some of the best upscale clothing shops in Bali. The pedestrian infrastructure (like the roads in most of Indonesia) is not good. I got tired of this walk after a while.
Nearby there is an outstanding internet place. The hotel has wifi around the pool at the hotel, but it was simply much easier and more comfortable to go to this this cheap, air conditioned internet place.
There's no gym at the hotel, but there's one at Seaside (walk south along the beach; about 100 m past Arunya) and of course Hammerhead is about a 25 minute walk. I never did find a lap pool in the area. Running along the beach is quite doable at low tide.
This is the kind of hotel I really like. I feel fortunate to have stumbled onto it, because getting a good but affordable hotel in Bali is no easy matter. I think independent, budget-minded, unfussy travellers who like idiosyncratic hotels would be happiest here. This is not a hotel with package holidayers. It's too small for that. It's not really a place to come for one or two nights. It takes a little while to get used to it. If you want a big resort or a modern hotel, keep looking.
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- Also Known As:
- Puri Cendana Resort
- Resort Puri Cendana
- Hotel Puri Cendana Bali/Seminyak