I rolled the dice and got a double six!
Yes, yes….I can hear your sarcastic groans, as you writhe over my awful cliché comment. But then, that’s the prerogative of a writer sitting on his side of the screen. He has artistic licence to lob literary hand grenades at the mooing crowds!
The first time I visited the Double-Six Luxury Hotel in Seminyak was on a whirlwind site inspection with 20 or so fellow travel experts. We were on the downward slope of a somewhat tortuous schedule and this one was at the “nether” end of the line and week.
I went through the property around 9pm with nodding motions that culminated in a mild, aching disdain and indifferent thoughts. My focus had not been on the hotel, but my weary body and hunger pains.
My second visit was five months later and voluntary. I happened to be staying a few kilometres away at the Downtown Villas near the Bintang Market. I wanted to see the Double-Six in a real light and without tired and aching blinkers.
On that lunchtime trip I experienced the token zing and pizzazz of the restaurants and bars. I saw the rooms…again. They looked so much better. I was in my personal mode, wearing an off-duty hat, not a professional one. I walked away with an incomplete feeling and an impulsive urge to stay there.
On my return to Perth, I booked a stay.
Bloggers Don’t Do This
My return visit was less of a gamble than a need. At itch that needed scratching. I had been particularly compelled by some friends who had raved about the Double-Six. “This may be the best hotel we’ve stayed in” was their conclusion.
This was totally contrary to my own, preconceived notions. And very soon I would be eating my own humble apple pie.
Arriving at the Double-Six Luxury Hotel
There’s no grand façade awaiting you or giant Corinthian columns dripping in acanthus leaves. Your arrival is quite surgical after the customary security bomb check and short, winding twist to the drop off zone.
“Mind the step,” I’m reminded, as I move out of my car and into the dark and massive el fresco lobby.
I take note of the staff. Cool. Very cool. Love the outfits. Guys in sort of 1920’s grey and white styled culottes, linen waist coats, plain tweed caps. Girls in light flowing, breezy outfits. Immaculate. They match. Colour, contrast and texture.
You scoot across a massive, shining, white marbled floor with the odd, inset butterfly. The lobby area is surprisingly dark. And then you are greeted by what I can only describe as nymphs: more super-beautiful people only this time, ones want your money!
I part with it…willingly. I’ve arrived in heaven.
This is my silent epiphany. A wiggle through the door and waggle past a corner and then into the most amazing space. It is hard to describe the moment when your eyes go from Ferrari, to snail. But trust me, it happens.
First impressions are everything, even when you’re downright sweaty, tired and desperate to unwind. You don’t really soak up the nuances and twists. But I did. And the funny thing is that I had actually been in this room two times before. As a kind of lemming being rushed through a semi-arduous industry process to “experience” it. As a travel guru that might bring business through the door.
Up until that moment, I’d never stayed at the Double-Six Luxury Hotel. And up until that moment, I had never wanted to either.
The Lounge & Bathroom
Two areas are clearly defined in the enormity of the suite: the bathroom to left; the bedroom and lounge to the right. The entire space is long and leading. It smacks of modernity. The pool and ocean views are compelling. The entire feel is soothing and rewarding.
As you turn towards the living space, a dark banquette creates delineation. It is a big dollop of space that is almost less interesting than the bathroom. But it is there. Bed and all. Staring at the ocean view.
The banquette is massive, but not functional. It is like a restaurant serving station but I’m not in a kitchen. But I like the simplicity and clean lines.
I look for the plugs. I always do. There aren’t enough. Where do I charge things? Phone? Computer? Camera? Such a big working area and so few outlets.
I’m annoyed. I see only one plug. In my mathematics one plug equals one device. The place is out-of-date. As for decoration, spartan springs to mind. A clever use of nothingness and yet everything. The sheer curtains are faux, yet they add body and volume to the carriage-like room. They may have no function. But they add style. The concept works especially at night when the touch of soft lighting adds a tinge of sexiness to the room.
And then there’s the bed. The view from the bed. Wow. Zzzzzzz.
If there was ever an award for bathroom space, this hotel would be nominated.
The contrasting dark mosaic wall tiles are countered by large swathes of white floor tiles and an imposing, rectangular ceramic bath tub. “His and her” washbasins are separated by a recessed and padded two-seater bench. A rain forest shower has no doors. The toilet has floor to ceiling clouded glass for privacy.
Everything in the bathroom seems to glint, but never too bright to be offensive: mirrors, down lights, wall tiles, chrome taps and towel rails.
The space may be angular and moody, yet it was neutral in tone and soft in outcome.
The pool wraps around the ocean side of the hotel, cut at intervals by two foot bridges giving access to the beach and road below. A smattering of umbrellas provide perfect shade, with comfy lounges. Troops of attentive staff bustle too and fro between the bar and restaurant. You want for very little, at any one time.
There is almost no noise or traffic emanating from the road; in fact I barely remembered it was there. And for the little relaxation time I did have to myself, I did choose to be by the swimming pool mostly. The beach is fabulous in the morning, prior to 9.30am, and then the sun and noise kicks in.
I’m never one to sit on my hands when I’m bugged by something and such was the case with the Double-Six Luxury Hotel. It had nothing to do with the hotel itself. It had everything to do with its surroundings. I was fearful that guests would be blighted by noise because of neighbouring bars and beach entertainment.
I know you don’t expect travel writers or bloggers to say this kind of thing, but I take my job very seriously. My comments and opinions carry enormous weight especially when they are read by over 20,000 people. My readers and clients expect the truth and not a fluffy fill for staying somewhere free.
My booking at the Double-Six was driven by a quest for knowledge. It was not a holiday for me. I was on a mission of discovery. I needed to know if noise was an issue. I did not book the hotel to sit by the pool and sup on fine food and cocktails. Unwittingly, my hotel room was a prime location to determine this. Thankfully, I have good news to report.
First of all, the balcony doors are thick glass and almost nothing penetrates through them. Sure, the beach is a hive of activity as the sun sets and the crowds dig into their bean bags and cocktails. Live music is pervasive and generally awful (in that the musicians cannot sing in tune). But it is not offensively loud. The double-glazed balcony doors filter out the music so effectively that you are only left with muted vocals. The bad news is that if they cannot sing in tune, you left with a free comedy show that sounds like muffled out-takes from the worst X-Factor auditions! The good news is that the live music does not last long.
I’m no longer the spritely teenager that parties late into the night. I tend to hit the hay early and at no time was I woken by anything more than the sound of waves crushing on the beach. Even that was mildly disturbing, despite the fact that I have my own beach house that is closer to the water and that too, wakes me up sometimes.
The loudest noise comes from the Coccoon Bar to the left, but you almost have to be there to experience the worst of it. You are generally shielded by the Double-Six Luxury Hotel as the Coccoon is recessed back from the road. Here they have a happy hour, two-for-one session, that is abrasively loud but does not last long into the night. But if you want to watch the odd drunk person wallowing by the water’s edge, knock yourself out. It’s not very inviting and I actually never heard the bar again during my stay. That being said, I still have this haunting image of a large, braided Irish woman, double fisting cocktails into her mouth and smoking at the same time!
Food & Dining
The Double-Six offers a good choice of dining venues. On this visit, I mostly stuck to the poolside for my early morning breakfast, as I had to film before guests woke up. I had the choice of eating on the level above, at the Seminyak Italian Food, but I did that before. What I can say is how good the food is at both locations. I’m a bit of a food snob when it comes to breakfasts and I rate the Double-Six in the top 10 places in Seminyak. The coffee was excellent, service impeccable, bread choices wonderful and every time, my eggs benedict cooked to perfection. Juices were ripe and fresh. What more could I ask for but a perfect setting which I got.
Rooftop Sunset Bar
I have mixed thoughts about the Rooftop Sunset Bar and that’s because I have been to so many great rooftop bars in the world. This, however, is not one of them.
Sure, the view is impressive, covering 1700 square meters, but where are the people?
The measure of a good rooftop bar is the crowd. This is the real litmus test.
On the three occasions I visited, the patrons would have dwindled into about 20 square meters. Even the ‘pods’ or circular seated areas (that you pay a premium) for were only 50% full. Mind you, I was always early (around 9 o’clock). At that time, the music was daggy and 80ish, and in some ways, so was the disco décor. The dance floor was always empty. Yet I could not help feeling that this was a good thing. Too many people would mean too much bustle and probably, excessive noise. I think I’ll sit on the fence on this one. May be next time I visit I’ll stay away longer to experience the night life.
I did visit the beach every night and I have to say I loved the chilled out, laid back vibe there. Colours fill the sands everywhere from the bean bags to bamboo poles and flags. But buyers beware, service is slow and you do get the token beach hawkers constantly trying to flog you trinkets or substandard paintings or neon, flashing toys.
I have learnt again, never to judge a book by its cover. If I ever had a negative thought before my stay, or preconceived judgement, they have all been dispelled now.
The Double-Six Luxury Hotel is a truly wonderful location both for privacy, exclusivity and access.
The beachfront offers tranquillity and calm and you never lose the feeling of privacy. It kind of sits in its own enclave, slightly raised above the road and you barely see or hear anyone approaching from the beach. I spent most of my limited time by the swimming pool, using the beach only for morning or evening walks.
The rooms are stunning and truly spacious. Bar the absence of electrical plugs catering for modern travellers, I found nothing to fault.The staff deserve significant and standout praise. From the front desk check-in and bellhops, to waiters, waitresses and pool staff, everyone was impeccably dressed, kind and courteous.
Double-Six offers free golf cart shuttle rides to Seminyak Square or further towards the Bintang Market (Downtown Villas). I advocate using them to experience more of the Seminyak area and to enhance your hotel stay.
I’m such a banana. I really am. Once again I’m guilty of judging a book by its cover.
But what are we, as human beings, without our frailties and imperfections?
The good news is that this story that has a happy ending.
Mark my words, Hotel Indigo is up there with the best of the best! It is a click away from being on the dais sporting a gold medal. I just haven’t had time to experience the full property.
Months ago, I was sent an artist’s impression of the Hotel Indigo and it all looked fanciful and sun-setty and Balinesey. It was an artist’s rendition of what I absolutely hate: fake sunsets; chopped down forests; really good-looking people (looking better and thinner than me). In bikinis. Drinking cocktails. Blue sky. No clouds. Yeah, right! This is Bali.
At that particular, pin-pointed moment, I would have accepted deforestation and ecological devastation, just to escape onto another hotel brochure.
But I didn’t.
What I ultimately bore witness to was an unreal vision that became a reality. The story board gained lungs and life. It really happened.
And I was there to witness it.
I’ve written a lot of hotel reviews in three and a half decades, but let’s just say this: I have never enjoyed an arrival as much as I did at the Hotel Indigo.
It was not what I expected. There was no kerb-side flop, a disembowelment from a taxi into subservient hands. No big canopy guarding an entrance.
Here everything was Imperial. Majestic. Towering, non-descript, staggered and terraced walls. A giant courtyard of planned conformity. Striking trees glowing from the up-lighting. Something befitting of royalty. Even lowly subjects like me!
A short and broad staircase led upwards and into the bosom of the property. I saw nothing but a vertical escalation and into a glint of dangling ceiling lights. I was lured upwards with nervous trepidation. I knew something special was about to unravel. But I was flummoxed by what?
And then it happened.
I peaked and crested into the lobby. It was breathtaking. Staggering.
For one fleeting moment in my life, I had indeed become royalty.
THE LOBBY – THE NEIGHBOURHOOD
The lobby is an immense and prodigious testament to local design with artefacts clustered into lit alcoves, each one telling its own story. Furniture is tastefully thematic to its culture with dabs of colour breaking the norm of dark woods. Delicate wicker contrasting with heavy frames.
Sculpture, china, variety and humour is pervasive in the theme.
Even the ceiling is an incredible design of interlocking latticework, a disparate array of pendulous lights hanging from a puzzle of crafted woodwork.
And then there was the view, drawing your eyes over the enclosed resort and swimming pool below, onwards and outwards to the ocean. There was only one word for it: wow.
Every process at Hotel Indigo is effortless including the check-in. Before I blinked I had a room key in my hands. In fact, I nearly forgot to give them my credit card to guarantee my stay, even though I was there as a complimentary guest. I must have been all-absorbed by the moment.
Interestingly enough, the reception desk is not in plain view. You had to meander to the right and around a corner to find it. It’s as if the architect purposely wanted it and everyone to be out of sight and out of mind. To maintain the integrity of the impression, the “painting”, devoid of human clutter.
HOTEL ROOM #3225
Getting to my hotel room was another amazing experience. When the elevator doors opened on the third floor, I stared down into a vast courtyard of giant palms. The hotel rooms encircled it on all four sides. Walkways were al fresco, propped up by columns marked by grey volcanic stone colours. It felt almost industrial, yet incredibly quiet. I barely saw another soul. I only heard the echo of my own footsteps, as I approached my door, inserted my key and entered.
Bursts of colour and light suddenly greeted me again. Like a sandwich, I’d gone from the vibrancy of the lobby, to the solemnity of the walkways and now back into a gush of colour as I entered my room. A small foyer, more alcoves, more warm light. A Nespresso coffee machine, decorative coffee and tea mugs, fresh oranges, opulence, action. It was an interior decorator’s paradise with cutting edge accessories.
I plunged onto my bed, somewhat exhausted and sticky. I’d just reviewed three other hotels and my body was verging on shut down mode. I wanted the soft linen and pillows to envelope me and they did. I was in paradise. I even clicked on the widescreen TV (being an ex-political reporter, news is my staple diet, even on the road).
I loved the clever, really intelligent use of pictures and lights. The striking, bold colours were not lost on me. They predominance of blues and yellows worked and blended incredibly well from the stripy bed cover, to the damask-type carpet. Even the garish yellow message pad beside the phone felt at place.
BATHROOM BLISS AT HOTEL INDIGO BALI
Stepping into the bathroom was another journey of mystery and intrigue. It had an almost arabesque feel with black and white mosaics and this unusual, golden washbasin or chalice and hanging ladle in the middle of the shower.
“Wouldn’t this be decadent if filled with champagne,” I thought to myself.
And then you could step out onto your own private balcony with suspended sofa hammocks. Close and intimate.
My only negative was twofold: first having no one to share this moment with; secondly that the view was blighted by a derelict, unfinished construction site. Apparently, it was going to be a hotel, but the developer went broke. At least the hotel was growing creeper vines up the walls to somewhat blot out the horrible view.
THE TREE BAR
I like to judge hotels by their bars. It gives you an arterial feel to the pulse of the place. And the Tree Bar should have been just that. But it wasn’t.
Set on the lower level, the sunken Tree Bar offers a stunning view of the resort across the verdant lawns and tropical gardens, towards the feature swimming pool and ocean. The interior is modern and in keeping with the pendant, hanging lights. The namesake “tree” is conspicuous and dominant, rising through the lattice framing. But the bar lacked soul.
I was with a group of 20 or so travel professionals and we were the only token imbibers in the evening. For a five-star hotel, this was odd, especially when the bar closed at 11pm! This left a few parched and upset travellers scratching their collective heads.
As far as I was concerned, The Pottery Café was the saving grace for Hotel Indigo even though I had a redeye flight to catch and never got more than a croissant and take away coffee before catching my flight.
The decoration is superb and stylish with mezzanine black and whites creating that upmarket café ambience. Kevala pottery fills the shelves injecting more colour and local flair back into the place. I loved the originality and the clever, modern design from the furnishing to the household accessories.
I love surprises and when the Hotel Indigo offered me a free massage I was not going to disappoint them.
The Spa is situated at the front of the property, in what they call a “calming oasis inspired by the rich culture of Seminyak.” Like the rest of the hotel, it is steeped in local tradition providing a wide range of unique wellness journeys. All-natural Asian lifestyle products are on offer too.
I opted for a one-hour massage and after signing away my medical questionnaire, I was led downstairs for my treatment.
I prefer a deep tissue massage to knead away my stresses. The old rugby and sports injuries never lurking far from resurfacing as my body ages.
My lovely masseuse hit the spot and I can hardly say that about my last few experiences around Asia. I left them with bruises and in more disrepair than I started with.
Not the case here. My treatment was one of the best I’ve ever had. The setting and mood was perfect, the staff incredibly professional and friendly. I actually walked out with a spring in my step.
Hotel Indigo is by far the best property I have stayed at in Bali. If the Mulia wins on class, then the Hotel Indigo wins on style. It is younger and more funkier in temperament and is truly an oasis right off Double Six Beach.
You have the ocean at the end of the resort and the local Seminyak neighbourhood to the rear. In between you simply have your own private bliss.
Mark my words, Hotel Indigo is going places.
HOTEL INDIGO DEALS
For the latest and best deals for staying at the Hotel Indigo in Seminyak, it is worth checking out BlueSun Travel. Often the Hotel Indigo is featured every month with fabulous travel packages.
Click here for more information: BlueSun Travel or call 1300 799 758.
HOTEL INDIGO FACILITIES
Number of Rooms: 289
Number of Suites: 23
Number of Non-Smoking rooms: 289
Number of rooms for the physically challenged: 3
Number of floors: 4
Total number of Rooms with One Bed: 249
I’d never been to Nusa Dua and now I have.
It only took me 50 years to get there.
Nusa Dua is a far departure from the frenetic pulse-beating bass of Bali’s Legian and Kuta bars. It is a world unto itself, vast swathes of greenness and manicured grasses dotted with fallen white frangipani petals. It is serene. Home to holiday resorts that are more like neighbouring Hollywood estates than hotel complexes. They sidle up next to each other without the blight of glowing neon billboards. They just blend beautifully into the background without being obtrusive, no matter how grand they are.
I wish the Western world would take notice of this. Even make laws. How to take your place in society without becoming a blot or blemish on your surroundings. Respect. That’s the word. Not foisting your beauty of ugliness on others. But that is Balinese culture. Spiritual. Understanding. Living as one with nature.
The approach to the Grand Hyatt Nusa Dua is akin to arriving at a fancy golf course. And yes, I notice the golf buggies tucked to the side. More on these later.
In true Balinese custom, you are greeted at the kerbside by smiling faces. Your bags are then ushered to the nether regions of “somewhere” else, only to pop up like a magician’s rabbit in your room, “sometime” later.
Everything is big here. Giant white columns, sweeping terracotta roof tiles, reflecting pools with lily pads and vertical, protruding reeds. A penetrating view leads your eyes over a bamboo floral piece and through more trees; your final focal point – the ocean.
And that’s before you get to the check in desk on your left!
My check-in was melancholic in some respects. An anticlimax. A great arrival diminished by the needless fuddling through bureaucracy and paperwork chaos. I was shown a seat (no, I was directed to find my own… which I achieved without help) whilst they did whatever they did with my passport. 15 minutes later I was back at the counter to do more paperwork.
It was an unnecessary digression that could have been handled better.
I was handed my key and a map of the hotel resort grounds (more on this later too) and off I went following my lovely guide. It was then that I realised just how huge the place was. Around the corner I went, into an elevator, up two floors, around more corners and bingo, into my room!
I wasn’t expecting the older looking room that greeted me with old paintings and old furniture. When I contemplate the brand “Hyatt”, I tend to think modern. Often convention-styled. But this room was darker than I had anticipated, lots of neutral marble colours and dark woods. Yellow light.
The space was definitely large. Even the furniture looked small and therefore dwarfed by the vastness of open areas. The desk was more of a side table than a working area. But this was contrasted by a huge bed with a runner across it.
To the right side was a nook or day bed. I wondered why. I already had a bed.
The saving grace was a glorious balcony overlooking a coy carp pond edged with grey volcanic rock. Giant pam tree reached to the skies. Manicured lawns filled small spaces.
The bathroom was really an extended room with faux slated windows that filtered in the light from the bedroom. These too were framed by more dark wood. It kept the space airy and well-lit and more open-planned. I can’t remember if you had the option of a blind to cordon off the sleeping and bathroom areas for more privacy. I was on my own and comfortable with my own nakedness and toilet habits.
The bath tub was massive too and I did use it once to rest my weary limbs. And then there was a separate shower with heavy glass doors. Even the toilet had its own self-contained room with a diffused glass slide door.
For cupboard space there was plenty from the hallway. More wood: more wooden shelves and frames, wooden hangars, wooden doors. But this was traditional Balinese décor. It grew on me.
A small safe was on offer. I used it out of habit, not through fear.
GRAND HYATT NUSA DUA RESORT GROUNDS
I had arrived on the Jetstar “red eye” to inspect hotels for four days….16 hotels to be precise! This was to be my home for two nights and I was keen to just chill and grab a beer with one of our cohorts. Well that was the mission. Of course, being “Mr Know-It-All” I left my hotel room without the map, after all, who needs a tourist map at a hotel?
Clearly, I did!
The Grand Hyatt Nusa Dua is like a warren. A short walk to meet a colleague became an episode of Lost in Space. I ended up completely going in the wrong direction, on the wrong floor. And it didn’t end there. Once I found him, we both got lost hunting down a bar!
Which brings me to another point. Why were so many bars at the hotel closed during the day? It’s meant to be a resort, right? Thankfully the Poolside Bar was open for business and that first Bintang beer hit the spot first time.
It did take me two days and lots of walking to get my bearings. To find the beach, the umpteen swimming pools, the many dining areas. Mind you, I spent most of the daylight hours away from the resort. No time for sunbathing and relaxing.
DINING & DRINKS
The Garden Café was my preferred breakfast spot, directly in front of the main lobby area. I was early enough to enjoy eating outside, before the heat and humid smashes and saps you. It is meant to be “international” in flavour offering Asian and European dishes and the setting is pretty decent with decent waterfall and lagoon views. The only let down was the its raison d’etre: its food! It was average in selection, presentation and ultimately delivery and taste.
Breakfast: 6:30 AM – 11:00 AM
Lunch: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Dinner: 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Directly off the main lobby Grand Hyatt Bali overlooking gardens and lagoons
Min (Wet): 152 People
Max (Dry): 180 People
Salsa Verde has all the right ingredients for greatness: location, pool, space, ambience. It is Italian by design with Californian décor and a pretty decent buffet breakfast selection. I will say this: the coffee was excellent, but there was nothing “wow” about the food. It was churning out convention quantities without Italian qualities.
Breakfast: 7:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Lunch: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Dinner: 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Beachfront of Grand Hyatt Bali
Pasar Senggol was the dining highlight of my stay, designed to be like a Balinese night market with scattered stalls, authentic dishes and a smattering of artisans creating local handicrafts. The buffet selection was amazing. I can recount going back (often) for the satay sticks and other delicacies that I then brushed with more chili to spice up the night. A big thumbs up. You also get a live performance with Balinese music and dancing; not my thing but entertaining.
Dinner: 6:30 PM – 10:00 PM
Cultural show: 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Directly off the main lobby Grand Hyatt Bali
VERANDA LOUNGE & BAR
Definitely my favourite spot. Secluded, sophisticated and modern with amazing views and fabulous service. Live entertainment was awesome playing great foot-tapping tunes, modern and old. Gin and tonics hit the spot.
Open Daily 10:00 AM – 12:00 Midnight
Morning Menu: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Afternoon Tea: 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Evening Menu: 5:00 PM – Midnight
FINAL THOUGHTS – GRAND HYATT BALI NUSA DUA HOTEL REVIEW
This may be a 5-star resort but the food is definitely far from it (except for the Indonesian Pasar Songgol restaurant on site). I travel extensively throughout Asia and this place pales in comparison to other buffet breakfasts I’ve had in the last three years. They are not all bad. They just lack variety….particularly if you are calorie counting and want a healthier chioce. But if it’s any consolation, many Balinese hotels are the same.
After my first impression of the hotel room, I warmed to it really well. In fact I loved it. This includes the day bed or nook that I panned earlier. I sat every day there with my laptop doing some work and just chilling.
The Grand Hyatt Bali Nusa Dua is best described as a tired resort in desperate need of room makeovers and food improvement. The location is stunning and the facilities perfect for anyone want a less crazy pace and family escape.