Why Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali
Our recent trip to Bali was almost entirely based on customer-loyalty: I used my frequent flyer points for the air ticket and Frits used his hotel-points to book the hotel.
That’s what brought us to Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali; a family-friendly hotel near the airport (and far from everything else;-)).
Not our usual choice of hotel, which would be more a quiet Boutique Hotel in a good location and nice neighborhood. But the points did not provide that option this time.
We were received with fragrant fresh flower garlands; one for each of us. Very sweet.
Being loyal customers gave us some perks, like a complimentary daily newspaper, free wifi and some discounts. That was good.
But when we requested a room with a seaview we had to pay extra, while in other hotels we often are automatically upgraded as loyal customers. No biggie though, since the additional cost was not that high.
Our experience at Holiday Inn Baruna Bali
You know how it goes when you arrive at your hotel. You’re tired and cannot be bothered to go out for dinner. “Let’s take it easy and have our first dinner at the hotel, shall we?” And so we did. Holiday Inn Baruna has a restaurant called Envy.
I ordered one of their thin-crusted pizza’s, marked as a ‘favourite’ (Hawaiian with pineapple and ham). What I got was not thin-crusted at all. The pizza was made of a thick, spongy, tasteless dough. On it, a pool of -as tasteless- melted cheese. My fishing expedition in the cheese-pool resulted in 6 teeny-tiny pieces of pineapple and a neglectable number of ham-snippets. What a disappointment!
Being hungry and tired I decided to just eat it, but when the waitress asked afterwards how was the food, I gave my honest feedback. Without making a fuss nor by raising my voice or anything and not expecting or claiming anything. I just find it important to give feedback, so that a business can learn from it and improve.
The way they responded was great! The waitress really listened, she apologized and came back with the restaurant-manager. She too asked what exactly was wrong, so she could pass it on to the chef. More apologies followed, and we were offered free desserts. Which we kindly declined. But we sure appreciated the attention for our complaint, the apologies and the gesture of a dessert on the house.
On our last day, for the same reasons as on our arrival day, we decided to give restaurant Envy another chance and have our last dinner there. It was HOR-RI-BLE. We had two dishes, the chef’s wings and the chili con carne tortilla chips. After a few bites I gave up. I could not even be bothered to give my feedback this time.
Breakfast and ice-cream
Breakfast at Palms Restaurant was fine.
I tried their ice-cream from Flavaz once and it was the worst ice-cream I ever had. It tasted like putty:-(.
The room that we were given was ok. A tad smallish, but not a problem.
The worst though was the smell; an overwhelming mould smell. It nauseated me.
I did not sleep well that night. The odor of mould was so strong.
So when asked by the staff the next morning how I slept and how was the room, I answered truthfully. Immediately she offered to change rooms. I was not keen right away, since I expected the mould problem to be the same in other rooms. But she insisted that she would look for a room without that problem.
And indeed, later that day we were upgraded and moved to another room. In fact: to a suite!
No mould issues there, located in a much quieter part of the hotel and wayyyyy more spacious. Wow!
Again: fantastic response by the hotel staff. They sure are well-trained.
As I said: Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali is really close to the airport, but quite far from e.g. Seminyak and Canggu. Kuta is the nearest by area.
It’s not even that the distances are that big, but since traffic’s a b*tch, those small distances easily take 45 minutes by taxi. Good thing that taxis are pretty affordable.
The immediate surroundings of the hotel are not that nice. Constructions on both sides. On the bright side: we were not bothered by any construction noise.
The hotel facilities
The hotel pool is not very big. Not necessarily an issue, were it not that we were there during an Australian school holiday, so the hotel was filled with families with lots of (often LOUD) children. Now I cannot honestly complain about that, since the hotel clearly advertises itself as a family- and-child-friendly hotel. Just be aware when booking this hotel; it definitely is NOT suited for a relaxed couples vacation.
There are lounge and sun-beds around the pool and in the gardens. We spent our mornings there, reading, after breakfast until we headed into town for lunch. Very relaxed.
In the evenings there is entertainment at the hotel, like traditional dance shows or performing musicians. And during the day there are some activities for children, like hair-braiding.
The beach and the sea
Before the hotel is a green patch, a concrete path, the beach and then the sea. Not very pretty or exciting, but nice enough to create some liveliness, action and diversion for our sun-lounging eyes and minds.
We saw lots of joggers, boats, a yoga-class and some locals selling trinkets and souvenirs.
I’m not really a beach person and definitely not a sea person (as in: going in the sea). But from what I heard from others, the sea here was for wading only, not really for swimming.
The beach is a public beach. There are no beach chairs or anything, so it’s not inviting to go there I went to the waterline once for about 15 minutes and got myself surrounded by touts within 2 minutes. They were not terribly persistent or obnoxious, but again: not very inviting.
The staff was in general very friendly and very helpful. Kudos to them!
Things to consider when choosing for this hotel
Our stay at Holiday Inn Baruna was overall not bad, but we would not go back to this hotel, due to the reasons mentioned above. That’s just us though.
This hotel might be great for you. Here’s why and some tips.
- it’s really close to the airport (only a 15 minute drive)
- the staff is super friendly and helpfull
- if you are traveling with (small) children, this hotel is great!
- you are smack in the middle between Jimbaran and Nusa Dua on one side and Kuta, Legian, Seminyak and Canggu in the opposite direction. So if you are planning trips in both directions, then the hotel’s location is not even that bad.
- the garden of the hotel is well-maintained and looks pretty and tranquil
- the al fresco two-person daybeds are really nice
- the suites in the buildings further away from the main building are spacious and comfortable. If you are looking for a quieter, bigger room, with your own patio with daybed, choose for one of these suites.
- breakfast at the hotel’s Palm Restaurant is fine, but avoid Restaurant Envy and Flavaz, the ice-cream parlor. Eat outside the hotel instead. There are so many fabulous restaurants out there. Have a look at my Bali map. There is a ton of information on it, including all the foodie hotspots.
Have you stayed at Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali? How was your stay? Would you recommend this hotel?
What’s your preferred hotel on Bali? Please let me know in the comments. I love insider tips!