sojourneys


The Stones Hotel, Legian, Bali
January 19, 2014, 10:01 am
Filed under: Bali, Indonesia, Marriott | Tags: , , , ,

You know it’s going to be a mixed experience when a hotel’s strongest suit is it gym and it’s worst is it’s restaurants. But first, the rooms. Guestrooms at The Stones Hotel, Legian, Bali either face the pool (for an additional fee), a derelict building, or into another adjacent property. The rooms themselves are fine, with a comfortable bed (with less-than-comfortable pillows), adequate work space, shower and changing area partitioned by a thick curtain. During our stay in December, we had to get the room sprayed everyday because it was infested with mozzies. Imagine hearing the buzzing sound of commando mozzies darting around your face as you try to sleep.

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The hotel can be noisy and unconducive for relaxation. What would one expect when there is a convention onsite that aspires to host events for up to 2,000 at a go on a relatively small property (a feature overlooked during booking). The centerpiece of the hotel is a large pool, which is amply surrounded by deck chairs.

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Despite the claims that there are three restaurants, they are all in one dining space demarcated by sometimes nothing more than a sliding door.

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The best feature of the hotel, which we utilized everyday, was the gym. Generously spacious, it has a nice assortment of equipment and a supply of distilled water and fruits.

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Overall, I would say that despite its branding, The Stones Hotel, which is managed by Marriott emphasizes on the “mood” (and probably the “masses”) without considering the finer touches that make a hotel a great resort. The bathtubs on the upper floors located of all places the balcony with billowy white curtains for privacy is an indication of form above function

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Hyatt Regency Yogyakarta
February 17, 2013, 3:01 pm
Filed under: hotels, Hyatt, Indonesia | Tags: , , , , , ,

The best asset of the Hyatt Regency Yogyakarta is its staff, who are ever smiling and who exude warm, cheerful service.  The grounds are verdant and well-maintained.  But its age is starting show in the frayed corners, mouldy baths in the spa, and visible wear-and-tear on the facilities.

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The rooms are spartan by Hyatt standards.  There is no alarm clock in sight, access to the shower is via a precarious climb into the steep bath, and the in-room safe is so shallow that it can accommodate only one laptop.  Cold, austere tiles overlay the flooring.

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The expansive swimming pools, surrounded by lush gardens and an abundance of deck chairs, somewhat offset the austere guest accommodations.

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Taking inspiration from Borobudur, Indonesia’s most visited monument, which is about an hour by car from the hotel, the outdoor lounge area is flanked by charming Koi ponds with miniature stupas.

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The Hyatt Regency Yogyakarta is probably the city’s most luxurious hotel, but by global Hyatt standards, there is certainly room for improvement, and an infrastructure upgrade is urgently needed.



The Grand Hyatt Jakarta
October 15, 2011, 7:54 am
Filed under: hotels, Hyatt, Indonesia | Tags: , ,

There are a few qualities about the Grand Hyatt Jakarta that positions it ahead of the surfeit of luxury properties in Jakarta.

To me, the most important is that it is integrated with Plaza Indonesia, a gargantuan shopping mall that has a basement grocery store, bakeries, as well as an array of restaurants. Yes, it has it has Bally, Givenchy, Armani–the temples of consumption–but direct access to the more practical amenities are crucial for safety reasons in case one needs a quick dash to the grocery store grab for some daily essential or to a bakery for quick sustenance.
 

 

 
The other strength of the Grand Hyatt Jakarta is its fitness center. It has one of the best, most comprehensive, and wonderfully spacious hotel gyms I’ve come across yet. The gym–called Club Olympus–is open to non-guest members, but I’ve never seen it crowded. The pool, likewise, is huge, with swimming lanes as well as a play area for children.

 

 

 

 

I’ve also had the opportunity to taste the fares at all-day dining Grand Cafe, and the food is above average.

The rooms are spacious, featuring a neutral, clean-lined decor that cannot possibly offend (although one might on the other hand say they lack character). Room service is diligent and attentive, and generally, for a large all-rounder hotel that aims to cater to business as well as leisure travelers, the Grand Hyatt Jakarta does a creditable job.



Teppanyaki chef at Ayodya Resort – Bali, Indonesia
June 3, 2007, 3:46 pm
Filed under: Ayodya Bali, Bali, Bali Hilton, food, Indonesia, japanese, resorts, reviews, teppanyaki

I mentioned in my earlier post that the culinary offerings at the Adyodya Resort Bali was unspectacular (check here for my TripAdvisor review), except for teppanyaki at the hotel’s Genji Japanese restaurant.  You can expect competent, though nondescript service, but the food is quite delectable.  Here is a pic of the food and some YouTube clips of the chef at work.  Bon appetite!

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Scenes at Nusa Dua Beach, Bali, Indonesia
May 27, 2007, 2:10 pm
Filed under: Bali, beaches, Indonesia, Nusa Dua

Bali boasts some of the best beaches in southeast Asia.  It has black sand beaches with volcanic content, and the more vanilla white sand beaches.  Nusa Dua is one of the finest white sand beaches on the island, flanked by large resorts such as Grand Hyatt Bali, Ayodya Bali, Melia Bali, and Westin Bali. 

Here are some video clips I took on Nusa Dua.



The Ayodya Resort Bali, Indonesia (formerly Bali Hilton)
May 23, 2007, 3:22 pm
Filed under: Ayodya Bali, Bali, Bali Hilton, holiday, hotels, Indonesia, photos, resorts, reviews, vacation

The Ayodya Resort Bali (formerly known as the Bali Hilton) harks back to the grand dames of the eighties, with sprawling grounds, verdant gardens, and a multitude of specialty restaurants, all in a single, expansive property.  However, the Ayodya Resort Bali is one grand dame in dire need of a major makeover.

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The grounds are charming for sure.  It boasts a vast central lagoon which provides a habitat to a variety of birds, lizards, and fishes.  There is also a team of cleaners maintaining the estate in as pristine a condition as they can.   Step inside, however, and one can’ help but be disappointed.  The standard rooms, for example, are starkly basic, with carpets suggesting much wear, sheets hinting stuborn stains, air damp with mildew, and an underpowered air-conditioning system.

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The decor at the restaurants (and it looked like only three of the eight or so were open) looks extremely dated, and the menu was uninspiring.  Quality of food, with exception of the Japanese teppenyaki, was dismal.  The Balinese theatre themed buffet dinner (usually a money-spinner) was canceled without a sound.  The disappointing choice of dining option and quality could be due to the low occupancy (bell hops and restaurant staff said it hovered at about 30 percent but it seemed lower), would be a poor excuse for a lack of quality.  Equipment at the gym looked like they had never been replaced since the inception of the hotel, and a distinctly musty smell permeated the air.

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The pluses of the hotel would have to be its sense of space, old-world charm, a large swimming pool, and the fantastic Nusa Dua beach.  However, the same can be said for numerous other Bali properties of similar age, but have nonetheless reinvigorated their brand and upgraded their facililities to keep up with the times.

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All said, the Ayodya Resort Bali would not be a hotel I would return to unless substantial upgrading was done.