25th – 27th June 2017
Coincided with Hari Raya Idul Fitri
First holiday since 2013

Hotel – Alaya Kuta

15mins from the airport; 1.5hrs in a traffic jam.
Opposite Discovery Mall and next to Waterbom Bali, we could hear the screams during the day but it quickly became white noise as we were engrossed in our holiday plans and excitingly so.

2-bedroom suite with a king and two single beds for 3 of us (2 nights)
+ spa, laundry & airport pick-up, the total bill came up to about SGD 320 / pax.
Daily breakfast and airport drop-off were already included in the accommodation rate.
I brought my own hairdryer. Did not check if they provided one.

Breakfast was excellent. We had Nasi Uduk, Nasi Kuning, Mie Goreng, Nasi Goreng, Bubur Ayam & Eggs Benedict across both days. Kenny also tried their chef’s special; it sucked and paled in comparison to the rest of their mains. The kitchen was inconsistent in terms of quality. Our first breakfast (26th) tasted better than our second (27th). It was truly a feast as each person was allocated a set of the following – Fruits, Bread Basket, Coffee/Tea, Juice, Main, Cereal/Salad. This was more brunch than breakfast. LOL! Considering Kenny & I have eaten a lot of Indonesian food, Alaya’s local fare is an 8/10 for a breakfast spread.

Dala Spa is Alaya’s in-house spa facility.
Their 2hr customisable service was the best value-for-money product on their menu. For about SGD 80 / pax, we got to mix any service from milk baths, body scrubs, massages to facials as long as their combined duration totalled up to 2hrs. The rooms were spacious, clean and equipped with both a toilet and shower; towels provided! This was perfect for Keith whose flight was at 1900:

– Checked out at 1230 (Kenny asked for a 30min extension)
– Walked over to Discovery Mall (1hr)
– Returned to Alaya and chilled out in the business center for the much-needed A/C and iced coffee and tea (30mins)
– At 1400, Keith went for his second 2hr spa and Kenny & I left for our 1600 flight. We were lucky as traffic was smooth; 15min ride! WOOHOO!
Keith left for the airport at 1600 and got caught in traffic; took him 1.5hrs!

Service was efficient and professional. Balinese service staff are generally less personable compared to those in Lombok however their high level of competency more than makes up for their lack of warmth. The General Manager’s capability was clearly exhibited through his staff’s performance across all shifts; an easy 9/10.

Alaya Kuta checked a lot of boxes for Kenny & I:

Location (with heavy traffic)
– Within 1hr to Seminyak, Legian and the other side of Kuta
– Within 1.5hrs to Canggu
– About 2hrs to Uluwatu

Room, Comfort & Cleanliness
– Ample amounts of soap and shampoo + warm water for the shower
– Clean in all areas of the hotel

– Wifi was stable enough; strongest downstairs & when we open our connecting doors
– Gym did not have that ‘dusty’ smell + spacious and clean
– Pool & Spa

+ Food, Service, Transport; a highly deserving 9/10.
Having stayed in several hotels and villas in Bali plus our background in hospitality, Kenny & I strongly recommend Alaya Kuta as THE base if your holiday consists of mainly shopping and clubbing.

El Kabron Spanish Restaurant & Cliff Club

Located on the cliffs of Uluwatu, the 2hr drive through crazy traffic was totally worth it. The journey amped up the exclusivity of the place and we were impressed beyond expectations when we entered.

No holds barred on both food and drink, our bill came up to about SGD 440. El Kabron has a pre-payment policy for two different areas: Dining Area (indoors and al fresco) and the Cliff Club (pool area and VIP balcony lounges). We bought the latter which cost Rp 650.000 / guest and included the following:

– Full access to all areas
– ‘Complimentary’ welcome glass of Moet & Chandon
– Rp 300.000 credit towards Food & Beverage
– Pool & towel service
– 20% off at the El Kabron gift shop

Best Spanish food I have ever eaten in Southeast Asia as of today. Kindly let me know your recommendations so that I can go on a tapas binge fest! Cocktails were mind-blowing. Their bartending skills were off the charts and completely killed my tastebuds for subsequent cocktails the next day (i.e Ku De Ta which bored Kenny & I the last time we were there). Music was immaculately mixed. Could not shazam/soundhound a single track! Pure jizz. And of course, the view.

A perfect birthday present from Keith to Kenny & I. ♥♥♥

Shopping, Eating & Clubbing

Discovery Mall is superb for all kinds of souvenir shopping.
If you are based near/opposite, leave this to-do at the tail end of your trip which will open up more time for you to shop for your own stuff. Prices are decent and reasonable; eliminates the stress of haggling.

Sunday bazaar at Love Anchor Canggu is an assembly of small businesses of locally-made clothes, bags, accessories, trinkets and jewellery. You can bargain here. A quaint and charming wooden establishment, it is a less sandwiched version of the Seminyak shopping strip with a hipster element. But it is a small complex so we suggest that you drop by only if you are in the area.

For the guys, we found great buys at Paul Ropp, Animale & Bali Boat Shed. Local label, Biasa+, had a promising top for them but did not have the right size nor a decent price tag. I got pretty things from Uma & Leopold and Magali Pascal. All of us found something at Suen Noaj. Checked out some homeware stores too – Bungalow Living, Kim Soo & Mercredi. We missed out on Souq, Auguste, Atilla & Co and Sea Gypsy. Will have to pay them a visit the next time we are back in Bali.

Landed at 0700 on the 25th, dropped the bags at the hotel and went off for breakfast at Seasalt Seminyak, which is located inside Alila Seminyak. The best dishes were their pho cha and chicken noodle soup. Unfortunately for them, Alaya Kuta’s western breakfast beat theirs by a mile. The sea view and sea breeze were a welcoming start to our trip though – 6.5/10

Ate bbq pork ribs at Warung Sunset, specially for the meat lover, Kenny – 6.5/10
Supper at Warung Laota, the best cantonese food on the island – 9/10
Coconut-based ice cream in between shopping at Mad Pops, light & flavourful – 9/10
Wanted to try Eat Well but the queue was overwhelming. We gave up. A must-return!
Cancelled reservations at Merah Putih & Mofo Kitchen due to time constraints. Will have to patronise these yummy places together with the others – Cuca Flavour, Ji Restaurant, Tusu Bali, La Laguna, Naughty Nuri’s & Gelato Factory.

Based on previous experiences, we recommend Honzen & Rock Bar at Ayana Resort. Staying in Lombok has raised the bar for Indonesian food so much so that we just indulge in non-Indonesian cuisine whenever we are in Bali. For massages – The Care Day Spa in Seminyak. Blue Glue Bikinis have a wide range of unique and non-cheesy designs. Waterbom Bali is THE BOMB! Fun Fun Fun!

Needless to say, the best clubbing spot is at Sky Garden. The last time Kenny & I were there, they were still undergoing renovation. Now, fully completed & functional, the refurbished club is awesome! Keith absolutely loved it there especially with dirt cheap drinks – about SGD 6 for a shot & SGD 5 for a beer. Opposite Sky Garden is a ragtag pizza store which sells slices for cheap. Smart move to tap on the hungry drunks and we got sucked into it. Yuck! We did not finish our slices and went for our Chinese comfort food. So, hold out for Warung Laota. Do not buy the pizza. Fight the hunger! We wanted to try clubbing at Mirror however they had a strict dress code so we decided to fuck it and not shop for long pants.

Oh! Stumbled upon a bar-and-store called Beer & Co along Legian. Perfect place to buy drinks back to the hotel for a chill-out room party. Closes at 0400!

Next Trip

Ubud / Uluwatu, possible?

*all photos on instagram

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