After the hustle & bustle of a big city, I crave a tropical beach. So, to make the most of my flight half-way around the world to Sydney, I then took a relatively short flight to Bali (6.5 hrs). I spent 5 nights at the stunning St. Regis Bali Resort in Nusa Dua. From cabanas by the pool & daybeds on the beach to impeccable butler service & relatively cheap, 5-star cuisine (thank you foreign exchange rate) this is my favorite resort thus far.
The warm hospitality of the Balinese people, in general, is something to note, but the perks of the St. Regis butler service was apparent from the moment I stepped off the plane. When you fly into the Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, you will be greeted with a never-ending line to pass through customs. The average wait time must be something around 2 hours+ since there is only one airport in Bali and numerous planes arriving at the same time.
If you’re staying at the St. Regis, your butler will be waiting for you at the gate and will usher you past the security lines. I don’t know how they do it, but I didn’t ask questions. I was in a chauffeured car with bottled water & chilled towels within minutes.
🗝 Tip: There might be a charge for the airport transfer if your rate doesn’t include it, but it’s worth it. It’s only $26+ vs $13+ via cab for a 20 min ride to the resort.
Upon arriving, I knew I was in paradise. Lush tropical grounds with stunning pools & a private beach, what more could you ask for? The resort is secluded within a gated community in Nusa Dua, the southern tip of Bali.
In the open-air lobby, you’re greeted with Balinese musicians playing an instrument which is beat like a drum but sounds like twinkling bells. My butler serves me a tropical welcome drink and quickly whisks me away to my suite. This resort features only suites. So, although I stayed in the “smallest” room, it was about 200 SF larger than my condo at home.
The buggy to my room drove around the resort to get me acclimated to my temporary home. My favorite part was the pools. First, there’s the freshwater pool crowned with dreamy daybeds where you can get full-service food & drinks if you’re too lazy to make it to the swim-up bar.
Next, is the saltwater lagoon. My photos don’t do the pools justice. Both pools are extremely large with multiple seating areas in & out of the water. Even the professional photos on their website don’t capture it all. This is a resort where if you can splurge, I think the pool villas would be worth it. You can swim out your door and into your private pool, which opens into the lagoon.
St. Regis Suite
The St. Regis Suite is the standard room size, but it was incredibly spacious. My favorite part was the enormous walk-in closet. Also, the butler service includes unpacking & packing your luggage and complimentary pressed garments.
My first day there I had dinner at one of the resort restaurants, Kayuputi. It was a stunning, fine-dining restaurant which lays over the freshwater pool and looks out onto the beach. It’s hard to see, but they have these cabana tables on the patio which sits on top of a small river- it was just gorgeous. You felt like you were floating. In true, fine-dining fashion, the food is as beautiful as it tasted, and the prices would shock you. Although the room rates are pricey as expected, the cost of things at the resort seemed adjusted to local prices. For example, an entree at Kayuputi was $11 USD, specialty cocktails from the bars were $6 USD, etc. There are 5 different restaurants & bars so you have plenty to choose from.
One of the highlights of my stay was the breakfast served in the Boneka restaurant. It’s usually included in your room rate, and it is the best hotel breakfast I’ve ever experienced. In addition to a generous buffet with multiple stations- including a station that served a different traditional Balinese dish each day- the best part was the a la cart menu. The menu has numerous sweet & savory options, fresh squeezed juices, smoothies & more from which you can order an unlimited amount. The portions are smaller so you can enjoy multiple dishes, and that I did. My favorite is the croissant french toast with clotting cinnamon butter & papaya lime jam. Below is a sample of one of the menu pages.
The resort is much larger than you’d think with plenty of nooks & crannies to explore. I loved this shaded area with hammocks. There is also a huge gym, Remède spa, kid’s center, business center, etc. Also, be sure to check out the boutique. I found some great souvenirs, and the prices were so reasonable, like a St. Regis Bali straw tote with leather trim for about $35 USD.
I spent most of my time at the pool, but there’s also a lovely private beach. They have comfy chaises with beach attendants near by to bring you more towels or refreshments. For the more adventurous-type, there is a water sports center as well.
🗝 Tip: I highly recommend buying water shoes to bring with you. After a short walk into the water, there are so many stones & ocean plants on the ground that you cannot walk comfortably, and the water remains shallow for a long stretch. I seriously am so grateful for these water shoes on every beach trip. These are the ones that I bought, but there are many different kinds: Vibram’s Five Finger Signa Water Shoe
*More about these shoes in my next posts about Thailand.
Cheap Lagoon Pool Resorts in Bali
Although I highly recommend the St. Regis Bali Resort, there are so many amazing places to stay in Bali. I honestly think Bali has the largest number of magazine-worthy resorts in many different price points than any where else I’ve been. (When I go somewhere, I literally read reviews of every hotel. I’m a hotel nerd- is that a thing?)
Fellow blogger, Kristyna Schonova, wrote a great Bali post about 11 resorts where you can get direct access to a lagoon pool. Many are very well-priced!