Conrad Bali Resort & Spa –
Benoa, Bali, Indonesia
The Conrad in Benoa is a new hotel that opened in March 2004. Conrad is a branch of Hilton that focuses on exotic locations and luxury level.
Located along the main strip of resorts heading towards the point at Tanjung Benoa the hotel has a simple and clean entrance, with large blocks of grey marble facing the street. I was actually looking for the staff when I and there was definitely no busy feeling here. I was told this was a slow week and soon there will be more guests.
The reception is at the left side of the lobby as you walk in and sits under a huge dark-wood roof. The floor is also polished dark-wood and the decor is simple and elegant. Modern jazz plays over the sound system and a bar is to the rear right. An open deck at rear looks out onto the main swimming pool and ocean. The combination of the dark wood floors and roof, large chunks of white marble and granite counter slabs give a solid, robustness to the look. The atmosphere is definitely western.
The hotel is done on a grand scale and in American style rather than Balinese style. The rooms are very clean and new, spacious and well equipped. The grounds are manicured with every thought taken as to how things are going to work. I visit many hotels that are decked out from head to toe to look like some kind of Balinese fantasy. On many occasions this over-styling means the functionality is compromised. This can be seen in garden pathways that have loose stones or awkward stepping stones. Here at the Conrad everything works, beautifully. You can see that a lot of people who know what they are doing have made deliberate design choices and it adds up. The pathways here are wide and flat, other edges are lined up perfectly with no chances of a bad footing, very important for older people and kids. The doors to the rooms, doors to the bathroom and shower are on huge silver hinges that swing the large doors effortlessly open. I like that! I like space, I like simplicity and I like things to work. They all work at the Conrad.
Staff here seems friendly, I spoke to many who said they enjoy their job. Staff attire is not in Balinese design either, rather they sport beige pants and a simple white t-shirt. They still look good though.
There are 3 restaurants on the property, one being the beach-side one where I had lunch, 55,000rp for a tuna sandwich and fries. It was very good. A margarita pizza costs 65,000rp
One of the obvious features you notice when heading through the hotel to the beach is vast amount of swimming pool space. It is actually on a Las Vegas scale, with 3 main pools. There are Venetian style bridges over the swimming pools and large slow-pouring fountains, all with that Vegas touch again.
The pool areas are spacious with new wooden recliners and mats and plenty of sunshades.
A grassy area with massage bales occupy a section between the pools and the beach. The beach itself is very clean, I saw a team of cleaners raking it during the day. There are also NO beach vendors which will please guests seeking peace and quiet.
Swimming is safe off of the beach as waves and currents do not affect the lagoon area inside the coral reef. Surfing is decent outside the reef and I saw waves barreling across.
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The Conrad is located on the beach at the beginning of the strip that leads to Tanjung Benoa. From Kuta is about 25 minutes, 20 from the airport.
The atmosphere at the Conrad is one of a large modern hotel that has spared no expense to get thins right. The place is bright and shiny, everything seems to fit in its lace and the staff are dressed in a casual / fun way rather than the formal Balinese way. American or International are 2 terms that would give an idea of what you can expect.
Music in the beach side restaurant was a mixture of relaxing Paul Simon, David Gray and trendy fusion.
The scene around the pools fit in with the Euro tourist stereotype, plenty of bronzed people in Speedos with their wives and kids.
This hotel has a high level of luxury with space and quality being high on the priority list. The Conrad has 350 meters of beach-front with a good quality of vendor-less sand and safe, swim-able water.
Rooms are large, clean and designed for westerners who like their rooms to work. Doors are big the bed is queen-size and the walkways are wide.
There is a massive amount of swimming pool space and plenty of space around them.
The 3 restaurants offer choice and affordable high quality food.
The staff at the Conrad are very friendly. I think the informal dress code helps them relax and open up. The level of staff hussle is high though, just sit down or walk into a new area and someone will politely ask if you need assistance.
What makes this hotel unique:
The Conrad is unique because is offers a newly built resort on the beach featuring American standards and sizes. The hotel is very well designed and those little extras all work. While there are some Balinese elements such ass beach-side bale structure the style is predominantly western. Plenty of space and the massive swimming pools are perfect for relaxing.
Why would you stay here:
I would stay at the Conrad if I wanted a new modern, well-designed, luxury hotel on the beach. You are not going to have much contact with the locals apart from the staff who seems well trained. If I wanted a relaxing vacation in place that offered a range of services in a pleasant this would work. For a family or honeymoon couple the Conrad would be a good option.
Why would you stay somewhere else:
I would stay somewhere else if I wanted more of a budget option, or more contact with the local culture. The Conrad is not located near culture centers or designed with the culture in mind. If I was on an extended world trip I would go somewhere else and if I wanted closer access to the nightlife scene I would stay closer to Kuta.
How do the rooms feel:
The rooms are large with large comfortable beds. All the fittings look good and as mentioned before the wide doors and slick hinges were especially nice, making entering the rooms / shower etc. easy. The rooms were spotless with clean linen and towels, each room having Telephone with voice-mail, high-speed internet access with secure private network connection, laptop / fax/ printer on request, flat screen TV with satellite channels, individually controlled AC, coffee & tea making facilities, safe, hairdryer, private bar, DVD / CD player. The rooms are stacked in blocks of 4 storeys some facing the ocean, others at 90 degrees to the ocean. Some of the ground floor rooms have direct access to the swimming pool which runs right off of the terrace. Balconys are neat with the usual small table and 2 chairs.
The road that runs past the hotel is not super busy and the hotel property is large enough that any outside noise will not affect guests. The beach area is not a hive of activity and the only noise you are likely to hear is the occasional jet-ski.
Proximity to the action:
The Conrad is located closer to Nusa Dua than Tanjung Benoa but is still far from the shopping and nightlife of Kuta and Seminyak. A trip to Kuta will be 20 minutes and Seminyak about 35 minutes depending on traffic. Sanur will also be about 30 minutes.
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