Summary: The Hyatt Regency Bali is a family-friendly, well-situated resort in a lovely Balinese beach town. There are some kinks still to be ironed out, but as long as you get the right room, the hotel’s good location, beautiful grounds and decor, and outstanding hospitality make this a worthwhile booking.
Newly (re)opened after a nearly five year renovation on the site of the old Hyatt Bali, the Hyatt Regency Bali started taking reservations as of Dec 20, 2018. We arrived on January 4, 2019 for a six-night reward redemption stay. The resort is a Category 1 hotel, so the nightly redemption rate was only 5,000 Hyatt points for a basic king room and our total cost for the stay was 30,000 points.
Out of pocket for a similar booking would have been about $880 including taxes, so we got an excellent redemption value of a little over 2.9 cents per point. I used one of my Explorist Club Access Awards to get Regency Club access for our stay, but you can also book a room with club access for another 2,000 points per night. I highly recommend getting access to the club somehow to save some money, but more on that below.
I have to imagine that this property will be bumped up a category or two (for instance, the Grand Hyatt Bali is a Category 3 hotel), especially when the new Andaz goes in (more on that below), but for now this is an excellent use of points.
As you can see on numerous travel forums, the throngs of taxi drivers at the airport can be overwhelming and traffic even crazier. Though the Regency offers airport transfers for about 400,000 Rp (about $28 USD), we found a metered cab from Blue Bird that cost us only 180,000 Rp ($12), including tolls and tip.
Be ready to slow down as soon as your driver taps the brakes for the last time in front of the hotel entrance. We arrived in the evening and were greeted at the door by Puspa who recognized me by name and welcomed us to the club for a leisurely drink in the club while they took our bags to the room and checked us in at the desk.
Puspa was engaging and wonderful. Though the same can be said of all the staff here, Puspa (and Ayu and Oka in the club) especially stood out to us. Even though I am someone who is mildly misanthropic and likes privacy, I found the hospitality throughout our stay charming and not intrusive – just the right amount.
After we’d finished our mineral waters and the desk had processed our passports, we were shown to our basic King Room on the second level, which had a “lush garden view.”
We were immediately impressed by the design and spaciousness. However, we gradually noticed that there was a smell of sewage in the room coming from the bathroom and separate toilet area. I gather this is not uncommon in Bali due to floor drains not having a mechanism for trapping smells from coming back up. After turning the air conditioning on, running the water for a little, and covering the drains with a towel, the smell mostly dissipated.
As it turns out, more than a few dogs called this area home in the five year period between hotels. And they like to have howling contests in the night, apparently especially outside of our room (2212 in the second block) which faced unoccupied green space, so we ended up moving rooms. The new room was on the ground/first floor facing the interior of the main section of the resort. While it enabled a better night’s sleep, it was in a high traffic area during the day.
For us, it served our purposes (sleep > quiet day time), but I firmly believe that your room assignment will make or break a stay here. For instance, in our second room, the sewage smell was stronger and more persistent, though housekeeping did their best to deep clean things each time the smell came back.
In light of the pros and cons of our two rooms, I decided to do some scouting around the hotel. I believe the best rooms that would satisfy both requirements of fewer dogs outside the balcony and lower walking traffic and smell issues are rooms on the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th floor. Specifically: 16-23 of section 1 (“Hibiscus”), rooms 25-33 of section 2 (“Frangipani”), and – when it opens – rooms 27-36 of block 3 (“Bougenville”). FYI, room numbers are four digits: the first is the block number, the second is the floor, and the last two are the room number.
There is some benefit to a ground/first floor room, namely a bigger outdoor space (many had a larger green space), but my recommendation would be something above the ground floor to lessen the risk of drain smells. Please let me know in the comments section if you’ve stayed here and have recommendations on the best rooms at the resort!
I appreciated several nice touches in both rooms we stayed in. There was a private balcony and a cabana, each of which could be sealed off from the main room. So, depending on how we opened various doors, we could have a larger deck area for lounging outside or have a larger, air-conditioned living space inside.
Some smaller touches that went a long way included universal power outlets (no international adapters needed), Andaz and Park Hyatt-style light controls from bedside, a noticeable effort to reduce plastic consumption (toiletry wrappers, bottled water, and straws were all alternative materials), and pre-ground coffee for making a French press brew in the room.
Infrastructure was good, generally. Internet speed was adequate during peak usage hours and excellent in off hours. Water filter stations were available in the gym area and in the club, and I saw hotel staff coming around every so often to diligently take care of things. After the holiday crowd had checked out, I saw several managers walking around coaching staff and pointing out small areas for hospitality improvement. For instance, later in our stay the lap pool area started having towels pre-stocked on the lounge chairs instead of us having to go into the fitness center to grab one. It was clearly evident that the management here is focused on continuous improvement, which is great.
Though open for business, some parts of the hotel were not yet complete. By all accounts, construction on the remaining rooms (66% of rooms were ready – section 3, closest to the beach, was still under construction), spa (only a few single massage rooms are operational), and kid playground (“Camp Hyatt”; though the kiddie pool with nifty slide was fully operational) should be done by March 2019. I believe there are about 125 rooms per block, so during our stay they were able to handle 66% of their planned capacity.
Construction was ongoing, but not intrusive. I could hear hammering and drilling from the club and sometimes from my first room, but not from the pool or other restaurant areas. By about 6:00 pm each day all noise ceased for a peaceful dinner and evening drink.
The hotel layout is a bit of a labyrinth, fun to wander and explore, with many nice touches such as a diverse array plants and Balinese statues everywhere. They really put effort into the design and ensuring the fauna were mature, presenting an enchanting, clean-but-slightly-overgrown jungle aesthetic.
The attention to Balinese decor details is good example of this Hyatt Regency punching above its weight class and channeling Park Hyatt’s reputation for incorporating local culture into its design. It is also the biggest selling point for this property, in my opinion. I’ve seen more impressive resort pools, but the whole resort has a character that makes it enjoyable to linger and explore. Each day I came across something new I’d not noticed before.
Beyond the construction, however, walking around the premises there were other signs that the hotel was not quite complete. For instance, our second room was missing towel knobs in the bathroom. Or, there was clearly a men’s and women’s restroom in the club, but no way to tell which was which until they put the signs on the doors on our penultimate day there. On our third day, they drained one of the main ponds and people were working on it for the remainder of our stay.
The Regency Club was a lovely place to do some work, with a good breakfast spread and my favorite: pre-cut passion (or, as it was labeled one day, “fashion”) fruit and fresh Balinese coffee with a side of three or five chocolate croissants. Other options included Asian and local cuisine (congee, noodles, fried rice) and western options with all the trimmings for a continental and / or full English breakfast, including eggs cooked to order.
I also found that the club had most excellent service for families. I saw a few staff member really engaging with the children, even walking them to the buffet and helping them pick out their favorite desserts. As long as you’re not bothered by some children hanging around, this would be a nice couples destination too, though definitely not the most “adults-only” option you can get in Bali.
I have no idea about Hyatt’s plans or when things will actually happen, but I did see signs for a new Andaz on the vacant lot next door (“2019” on the sign, but I think that is optimistic given the state of the site). My guess, given the number of families here at the Regency, the fun kiddie pool and camp, and outstanding hospitality to the children: the Andaz may become the defacto adults-only hotel and the Regency primarily marketed to families, kind of like Zilara and Ziva, respectively.
Though we took breakfast in the Club each day, I went by Omang Omang to scout what was available there for breakfast. It looked delicious and the setting had a better view, but I was too cheap to give up on my free croissants and ‘fashion’ fruit. Lunch at Omang Omang was delicious. Fish and chips, the quinoa salad with halloumi, and the fresh spring rolls with prawn were all very tasty. I would avoid the margarita though, as they seemed to not put much lime or Cointreau in theirs, making them rather bland).
For one of the evenings, we tried the other restaurant on premises, Pizzaria. A very delicious wood-fired pizza and salad hit the spot. It was certainly worth the price.
Additionally, the Piano Lounge is a drinks option with a decent spread of liquor, wine, and beer choices. It has the best view of the pools and beach together and a very friendly waitstaff.
The beach was just OK. I liked that they had a paved boardwalk of sorts, but there was a fair bit of litter strewn about and it seemed like our canine friends had had a few generations of litters themselves. Staff were there intermittently chasing the dogs away, but the dogs clearly felt this was still their territory. I can’t necessarily blame them after 3-4 years of having no one around. Though some had collars, I would definitely recommend giving them a wide berth and not trying to pet them if you see them around.
I much preferred the pool area(s), of which there were two. The beach-side pool had several sections and a kiddie pool.
The second, located out back by the gym, was a very nice shaded pool for doing laps. Though the comfortable-looking Ganesh wasn’t inspiring me to get off my lounge chair to work out…
Near the lap pool was the fitness center and spa. The fitness center was spacious and well-equipped, but I found the spa a little pricey. Additionally, it was still under construction and only a few minutes’ walk away a massage could be had for more than 90% less.
Though there was no occasion to frequent it, I did see the special events (like weddings, I suppose) area, which seemed very pleasant and well-equipped to handle a larger crowd.
This was our first trip to Bali, so I can’t comment on how Sanur compares to other areas, but I must say that I was very impressed by the combination of luxury, seclusion, and access to local areas that the Hyatt Regency Bali offers.
A quick walk from the hotel beachfront in either direction puts you in a position for some gelato, a cheap massage, or some shopping. Accessible yet peacefully secluded seems like a rare combination for most big brand resort hotels, but the Hyatt Regency Bali pulls it off.
All in all, Sanur and the Hyatt Regency Bali were a delightful respite from winter in the US, and a great deal when booked using points. Though the beach wasn’t pristine, and despite not getting a quiet room that doesn’t smell (which seems very important to the quality of the stay), we had a very pleasant stay. It was nice to have the option of easily accessing a bustling (but not hectic or crazy) town, strolling the hotel grounds, seeing all the fountains and other cool decor, or sitting by the pool and looking out over the ocean – all in one location.