As part of my “Bali on a Budget” trip I wanted to show that you can have a nice vacation on Bali with hotels for less than $50. I picked the brand new ibis in Legian at the center of the towns lining the beautiful stretch of land from Kuta to Legian and Seminyak. The ibis Legian Street delivered what the brand promises and made for a good base for some beach time on Bali on a budget.
Location: While most of the budget hotels are in Kuta to the South, that is my least favorite place on Bali. Legian is much nicer and this ibis is a 10 minute walk to the popular Double Six beach and a little further to the bars, restaurants and shopping of Seminyak. The taxi ride from the airport is about 30 minutes. There are several convenience stores, pharmacies, shops and restaurants within a 10 minute walk, so you can easily spend your time here without having to deal with taxis. The hotel faces one of the busiest streets in South Bali, so I’d recommend to ask for a room away from the noisy street (rooms on the right of floorplan are facing the street!).
Service/Rewards: The front desk offered a warm welcome in the open air lobby and upon presentation of my Accor LeClub Platinum card, offered to change my room from a street-facing room to a quieter room in the back of the building. I also got a cold towel and a welcome juice drink – both very welcome in the heat. She explained the breakfast and pool and I was on my way. Shortly after getting to my room, a slice of chocolate cake was delivered as a welcome gift – I’ll take chocolate over a fruit plate any day! Housekeeping was on top of their job and cleaned the room thoroughly and quickly each day, replenishing amenities and towels each day.
This ibis stay was the last of three two-night stays in one of Accor’s great promotion: this stay would generate 3,000 points (worth $66), making my stay essentially free!
Room: This ibis hotel opened just a few months ago and features the latest room design. It has wood-look floor tiles – I think these are great in the heat and stay much cleaner than carpet – I wish more hotels had them! The queen-size bed has new bedding with a plush mattress-topper, new thicker comforter and softer sheets than other ibis – making this easily the most comfortable bed I’ve had at any budget hotel! The headboard is high with panels of different colors. Power outlets, lamps and light switches are all built into the bed. There is a small half-open closet with cloth hangers, a safe and mini-fridge. You also get a narrow desk and chair, coffee/tea facilities and a luggage bench. All of it is held in a light wood. Across from the bed is a tall panel in a chalkboard look with the flatscreen TV. The decor is light and modern and makes for a nice refresh from the “old” ibis look. The furniture looks to be designed for easy replacement, which probably makes regular maintenance and updates easier.
The bathroom has the same layout as before, now with a rounded wall to the bedroom, but is designed as a pod, probably factory assembled and installed onsite. It’s completely clad in white plastic on the inside with some wood-look floors and panels arround the mirror. The bathroom overall is very small with little space between the toilet, sink and shower. The shower with glass doors itself is pretty large and comfortable to shower. There are towel bars and hooks, a hair dryer and a hair & body wash dispenser in the shower, as well as soap, a dental kit, sanitary kit and shower cap. While I still like the layout and functionality of the bathroom, the new design in all-plastic is awful. After only a few months, the plastic shower already looks dirty – I wouldn’t want to see it in a few years. Plastic showers were popular in the 70s and US budget hotels abandoned them in the 80s for their poor upkeep and cheap ambience – I hope Accor will, too!
The central air conditioner with wall controls worked great, keeping the room very cold! The free Wifi internet was a different story. It was unreliable and pretty much useless in the evenings, not even allowing basic browsing. The speed seemed to be capped at 2Mbps and somewhat operated at that speed in the morning. But even though, I had to re-log in every 10-15 minutes, making work rather painful. While internet is generally not very good on Bali, this is some of the worst I’ve seen at any hotel on Bali!
Restaurant/Amenities: One of the best features of the ibis Legian Street is the rooftop pool featured on the hotel web site. You can see the ocean from up there, there is a stunning roof structure, nice loungers and pods for two people around the swimming pool and small kiddie pool. Unfortunately, there is only room for 6-8 people and during my visit a small group spread out over all the loungers, preventing anybody else from using the pool area. That’s unfortunate, because there is more space on the roof for extra chairs and loungers, but it’s currently empty and looks to be reserved for a bar in the future.
The ibis has a bar and restaurant and ground level facing the street and serving lunch, dinner and drinks all day. The breakfast is served in a separate restaurant in the back. There are separate spaces with tables, partly separated by removable walls. It looks like this is also used as flexible meeting spaces and works pretty well to make it feel less like a cafeteria – again, I like the design and layout. The food served on the buffet was not nearly as good. They offered some fo the worst croissants and breads I’ve seen at any Accor hotel. There was little fruit and staff didn’t keep up with replenishing it. There was a wide selection of hot foods though, both Asian and Western, including eggs and meats. Coffee was prepared in an automatic machine, but it tasted more like instant coffee rather than freshly brewed espresso drinks.
The lobby area has two desktop computers, printing has to be done via the front desk.
Bottomline: If you want a convenient base on Bali to access the beautiful beach at Legian and the nightlife in Seminyak, the ibis is a reliable place at a price of only $32/night including a decent breakfast. You get a modern bedroom and a so-so bathroom pod, friendly service and a great pool! You can walk to the beach and plenty of restaurants from here. The challenge is that there are so many new and inexpensive hotels on Bali: You can stay closer to the beach at the nicer all seasons Legian or the Harris Seminyak for a few bucks more. Or you can spend even less at independent local hotels for the same offering. I would come back to take advantage of Accor promotions, but will give other hotels in more convenient locations a try first!