After enjoying the luxury of a private pool villa, we needed a single night stay near the airport to avoid traffic issues prior to our flight home – and we picked the Holiday Inn Express Kuta Square. I have stayed at a number of HI Express in Asia and liked them, so at only $30 per night and a short drive to the airport, this was an easy call. Read on to find out if it was the right call!
UPDATE: This hotel has left IHG and is now the Zia Bali Kuta – I’d expect most of the review to still apply (except the IHG Rewards Club privileges)! Prices have gone down, making this a true beach bargain!
Location: The Holiday Inn Express Kuta Square is only 4km from the airport and 200m from the beach. It’s a short walk to the Southern end of the beautiful beach stretching from Kuta past Legian to Seminyak. While it is not the nicest part of the beach, it’s still convenient and easy to get to. The hotels in this area are cheaper for a reason though: It is an old part of South Bali and while the hotel is new, a lot of the buildings around it are old and not in great shape. While it’s safe, it doesn’t look like an island paradise.
Service: The staff was friendly at check-in and got us on our way quickly. During the breakfast, the staff was equally friendly and quick to refill the buffet to deal with the onslaught of guests. Check-out was flawless and they called a Bluebird taxi for us quickly. The service overall was as good as I’ve found it in a hotel of this category!
Room: The room was new and designed to the Holiday Inn Express standards: modern, light colored furniture, bright colors to lighten up the mood and a bathroom separated from the bed room with a frosted glass panel.
The bathroom was equally modern with nice tiles and a glass shower. The door is ingenious – it is the bathroom door and shower door at the same time, saving room and making it easier to use with two people. There was even a bidet toilet seat – an unexpected touch of luxury in this class of hotel!
There were also a TV, safe and coffee/tea facilities, all in good working order. The outlets are universal and will fit standard US or EU plugs!
The biggest issue with the room is the size: it was one of the smallest rooms I’ve ever stayed at in Asia, with barely enough room to walk around the queen-size bed! While there is a clever shelf for your luggage, I’d not want to stay there for an extended period of time. I also thought that the construction quality was poor – much worse than other HI hotels in the region, with the bathroom faucet wobbly, uneven tiles, and grouting stains on the glass – this hotel might not age gracefully!
Room Tip: On a follow-up stay, I was assigned room 526 facing the courtyard, which was slightly larger and had a corner desk, so you could do some work. It felt a little more spacious.
While the hotel only sells one category of rooms, you can ask for this room ahead!
Restaurant/Amenities: While I’d normally not call out the hotel lobby as an “amenity”, the one of the HIE Kuta was exceptionally nice. There is a big fountain in the courtyard with lush greenery, making for a nice welcome to the hotel (and great selfies for anybody needing to impress the folks at home). The restaurant is set with a view of the courtyard, the nicest aspect of it. The furniture is basic and the atmosphere more cafeteria than restaurant. The food selection is very typical for a Holiday Inn Express and the quality was good: It will keep you satisfied, but sure wasn’t memorable.
There is a small pool on the rooftop with a few loungers, so you can take a dip after a day on the beach! There’s even a small gym for your fitness needs.
Conclusion: If you are looking for a nice and modern hotel near the beach at a bargain price, the Holiday Inn Kuta Square will do fine. It’s a few minutes walk from the beach, shopping and restaurants in the neighborhood and a quick ride from the airport, making it ideal for a short stop over in the area. It’s even better value, if you consider it’s participation in the IHG Rewards program – I earned enough points due to a promotion to make up for the price I paid! The neighborhood and the size of the room are the downsides – if you are staying for a little longer, I’d recommend to stay in Legian, a much nicer neighborhood and get a similar hotel for a few dollars more. If you need an inexpensive IHG hotel for the stays or points, the HIE Kuta Square is find and I would stay again!
I checked prices at the Zia Bali Kuta – and they are about 20% lower than as an HIE, making it even better value. If you are looking for a beach bargain, check for the latest prices!