The St. Regis Bali has been near the very top of my luxury bucket list for a very long time. Combining the timeless refinement of the St. Regis brand with world-renowned Balinese hospitality, the resort has always struck me as one of the ultimate luxury experiences you could ever hope to unlock using your hotel points.
Back in the days of Starwood Preferred Guest, the St. Regis Bali had been designated as an “all-suites” property that required an obscene number of Starpoints to redeem for a free night. But thankfully, when Starwood and Marriott merged to form Marriott Bonvoy, the St. Regis Bali became bookable for the Category 7 pricing of only 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night, an opportunity I swiftly captured soon after the date of the merger.
(As of March 2019, the St. Regis Bali has ascended to Category 8, making it 85,000 Bonvoy points for a free night; however, when peak/off-peak dates are introduced, there will be opportunities to book for 70,000 Bonvoy points per night on off-peak dates.)
This would be the second time in Bali for Jessica and myself, and we’d stay on the island for four nights in total. The first two nights were based at our favourite home-away-from-home, the Bambu Indah eco-resort in Ubud, and we’d relocate to the St. Regis for the final two nights.
The St. Regis is located in Nusa Dua, an area in Bali that’s home to quite a few luxury resorts. The Ritz-Carlton, where we had stayed on our first visit to Bali last year, is located not too far from here.
It’s worth noting that the St. Regis arranges complimentary airport transfers for all their guests; however, since we’d be arriving from Ubud, I informed the hotel that we would only required an airport transfer upon our departure from the resort.
Our Grab ride from Ubud brought us to the St. Regis at about 2pm. After a thorough security check at the front gates, our vehicle proceeded along the short road that culminated at the resort’s main lobby building.
Between the golden ornaments flanking the driveway and the ceremonial vine-covered arches overhead, the signature ostentatiousness of the St. Regis brand is quite visible from the moment you roll into the resort – exactly the way I like it.
After another security check at the entrance to the main lobby, you’ll find yourself within a gorgeously appointed space in which to immediately unwind, allow your first impressions of the resort to sink in, and take a seat on one of the couches to be helped by a check-in associate.
Welcome drinks and cool towels ensure you begin your stay on a relaxed note. Ours was a delightful Balinese lemonade with fruit juice and mint.
Our associate patiently walked us through all the important details of our stay, beginning with the room itself. The base room at the St. Regis Bali is known as a St. Regis Suite, and is housed within the upper floors of the main resort building, giving guests a balcony with some limited views of the surrounding resort.
Meanwhile, one level up from the St. Regis Suite is the St. Regis Pool Suite, which is essentially the same room, but has access to a private backyard with a plunge pool, gazebo, and direct access to the resort grounds. The St. Regis Pool Suite is also the highest room type that you can select when redeeming Suite Night Awards, since the next-higher room type is a standalone villa that retails for far more.
Since I wanted to guarantee a memorable stay, I had opted to redeem two of my Suite Night Awards to upgrade to the St. Regis Pool Suite, which successfully cleared five days in advance of my stay.
However, since there are quite a few Pool Suites at the resort, I’m also quite confident that I would’ve received this upgrade for free anyway as a Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite member, so perhaps next time I’ll save my Suite Night Awards and roll the dice with a complimentary Titanium upgrade.
Anyway, the associate confirmed our room type, and then offered me my choice of Platinum welcome amenity. The choices were between 1,000 bonus points, a complimentary 30-minute spa treatment for two, or daily breakfast in the Boneka restaurant. Breakfast was a no-brainer, especially in light of the amazing things I had heard – and later experienced for myself – about the breakfast here at the St. Regis Bali.
After that, it was time to head to our room. As is customary at resorts like these, our check-in associate walked with us all the way and proceeded to give us a tour of the room. The St. Regis Pool Suites are located on the resort’s ground level, which is one level down from the main lobby via a wonderfully ornate staircase.
You then turn left, proceeding past the pool table (where we played quite a few games over the course of our stay), the Gourmand Deli restaurant, and the ceremonial water display featuring vessels shaped like elephant horns, before entering the resort building itself.
Room 111, our home for the next two nights, was located immediately ahead.
A small foyer welcomes you to the St. Regis Pool Suite, and the rest of the room opens up to your right-hand side.
The living room is heavy on traditional Balinese furniture, consisting of a couch, coffee table, chair, and another table that functioned as both a dining table and a desk.
You’ll notice the pattern of flowery rounded squares on the carpet, which is a key design motif throughout the entire resort.
A semi-transparent curtain acts as a partition between the living room and the bedroom.
Walk past it, and you’ll come upon the king-sized bed positioned imposingly against a headboard with some Balinese artwork above it. There’s those flowery rounded squares again on the light fixtures.
Opposite the bed is the flatscreen television mounted against the wall, situated above a medium-height chest of drawers that also acts as a small countertop.
A fruit bowl and box of truffles had been placed here in advance of my arrival, to thank me for my loyalty to what was at the time the SPG brand.
Also positioned under the television was a universal charging port and an HDMI port for connecting your laptop to the TV screen.
The two doors on either side of the television provide access to the walk-in closet and the bathroom, respectively. The walk-in closet was a very nice size, and the Butler Services member who had helped us with our bags upon arrival had proactively brought them over.
(As part of the Butler Service at every St. Regis hotel around the world, butlers are able to help guests with packing and unpacking, but Jessica and I didn’t feel that was necessary.)
Also, may I please comment on how sharp the bathrobes look? Fresh white cotton with black trim and the ornate St. Regis logo embroidered on it – it’s gotta be one of my favourite hotel bathrobes I’ve had the pleasure of donning.
Over to the bathroom, which is every bit as spacious and visually pleasing as the rest of the room. A set of double sinks, whose mirrors bear a striking set of LED lights embedded within, is flanked by a large standalone bathtub on one side and the shower and toilet stalls on the other.
The bathtub is perched against the window in such a way that it overlooks the plunge pool on the porch outside. A missed opportunity to install an opening in the glass here so that you can effortlessly hop between the bathtub and the pool, perhaps?
The shower boasted excellent water pressure and came with premium toiletries by Remede, the spa chain that operates out of most St. Regises around the world. Meanwhile, the toilet was housed in its own separate stall, although it wasn’t a Japanese-style smart toilet that you seem to find quite often in South East Asian luxury resorts.
In terms of the room’s other features, the foyer near the entrance plays host to a small pantry, where you’ll find the minibar, kettle, coffee maker, and complimentary bottled water.
While I do appreciate these features in a hotel room, we never really made use of them, since the St. Regis Bali’s Butler Services are able to deliver any types of tea and espresso beverages to your room 24/7.
The foyer also provides you with his-and-hers straw hats, a tote bag, and a few umbrellas for your use around the resort, which was a very nice added touch.
Let’s open those full-sized sliding doors and step into the backyard of our St. Regis Pool Suite, which is definitely the highlight of the room and the very reason I had sought out this upgrade.
There’s an overwhelming amount of seating options out here, from the daybed, dining table, and lounge chairs on the porch, over to the gazebo down in the garden itself (which is fantastic for photo ops, I’ll tell ya). If you’ve booked yourself a St. Regis Pool Suite, you won’t be short of options for lounging and relaxing, that’s for sure.
Of course, the best part about the St. Regis Pool Suite is the private plunge pool that’s entirely yours to enjoy. A set of stairs leads down into the pool, and there’s also a small ledge where you can sit back and turn on the jets.
Note, however, that absolute privacy isn’t guaranteed when you’re relaxing in your pool, because guests who are staying in the regular St. Regis Suites up above you can still peer over their balconies and see into your backyard.
Overall, I was mostly satisfied with our St. Regis Pool Suite, as I couldn’t have asked for much more without paying an arm and a leg to upgrade to a villa. Nevertheless, I did have a few very minor gripes with the room: for one, in terms of square footage it’s certainly not the largest suite I’ve stayed in, and it’s also not really a “true” suite since the bedroom and living room are mostly connected, and are only separated by a thin curtain.
At most other hotels, this type of room would probably be more accurately classified as a junior suite or something like that, but since all rooms here at the St. Regis Bali are designated as suites, I suppose that distinction wasn’t necessary.
The other thing I noticed is that as a resort that recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary, the first few signs of age were just beginning to show on the furniture. It did nothing that put me off at all, but rather was simply something that registered with me, especially as I was subconsciously drawing comparisons to the much newer Ritz-Carlton a few miles from here, where I had stayed last year.
Like I said, these are truly very minor grievances in an otherwise spectacular resort…
…an impression that was reinforced again and again throughout the remainder of our stay, most significantly by the daily breakfast in the Boneka restaurant adjacent to the main lobby.
Allow me to be upfront: the breakfast at the St. Regis Bali is THE best hotel breakfast I’ve ever come upon, and it’ll be very difficult to top in the future.
Why? Well, not only does the St. Regis give you free rein over a varied breakfast buffet, but it also allows you unlimited orders from an à la carte menu boasting dozens of items at a level of decadence I had never thought was possible for breakfast.
I mean, among their “signature egg variations” alone, you have Spanish Avruga caviar on a bed of egg salad and blinis…
…a perfectly satisfying steak and eggs…
…a rich foie-gras with eggs that leaves you salivating for more…
…an over-the-top lobster omelette bathed in lobster bisque…
…and an egg nouvelle, which, like, I don’t even know how to describe it. It’s hardly even an egg dish at all; instead, it’s simply lobster ragout, parsley cream, and salmon roe delicately perched within an egg shell that’s perfectly sawn-off about a centimetre from the top. I had never before tasted anything quite like it.
Needless to say, as a seafood lover (and someone who doesn’t mind the occasional steak or foie-gras either 😉), I had about two or three of each dish lined up on the table at all times, and maybe five or six of those egg nouvelles for a quick hit of that decadent lobster flavour.
I didn’t even bother with the more plebeian dishes like Eggs Benedict – I mean, who needs hollandaise sauce when you’ve got lobster bisque?
What truly pushed me over the edge on the breakfast menu, though, was the unlimited orders of fresh tuna sashimi. Boy, oh boy, the St. Regis has quite the gall putting sashimi on the menu, knowing that people like myself (and others like me) will be filling up on far more than their fair share!
Other highlights on the breakfast menu included the St. Regis ice tea and a vast selection of juices and smoothies, including a mixed berries smoothie that I truly enjoyed.
With most of my attention focused on the delightful chef’s creations on the à la carte menu, the buffet selection was almost a secondary consideration. The breakfast spread doesn’t have to be quite so large given the multitude of à la carte options, but it still possessed quite a bit of variety, including a made-to-order noodle station and a section for traditional Indonesian fare, where an attendant would gladly plate the components of the dish together for you.
Breakfast is served from 7am to 11am, so you have quite some time to indulge in all the amazing dishes on offer. Suffice to say that this meal should definitely cover breakfast and lunch – there’s no other way to do it! – and it should very much be possible to fill up on enough delicious food for the entire day if you’re daring enough!
After partaking in a gargantuan breakfast feast every morning, we needed some way to burn off a few calories. Thankfully, the St. Regis Bali is pretty spread out, so let’s go for a tour of the grounds.
After taking the steps down from the main building, proceed straight ahead and you’ll encounter a long ceremonial altar filled with black stones.
On either side of this altar are the pathways leading to the pool and beach. Here, you’ll also find the pathways to the Garden Villas; I couldn’t help but feel a tinge of jealousy as I walked past, but hey, you gotta leave something for the next visit…
About 200 metres down the path is where you’ll come upon the main swimming pool, which kind of meanders its way around a central “island”, eventually flowing parallel to the beachfront.
Multiple cabanas are available on the little island ensconced by the pool, and there was never much competition for cabanas – Jessica and I were able to secure a very nice spot pretty much every time we came to the pool.
The hotel’s Vista Bar separates the pool from the beach, and can be accessed as a walk-up bar along the beachfront pathway or a swim-up bar from within the pool, which I thought was a very satisfying design.
Continuing further in the same direction, you finally arrive at the St. Regis’s beach, which features a very expansive stretch of pristine white sand between the area with the lounge chairs and the water itself. I thought the beach here at the St. Regis was lovely, with much finer sand than what I recall from the Ritz-Carlton last year and very little debris washing up on shore.
Whenever you take up a spot by the pool or beach, an attendant will come over to hand you some towels and take any drink orders. Bottled water is complimentary, although Jessica and I also ordered several coconuts to sip on over the course of our time relaxing in the sun.
While the St. Regis Bali’s pool and beach were both quite stunning indeed, perhaps the resort’s most unique water feature is its gigantic saltwater lagoon, which takes up almost an entire half of the central part of the resort grounds. The water in the lagoon is drawn from the ocean directly, and the space is absolutely massive – it’d take you about five minutes to float from one end to the other. Needless to say, we spent plenty of time simply floating around in the lagoon as well.
Within the saltwater lagoon are several noteworthy features, like a few straw huts, a relaxation area with several jets of water that you can operate, and a huge “underwater house” with a waterfall display and a few items of “furniture” made of stone.
You’ll also see that quite a few guest rooms have direct access into the lagoon from their backyards – these are the Lagoon Villas, one category above the Garden Villa, whose private infinity pools spill directly into the lagoon itself. Talk about utmost luxury…
A deck in the middle of the lagoon contains a few more cabanas and lounge chairs as well.
From that deck, you can make your way back onto solid ground on the northern side of the resort, where a host of additional hotel features can be accessed via the winding pathways. These include a well-kept garden area with hammocks, sculptures, and a ping pong table…
…a Children’s Learning Centre, where you can leave your little ones should you opt for a romantic dinner reservation…
…and the Beach Villas, one of the resort’s highest-tier living quarters that face onto the beach directly.
The hotel’s Remede Spa and fitness facilities are located at the end of one of these paths, and I went for a workout on the second day of our stay.
The gym is a nicely appointed facility with decent but not cutting-edge fitness equipment, as well as a separate room for yoga and aerobics.
There was also a variety of amenities for gym-goers, like complimentary bottled water and cold towels.
Meanwhile, back in the main lobby is where you’ll find the hotel’s business centre, known as The Office.
I should also briefly discuss the onsite dining options at the St. Regis Bali. As you can imagine, prices for lunch and dinner can get quite pricey at a luxury resort like this, especially at the premium restaurants like Kayaputi (Pan-Asian haute cuisine served overlooking the ocean) and Dulang (traditional Indonesian multi-course tasting menu served in a small hut in the middle of the gardens).
While Jessica and I did want to try the Indonesian dinner at Dulang on our second night (around 650k IDR [$60] per person), we were sadly informed that there weren’t any tables left. Instead, we ate at the more reasonably-priced Gourmand Deli near our room, treating ourselves to some tempura udon and Pad Thai for only about 160k IDR [$15] per person all-in.
Keep in mind that there are plenty of cheap restaurants in Nusa Dua, including quite a few immediately across the street from the St. Regis. However, do be warned that after eating at one Chinese seafood restaurant on our first night, Jessica came down with a pretty bad stomach bug which somewhat clouded the rest of our stay – be careful!
Lastly, I wanted to mention how impressed I was by the service at the hotel. While I very much enjoyed almost everything about my stay, it was several examples of outstanding service that made me feel like I wouldn’t hesitate to return.
For example, the Boneka restaurant manager stopped by our table multiple times during breakfast to check on how things were going. When Jessica mentioned she couldn’t eat much because she was sick, the manager proactively offered to serve up some ginger lemongrass tea, even though it wasn’t on the menu, to help soothe her stomach pains.
Or perhaps, when we wanted to take our Pad Thai back to our room to eat for later, the server at the Gourmand Deli painstakingly wrapped up the dish in a serviette, even though it was literally going to be a 30-second walk back to our room. Little personal touches like these went a long way towards solidifying my impression of the St. Regis Bali as a truly world-class resort.
Since this was a resort property, my Titanium late checkout couldn’t be guaranteed ahead of time, but thankfully the staff came through and gave me a 4pm late checkout. After one final dip in our private plunge pool, I checked out of the room and got some work done in the business centre for the next few hours, before catching the complimentary airport transfer to Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport.
The St. Regis representative helped wheel our bags all the way to the airport’s check-in area, and even gladly waited in line with us before we finally told him we could handle things from there, thus ending our memorable time at the St. Regis Bali with one final gesture of incredible service and hospitality.
All I can say is, WOW. I came into the St. Regis Bali with very high expectations, and they were fully met and then some. Funnily enough, the room itself was probably the least impressive thing about our stay, although the plunge pool was certainly a treat.
It was everything else about the resort – the “soft product”, as it were – that blew me away: the beautiful pool and beach; the one-of-a-kind sense of indulgence from floating in the saltwater lagoon; the unparalleled service drawing upon the hospitality principles of both St. Regis hotels and Bali itself; and of course, the all-time greatest hotel breakfast I’ve ever had, full of culinary ingenuity and decadent flavours that dazzled and delighted at every turn.
As far as I’m concerned, 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night here was an absolute steal, and the future off-peak rate of 70,000 points per night will still be absolutely worthwhile for a return visit, especially if I make it a five-nighter (and yes, it’s worth it, since two mornings of Boneka breakfast wasn’t nearly enough) to take advantage of the Fifth Night Free benefit.