GRAND HYATT BALI NUSA DUA HOTEL REVIEW
I’d never been to Nusa Dua and now I have. It only took me 50 years to get there.
Nusa Dua is a far departure from the frenetic pulse-beating bass of Bali’s Legian and Kuta bars. It is a world unto itself, vast swathes of greenness and manicured grasses dotted with fallen white frangipani petals. It is serene. Home to holiday resorts that are more like neighbouring Hollywood estates than hotel complexes. They sidle up next to each other without the blight of glowing neon billboards. They just blend beautifully into the background without being obtrusive, no matter how grand they are.
I wish the Western world would take notice of this. Even make laws. How to take your place in society without becoming a blot or blemish on your surroundings. Respect. That’s the word. Not foisting your beauty of ugliness on others. But that is Balinese culture. Spiritual. Understanding. Living as one with nature.
The approach to the Grand Hyatt Nusa Dua is akin to arriving at a fancy golf course. And yes, I notice the golf buggies tucked to the side. More on these later.
In true Balinese custom, you are greeted at the kerbside by smiling faces. Your bags are then ushered to the nether regions of “somewhere” else, only to pop up like a magician’s rabbit in your room, “sometime” later.
Everything is big here. Giant white columns, sweeping terracotta roof tiles, reflecting pools with lily pads and vertical, protruding reeds. A penetrating view leads your eyes over a bamboo floral piece and through more trees; your final focal point – the ocean.
And that’s before you get to the check in desk on your left!
My check-in was melancholic in some respects. An anticlimax. A great arrival diminished by the needless fuddling through bureaucracy and paperwork chaos. I was shown a seat (no, I was directed to find my own… which I achieved without help) whilst they did whatever they did with my passport. 15 minutes later I was back at the counter to do more paperwork.
It was an unnecessary digression that could have been handled better.
I was handed my key and a map of the hotel resort grounds (more on this later too) and off I went following my lovely guide. It was then that I realised just how huge the place was. Around the corner I went, into an elevator, up two floors, around more corners and bingo, into my room!
I wasn’t expecting the older looking room that greeted me with old paintings and old furniture. When I contemplate the brand “Hyatt”, I tend to think modern. Often convention-styled. But this room was darker than I had anticipated, lots of neutral marble colours and dark woods. Yellow light.
The space was definitely large. Even the furniture looked small and therefore dwarfed by the vastness of open areas. The desk was more of a side table than a working area. But this was contrasted by a huge bed with a runner across it.
To the right side was a nook or day bed. I wondered why. I already had a bed.
The saving grace was a glorious balcony overlooking a coy carp pond edged with grey volcanic rock. Giant pam tree reached to the skies. Manicured lawns filled small spaces.
The bathroom was really an extended room with faux slated windows that filtered in the light from the bedroom. These too were framed by more dark wood. It kept the space airy and well-lit and more open-planned. I can’t remember if you had the option of a blind to cordon off the sleeping and bathroom areas for more privacy. I was on my own and comfortable with my own nakedness and toilet habits.
The bath tub was massive too and I did use it once to rest my weary limbs. And then there was a separate shower with heavy glass doors. Even the toilet had its own self-contained room with a diffused glass slide door.
For cupboard space there was plenty from the hallway. More wood: more wooden shelves and frames, wooden hangars, wooden doors. But this was traditional Balinese décor. It grew on me.
A small safe was on offer. I used it out of habit, not through fear.
GRAND HYATT NUSA DUA RESORT GROUNDS
I had arrived on the Jetstar “red eye” to inspect hotels for four days….16 hotels to be precise! This was to be my home for two nights and I was keen to just chill and grab a beer with one of our cohorts. Well that was the mission. Of course, being “Mr Know-It-All” I left my hotel room without the map, after all, who needs a tourist map at a hotel?
Clearly, I did!
The Grand Hyatt Nusa Dua is like a warren. A short walk to meet a colleague became an episode of Lost in Space. I ended up completely going in the wrong direction, on the wrong floor. And it didn’t end there. Once I found him, we both got lost hunting down a bar!
Which brings me to another point. Why were so many bars at the hotel closed during the day? It’s meant to be a resort, right? Thankfully the Poolside Bar was open for business and that first Bintang beer hit the spot first time.
It did take me two days and lots of walking to get my bearings. To find the beach, the umpteen swimming pools, the many dining areas. Mind you, I spent most of the daylight hours away from the resort. No time for sunbathing and relaxing.
DINING & DRINKS
The Garden Café was my preferred breakfast spot, directly in front of the main lobby area. I was early enough to enjoy eating outside, before the heat and humid smashes and saps you. It is meant to be “international” in flavour offering Asian and European dishes and the setting is pretty decent with decent waterfall and lagoon views. The only let down was the its raison d’etre: its food! It was average in selection, presentation and ultimately delivery and taste.
Breakfast: 6:30 AM – 11:00 AM
Lunch: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Dinner: 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Directly off the main lobby Grand Hyatt Bali overlooking gardens and lagoons
Min (Wet): 152 People
Max (Dry): 180 People
Salsa Verde has all the right ingredients for greatness: location, pool, space, ambience. It is Italian by design with Californian décor and a pretty decent buffet breakfast selection. I will say this: the coffee was excellent, but there was nothing “wow” about the food. It was churning out convention quantities without Italian qualities.
Breakfast: 7:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Lunch: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Dinner: 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Beachfront of Grand Hyatt Bali
Pasar Senggol was the dining highlight of my stay, designed to be like a Balinese night market with scattered stalls, authentic dishes and a smattering of artisans creating local handicrafts. The buffet selection was amazing. I can recount going back (often) for the satay sticks and other delicacies that I then brushed with more chili to spice up the night. A big thumbs up. You also get a live performance with Balinese music and dancing; not my thing but entertaining.
Dinner: 6:30 PM – 10:00 PM
Cultural show: 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Directly off the main lobby Grand Hyatt Bali
VERANDA LOUNGE & BAR
Definitely my favourite spot. Secluded, sophisticated and modern with amazing views and fabulous service. Live entertainment was awesome playing great foot-tapping tunes, modern and old. Gin and tonics hit the spot.
Open Daily 10:00 AM – 12:00 Midnight
Morning Menu: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Afternoon Tea: 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Evening Menu: 5:00 PM – Midnight
FINAL THOUGHTS – GRAND HYATT BALI NUSA DUA HOTEL REVIEW
This may be a 5-star resort but the food is definitely far from it (except for the Indonesian Pasar Songgol restaurant on site). I travel extensively throughout Asia and this place pales in comparison to other buffet breakfasts I’ve had in the last three years. They are not all bad. They just lack variety….particularly if you are calorie counting and want a healthier chioce. But if it’s any consolation, many Balinese hotels are the same.
After my first impression of the hotel room, I warmed to it really well. In fact I loved it. This includes the day bed or nook that I panned earlier. I sat every day there with my laptop doing some work and just chilling.
The Grand Hyatt Bali Nusa Dua is best described as a tired resort in desperate need of room makeovers and food improvement. The location is stunning and the facilities perfect for anyone want a less crazy pace and family escape.