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Not only did a kind tipster point us to The Ritz-Carlton Bali missing from our list of hotels opening this month, he also provided us with a set of photos of the days-old hotel. We first looked at the beachfront / cliff-side hotel last summer, now we have much more detail on the return of Ritz-Carlton to the Indonesian island and can compare rendering to reality. Speaking of Ritz-Carlton, Bali, and renderings, we also have a whole bunch of new ones for Mandapa, the Ritz-Carlton Reserve that will open in Ubud next summer.
Our tipster was at the resort a day after the first guests arrived, but noted that while it looked stunning, quite a few rooms and the spa weren’t ready. The above shot is taken from the top of the cliff overlooking the majority of the resort down to the beach, and construction is still visible on the left, although in the aerial view we saw last year all there was meant to be were trees.
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What was the Regent Bali
Between the friendly rebranding of a property here and some owner-operator drama there, it’s part of hotel reality that the name above the door may change. But we struggle to think of a brand that is guilty of a more continuous stream of, “Whoops, that didn’t work out as planned, we’re leaving” as Regent Hotels. Let’s recap.
Travel back well into the last decade, and there was The Regent South Beach, which became a Vincci, then a De Soleil, before settling on Z Ocean South Beach as a name, while sort of being a Crowne Plaza.
A second, more recent attempt at a Florida hotel was equally unsuccessful, with The Regent Bal Harbour, having tried on its own as One Bal Harbour, now being a Ritz-Carlton. Further north, The Regent Battery Wharf in Boston never made it to opening, arriving as Fairmont, which now has also said its goodbyes to the harbor-side property.
The Mulia, Mulia Resort & Villas in Bali opened a signature Chinese restaurant called Table8 last June. It serves high-end Cantonese and Szechuan delicacies and is beautifully designed, but what will leave guests saucer-eyed is, of all things, the tea service. If tea doesn’t sound that exciting to you, perhaps you’ve been spending too much time with the Brits, and perhaps you’ve never been poured a cup by a Kung Fu Tea Master.
Called “The Art of Tea,” it is as much a performance as it is practical. When a guest orders the signature flower tea, it is served by a Kung Fu Tea Master, who has, according to the Mulia, spent months in China learning traditional kung fu moves and a year practicing the pouring routine before performing it live in the restaurant.
We were thrilled back in February about the announcement of Andaz Munich since we have
a hot and heavy love affair sort of a thing for Andaz Hotels. But somehow we totally missed out on the other news that Andaz dropped that month as wel--Andaz Bali.
There's not much info to go on but the beachfront Andaz Bali will open in 2016 (before the Andaz Munich). The property will be designed by Tierra Design and Japanese interior design firm Spin Design Studio. Here's a little more on the hotel set-up, straight from the Hyatt press release:
The hotel will be comprised of low-rise clusters and pavilions set within dramatic landscaping, and will feature 144 guestrooms and villas, small intimate meeting facilities, multiple dining options, a fitness center, several outdoor swimming pools, and a spa.
Sounds so very Andazy. And we're completely ok with that.
But aside from Andaz Munich and Bali, there doesn't seem to be any other Andazs on the horizon. We have to ask--Andaz, are you ok? Are you ok, Andaz? Or are you just taking your time with the foreplay?
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We can rattle off a handful of hotels opening in Bali in the next few years without much effort (there is the Regent, Ritz-Carlton, Ritz-Carlton again, Starwood (Luxury Collection and Westin), and Six Senses, among others), which, together with everything that’s already there, raises the pressure once again to slow down hotel development on the island.
While the discussion on overcrowding and what is right for Bali continues, so do the announcements of new openings, with this week the addition of a Waldorf Astoria resort in 2017. Only a short transfer from Ngurah Rai Denpasar airport, the resort will have 96 villas on a cliff facing the sea.
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Just the mere mention of Bali evokes thoughts of a lush paradise, doting service and poolside cocktails. It's truly hard not to love everything the Indonesian island has to offer and now with Sentosa's brand-spanking-new resort, those little bits of tropical heaven are just icing on the top of a perfect vacation.
Opening by July, Sea Sentosa will blend European styling with Balinese warmth and plop it down right in the middle of one of the island's best surfing beaches, Echo Beach. Each of the one- and two-bedroom apartments will have either a lagoon swimming pool for a 'front yard' or Indian Ocean views.
Aside from killer views, the designers have outfitted each apartment with exotic details like mother of pearl trim and coconut shell wall coverings as well as a fully-equipped kitchen with all the tech comforts of home. Even the smaller garden studio rooms offer a tropical feel with private balconies and internal walled gardens to remind you that you're near the Equator.
The question we've been asking about the Caribbean -- whether or not the addition of hotels to an island is a good thing or a bad thing for tourism -- is quietly being answered in Bali.
“Many tourists complain about the current condition of Bali. Too many buildings make them feel uncomfortable as it is too crowded. Buildings are everywhere and it is hard to find green areas,” Indonesian Tourism's Bali chairman Ida Bagus Ngurah Wijaya told Bali Daily last week.
As we speak, the Indonesian Tourism Industry Association (GIPI) Bali chapter is asking local governments to implement and invoice a moratorium on hotels. Bali currently has over 90,000 rooms and is facing both issues of space and demand.
Back in June we talked about the return of Ritz-Carlton Hotels to Bali, with a new 288-room resort scheduled to open next year. Apparently the thinking over at RC is that two resorts is much better than one, as the group is adding another resort – this time an even fancier Ritz-Carlton Reserve – the year after.
Opening in the summer of 2015, the Reserve is set along the Ayung River in Ubud. It will be much smaller than its “regular” Ritzy sibling, with just 60 suites and villas. Read on for an aerial view and another shot of a suite.
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A brand new hotel name has hit the serene shores of Bali and, if your plans are bringing you to the Indonesian island, this one might be worth checking out -- and the name is easy to remember as long as you know the alphabet.
New hotel chain, L Hotels, have opened their very first luxury property in the tourist hotspot of Seminyak and marries urban, sleek design with the quintessential Balinese warmth that we have come to love.
This 30-suite property boasts Balinese butler service for each floor of the hotel for all of your needs in paradise. Once inside the room, guests can pamper themselves with plush décor, Kiehl's amenities, soap and pillow menus and thread-count specific sheets. While the design is heavy on the 'downtown high-rise apartment' each room features a hand-carved wooden ceiling ornament reflecting the Balinese influence.
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With family travel being an ever increasing market these days, hotels are doing the right thing by expanding their services to accommodate younger visitors. We've recently written about a few hotel services designed to keep the kids occupied while you're chilling on your vacation, but we are just bowled over by the St. Regis' commitment to creating a home away from home for families staying at their resorts.
Case in point: the St. Regis, Bali had been seeing a family from the Asia-Pacific region stay for three to five weeks in a two-bedroom villa between Easter and Christmas. The family would settle in, sans the father, who, as a surgeon, travels a lot for work and would always arrive a few days later.
The resort noticed the father's busy schedule and responded by creating personalized programs for the children and even, get this, arranging for their butler to dress up as the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus to deliver gifts!
Our hearts are warmed and we are utterly charmed by the St. Regis for this ... and maybe just a little envious of those lucky kids.
[Photo: St. Regis Hotels]
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Looks like Regent Hotels will encounter another contender in its quest to have the number one resort in Bali: Ritz-Carlton just announced last week it will return to the island next year. This follows a previous RC resort at Jimbaran Bay, which became the independent Ayana Resort back in 2009. A first rendering shows a sprawling resort with both a beachfront and cliff-side angle, including what we assume is a set of lifts in the shimmering vertical building connecting the two.
There will be a total of 288 rooms, including 90 suites and 14 villas. Cliff-side, there are an additional 10 villas. The other thing that is unequivocally clear from the aerial view is that there will be pools. And lots of them. Restaurants and all the usual accoutrements of a luxury resort will no doubt be there as well.
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The Regent Bali
While we continue to recover from last week’s ma-jah announcement of Tommie Hotels, the lovechild of Commune and Thompson, we have a roundup of news bites from around the world for you this Monday morning. Join us as we hop from Bali to Venice, Amsterdam to China, and Switzerland to Australia, for updates on everything from brand new Chinese brand Ahn Luh to the old school Gritti Palace.
Starting in Southeast Asia, Regent Hotels delivered on the promised opening of its new resort on Bali this past weekend, with 94 suites, one Regent Villa, 25 residences, and that inviting-looking infinity pool above. The Bali resort follows last year’s arrival in Phuket, which we swung by recently to see for ourselves how Regent’s first opening in years would stack up – more on that to come.