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Just like with my first trip to Indonesia, I capped off my most recent one with a week in Bali. It was sad to say goodbye to Gili Trawangan, however I can’t deny that I was excited for some of the finer things in life. The finer things in life being, obviously, warm water showers, a reliable power grid, and delivery McDonald’s.

Our first stop was to an area between Kuta and Seminyak that to be honest I had never heard of — Legian. I was here for two nights to do a hotel review for one of the booking sites that I freelance with at Ananta, and to do a tour review for Viator (which deserves a post of its own). And of course, Anders came along as my trusty assistant.

The Ananta Legian Hotel

The Ananta Legian Hotel

The Ananta Legian Hotel

The hotel was a pretty standard midrange hotel room, but you would have thought it was the Four Seasons the way we marveled at the luxuries such as air conditioning and a sink that delivered a larger water volume than one tablespoon per minute. While my work responsibilities kept me busy most of the time, we did enjoy explore the area as much as we could and found two absolute gems.

The first was Sicilia Spa (remember to never judge a Southeast Asian attraction by the website) which was tucked away in a charming little alley and not at all seedy, like so many spas around tend to be. It’s a bit pricy for the area, but let me tell you — the $17US I spent on an indulgent four hand massage was worth every rupiah. Our other favorite find was Swich, a fantastic sandwich and juice spot that is well worth seeking out for lunch if you’re in the area.

Swich Sandwiches Legian

While we certainly enjoyed ourselves we didn’t love Legian and I was excited for our next move. People give Kuta a lot of grief for being touristy, overcrowded, dirty, overrun with screaming Australians, whatever, but I really wanted to see it for myself. After all, it’s probably one of the most infamous beaches in Southeast Asia. I had splashed out and cashed in all my remaining SPG points — earned with my SPG AMEX — so that we could stay beachfront at theย Sheraton Kuta Beach.

I was kind of skeptical if it would be worth it because to me the brand Sheraton kind of screams “ugly carpeted business hotel!” but as we sipped our welcome drinks and looked out over the pool and ocean I was ready to be proved wrong.

Sheraton Kuta Beach

Sheraton Kuta Beach Welcome Drink

Sheraton Kuta Beach Pool

Despite an annoying holdup at check in (I recounted Breakfastgate in full in my SPG AMEX post), we were very soon all about this place. It was right in the heart of Kuta, and yet as the entire hotel was one story above street level we really felt like we were in an oasis from the chaos. Our room really was stunning, and we loved sitting on the balcony and looking out beyond the peaceful gardens to the ocean.

Sheraton Kuta Beach Room

Sheraton Kuta Beach Room

Sheraton Kuta Beach Room

Kuta really pulses with energy as the sun begins to set, and we had the perfect vantage point to soak it all in. It was a little cheesy but sweet — every day at sunset by the pool, the hotel had live musicians played classic Indonesian music while traditional Balinese dancers performed.

Sheraton Kuta Beach Sunset

Sheraton Kuta Beach Sunset

Kuta Beach Sunset

But let’s be honest — our favorite part was that breakfast we had to fight so darn hard for. When we walked into the restaurant the first morning we were actually giddy and had to take a moment to quietly regroup in the corner lest we hyperventilate. But guys, they had everything! Hand rolled sushi, custom-made waffles and crepes, an omelet station, a beverage buffet with fresh exotic juices… even a gelato bar! I really can’t think of a more indulgent breakfast buffet I’ve had anywhere in the world.

Sheraton Kuta Feast Restaurant

Sheraton Kuta Feast Restaurant

Sheraton Kuta Feast Restaurant

Sheraton Kuta Feast Restaurant

We paced ourselves and did several rounds each before basically rolling out to the pool to reflect on the bad decisions we had just made.

Sheraton Kuta Feast Restaurant

Later, when we recapped some of our favorite moments from the week, most of them admittedly involved the crazy luxury resort that we we would head to post-Sheraton. But we both mentioned how much we loved those lazy hours lolling by the pool (with me answering emails on my iPhone whenever Anders wasn’t looking).

Sheraton Kuta Beach Pool

Sheraton Kuta Beach Pool

Sheraton Kuta Beach Pool

Sheraton Kuta Beach Pool

Most people who travel with me will reach a point where they go celebrity and start moaning and pushing the camera out of their face. Anders has found a new tactic for those moments when I won’t stop snapping — breaking out ridiculous “model” poses until I’m laughing so hard that I put the camera away. This is apparently his interpretation of a sexy poolside pose — look for it in a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition coming to you!

Sheraton Kuta Beach Pool

We loved the hotel so much that we actually didn’t venture out of it too much. We did have a great lunch at nearby Kitchenette, a fun dinner at Havana Club, did some last minute shopping for gifts and cheap clothes, and walked along the beach watching all the surfers fight for waves.

Kuta Restaurants

Kuta Beach Surfing

Kuta Beach Surfing

I generally found the clothing to be more expensive that what you would find shopping in say, Bangkok, and so I wouldn’t recommend Kuta as the greatest shopping destination if you’re just looking for cheap stuff to fill your backpack. However I did find a few gems I was willing to pay more for — each of these cost me about $10US after some bargaining.

By the way, these photos were originally intended to text to my little sister to invoke shopping envy (mission accomplished), not to post on the blog — so forgive the crappy quality and America’s Next Worst Model pose.

Kuta Shopping

Kuta is famed for its nightlife and I was quite curious to see what all the fuss was about. And yet night after night we were both relieved when the other stated a desire to just go back to the hotel and watch movies in bed. Everyone needs a break sometimes, and for some reason, this week we just couldn’t keep our eyes open after dinner.

Dinner in Kuta

Sunset in Kuta

I was genuinely sad to leave the Sheraton — I wish I had had the points for one more night! But I didn’t have to mourn for long — we were about to head off to one of the most luxurious properties I’ve ever stayed at in my travels. Stay tuned!

Have you been to Kuta? What did you think — yae or nay?

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24 Comments...
  • steve mckee
    September 12 2013

    Never won the gold medal in the comments section before! Yay!

    • Alex
      September 13 2013

      I crown you King of this comment section ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Ummm I don’t blame you for not wanting to leave a hotel THAT gorgeous with a man THAT gorgeous! LOVE the outfits!!!
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..Ask Andi Anything + Giveaway (Part 7)

    • Alex
      September 13 2013

      Ha, so I take it you like his model poses ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sarah Somewhere
    September 12 2013

    Love your photos, love that black and white dress – stunning. Good times ๐Ÿ™‚
    Sarah Somewhere recently posted..A First: Swimming With Whale Sharks

    • Alex
      September 13 2013

      Thanks Sarah! Planning to wear that to the rehearsal dinner of the wedding I’m in this month! Such a great find.

  • TammyOnTheMove
    September 12 2013

    Love the play-suit you bought. So cute!
    TammyOnTheMove recently posted..Capture the colour competition 2013

    • Alex
      September 13 2013

      I ended up going and buying my sister one too ๐Ÿ™‚ Only darn, now she’ll know how much I paid for it!

  • Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)
    September 13 2013

    Tony & I stayed one night in Kuta as we were catching a flight out of Bali the next day and needed something convenient to the airport. As we had no points to cash in (or rather, we weren’t sure if it would be worth doing so for a stay of less than 12 hours) we wound up right near one of the main strips, which was just as seedy and horrific as expected. Everything in that area seemed really overpriced to meโ€”we actually wound up eating at McDonald’s for dinner because it was one of the cheapest options (and let’s be honest, is very much in keeping with the whole vibe of Kuta!).
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..Singapore: First Impressions

    • Alex
      September 13 2013

      Yeah, I should have said in this post — I think Kuta is a very different place if you’re on a budget or doing it up like we were (or should I say, cashing it in like we were!) Anders had always stayed in seedy places when he was there previously and had a really bad impression of it.

  • Dad
    September 13 2013

    As usual, a post like this makes we want to visit the place. Nice.

    • Alex
      September 13 2013

      I will make the enormous sacrifice to accompany you, free of charge, any time ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Heather
    September 13 2013

    I’ve got the say, the thing that I liked the very most about your visit to the Sheraton was the breakfast buffet. I absolutely LOVE breakfast! I would fight for that breakfast too, well worth it!
    Heather recently posted..5 Ways to Adjust to Bachelorette Life

    • Alex
      September 13 2013

      It seriously is my favorite meal of the day. Do you watch Parks and Rec? We are just like Leslie Knope ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Shaun
    September 13 2013

    Looks like a great place to chill or party. Or one after the other! The beach looks fairly clean too which can make or break a hotel there.

    • Alex
      September 13 2013

      We loved the pool so much we actually barely made it to the beach! I guess we did have a lot of sand time in Gili Trawangan beforehand ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Camels & Chocolate
    September 15 2013

    I’m pretty much just going to copy your Indonesia trip when I finally make it there myself.
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..Photo Friday: Pescadero, California

    • Alex
      September 16 2013

      I think that would be wise indeed ๐Ÿ™‚ You’ll have to add Ubud in there too (that was the only deviation from my first Indonesia trip itinerary…. this time I swapped Ubud for Kuta.)

  • Kolbie
    September 17 2013

    I’m heading to Bali in a couple months and I’ve got to ask where you’d suggest going shopping? Love that play-suit!

    • Alex
      September 19 2013

      Hey Kolbie, Ubud seemed to have some amazing boutiques and galleries, while I did all my cheap clothing shopping in Kuta. Hope that helps, happy shopping!

  • Clothes and Creativity
    February 27 2014

    My husband and I just came from Bali (and KL) and loved every bit of the place! We were staying on Sunset Road near Kuta and after cruising around, exploring Bali on our motorbike all day long, would go bar hopping in Kuta during the night! What fun! We also thought of having Sunday Brunch Buffet at the Sheraton but couldn’t wake up on time!
    Clothes and Creativity recently posted..Cozy, Comfy and Colourful Travel OOTD: Travel Style

    • Alex
      February 27 2014

      That is a serious shame that you missed it… I think you need to make a return trip now! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • evrim
    October 5 2014

    Hey Alex, I’ll be going to Bali in February. This is a great write up. Thanks a lot. I need to search more info as I wanna do a lot of sports as well. I am glad that I found your blog.
    evrim recently posted..The sunset at Wat Arun, Temple of Dawn

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      Thank you Evrim! I really loved all my time in Indonesia and I’m sure you’ll have an amazing trip as well. Enjoy!

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