With a beachfront location, stunning rooftop terraces and a casual vibe, The Sheraton, makes a great base for exploring Kuta.
I have always been hesitant to visit Kuta. The town has a reputation for having a party atmosphere, and attracting a lot of young college students. You travel through it on your way to most places in Bali when leaving the airport, and its busy streets always appear a bit down market compared to Seminyak or Ubud. It is however, one of the island’s major tourist attractions, and it is famed for its beaches and spectacular sunsets.
Having visited Bali on multiple occasions, we decided on our most recent trip that we really should check Kuta out. Of course, we knew that the best way to do it would be to stay as close to the beach as possible, so we started looking at the options. We wanted somewhere that combined a coastal location with plenty of amenities so that we could stay in if we found that Kuta didn’t suit us.
The Sheraton Bali, Kuta ticked all the boxes. It is right across from the beach, has a long list of facilities, and as it carries the Sheraton name, so we felt confident that we knew what we would be getting.
Sure enough, when we arrived we saw that the hotel was separated from the sand by nothing more than a small road. On one side was the Beachwalk shopping center, while just behind was the famous Poppies Lane markets ( a narrow road filled with trinkets, baubles and a few hidden gems). The location couldn’t have been better, and stretching in every direction were a mass of bars and restaurants.
As we pulled up to the hotel, we were greeted by a large open-air lobby and a group of Balinese dancers, dancing along as they greeted us. The hotel has a modern feel, mixed with traditional elements, with two white wings of rooms overlooking the surrounding streets. Between these was the outside space, which had gardens, a pool and a restaurant. From here you can catch great views of the beach and experience what Kuta is all about, while at the same time benefiting from the exclusivity of the hotel.
The beach almost never left our sight as we were staying in one of the Deluxe Ocean View rooms. I was really impressed with how bright and open the room was. Everything was white which made it feel even bigger than it was, and it was already a generous forty-six square meters. The bathroom was big as well, and it's best feature was the impressive freestanding tub. The covered balcony was a great place to relax, with views of the gardens below and ocean in the distance.
The Sheraton has two main restaurants to choose from, and a bar serving snack food. Feast is an open buffet set up, with live cooking stations and food from all over the world. Bene meanwhile is a classic Italian restaurant serving the usual pizzas and pastas. The Lounge bar was an elegantly decorated place with more views of the sea. It also claims to have the largest selection of spirits in Bali, so you are sure to find something you like there. Alongside the standard menus, there are a number of special food options available in the hotel. They do a ‘Seafood Martini Friday’ for example, and a ‘Talamonti Wine Dinner’. We were lucky enough to be staying on a Sunday, and if you do the same, be sure to check out the Feast Market Brunch.
Basically, it is an enormous spread with a huge array of options. There were grill stations, a fresh noodle station, a soup station, one serving Balinese food, a sushi section and an Indian section. The list was seemingly endless. Definitely opt for the wine inclusion. You won’t regret it as you sit back and enjoy cold white wine with a mix of fresh seafood bites. A cool feature of this brunch (and something I’ve never seen anywhere else), is that you get to ‘shop’ at their little fresh produce market. As part of your meal, you can head up to the stands, grab fresh fruit and veggies and take it away with you. This makes for a wonderfully fresh meal later on. Even though we were staying at the hotel, I loved having fresh fruit and bread in our room to snack on!
We did end up getting out a bit and seeing what Kuta had to offer, however we were right to choose the Sheraton as it had plenty of things to keep us busy. Alongside the restaurants, there is a business center, and a kids club (although obviously we didn’t spend much time there!). The best features were outside on the terrace however. This is located on the first floor of the building and so it overlooks the beach. As well as the pool, you can get food and drinks or relax in the shade of the gardens. It is the perfect place to lay back and do nothing, and also to enjoy Kuta’s famous sunsets. The pool does get quite crowded at times but hey, if there are too many people for your liking you can always walk the few steps it takes to get to the beach.
The spa was another great amenity, that we loved...and we promptly booked it for a couples massage. They offer a range of treatments (including their own signature therapies) within its pleasantly decorated treatment rooms. A nice bonus was that it is open from nine in the morning until eleven at night, so you can indulge yourself pretty much whenever the mood strikes you. Next door there is also a fitness center, which houses a variety of exercise machines, as well as weights and fitballs.
Kuta turned out to be an okay visit for us, but I think it was mostly because we had the comfort of our hotel. The area is extremely busy and crowded and probably best suited for young couples and groups of friends looking to go out and party a bit. There is a lot going on there and it is always nice to see a new side of Bali.
The beach was obviously great, and the shopping mall next door had a good selection of shops (as well as welcome air-conditioning). We also enjoyed browsing the markets in the two Poppies Lanes. There are a lot of overpriced tourist trinkets on offer and you must be prepared to haggle, but keep your eyes open, because you’ll find a few hidden gems in there. If you want to go out, Kuta is the best place to be in Bali and within a ten minute walk there must be hundreds of places to drink and eat. These range from quiet sophisticated bars to huge nightclubs where that are open all night.
The Sheraton was everything we had hoped it would be; It was comfortable, well located and well equipped. It makes the perfect base for a few days in Kuta, and all of the attractions are on your doorstep. In addition to this favorable setting, once inside the hotel provided us with a welcome escape from the bustle of the busy streets. All in all there is something for everyone, and families will find it suits them as much as groups of friends visiting for the nightlife will.
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