We spent a few nights at the end of our trip to Bali at the Laguna in Nusa Dua. We split our time between the Laguna in Nusa Dua and the Bali Hyatt in Sanur. We wanted to explore a few places during our stay, and we decided to try the Nusa Dua resort area for part of our stay. Nusa Dua contains a bunch of high end hotels, including an Aman, Melia, Nikko, Grand Hyatt and Conrad.
After our time at the Hyatt, I wanted to get some stay credit for Starwood, so we were deciding between the Westin, St. Regis, and the Laguna, all at Nusa Dua. The W Retreat and Spa in Semaniak was tempting, but a little out of the way and a bit out of our price range. The St. Regis would be great, but it too, was pretty pricey for my tastes. I ultimately decided on the Laguna thanks to very positive reviews, and for something different since while I like Westin, there aren't too many Luxury Collection properties, and the few I've experienced have been quite nice.
cabana between pools and the beach at The Laguna
I wanted to use Starwood cash and points, but when I originally booked, this was not available, so I booked it with points, so it was 10,000 points per night. I kept checking, and eventually cash and points opened up, so I changed the booking to that, which cost 4000 points per night plus US $60. I was fortunate to make this adjustment before the 2012 category changes, since The Laguna went from Category 4 to category 5.
There is a security screen for vehicles entering the Nusa Dua resort complex, but no additional screening at hotels. Once we arrived, we were welcomed and checked in. I wasn't sure if breakfast would be included, but once they confirmed it would be, we chose the Platinum points amenity, and also received certificates for free continental breakfast. Their definition of continental was quite generous as I will show later.
Before our arrival, I used Starwood Platinum suite night awards to confirm a suite upgrade. It may not have been necessary, but I figured this would be as good a use of them since both my wife and I could enjoy the extra space. My upgrade was confirmed before arrival to an Executive Suite. I was somewhat hoping for a pool access suite just for the novelty of it, and actually asked via email, but they told me that this determination would be made at check in.
pool access suite on the ground floor, direct access into the lagoon pools
In retrospect, I was very happy with the Executive Suite that we were assigned, and if given a choice, I think it would be my preference since our room was larger, and the layout seemed nicer and somewhat more private since it was on the second floor.
Entrance to Executive Suite, showing dining table, living room and large patio
Waiting in our room on arrival were some homemade truffles including a platinum ribbon
Our room was a bit of a walk from the lobby, but upon arrival, I was impressed with the upgrade we received. The room was spacious and modern.
bedroom looking towards the bathroom
The bathroom contained a separate shower and soaking tub
Various bathroom items available, similar to an airline amenity kit.
one of the lagoon pools surrounding the property from our room
There are several restaurants on property. We had some meals on site, but tried to venture out a bit as well. After very reasonably priced meals in Sanur, both at the Hyatt and in nearby restaurants, the resort prices we experienced in Nusa Dua were a shock. We had lunch one day at Arwana, a beach side restaurant at the Laguna:
Nice lunch time view
As noted above, we had options where to take our complimentary breakfast. We ate at both places, and although the setting is different, the main items were the same at either restaurant. The card we were given stated 'continental' breakfast, but the host assured us that anything on the buffet would be available for no charge.
The 4 pictures above are from Banyu biru, one of the options for breakfast at The Laguna
There was an extensive selection of breakfast items, fruits, breads, plus lots of other warm and cold choices. It was one of the more extensive buffets I've seen, and far exceeded the continental designation that was on the card we were provided. I didn't take that many photos, since I didn't want to disturb others while they were dining.
We went off property for dinner each night, and one of them was particularly notable. I would highly recommend Kendi Kuning, a local restaurant on the beach north of most of the Nusa Dua resorts. The owner is Balinese, who had lived in Australia and started a family there, but returned to his home with his wife and children. Since its a little bit far from most hotels, they offer free transport to/from the restaurant. The food was excellent, and prices were extremely reasonable, particularly compared with most other options in the Nusa Dua region.
We also did some exploring other places off the resort property. Some recommendations included Rock Bar, at the Ayana Resort. It was quite scenic, but we didn't get there early enough to actually get a drink before dusk, so we enjoyed the view briefly, then got a drink elsewhere on the resort. The resort itself seemed quite luxe, and one round of drinks there cost more than some meals elsewhere on the island.
Nice view from Ayana Resort, Rock Bar is below.
After our drink at Ayana, we returned to our cab and headed to Jimbaran, so we could partake in one of the noted fish restaurants along the beach. This was rather touristy, but it was a pretty neat experience. You can pick out the seafood that you are interested in, and it is cooked for you. You pay by weight. the meal is served directly on the beach. This would be nice for sunset dining, but it was dark by the time we were there after visiting Ayana. Little did we know that while we were enjoying our dinner, with our toes in the sand, facing west, that there were Tsunami warnings for the Indian Ocean. We found this out later, once we returned to our hotel, and had a few frantic emails/texts from family and friends. Thankfully, there were no serious tsunami concerns after the initial warnings, and those were cancelled rather quickly. This was caused by a very strong earthquake, but fortunately, there was not significant damage or mass loss of life.
Another evening, we visited Uluwatu, and the famous temple there. Uluwatu is located on the south west corner of Bali. This was a 30-40 minute drive from The Laguna. We took a taxi from there, and the driver walked us around the temple and waited for us as we attended a Kecak dance performance near the temple. There are some scenic views from the temple located on the top of cliffs. The most notable residents of the temple are the monkeys. They have become very adept at stealing loose items that tourists carry, such as sunglasses sitting on someones head. They can get aggressive, but just don't give them anything they can grab.
Park of the Kecak dance performance at dusk
After the Kecak performance, we met our driver who took us to dinner at Kendi Kuning I mentioned before.
Although we did explore the area away from the resort, the Laguna grounds and the surrounding area is lovely as well.
I would highly recommend The Laguna for those looking for a Starwood property in Bali. The platinum treatment was great, and the upgrade was quite good. Nusa Dua is a nice area, but I would suggest visitors venture off the gated resort property to see other parts of the island.
Sadly, a stay at a beautiful place like this must come to an end, so we had to head back to the airport for our flight to Hong Kong.
Below are more photos from our stay at the Laguna: