From hostels of varying budget, to villas, to hotels and even a public library, we certainly experienced a range of accommodation in our 18 days in Bali. 5 different accommodations costing varying amounts, a staircase of quality up to the luxury of our final stop at the Jimbaran Bay Beach Resort and Spa. I know a lot of people who have been to Bali in the last year, and many that want to go in the future, so I thought I’d start my Bali blogs with a run down of our accommodation!
Accommodation 1: M Boutique Hostel, Seminyak (3 nights)
- Cost: c. £8 per person per night
- Breakfast included: yes, toast
- Location: 7/10
- Value for money: 10/10
- Overall rating: 9/10
Seminyak is a popular place for tourists to begin their Bali adventures due to it’s close distance to the airport. I’m so thankful we started here, as it’s where we met our friends who we travelled with for the rest of the time!
Okay, so our first night may have been disrupted by an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.1, but M Boutique was all we could have asked for. We stayed in a 6 bed female dorm, in wooden pods which were quite frankly adorable. Each pod had its own plug socket (incl. USB!) and a fold down table. Huge lockable boxes for our luggage made me feel extremely secure, as it’s only the second hostel I’ve ever stayed in.
The hostel was small but very social. Each evening we’d sit around the outdoor table by the pool with Bintangs sold cheap by the hostel, and share experiences of the day with fellow travellers, before heading out to La Favela – an incredible four-story club a 15 minute walk away.
We chose not to take up the hostels offering of toast for breakfast and went in search of eggs and (of course) avocado on toast each morning. We didn’t have to look far as just across the road was Kynd Community and Toolbox. Both offered a similar menu but with a difference – Kynd was pink-walled and full of hipsters getting photo after photo of their smoothie bowls, but Toolbox was far more relaxed, except for the extremely repetitive music.
Overall, M Boutique gave us the perfect start to Bali – meeting wonderful friends and beginning to feel at home in a more touristy area before moving to more traditional areas such as Ubud. The location was decent – a 15 minute downhill walk from the beach, but it would have been nice to be nearer to the markets and central Seminyak.
Accommodation 2: The Farm Hostel, Canggu (3 nights)
- Cost: £13 per person per night
- Breakfast included: yes
- Location: 7/10 (fair walk from centre)
- Value for money: 7/10
- Overall rating: 7/10
Being named the best hostel in Indonesia, we had high hopes for The Farm. Welcomed with fresh towels (they had been dirty in M Boutique), we got off to a great start. A dorm of 8 girls, but this time the other guests were far less approachable. Katherine actually had a stand off with a girl at the air con who, in her jumper and shorts, was complaining of the cold.
The main thing I’d say about The Farm is that it is FULL of insta-models and surfers. I’m not surprised, the place is a perfect instagram aesthetic, but it was almost as bad for self-esteem as the beach bars!
I’m complaining too much – I did love The Farm. Our dorm’s ensuite was OUTDOORS – private of course. It was beautiful to shower under a full moon with the sound of crickets and an Aussie in the distance playing guitar.
We did try breakfast at The Farm, which was a huge bowl of ‘fresh’ fruit which, after perhaps being left out for god knows how long, gave me Bali belly. That was enough of that, back onto the avocado on toast. And there were plenty of places for that! We couldn’t get a seat at Crate so went for the less hipster version, the Loft. Far more chilled and absolutely perfect food.
Accommodation 3: Pondok Pekak Library and guest house (4 nights)
- Cost: £9 per person per night
- Breakfast included: no
- Location: 10/10
- Value for money: 9/10
- Overall rating: 9/10
Yes, we stayed in Ubud’s public library. A hidden gem, the library offers a guest house which is a two minute walk from Ubud’s main market. Pondok Pekak allowed us to feel that we actually lived in Ubud, I felt so at home. Walking through the library each morning the staff greeted us warmly (not a rare thing in Bali!!) and we even got hugs when we left. The best part of the stay was having our own space after a week of hostels, and god we spread out!
A near private pool, westerners were a rare sight at the library. Walking through each morning we would see traditional Balinese dance being practiced, or individual movement classes. The library was also across the road from a football field, where children of school age were constantly playing on teams, watched by many crowds.
I would return to Pondok Pekak again and again. Though no breakfast was provided, there wasn’t a day we managed to eat breakfast as, in Ubud, the majority of activities involve early mornings, such as the 2am hike up Mount Batur. *PSA: Belvita breakfast biscuits in Bali are SO much better than in the UK!*
For those looking for a hostel in Ubud, I 100% recommend the one my friend stayed in, Puri Garden Hostel. 10/10 location, includes it’s own restaurant/cafe and has movie nights and morning Yoga!
Accommodation 4: D’Puncak Villas, Nusa Lembongan (4 nights)
- Cost: c. £20 per person per night
- Breakfast included: yes
- Location: 5/10
- Value for money: 8/10
- Overall rating: 8/10
Like all our friends, we were meant to be going to the Gilis for four days, and as it was Katherine’s birthday, we had splashed out on lovely villas. Heartbreakingly, the earthquakes destroyed our accommodation, and it was of course a no-go. It was bittersweet to see that Nusa Lembongan has done so well this summer as a result.
We booked D’Puncak last minute – a brand new complex. Here we finally found a decent included breakfast – you could choose from continental, American and Asian! Each villa was immaculate, square and identical, surrounding a pool.
The owner, couldn’t have done more for us if he’d tried. As soon as we arrived we were given his WhatsApp number (seemingly the only way people communicate in Nusa L) and given a tour around our rooms. Robes and slippers, this would be the perfect honeymoon destination!
I think the owner regretted giving me his WhatsApp number as I must have messaged him with questions 5 times a day. The complex offers transport to any part of the island for 100,000 rupees (£5), but it’s not like Bali where you can hire a driver for the whole day – mainly because there are no cars on the island! Eventually I relented and hired a scooter (sorry Dad), and I would only recommend going to Nusa L if you’re willing to ride a scooter.
Accommodation 5 and final: Jimbaran Bay Beach Resort and Spa, Jimbaran (2 nights)
Cost: Dream Room c. £29 per person per night
Breakfast included: yes (BUFFET!)
Value for money: 10/10 (a free upgrade helps!)
Overall rating: 9/10
Our last stop was a little luxury before the long-haul flight home. Hands down the nicest place I’ve ever stayed, but we could have been anywhere in the world. I would not recommend coming here expecting a true Bali experience. But for what we wanted – a rest and a little treat – it was perfect.
Originally we’d payed extra for the ‘Dream Room’ which featured a bath on the balcony (neither of us like baths, but if you can get one on the balcony, why wouldn’t you?), but on arrival we were upgraded to The Suite, with a sea view! The first sea view of our trip, the hotel is literally across the road from an idyllic beach.
Another perfect honeymoon destination, Katherine and I convinced ourselves that what we were doing was research for if we got married one day. Utterly pointlessly for us, the bathroom wall was a floor to ceiling glass window into the bedroom. Romantic, I’m sure, but for us, we were thankful to find a blind!
The buffet breakfast was a thing of dreams, though sadly lacking avocado. The hotels rooftop is a place to sunbath by day and drink cocktails by night. As the lift opened I audibly ‘WOW’d. 360° views across the bay, but also across building developments which have sadly run out of money and been left in pieces.
As I lie here now, on a double sun bed, on the rooftop of Jimbaran Bay Beach Hotel & Spa, I realise it’s the perfect place to end the holiday of a lifetime. A winding down to help us appreciate the more authentic, traditional places we have stayed. A wind down I need, being off to Poland just two days after landing in England tomorrow.
It’s obvious we haven’t done the whole travel on a budget very well, but the holiday has been everything we intended it to be. A treat after a year saving up in the working world. We experienced a range of accommodation and I can happily say I would return to all of them!
Stay tuned for the next Bali blog, coming as soon as I have a chance between flying, unpacking and repacking for Poland!