Le Meridien Bali Jimbaran left me speechless. It’s not every day you visit a hotel that is decorated more tastefully than a millionaire’s Beverly Hills home. And not just any home, but the home of an avid art aficionado. Colours, shapes, and textures that flow together in an eloquent visual harmony. And this is a hotel?
Where Is It?
In less than 2 years since it’s opening, the Le Meridien has quickly attained a solid reputation as a prime oceanfront luxury resort in Jimbaran. And for good reason.
Jimbaran is situated 20 minutes south of the Ngurah Rai International Airport. It used to be a tiny fishing village, but is now home to a string of 5-star beach resorts, earning it the nickname “Beverly Hills of Bali”.
Jimbaran is named after the sweeping arc-shaped bay that is lined with clusters of small seafood restaurants. This area of white sandy beaches is well known for putting on stunning sunsets night after night. Easily my favourite location in Bali to watch the sun sink into the horizon, giving up its glory to be replaced by the night.
There are a few markets and shops along the main street, near the entrance of the resort, but a relatively quite area as far as nightlife. When choosing to stay in Jimbaran, a full-featured resort means you’ll never need (or want) to leave.
Le Meridien Bali Jimbaran could be one of the most breathtaking resorts I have seen in Asia. But when our shuttle pulled up to the secured gates upon arrival, it didn’t look like much. We were dropped off at a large open circular space with one desk and a smiling concierge. Our bags were unloaded and I would have thought I was lost, if it weren’t for the understated hotel sign at the front gate.
The friendly staff member tagged our bags and explained he would take care of those while we could jump on the waiting golf buggy.
Queue little kiddies’ squeals of delight.
The buggy drove us up a hill and pulled into an open and airy lobby. Bright modern pieces of art tastefully decorated every available inch of wall space. There were paintings by local artists, high-speed liquid splash photography, funky furniture, modish ornaments, broad ceiling fans at irregular angles… and then there was the view.
I doubt a Beverly Hills mansion could be more impressive than this.
Our check-in was smooth and fast, and the kids received a goody bag to make their stay more enjoyable. We tried a welcome drink of Jamu (Josh finished mine) and received refreshing cold towels.
We were escorted to our suite. Our rooms were located on the second floor in one of the towers. Le Meridien kindly provided us with two interconnecting Aqua Studio Suite with Lagoon View so we could have our own space, separate from the kids.
Words escape me. The room was so clean, crisp and beautifully decorated. I immediately felt at home.
Not to mention the personalised welcome gifts for the children. This time it was my turn to squeal.
Watch our video walkthrough:
Anytime I had an issue in the room, service was provided instantly. One phone call about my air-conditioning and a congenial staff member was at the door in 2 minutes, making sure it was just as cold as I wanted.
Gee, I now sound like I live in Beverly Hills!
Wi-Fi was pretty fast and reliable by Bali standards.
After thoroughly discovering every inch of our suite we decided to explore the rest of the resort.
Kids Club – A Moment For You
Ah, the kids club. One of the most important aspects of a vacation for a parent seeking just a moment of serenity and relaxation. The “J Kids Club” had plenty of capable staff and a vibrant environment. There was a TV for movies or games, ample toys and fun activities. Our kids loved it so much they needed to be bribed when it was time to leave.
Saltwater Lagoon – A Moment To Relax
The colossal 1,300sqm (14,000sqft) saltwater lagoon pool that wrapped around the resort, was the precise depth for a casual water stroll (I think I just made that phrase up). I walked from one end to the other, exploring all it’s twists and turns, nooks and crevices. But, of course, the swim up pool bar underneath a streaming waterfall was a highlight.
There were plenty of sun lounges, and even cosy chairs, surrounding the pool. And small meals and drinks could be ordered while working on the holiday suntan. That’s multi-tasking!
Beside the lagoon there was also a shallow kids pool, just the right size and depth for toddlers. Our 5 & 6 year olds didn’t find it challenging enough, preferring the “adults” pool.
The Glass Chapel – Where Sunset Dreams Are Made
Located on the hotel’s roof was a curiously large pool. It wasn’t a wading pool, rather a shallow moat surrounding the stunning triangular glass chapel called Celebration Pavilion.
The venue is well suited for weddings and special occasions. Not only is it air-conditioned and covered with non-stick sand to replicate an authentic beach vibe, but the views are phenomenal. Nearby is an additional ballroom for receptions and larger functions.
Each night we took the lift to the rooftop, around 6pm, to watch the sun set over the luminous amber skies above Jimbaran Bay.
What’s For Breakfast?
A bountiful buffet breakfast is served each morning in the main restaurant, Bamboo Chic. And this was no ordinary hotel buffet. The extensive range of delicious dishes made choosing our desired breakfast a herculean task. Cuisines ranged from European to Japanese, with sumptuous options like fresh honey dripping straight from the honeycomb, freshly made yogurt, and even “eye openers” (shots of fruit or vegetable concoctions that put a mountain of pep in your step).
The kids and Josh ordered hot chocolates, and can you believe, it came with their names emblazoned with chocolate topping?
Breakfast was busy. Each morning we ate there the staff were hastily clearing away tables for the next guests. No one wanted to miss breakfast. I’d highly recommend visiting Le Meridien for breakfast, even if you’re not staying at the resort. But an advance booking, which can be made via the phone or online, would be a good idea.
Did Somebody Say Lunch?
We enjoyed lunch at Bamboo Chic on our first day, and we discovered how exceptional the food was. If you’re choosing a local dish (such as chicken satay) and not a fan of spicy food, just ask the wait staff for “no spice”.
I shall let the images speak for themselves. Saliva glands start your engines!
Why Would We Leave For Dinner?
One particular evening we made our way to a different rooftop. Above Bamboo Chic is the Smoqee Sky Lounge. And every Saturday evening they offer a BBQ dinner known as “Bistro Gastro”.
The atmosphere was romantic and relaxing with a live 3-piece band, floating lights in a pond, and the sun’s red disk slipping into the Indian Ocean. Smoke was gently rising out of the nearby beachside seafood restaurants.
White parasols added an elegant sophistication to an outdoor BBQ.
We were provided with a choice of 4 set menus – 2 meat BBQ and 2 seafood BBQ. There was a salad and dessert bar, however all meat was made to order by the skilled grill chef. There was only one grill chef so we experienced a slight wait on our meals, resulting in us eating more salad than we should have.
When the meat was served we were a bit shocked about the serving size. In a good way. It was huge! We could have shared it. The sirloin steak was juicy and tender, but the roasted lamb was my favourite. Our kids loved the hot dogs and sate chicken. It was a meat lover’s paradise.
My only complaint would have been the slow wait time. Most tables were full that night but there were only 2 wait staff who spent most of the night tapping on their computerised till or chatting to each other. I had to call for service each time it was needed, which was disappointing after the stellar proactive service received throughout the rest of the resort.
It was with a full bellies we wobbled back to our room that night. Tipsy on a sunset-slash-meat high.
But I’m Still Hungry
Just in case the breakfast, lunch, poolside menu or BBQ dinner was not enough, Le Meridien also houses an on-site gelato shop. It’s open to the public and is a popular dessert option for the tourists eating at nearby Jimbaran seafood restaurants.
This is the real stuff. Delicious artisan flavours, no artificial colours and generous portion sizes.
There are few resorts in Bali that can match the luxury, location and lavishness of Le Meridien Bali Jimbaran. If you’re seeking a quiet, relaxing holiday for the family with a bountiful dash of sophistication, this is the place to go. Apart from offering the only rooftop view of Jimbaran’s stunning sunset, the ubiquitous artistic details from décor to dining, leave a very pleasant aftertaste, even long after you’ve returned home.