Kuta feels like familiar territory to us. I realise it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and over the years the district has gained a reputation as a crowded tourist hotspot for Australians. It’s been over 16 years since I first stepped foot into Kuta and I must admit the lustre had faded after 10 return trips over the years. But this trip was different. Kuta got its groove back.
When the Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort asked if we would try their new hotel along Kuta’s beachfront, we were cautiously optimistic. But we didn’t expect how much it would make us fall in love with Kuta again.
First Impressions – Can We Just Stay In The Shuttle Please?
We organised a shuttle van to collect us from our stay at Le Meridien in Jimbaran. That was the first indication that Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort was going to be an extraordinary experience.
Our driver offered a tray jam-packed full of goodies - milkshakes, juices, apples, cookies, chocolates, and refreshing cold towels. What a treat! I have never been in a shuttle that put so much thought and care into looking after the customer – all airport shuttles should have this! In addition, free Wi-Fi was available so the moment could be shared on Facebook.
We wanted to stay in the van, but it was all too soon before we arrived at the grand doorsteps of the Sheraton. The soft twang and tonk-tonk of Balinese music filled the air and two beautifully dressed Balinese dancers greeted us.
Unfortunately the grand waterfall façade at the entrance was covered in cloth due to maintenance. But I’d assume it’s a glorious sight by its sheer size. We were lead up an escalator to the lobby area and checked in while sipping on a refreshing fruit-flavoured ice tea.
The Parents’ Room
The staff showed us down a hall and into a little alcove with 2 doors. The 2 Deluxe Ocean Front Rooms were not directly interconnected, but the alcove did have the ability to be locked to add an indirect interconnection between both rooms. That added peace of mind when the kids slept in their own room.
It’s hard for me to describe the hotel room without getting excited by the gifts we found sprinkled around the room. But before I digress, the spacious room was tastefully decorated with a muted blue and tan colour scheme. Our room contained a super king bed, with two double beds in the kids’ room.
Delectable products adorned the marble bathroom vanity. The bathroom also featured a large stand-alone bath along with a glass-encased shower and toilet, with a clever shared sliding door. A very neat use of space whilst keeping an airy, open layout. Through the floor-to-ceiling glass doors, the balcony offered alluring beach views. And Wi-Fi was both fast and steady.
But the highlight of these rooms was the special touches the Sheraton had thoughtfully applied to make us feel extra welcome.
Now we are use to being in the public eye. Our travel blog is an open book for everyone and anyone to read. So while some of our social media followers found these gestures a little creepy, we were completely charmed by the creativity and consideration.
A hotel has never done this. Ever.
Watch this video, it explains more:
Isn’t that amazing? I must say, with all those family photos around the room I felt instantly at home, which is not something we often encounter when staying in hotel rooms – even beautiful ones.
The Kids’ Room
Mia and Caius also were very pleased with their room. Sitting on their beds were stuffed Mickey and Minnie toys, as well as a Sheraton kids pack, which included a teddy, colouring pencils and a re-usable drink bottle. The bottle could be refilled anywhere in the hotel complex free of charge.
The kids’ room also had a DVD player ready to go with a choice of 3 movie titles waiting for their attention. Of course we never got around to watching those since they were so busy having fun at the kids club and swimming pool. Plus the cable TV included channels like CBeebies, Disney and Nickelodeon.
Mia and Caius looked very classy in their kid-sized bathrobes eating cake on their beds.
Personalisation is one word that I could use to describe the rooms. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. The room was incredibly kid centric and we could tell that Sheraton had gone through considerable effort to appeal to children and families. Even the room service menu catered specific meals for various ages - from baby food all the way to teens.
Romantic sunsets performed daily to a packed audience from our balconies (by that I mean our family). These sunset vistas could also be enjoyed from the pool or lobby area. Josh managed to catch gorgeous photos of the fiery, red, glowing sun escaping into the ocean each night.
This is a newly re-developed area of Kuta, and a change for us as we usually stayed at the south end, near Waterbom, on previous visits. But we quickly fell in love with the central beachside location.
Out front is the famous Kuta Beach, where you don’t have to walk more than 5 steps before being offered a beer, a surfing lesson or a sun lounge.
Next-door is the Beachwalk shopping mall with famous American restaurants like Johnny Rockets and Tony Roma’s, a modern cinema, kids club and ample shopping opportunities. It is linked directly to the Sheraton resort via a covered pathway so don’t even need to step into the hot, Bali sun if you prefer.
In the opposite direction, about 50 metres down the road, is a convenient McDonald’s restaurant if your kids finally had enough fried noodles.
And there’s plenty of market shopping in any direction, including less than a minute walk to famed Poppies Lane, which is considered the heart of Kuta.
It really doesn’t get more central in Bali than this.
Family Friendly Spa
The day of our arrival happened to be Mother’s Day so we celebrated with a family day at the on-site spa, Shine. The Sheraton offer Mummy and Princess packages as well as Daddy and Prince ones.
With great excitement Mia and I left Josh and Caius to their thing while we got to indulge in ours.
A full body scrub, massage and pedicure.
Josh and Caius also indulged in a full body scrub and massage.
This might suit older kids a little better, because while it was almost 3 hours of absolute bliss for me, my 6-year-old found a little long. She loved the pedicure and the scrub tickled, but the massage was a little lengthy for her attention span.
I would love to see them develop this more fully and provide different packages for younger kids; shorter massages and more nail fun would have been perfect.
During our nail art session we sat in a glass-walled room over looking the swimming pool and ocean. It was invigorating for the heart and a feast for the eyes (and I’m not just talking about the sunbathers). We were offered a nut mix and refreshing drinks as well, which completed the whole experience.
I came away feeling like a new woman. The choice of scented massage oils presented a pleasant challenge, each more intoxicating then the last. How could I choose? But as a bonus we received a special little keepsake bottle of massage oil at the end of the session, so I cast myself back into that Zen-like moment of relaxation with just one whiff.
The Swimming Pool
My favourite feature of the resort would have to be the infinity pool. Towering high above the busy street below, all you could see was palm trees, beach and clouds. The illusion was decadent and provided a magical experience. One Josh and I attempted to make time for daily. A shallow child-friendly pool catered for younger hotel guests. And the friendly poolside staff proactively provided towels so there was never a need to leave your comfy sun lounge.
Kids Club – Another Place Our Kids Wouldn’t Leave
Our kids barely used the magnificent pool during their stay at the Sheraton since the kids club quickly became their favourite haunting ground. Computers, gaming consoles, toys and books. It was a kid’s dream house.
The staff were open to our suggestions and feedback as well. We try to limit our son’s screen time at the moment so they were very helpful in monitoring that and making sure he only had the agreed timing.
The shaded outdoor play area and shallow splash pool gave the kids ample space to stretch their legs and run around.
However, the location of the kids club is quite out of the way and you’re unlikely to find it by yourself. So ensure you ask the staff for directions or to take you there after checking in.
Bene: If Only I Could Stay And Try All 100
We were fortunate enough to meet the Italian Head Chef overseeing the team of 75 chefs working at the Sheraton. And, of course, with an Italian Chef you must have an Italian restaurant. And not just any Italian restaurant. But in typical extravagant Italian spirit, one that serves authentic cuisine with a unique modern twist in a mind-boggling number of varieties. 100 to be exact.
If poolside dining is too casual for you, head upstairs. Beautiful thick wooden tables overlooking the beach in air-conditioned comfort are just the beginning. The sincere, inviting atmosphere permeated throughout the restaurant, complimenting the heavenly scent rising out of the kitchen. The impressive collection of wines behind a glass cabinet stretched the length of an entire wall.
After pouring over the extensive menu, I hastily made a rush decision when the waiter approached. Fortunately it was a good decision. Josh went with the easy option and picked form the chef’s recommended specials.
Just look at that pasta goodness. Perfectly cooked, delicately seasoned, mouth-watering magic.
And dessert was an event in itself. I opted for a slice of warm Nutella tart (the 3 sweetest words in the English dictionary), and Josh went with the palm sugar panna cotta infused with lemongrass, served with orange chili caramel and fig chutney.
The level of attention to detail in all aspects of the restaurant was impressive. The fine blue and white plates were custom made in Korea exclusively for Bene. Wow!
One of the best parts about this highly regarded Italian restaurant are the unique specials that run each day of the week, from family-style dinners in pots and pans on Mondays to a 50% discount on Fridays if you hand over your phone upon arrival.
But What About Breakfast?
Regular readers will know we are fond of the buffet breakfast, and this one is no exception. Set in Feast on street level, we were in for a treat with freshly cooked crepes, pancakes and churros. A huge assortment of dishes from delicate pastries, hot Asian cuisine, crisp salad items, a range of freshly squeezed juices and not to mention the egg station.
The only shortcoming - I ordered eggs benedict twice and unfortunately both times the egg was under cooked with oozing white. So I ended up with pancakes and they were delicious!
One morning I asked a waiter where I could find granola. He told me he would find out. A little while later he brought to the table freshly prepared granola – still warm, steam rising from the bowl. I was stunned. No request was too big or too small.
The kids are also well taken care of at breakfast. They had their own mini tables and chairs and a dedicated children’s buffet complete with cute food and superhero decorations. So detailed and well designed, it makes me smile thinking about it.
What About Sunday Brunch?
Every Sunday the Sheraton goes all out in a Market Brunch. You absolutely have to try it when you’re in Bali, regardless of where you’re staying. It’s an experience I’ll not likely forget. In fact, I dedicated a whole post to it!
So Should You Give Kuta Another Try?
There is no doubt the Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort is built for families. From the world-class kids buffet, to the cute mini bathrobes, to the superb kids club - children are welcome all over the hotel.
It certainly has lifted Kuta’s standard beyond the former glory days and transformed a well-worn beachfront tourist trail into a luxurious yet affordable hotspot for holidaymakers. The broad array of well-known international retail stores such as Zara and Top Shop in the modern shopping mall are luring more discerning travellers to the area. I think it’s safe to say Kuta is back in the game. Thanks to the Sheraton.