What better thing to do on a rainy night than to recall more sunny ones? Oh Bali, it has only been a few weeks, but how I’ve missed you.
A few months ago, my friends and I decided to go to Bali over easter break. Sunshine, blue skies, white clouds, clear water and a massage was exactly what we needed. Being the nerds that we are, we naturally proceeded to create an Excel Spreadsheet to highlight all the pros and cons of each resort (which we gathered through critical analysis of Tripadvisor reviews). We then created a ranking system to decide the absolute best one (in terms of value, quality, convenience etc.) for our holiday. Rimba Jimbaran came out number one because of the following reasons:
- Distance to airport: It is a short half hour ride from the airport, which is a major plus. A year ago when I went to Bali for the first time, I discovered that they do not have any highways, and ended up stuck in traffic for more than an hour before arriving at my resort (near the Tanah Lot temple). So this time I wanted to be as close to the airport as possible to minimize travel time. Though I’m told by the driver that they recently did indeed built a highway and traffic is slightly better. Incidentally, Seminyak is about 30-45 minutes away depending on traffic. Oh and on a side note, the airport is MUCH improved since a year ago. All shiny and new!! On a side note to the side note, did the immigration officer ask anyone else for tips? We thought it was highly unusual.
- Shiny and new: Speaking of shiny and new, the Rimba is shiny and new as of last November. We figured that April is a good time to go. It gives the hotel time to work out the kinks, but still allows you to enjoy the newness.
- Multiple pools: Travelling in easter, we were worried that the pools would be overly crowded and noisy with children. The fact that the Rimba had multiple pools (and access to the Ayana pools) was a major plus.
- Access to the Ayana: One major minus for the Rimba is that it does not have a sea view. This is important because.. well its Bali. It is one of Bali’s key selling points. Instead, the Rimba is located on top of a mountain (or hill?), overlooking a forest (the name means forest I think). Luckily for Rimba, guests also have access to its sister hotel, the Ayana, which is located right next to the sea, and has a private beach. There’s even priority access to the infamous Rock Bar (even though we did not end up going)! Ayana also has a world renown spa and lots of restaurant choices (the Rimba only has 2 restaurants). There is a tram that goes back and forth the hotels, which is very frequent. The two hotels are literally 3 minutes away from each other.
- Great reviews: To be fair, the Rimba does not have that many Tripadvisor reviews yet. But the majority of them were great, commenting on the excellent service and helpfulness of the staff, and what a great hotel it is in general. Compared to some of the other reviews I’ve read during my research (i.e. Sofitel, which is also a new hotel), Rimba’s reviews were encouraging.
- Value: Compared to the W Hotel, the Seminyak, Le Meridien, Conrad and the Sofitel , the Rimba (being a newly hotel I guess?) is also relatively affordable. It came out to be in the high/mid-range in terms of pricing out of all the hotels we considered.
Taking all these things into consideration, the Rimba Jimbaran presented the best value in all areas for us – and we were not disappointed. We had an absolutely fabulous time, and only wished that we could stay longer. I would definitely recommend it to friends! There are so many things to say about the Rimba that I don’t even know where to start. So I figured I will go chronologically.
Airport: Our flight arrived in the late afternoon. We debated whether to use the VIP pick up service (because of possible crowds/lines over easter), but in the end elected not to use it. We were not sure how much added value it would be, besides possibly avoid being asked for tips by the immigration officer (and potential repercussions). Besides, don’t they need to match our faces to our passports? As it turns out, the lines were not that bad, even though I had to get on the ground visa (perhaps about 20 minutes in total?). Once we got out, we easily spotted the staff from Ayana/Rimba, and were escorted to our car. The drive to the resort was a smooth 30 minute ride.
Welcome: We arrived at the hotel at around 6pm, and were greeted by staff with our welcome orchid necklaces. Upon stepping foot in the lobby, we were momentarily distracted by the modern decor and the amazing view of the last of the sunset. There are two front desks on either side of the lobby, and to this day I’m still not sure if they are the concierge or reception (or both?). All the staff were busy with guests though, and we waited around for more than 10 minutes before we were able to check-in (there are no clear lines as to where one should line up). It was only when we were checking in that they realized that they had forgotten our welcome drinks and towels. Having said that, the drink was delicious and very refreshing. Some kind of rosemary lemonade.
The Jimaran Bay Room
We selected the Jimbaran Bay Rooms, because we hear that the regular rooms face parking lots, and worried that there will be no privacy at the pool access rooms (we would probably have to keep our blinds down all the time).
Sound proofing: Our rooms are conveniently located a few doors down from the lobby. I thought it was great – less walking! But I quickly learnt that night that it was also its downfall. I have read similar reviews before, and I can now confirm that they are indeed true. The walls are paper-thin. You can hear EVERYTHING – people walking past at night, talking and laughing. Children shrieking. I can even hear my friend laughing next door! Needless to say, sleep was not exactly restful – and my beauty sleep is important! This is a major minus. But to be fair, this is already the biggest complaint of just a few other nit picky things about the room.
Room design: Back to the room, it is modern, clean and chic, designed in neutral earth tones. Slightly on the smaller side (given that it is in the middle of a forest, you would think they could be more generous with sizing), but still comfortable with a small sofa/sitting area, a desk and a balcony. There’s even a neat bench on one wall, which I thought was perfect for suitcases. I thought that the marble floor (vs. carpet) was also very appropriate given that we will likely be coming in from the pool a lot.
Technology: Technology wise, it was well equipped with iphone docks, flat screens etc. On the other hand, the lighting was a bit on the dark side. Indeed, the whole resort was on the dark side at night. We ended up sleeping very early every night, which I guess is a good thing. My friends also had trouble with their TV, which apparently took forever to fix (I never tried mine). Oh and the phones are kind of old school.
Bathroom: Having examined many tourist pictures prior to the trip, I was slightly surprised by the bathroom. It is much smaller than I expected. No wonder everyone always post pictures of the circular tube. It literally dominates the room! Having said that it is very nice, it serves as both a bath and a shower, with a lovely rain shower overhead. But the rest of the bathroom is minimal, with barely enough counter space. There were also random chinks in the sink and bathtub, even though the hotel is new (perhaps ceramic is not the best idea after all). The hairdryer was also dismal. It took forever for my hair to dry, and many nights I just left it half-dried.
Miscellaneous: Just to be nitpicky, I would also like to comment on the hotel provided slippers and robes. I love hotel slippers (my favourite being from MO Paris!), and love the feeling of the lush robes. Sadly the ones provided by the Rimba fell below expectations. They are both made in a black and brown Balinese print. This is fine and all, but it makes me wonder if they are clean. The robes are thin and not lush at all. But most shocking was that I swear the slippers are re-used! They felt somewhat damp. I ended up wearing my flip-flops indoor instead.
The next morning, we were also happy to find that we have a spacious balcony with a great view of the pool! If the pool side wasn’t so nice, this would’ve definitely been an ideal option to sit and read at.
Conclusion and tips: I would give the rooms a 4.5/5 stars, and suggest anyone going to request a pool facing room that is on the upper floors. It was overall great, with the exception of a few kinks and the noise issue.
I have more to say about the hotel facilities, restaurants and the spa. But I think I will save that for another post.