The Beach Grill Lunch & Property Overview | The Ritz Carlton Nusa Dua

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After a pleasant journey to nusa dua – we arrived at The Ritz Carlton – where we had a scheduled lunch meeting with the wonderful and informative Sales and Marketing manager Danielle.


Once arrived, we are greeted by a behemoth of staff who are all sincerely pleased to see you and get you to the place you need to go.


The property itself is exquisite. You enter the lobby area of the property which is perched high above the property on a cliff which overlooks the entire resort. Wide open spaces with the most decadent fittings and flower arrangements around every corner adorns the hotel. Look for yourself – so extremely gorgeous.

Once you are checked in or greeted by the front office staff, you are shown to the glass elevator leading down the side of the cliff / mountain – you are transported to the golf buggy hub for your transfer around the property. (that’s if you can’t be bothered walking around – as it’s a large property)
And where would you like to go to please? I answered with “The beach grill please” and off we went through little passages and bridges (all plant lined) to arrive to the beautiful and modern restaurant “the beach grill” which is greatly influenced by seafood and pasta dishes.

Don’t fret, It also has many options for people who prefer a nice black angus tenderloin / sirloin or rack of lamb if you prefer. Its positioned at the beachfront of the property as the name suggests. It actually seems to blend into the nature somehow and you are taken aback with the craftsmanship, architecture of the buildings/spaces and integration of the pool areas and restaurants/bars is absolute perfection.
Anyhow for starters I ordered the Burrata – Mozzarella, Cream, Cherry Tomatoes, Basil, Cracked Pepper, Sea Salt, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar and Karen (mum) ordered the Spinach, Garlic, Olive Oil & Watercress with Sesame Dressing.

Then for mains I ordered the Angus Tenderloin of Beef 200 Grams with sauce béarnaise, grilled vegetables & fries. Mum had the Prawn Spaghetti – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Garlic, Chili Flakes, Parsley. Every morsel of food was delicious and cooked to a very high level. Mum said her Pasta was magnifico – al dente! My steak was absolutely grovel worthy – cooked and rested to perfection – Kudo’s Ritz Carlton Nusa Dua!


Everyone we came across at the hotel seemed to be enjoying themselves very much, whether it where guests or hotel staff – everyone just seemed excited and proud of the property.
Danielle – Sales and Marketing Manager with loads of passion!
Wonderful service throughout the property

The hotel previously had a huge Australian clientele with their arrangement and allocation of rooms given to Luxury Escapes.com however the deal is no longer available through that website, as it was an introductory offer at an extremely discounted rate. Now most guests are Indonesian or from the surrounding areas. They still have the Europeans, the British and the Americans market pretty well covered.
The resort blew me away. It was better than I had ever imagined and the sheer maginitude and space surrounding you at the property is awe inspiring.
The lead in guest suite presented like this:

frangipani ponds everywhere

Our day at Nusa Dua was a fun and intriguing day away from the hustle and bustle of seminyak / legian and the kuta areas which we both thoroughly enjoyed

I am glad I inspected this property, as I think this would be the perfect choice for my followers interested in a grand scale holiday! In particular the kind of crew who like the epitome of grand style, sophistication and the best Executive club section I have ever seen. (Which provides 8 different meal settings per day, all beverages and alcohol throughout your stay – complimentary if you book the executive | club package. (which I hear is only 70USD per person per day extra on top of the room tariff). That’s a great deal considering the beverages and alcohol inclusions. A truly beautiful place to hang out and nosh, do some business, or just relax with a newspaper or magazine.
All the yoga lovers rejoice – they have a massive yoga and wellbeing centre overlooking a section of the resort. The spa is world class – and the staff extremely keen to assist in any possible way.
And just when you think you had seen everything, think again. Here’s a picture of the thermal spa area which is tucked into the side of the property backing the cliff above.

thermal spa

As I haven’t stayed at the resort overnight yet, I am unable to give the property a full review score, but I can tell you this – Its my first choice when visiting Nusa Dua on my next trip to the island of the gods!

“Thank you very much Ritz Carlton Nusa Dua for an amazing day at your property – we had a fantastic tour and meal – we will be back”!

Crown Towers Perth – Premier Twin with Crystal Club Access | 6 star

After much anticipation, 3 years and $645 million dollars worth of construction, the Crown Towers in Perth has opened its doors. Expect the very best Perth has to offer with a massive extravagant pool area, an opulent spa and large well appointed spacious rooms, prepare to be wowed.

Being a massive investment and the ‘jewel’ of the crown portfolio, The 500 rooms are spread across 23 storeys. The two-level porte-cochère that channels guests into separate pick-up and drop-off points works extremely well and the integration with the existing casino floor is seamless.

Even the entry-level guestrooms (premier rooms) are a spacious 47 square metres, with floor to ceiling windows and rich furnishings.

Crown Towers Perth – from the Pool Area
The amazing pool and cabana area with the swan river in the backdrop
premier twin room (45 square metres)

We were given access to the amazing Crystal Club located on the 23rd floor of the towers which included breakfast each morning, snacks throughout the day and a light dinner (canapés) with a selection of juices, sodas, coffees, teas & alcoholic beverages. (spirits, beers, wines and aperitifs)  This is also where you access the Salons.  More to come on the salons in my next review of crown towers.

Outdoor area of the Crystal Club
Hors Douvres in the crystal club

 

Bravo to the brilliant staff at the crystal club lounge

 

Crown Towers is definitely in the same class as St. Regis, Ritz Carlton & Park Hyatt, with its own sense of opulence & style.  All staff are genuinely friendly and over-the-top helpful, and spend the time talking and getting to know you, thank you very much Karen, for taking the time to entertain my Grandma Fay . (Karen was the wonderful host in the crystal club who truly went out of her way to make sure our stay was amazing)

The food service around the pool however needs to be looked at.  They only had a limited choice on the menu (a few things where not available) and it was particularly hard to get the servers attention.  Basics like serviettes, cutlery and plates where not given to us – only after numerous requests (and we were given 1 plate which was dirty and 2 serviettes?) The service was aloof.  They had not prepared sufficiently for the masses of people coming down to the pool area for lunch.

Room service was much better.  With a fantastic selection of modern cuisine, everyone is well catered for.  The food arrived when specified (20 mins) and was delicious & steaming hot.  Nailed it.

Being part of a casino group, they have a smoking area in the main foyer leading to the lobby (outdoor) overlooking the Metropol’s pool area.

If you have kids, they are well catered for.  Not only are they allowed throughout the wet areas of the Towers, they also have a direct link to the water slides and full wet areas located next door at the Crown Metropol.  Big bonus.  Hours of fun and entertainment to keep them occupied, giving parents some respite.

Parking was a bit of an issue.  If you want to arrive at the front door and not carry your bags from the free carpark, they are going to slog you $50 per day for valet parking which is the only other option.  I thought that was bit hard to take considering I didn’t really feel like carting all the luggage from the carpark to the lobby.

the lobby | reception area

We dined at epicurean which was definitely a delight for the senses.  With a huge selection of deli inspired sections, the food was plentiful and very well presented.  Seafood selection was excellent with prawns, crabs and scallops with a variety of sauces and condiments.

Massive meat selection of different style briskets, pastramis, sirloins and bone in cuts for the avid meat consumer.

The desserts where definitely a stand out with everything individual, from creme brûlée tartlets, lemon meringues, fruit tarts, a chocolate fountain with many different dip ins to choose from and so much more…

The beauty about staying at the Crown is that you have a plethora of venue’s to choose from for meals and drinks.  There really is something for everyone.  Rockpool, Nobu, Silks, Modo Mio, Bistro Guillame, The Atrium (the house buffet), Epicurean, Carvers, Junction Grill, Market & Co., The Merrywell, Poolside Bar & Grill and 88 noodle bar.  Fast food is also available – Mcdonalds, Subway, Cotta Cafe, Snax & Wok In a Box.

The Waiting Room in the lobby is a fine and sophisticated place, for those who like a pre dinner drink or if you are ‘waiting’ for your guests to arrive, then this is the place to be!  Great selection of cocktails and mixes with a tapas style food menu.

the bottom line

My stay at Crown Towers was absolutely superb!  It lived up to all my expectations and more.

My rating for Crown Towers Perth is 5.8 stars out of a possible 6 stars.

 

Villa Bedroom will be reviewed next stay
The well appointed Gym
Private Cabana Area
Crystal Club Opening Hours
Crystal Club
The Spa’s Relaxation Room
The Waiting Room
Room Service Food

 

Epicurean
Epicurean Desserts
Epicurean Proscuitto
Epicurean Desserts
Epicurian Choc Fountain

Priority Pass adds Sydney & Brisbane to its portfolio of benefits for Australians.

the select card

Priority pass has just added Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to their portfolio of benefits available to the Australian traveller (when travelling outbound) who has a priority pass card.

Australia

Brisbane International Airport

Darwin International airport

Cardholders and accompanying guests will receive AUD$36 off the final bill per person per visit, valid on any type of meal and/or drinks in a single transaction upon presentation of a valid card.

So… this means if you live in Sydney or Brisbane and you have a top-level priority pass card, (unlimited entry) you can literally head out to these restaurants for a free meal (with alcohol) and without traveling!  conditions apply.

An article from the Australian Business Traveller:

Five Aussie credit cards come with Priority Pass membership, which can then open the doors to over 1,000 airport lounges around the world – as well as provide a $36 credit in selected Sydney and Brisbane Airport restaurants, cafes and bars.

Both the American Express Platinum Charge card and Citi Prestige card include full Priority Pass membership, which is automatically renewed each year along with your card.

The Westpac Altitude Black, St George Amplify Signature and Citi Signature cards come with two Priority Pass lounge visits per year.

It’s worth noting that the American Express Platinum Charge card also gives you unlimited access to Sydney Airport’s American Express Lounge, while Westpac Altitude Black provides two AMEX lounge passes per year.

If you don’t have any of these cards are and interested in buying Priority Pass membership, packages start at US$99 per year plus US$27 each time you want to use a lounge; US$249 per year with 10 free lounge visits (and US$27 a pop after that); or at US$399 per year, the Prestige plan provides every lounge visit free.

Under each Priority Pass tier you can also bring a guest into the lounge but at a cost of US$27.

available on your phone

Qantas Business Class, Perth – Santiago from $4,478* return

Qantas has just released new fares in economy, premium economy and business class from Perth to Santiago at a very reasonable price.  I’d say this is probably the best route to South America (from Perth) and most comfortable flying on the 747’s.  (my favourite aircraft) (request bulkhead if your in economy)

Qantas offers three return services a week on the Sydney-Santiago route (Monday, Wednesday, Saturday), operated by a Boeing 747 that has been refurbished with award-winning A380-style cabins, seats and inflight entertainment.

LAN Airlines will codeshare on the Qantas services while the Australian airline will continue to codeshare on LAN’s daily services between Sydney and Santiago via Auckland. As fellow oneworld™ members, Qantas and LAN will continue to work together to promote travel between Australia, Chile and the broader South American region.

Considered as just a stopover point: Santiago, is the capital and largest city in Chile. Located in a country filled to the brim with stunning landscapes, historic beauty, local charm and delectable foods, it is fast-becoming more of a destination than a stopover.

The Business Class return fare

Just a reminder.. In my own opinion, Qantas has one of the best business class products in the world – after all, they did introduce “business class” to the skies in 1979.

More on Qantas to come (one of my favourite airlines), with an in-depth review coming up on their new Boeing 787 dreamliner fleet (when more of the information is released)

This is the latest Qantas International Business Seat – note the privacy screen in the middle can be lowered

 

The economy class return fare

Qantas celebrates its centenary in 2020.  What do you think of Qantas?

 

Visit qantas.com for more details

Batik Air Business Class Perth to Denpasar (PER-DPS) Airbus A320 with Sharklets

Being the airline geek that I am, it is imperative that I give every airline a try.  Batik Air are not aligned with any frequent flyer or loyalty partners, apart from their own, Batik Miles which is a very basic product.

I would normally travel with Jetstar to Bali, as most of you know, I am a loyal Qantas supporter.  Economy with Jetstar was more expensive than business class with Batik, so it really was a no brainer.

Check in at the Perth airport was quick and easy.

Batik Air does not allow you to check in online yet (this was the inaugural flight), so everyone including business class had to join the queue at the PER international airport for check in.

Batik Air is part of the Lion Group of Companies, (I gasped when I found out they also own Malindo Air) however with their business promo sale for only AUD$150 return more than the economy fare, I booked straight away.

The cabin was completely separated by a wall and the configuration was 2:2 with 3 rows of seats.  In total, there where 3 of us sitting in business.

Seats are not lie flat with a pitch similar to domestic at 45 inches.

My first impressions where “This is actually really roomy, modern and comfortable for the extra money”.  I was pretty stoked.  I mean it’s very standard for international business class, however for a 3.5 hour flight, it was just perfect.

I was greeted by my surname and offered a glass of water or juice as soon as I was seated, which I took. (green juice)  I was also given roasted cashews and a hot towel.

Inflight entertainment is provided via fold-up screens at each business class seat, with AC and USB charging ports at-hand just below the drinks tray.

The system was basic with an offering of 3 or 4 english movies (fairly newish like JOY and THE REVENANT) and then another 4 or so in other languages (mostly Indonesian).  Chess, backgammon and puzzles where available also.  Just enough to keep you occupied during the flight.

At meal time, approximately 1 hour into the flight, we where given the choice of having chicken penne napoli or chicken and rice.  Here is a photo of the chicken and rice from their website.

I ordered the chicken penne with napoli sauce which was quite sweet, but overall not too bad.  I was also offered a drink (not alcoholic) and asked for cola with ice. (Pepsi)  Again, I thought the meal service was satisfactory for the price I paid and the length of the flight.  The overall cabin service was fine, no problems with language or any requests, which made for an enjoyable trip.

I would definitely fly with Batik Air again.

Mr rating for Batik Air Business Class service onboard their A320 from Perth – Denpasar is: 4.5 out of a maximum 6 points.

 

 

 

 

Anantara Resort Seminyak | 5 star self rated

After considerable and lengthy thoughts of traveling back to the W Hotel in Seminyak or the St Regis Hotel in Nusa Dua, I chose to stay somewhere more traditional and use the hotels loyalty program (discovery) to see where they stacked up against Starwood, Hyatt & Co.

Natalie and Jake Leahy tying the knot at the Bali Niksoma! Happy Days..

My brother Kane and I stayed at the Anantara Hotel in Seminyak to attend our sisters wedding at the Bali Niksoma. (which was 5 minutes away in Legian)

The food at the wedding was delicious.  The whole wedding went off without a hitch and was a huge success for my gorgeous sister Natalie and her awesome husband Jake.  This was also the first time I was to meet my nephew Tyler, who is such a happy & placid little man! So much going on for the little one.

The Bali Niksoma is a very good choice for a wedding and reception, their grounds and location is perfect.  The set up was spectacular.  Kudos to Bali Niksoma.

The Anantara in Seminyak is a lovely getaway and retreat as such and is more suited to couples and newlyweds, not so much for twin share.  The grounds are lush and there are water ponds throughout the lobby and it creates a very calming and tranquil feel as you enter the property.

pool access suite – 101
hollywood twin – no additional cost

About the suite..

It was a good size being 80m² and the floors consisted of wooden panels and marble with a rug in the sitting area which had 2 comfortable single wicker loungers.

The king bed was ‘floating’ on marble and was fitted with all white luxury soft sheets, cushions, pillows & quilt.  The bed was top of the line and medium to plush, which is one of the most important things to me as a traveller – If I don’t get my sleep, I’m not a happy camper!  The bed was super comfortable.  The linens and duvet where heavenly.

We paid $USD45++ per/night for a single ensemble (large roll-away) which was set up in the lounge section with linen/duvet or you may prefer the hollywood twin (pictured above) or have the lounge set up as a bed at no additional cost.

The bathroom was huge and took up nearly a third of the total room space!  However there is not one inch of privacy, no blind or privacy screen between the room and the bathroom (just a clear sliding window) and no door to the bathroom, just a large marbled entrance.  Again suited and geared towards couples!

Bathroom included a large sunken marble bath with upgraded ammenities, ginger soap, bath salts, bubble bath and a massive hard cover book to read (all perched upon a wooden tray inserted over the bath)

The walk in massive shower featured a large rain system and normal extendable arm on the wall.  Water pressure was fine and the water was a good temperature.  Toilet was inside the bathroom (separated by a glass door laminated from the middle down) and reading materials are supplied (lifestyle and hotel magazines)  A second telephone was located in the toilet.

Minibar was satisfactory with soft drinks, beers, chocolates, a juice and sparkling waters which were all easily replaceable if you travelled just a 5 minute walk to the supermarket just down the road. (at a fraction of the cost) As most of you may know, I usually like to empty the mini bar out (place it in the cupboard and not use it) and stock my own items in the fridge, as this saves money and you can have all your favourite things at hand.

The rate was inclusive of a one hour massage per person.  Kane lost track of time and said that I could use his massage for organising/booking the trip. (and it took many hours – let me tell you!)

My masseuse Anik was wonderful and managed to put me into a deep state of relaxation, after melting away the knots in my neck, shoulders and back.  I found the position of the spa to be relaxing. Your perched above the trees and its such a nice view. Quality essential oils and Elemis products (consistently rated at the top) are used in store and throughout the massage/treatments.

Housekeeping and room service where excellent. The room was always cleaned immaculately and replenished in such a quick time, usually while we where at breakfast. (3 people cleaned at once!)

The room service food was delicious, always arrived when stated (usually 15 – 30 minutes) and steaming hot. (tray was also collected immediately after It was placed out the front of the door – Jedi like)

I always received a follow-up call from room service to ensure that the food was to my liking and if there was anything else I required – excellent.

My privilege rate also included full buffet breakfast daily in the moonlite restaurant located on the 4th floor – with glorious views of seminyak surf beach. The crew at breakfast where awesome – they could not do enough for you!  Always greeted Kane and myself by first name. Cold pressed juices where my definite go to in the morning, my ritual being the Popeye (spinach, pineapple & coconut water) and the ABC (apple, beetroot and carrot).  Was the best start to a great day. Oh did I mention, as much coffee as you like here also – made to order from the barista.

The breakfast was served as a continental buffet with all the usual suspects (breads, pastries, cereals, fruit, yoghurts, croissants, cold meat cuts and cheeses, nuts, salads, Balinese cakes etc.) The best part of the package in my opinion was the ability to order off the breakfast menu. (a la carte – cooked to order)  You could order anything on the menu and as much as you wanted!  Just the way I like it.

The reception needs to step up its game a bit in my opinion.  Upon check in, I have a habit of confirming the inclusions in my booked package (anantara.com) One being my foam pillow request and the room location (quieter spot).  They confirmed the pillow and location, which was great.  I then asked about the credit I was to receive according to their website and confirmation, and this was to be later adjusted at check out. (which I later found out was not included)

They kept asking for deposit off the credit card for security?  I was just puzzled as to why they couldn’t just do a pre-authorisation and block the money off the card – maybe things have changed in Indonesia?

Anyhow, when I checked my account the night before departure, it hadn’t changed at all! Getting frustrated by this stage, I was then told that the inclusions where only included if you booked the ocean suite? Again, I pointed to my confirmation which confirmed my flash sale 30% credit, and I had budgeted according to this.  I was not prepared to argue over this at reception, but did mention to them we have had a misunderstanding and that these problems need to be ironed out.

So, overall..

For over $USD300nett ++ per night, we were happy with our choice in Seminyak.  Hopefully the reception will start to deliver on their promises instead of nodding their heads in approval, when maybe they did not understand correctly?  Hotels need to train their reception staff to be completely aware of package inclusions and conditions.  Hotel guests need to be advised the correct details upon check in, to avoid any nasty surprises when checking out.  (one of my pet hates)

No special recognition was provided for being a privilege member with Minor Hotels, even though I was told that reception would be going through this with me on arrival, but unfortunately this didn’t happen.

Would I return to this hotel?  Yes.  My overall rating of this hotel is in the higher bracket simply because it ticked the majority of the boxes. One or two problems with the reception is not going to break the deal for me.

PS. Use the stairs at this hotel, as the lift is very slow and it stops on every floor. (where staff are trying to get in with trolleys!)

My rating of this hotel is 4.5 stars out of a maximum 6

I would also like to visit the Anantara Ubud property, where I’ve heard many great reports.  May just have to include that in my next trip to Bali, but its back to the W Hotel when next I’m visiting Seminyak.

seclusion of room 101 (pool access suite) – bottom left corner