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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 November 2018

Hotel review: Fairmont Sanur Beach Bali

An idyllic island retreat in Bali’s quieter quarter.
The ocean-view suite. Courtesy Fairmont Sanur Beach Bali
The ocean-view suite. Courtesy Fairmont Sanur Beach Bali

The welcome

After a private Fairmont minivan transfer from the airport, we’re greeted at the entrance by several smiling members of staff. Check-in is quick and painless, before we’re taken to our fourth-floor suite.

The neighbourhood

The sleepy town of Sanur doesn’t possess the same party atmosphere as Kuta and Seminyak. But those who worship relaxation more than late nights will be more than happy. The Fairmont is at the end of a lane just away from the town centre, a short walk from independent shops, bars and restaurants. It’s adjacent to its own 200-metre beach.

The room

Our twin ocean-view suite has the lot: space, views, luxurious finishes and a bell to call your own butler. It’s a couple of steps down from the bedroom to the semi-open-air lounge area, which can be closed off by sliding glass doors – in a clever eco-friendly touch, the air con cuts out when they’re opened. The ocean view is tropical bliss, looking across four hectares of beautifully landscaped gardens, terracotta-hued rooftops and the beach. The lounge has a large sofa lounger and a small table and chairs, lit by electric candles. There’s a decent-size television in both rooms, a huge floral sculpture-slash-light behind the beds and a lengthy writing desk, plus surfboard-shaped art anomalies. The bathroom features a built-in “eco-washer” bidet, separate rain shower, twin washbasins and a sizeable stone bath. There’s also an iPod dock connected to a Bose system.

The service

Faultless and friendly.

The scene

The UAE’s incarnations of the Fairmont have got nothing on this proudly Balinese resort. It’s blissfully quiet, while driftwood art gives the hotel a delightful Robinson Crusoe vibe.

The food

Prices aren’t prohibitively expensive for a five-star resort. Layang Layang, the hotel’s all-day-dining outlet, specialises in Indonesian and pan-Asian dishes. The standout is the Balinese rijsttafel, a tasting menu of local delicacies. For 280,000 Indonesian rupiah (Dh77) per person, you get two starters, soup, four mains with two sides, and four desserts. The peaks are tangy bebek betutu (roast duck with Balinese spice paste) and jaja batun bedil (rice dumplings in palm-sugar sauce). The breakfast buffet could have been more exhaustive. It sparingly covers hot western breakfast items, pastries and cold cuts, Balinese alternatives (nasi goreng) and the occasional Arabic inclusion (fattoush). Lunch is at Nyala Beach Club & Grill, a lovely al fresco location. The emphasis is on casual dining and bar bites, such as the Korean fried-chicken burger (120,000 rupiah [Dh33]).

Loved

The spa beneath the resort’s central water feature. The 90-minute Sanur signature massage (1,275,000 rupiah [Dh351]), draws on Indonesian, Thai, Breema, shiatsu and Swedish techniques.

Hated

There’s an automated blind, but no curtains in the room, which means the sunrise is positively incandescent at 6am. Things are rather darker when there’s a power cut while I’m showering, but the lights come back on in about 20 seconds.

The verdict

A top-end Bali resort tailor-made for families and those seeking a quieter side to the holiday island.

The bottom line

Suites at the Fairmont Sanur Beach Bali cost from US$424 (Dh1,557) per night, including breakfast, Wi-Fi, a non-alcoholic minibar, 24-hour butler service, bicycle rental, daily yoga sessions and taxes.

This review was done at the invitation of the hotel.