Kicking back in Kuta
A Special Lunch Correspondent
The Sheraton Resort is part of and surrounded by the throbbing heart of Kuta … and yet, comfortably removed from Bali’s party central.
You can rub shoulders with the hoi polloi or sit in your comfortable suite removed from it all, but still take part vicariously in the sights, sounds and – ah, yes – even the smells of Kuta night life.
With the famous beach just a few footsteps away from the entrance, and all of the beach bars in comfortable stumbling distance you are in the action.
But it is still possible to have a true resort experience and never leave the hotel until it’s time for your transfer, with all your meals taken care of either in Bene, the world-class Italian restaurant overlooking the beach and the hotel's infinity pool, or in Feast, with its eclectic mix of Balinese and international fusion cuisine.
Then there is the hotel bar and lounge, which is the best spot on Kuta to watch the sunset while schlepping a cocktail.
A couple of times I opt for room service in my chamber, which has a feel of serene opulence, especially when taken on the sun lounges overlooking the beach.
Once I even ask them to bring champagne and dinner for two out to the main hotel deck – no problem, says room service.
Most things are no problem at the Sheraton Resort Kuta, which is run with placid calm by Dario Orsini, who having come from Italy, Germany, Emirates, Spain, England, Egypt, Australia, Thailand and Malaysia, wears the Sheraton uniform with panache and style.
Every morning I’m at the Sheraton Resort Kuta I head to Feast for breakfast. After the first morning it’s kind of crash priority.
The range, freshness and quality really is something to write home about.
The first morning I start with a full Indian breakfast feast, with dahl, vegetable curry, poppadums and chilli pickle. Then – deep breath – Chinese dumplings with chilli, fried noodles, bacon and eggs, congee, smoked salmon on dark rye with giant caperberries and lemon juice, sushi and sashimi, then waffles with maple syrup and frozen yoghurt for breakfast dessert.
All this is washed down with the usual coffees, teas and fruits juices and icy cold mineral waters.
You have to keep your strength up in the tropics and, as I’m fond of saying, thirst is a dangerous thing.
All this sets me up for lunch at Bene. Make sure you grab a table upstairs overlooking the pool and beach.
The frutti di mare pizzas are a dreamy tomato sauce on an authentic thin crust Italian base, a neat accompaniment to a crisp cool Italian white wine and Chinese beer.
One of the highlights of staying at the Sheraton Resort at Kuta is the Beachwalk shopping mall next door (it’s connected through an underground tunnel, so you can go there direct without hitting the strip).
There are all the usual high end retailers of course and on the top deck an outdoor food court that has authentic Indonesian and other cuisines.
This is how it works. You charge a swipe card at one of the cashiers and then turn yourself loose – and they give you change if there’s any cash left over on your card so you’re not left a pricey bit of plastic.
There is a Malay hut, a China hut, a Japanese hut and – and this might come in handy if you’re fond of spicy food, or like me need to keep your fluids up – a beer hut.
I spend two afternoons here rubbing shoulders with Indonesia’s rapidly growing middle class and I’m the only white man, despite the presence of thousands of them on the beach across the road.
A group of girls are extremely friendly, asking to have their picture taken – I reach for their phone, but they say, no, they want to be photographed with me.
I’m not particularly conceited about my physical beauty, nor do I suspect have I any reason to be, but cannot discern any sarcastic intent so I agree.
Returning from the Beachwalk, I sit down with Dario and ask him why the Sheraton Resort at Kuta is so awesome.
“We are right at the heart of Kuta, well known for its hustle and bustle of Bali. It is the part of Bali that never sleeps and with the opening of Beachwalk lifestyle centre, together with Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort, we are here to set the trend in sharing the new Kuta experience with the world,’’ he tells me.
“Our centralised location in Kuta provides us with the most amazing views of Kuta Beach, as well as the stunning sunset Kuta is ever known for.’’
I ask him about the hotel’s design, which has the lobby, bells and whistles around the back and bars and restaurants facing the famous strip.
“The design has been influenced by Bali’s nature, it is a whole new architecture never seen before in Bali. It’s inspired by the gentle rice paddy fields and allows natural sea breeze to flow into the resort to cool down the area. We are working with one of the best local law enforcement in Bali to ensure security is our priority, and Beachwalk has applied the same standard to ensure safety of our guests.’’
Finally, how awesome is it to be the manager of the newest, coolest hotel in Kuta, if not in all of Bali?
“It has definitely been an amazing experience so far, from putting together the team, to fine-tuning every single detail that has lead up to today has been an inspiring journey for all of us. The connected Beachwalk has definitely given us the advantage above our competition in terms of our location and also our awareness. In addition we have been working very closely with our ownership company – PT. Indonesian Paradise Island – to make Kuta the world’s gathering place, this is no small task and we couldn’t have done it without the local community support as well.’’
All too soon, it’s time for a final beer, champagne and cocktail then be poured into my luxury transfer vehicle for the trip to the airport.
But when my travels take me to Kuta, I will definitely be going back to the Sheraton Resort.
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