Disclaimer: The Novotel Nusa Dua invited me for a 3-night stay – thank you!
Believe it or not my life over the last few weeks in Bali has been decidedly unglamourous. When people think about travel bloggers being on a perpetual holiday, my life couldn’t be further from the truth. While I haven’t worked myself into a burnout like so many of my colleagues I definitely don’t spend my days lounging on the beach, laptop in hand or not. I spend most of my time behind a screen in an Airbnb or a cafe and that includes most weekends.
So once in a while, a proper little holiday is in order and I tend to use my hotel collaborations as such. While it not a vacation per se I try to put my laptop aside, only grab my camera and instead enjoy a hotel’s facilities like a normal holidaymaker. After all, I am supposed to tell you whether a hotel is fun when you are off the clock and not while working.
With that thought, I was excited when the Novotel Nusa Dua invited me for a long weekend to check out their facilities. After my credit card disaster and lots of hours on the computer, I felt I deserved a treat and apparently so did the hotel.
Novotel – the Nusa Dua Accommodation
Nusa Dua is in the south of Bali and an area I had yet to explore. It is the home of the Balinese convention center and some stunning sunrise beaches. It is quite different from the rest of Bali, some of it good and some of it not so great. There are no crumbling sidewalks here, very few stray dogs, and to my dismay very few healthy eateries. Overall it feels a little less Bali and a lot more modern and organized – love it or hate it. A definite advantage is the almost complete absence of traffic, you will be surprised how fast you can get around.
The Novotel Nusa Dua is close to the Bali Collection, an outside shopping complex, and located amongst other 5-star Nusa Dua hotels. It is a beautiful and somewhat fancy area with manicured lawns and tidy roads, only a few temples, and statues reminding you that you are still in Bali.
While I usually prefer smaller Bali resorts, the Novotel has enough space that you never feel crowded even when you are a solo traveler looking for a bit of solitude. There is plenty of pool space, sun loungers, and of course, restaurant options to feast on the best of Balinese food. A special highlight for me was the fact that my room while facing the pool area was far away enough to not to be disturbed by kids and their parents.
As with many Nusa Dua hotels, the Novotel has various room categories and configurations offering something for each budget and style of travel. My deluxe room with pool view not only came with a small private balcony but also a generous bathroom with tub connecting to the bedroom. And for a change, I made full use of this tub after living off quick showers in my last humble Airbnb. Another added feature I really enjoyed and unfortunately not standard yet in too many Bali hotels: free drinking water in glass bottles provided in abundance. So even my Grayl bottle got to be on holiday for a few days and do nothing.
The location of the Novotel is one of a kind as you are smack bang in the middle of everything Nusa Dua has to offer. Whether you want to go shopping, go for extensive beach walks or visit the famous photo spot the Waterblow.
Mind you, if you are lazy like me during your Bali vacation you don’t even have to leave the resort for anything as there are a Minimart, an ATM, and a spa on the property. Needless to say, this meant I spent most of my time being massaged, eating or reading my book on the beach. Because while the hotel is not technically a Nusa Dua beach resort they do have their very own beach club which is only a few minutes away. Perfect as this means you don’t have to make the difficult choice between pool or ocean – you can have it both!
If you are too lazy to walk they offer a free shuttle to go back and forth between the resort and the beach.
On the beach club, you find a small restaurant serving all-day snacks, plenty of loungers and umbrellas as well as beanbags directly on the beach. In addition, you have various watersport equipment and a volleyball net available and of course, free towels are provided for hotel guests.
Especially convenient are the call-buttons at each set up so you can easily order food or sundowners. Have I mentioned that the Novotel offers an awesome 2-for-1 Happy Hour?!
Another unique feature at the beach club is their sunrise breakfast. Since Nusa Dua is located on the sunrise side of Bali you can order breakfast at the beach restaurant and enjoy watching the morning unfold while munching on an Indonesian breakfast getting your coffee fix in. A bonus: at this time of the day you will have the beach club all to yourself making for a tranquil and romantic setting.
Even if you are not an early bird there are plenty of food options at this Nusa Dua accommodation to keep you well-fed and happy. A good thing too because personally, I thought the Nusa Dua food scene was lacking. The Square is the hotel’s main restaurant where breakfast is served as well as various themed dinners. From Balinese evenings with whole roasted pigs and entertainment to free-flowing pizza nights there is something for everyone’s taste. And of course, the pool offers anything from yummy bar snacks to cocktails and fresh coconuts.
A few times a week the Novotel offers a seafood BBQ at the beach restaurant. Here you can feast on various fish, grilled prawns, mussels, and various salads and veggies. Don’t miss their freshly made desserts – even I the non-dessert lover asked for seconds!
If you prefer to get your own hands dirty, the hotel can organize a cooking class for you with their chef Made. You can choose from a Balinese and an Indonesian menu and learn how to make classics like Soto Ayam, a yummy chicken soup, to Pisang Goreng, deep-fried bananas which to my utter delight were served with ice cream and grated cheese, a wonderfully weird combination. Considering that most cooking classes in Bali are taking place in the Ubud area, this is a great activity if you are in Nusa Dua and don’t want to travel far.
My three nights passed way too quickly for my liking and after coming back from my Gili trip to pick up my luggage which the Novotel had kindly stored for me, I was very tempted to ask for my room back. I guess I needed some more holiday after all and stare at the ocean instead of my laptop a little longer.
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