My expectations for Bali were low. I thought it would be crowded and hot and a generally miserable place for a layover. Boy was I wrong. I loved it!
For all of you who gave me hotel recommendations prior to my journey, I thank you. I appreciated the wisdom and ultimately chose the Studios at Alila Seminyak. I loved the property, loved the breakfast, and thought my little “studio apartment” was more than adequate for a 24-hour stay. I would not hesitate to return to this property, though next time to the main resort.
As for Seminyak and Bali itself…wow, it was lovely. I expected Jakarta-like weather (simply out of ignorance) and instead enjoyed a very moderate 80ºF/27ºC with a cool breeze throughout the day. The neighborhood was full of great restaurants and coffee shops, including an amazing place called Clean Canteen. The coffee I enjoyed there was some of the best I have ever had…that is a tremendous compliment.
You can see the massage place next to the coffee shop. These places are literally on every block. I visited three of them and all were clean and cheap…we’re talking $6-8 for a one-hour massage. I also found a nice salon for a haircut, which I should count as a fourth massage since the haircut started and ended with a 10-minute scalp massage.
I know people don’t go to Bali for pizza, but there was a little pizza parlor on the lobby level of the hotel with a wood burning oven. I had a snack during happy hour — $5 for what turned out to be a large pizza.
But it was more than great coffee, massages, and food. The Balinese people were truly lovely — from the Grab drivers to the hotel staff to the massage technicians, to just about everyone I met. No touts, no swindling, and no tricks.
Seminyak, it seems to me, combines the best elements of Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and Siem Reap with its own unique vibe. I greatly enjoyed my 28-hour layover and look forward to returning for a longer visit next time.