Trip Report: InterContinental Bali

Filed Under: Hotels, Priority Club

As we came down the escalator shortly after getting off the plane there was an elaborate sign with my name on it. We were greeted by both a butler and another lady that would help with the arrivals process. I was surprised that no other hotel had such a service, and it seemed like we were the only ones from the IC, since we saw no other signs.

They were extremely friendly, asked for our passports, $10USD for our visas (since we hadn’t issued them in advance), and our arrivals documents. The lady walked away with all of our documents, and the butler took our bags and escorted us to the “Club InterContinental lounge” located in the immigration hall. We really took the backdoor exit to everything, which just shows how “lax” everything is at this airport. We never had to go through immigration, any arrivals security, or anything.

As we took the exit right next to the immigration line the same American family that was on the flight in business (where I was wondering “how the hell can a family of four afford to fly business?”) was in line while we whisked by, and we overheard them saying something along the lines of “Wow, I wonder who they are that they get that kind of service.” That’s always a funny reaction.

Just a few minutes later we were in the Club InterContinental lounge, where we were offered cold towels and drinks. Our butler left us to go find AJ’s checked bag. Sitting in a nice lounge while everyone else does the work for you isn’t a bad way to travel.

Entrance to the Club Intercontinental lounge at the airport

Inside the lounge

After about ten minutes our butler (who couldn’t have been nicer) came back with our bags, along with the lady that had the visas in our passport. They both escorted us outside, where a car was waiting for us. The butler was surprised to see that we were coming to Bali as Americans, and said that was rare nowadays. He said that at the IC about half of the people are Japanese, about 30% Australian, and the rest European.

Within a few minutes we were outside, and we were pleased to have a car picking us up, since we would have otherwise been approached by about a thousand shady people offering rides.

Our ride (a Jaguar) was waiting in the parking lot. The butler loaded our bags and we left him $5USD (I doubt we were supposed to tip at all, but he was so nice that it just felt right).

The ride to the IC took about 15 minutes and our driver had a bit of road rage (which of course is just the norm over there, at least by my standard), and used his brights at least 100 times during the trip, not to mention horn.

We eventually made it to the hotel entrance, where there was a gate. There were two guards, both with the look of death on their face (and by that I mean they tried to look real tough). One searched the trunk while the other used a mirror to look under the car. As soon as we were “cleared” they had the fastest personality transformation I’ve ever seen, smiling and saying “welcome.”

We were driven up to the front of the hotel where we were helped with our bags immediately. I have to say, this arrivals service was incredible (not to mention free with a club room), and highly recommend it to anyone staying here.

We proceeded into the open air lobby, and from there we were further escorted to the Club InterContinental lounge for check-in, since that’s where check-in is processed for club guests.

There we were immediately greeted by about a dozen butlers as well as the receptionists, who helped with check-in. We were offered another drink, very similar to the one in the lounge at the airport, and were asked to sit down on the couch while they processed our check-in.

Welcome drink

Club lounge

Check-in took the better part of 30 minutes, but that’s mostly because they spent about 20 minutes explaining to us what we’re entitled to as club guests. This might be a good place to provide some quick background.

This hotel doesn’t upgrade Royal Ambassadors to club rooms because this is a different, special kind of club. This club has food 24 hours/day, a true arrivals and departures service including airport transfers, access to the private IC pool, free breakfast at the restaurant, in the club, or via room service, etc. As a result it’s priced at about double a normal room.

We had booked a standard club room for $400USD, which is as expensive as they get. This is high season and we booked the flexible rate. By the time we wanted to change the rate to advanced purchase the hotel was sold out, so we couldn’t get a restricted rate anymore, which would have been $365USD. During low season the club rooms go for closer to $300.

Since we were staying for two nights over a weekend, we used a buy one get one free weekend night certificate for the second night, bringing our rate down to $200USD/night.

As a rundown of some of the amenities she explained to us, club guests are entitled to all of the following:

Club InterContinental Privileges

  • A warm welcome at the Club InterContinental Airport Lounge located within the international arrival hall
  • 24-hour Butler service
  • A choice of four breakfast venues
  • Use of private Club InterContinental pool
  • Unlimited children’s programmes at Club J, the resort’s child care facility
  • Complimentary late check out until 16:00 hours
  • Luxury bath amenities
  • Complimentary access to 24-hour Fitness Centre
  • Preferential seating at every restaurant in the resort.

Club InterContinental Pool

Quality leisure time is relished at the Club InterContinental pool, which has been designed exclusively as a private haven for swimming and relaxation. Parents with children are advised that the Main pool with its shallow areas and water fountains is more suited to family needs.

Club InterContinental Lounge

Guest indulgence revolves around an elegantly appointed Club Lounge, which is a haven of gracious hospitality. This 24-hour exclusive lounge is a setting for social interaction offering guest services such as:

  • Cocktail bar
  • Complimentary internet access
  • Local & international newspapers, business & lifestyle magazines
  • Indoor seating in full air-conditioned comfort
  • Outdoor terrace against a lagoon backdrop

Due to the refined nature of the Club Lounge, guests are asked to dress respectfully at all times in the appropriate attire and footwear.

Club InterContinental Lounge Refreshment Schedule

06:30-12:00     Complimentary breakfast

A choice of four breakfast venues including the Club InterContinental Lounge, Club InterContinental pool, Taman Gita Restaurant and In-Room Dining

11:00-15:00     Selection of juices, soft drinks, tea/coffee and snacks

15:00-17:00     English afternoon tea

17:00-20:00     Evening cocktails, wines, sparkling wines and canapés **

22:00-23:30     Late night snacks

All day              Selection of juices, soft drinks, tea/coffee & a la carte menu *

*  A la carte menu features a choice of five light snacks

** During the evening cocktails, the Club Lounge is open for adults only and children under 12 years will not be permitted access. As an alternative, young ones can enjoy supervised play time until 22:00 hours in a complimentary program offered by our Club J children’s care facility.

Inspiration Space

The Inspiration Space is a dedicated lounge that encourages all to explore their individual passions. Guests may relish in the rare opportunity to leisurely pursue personal interests so desired in today’s fast paced world. For those seeking local insight, the Inspiration Space offers recreational activities and pastime that are a direct reflection of Bali, its artistic legacy and cultural traditions.

Services and facilities:

  • A comprehensive library stocked with books and DVDs
  • A choice of iPods offering various music genres
  • A media centre with internet access, photo editing, printing and scanning capabilities
  • Concierge service offering access to true ‘In the Know’ experiences
  • Regular exhibitions by respected local artisans
  • Regular tutorials featuring selections such as Balinese culture, Hinduism or the ‘Language of Offerings’
  • Interactive workshops with interests ranging from painting classes to gamelan music and wayang puppet making
  • Access to ceremonial rituals and temple festivities that many rarely experience, including the opportunity for a spiritual cleansing with a Balinese high priest
  • Tips on uncovering unique Balinese artifacts, exploring trendy boutiques or simply roaming the local markets with a personal shopping guide
  • Consultation and reservations for all resort services and activities
  • Comfortable indoor and outdoor seating featuring complimentary tea, coffee, fruit juices and mineral waters

Whew, now that I have that out of the way, let’s continue. The lady checking us in informed us that the standard Royal Ambssador upgrade to the Duplex Suite wasn’t available, so we’d be upgraded to the best suite they have, the Jimbaran Suite. While that sounds good on the surface, the Jimbaran Suite only has one bed while some Duplex Suites have two beds, so we were curious how it would play out since we needed two beds.

A butler escorted us to our suite, and he was once again very friendly. He informed us about more hotel facilities during the walk, and eventually we approached our suite. I could tell it would be pretty big, since there was a long hallway for just two of the Jimbaran Suites.

Walkway towards our suite

Hallway to our suite, 4229

Door to our suite

I think our first reaction was somewhere along the lines of %*^&$#@*!

Let’s let the pictures do the talking here.

The dining room and living room

View from the dining room

Minibar in the living room

Small kitchen next to the dining room

Minibar in the kitchen

The bedroom

Another sitting area right next to the bedroom

Master bathroom

Shower and bathtub

Closets, vanity mirror, safe, etc.

Guest bathroom

Let me stop here for a second just to say “WOW!” Is this really our room? Fo’ real?

Now, here comes the best part, in my opinion, the terrace/deck. It extended along the whole side of the suite, and had incredible views. It had a table, lounge chairs, and even more chairs!


Outdoor table

Another thing that blew us away was the Royal Ambassador welcome gift, which was without a doubt the best I’ve ever seen. It consisted of a bottle of wine, a massive box of chocolates, a fruit plate, something local which I still haven’t figured out, and a hand written card from the GM.

Bottle of wine (Royal Ambassador welcome gift)

Massive box of chocolates in a nice wooden case (Royal Ambassador welcome gift)

Fruit bowl, card, and some local gift which I can’t figure out for the life of me

A few notes about the room, which the pictures don’t fully do justice to, both good and bad. First of all, the room had more bottles of water than I’ve ever seen in one place before. Best of all they were all glass with tops you need an opener for. I swear they emptied out a reservoir just to provide the water for this room.

Two of the 10,000 bottles of water in the room

Second, the master shower was massive. You could quite literally fit a dozen people in it comfortably, probably more.

Now, for a couple of negatives (just to be fair and balanced). The minibar had no hard liquor (not that it was a problem, just odd), and they had no pay per view movies (which means no free RA movie!). That being said, the negatives stopped there.

Once we settled in it was around 8:30PM and we decided to walk around the resort for a bit, or as we called it the compound, since it was totally fenced in. It’s too complicated to describe the whole hotel, other than to say that it’s massive. There are all kinds of “wings,” and we were in the club wing, although the club lounge is a good haul from our room.

As we walked around we saw a few guards patrolling with machine guns, which was a bit of a surprise at first, but quickly appreciated. Better to see the safety and know you’re safe than to not see any precautions when you’re not.

We walked towards the club pool, which was right across from our room.

Club pool

Another building

After walking around for a bit we headed to the club lounge for a snack and to see what exactly they have on the menu. We both ordered their suggested cocktail, but we didn’t realize drinks aren’t free except between 5-8PM. Nonetheless they comped it automatically since they realized we had just arrived and didn’t know that was the case. We also each chose a few snacks from the menu (there are nine different choices). The nine choices are all “samples” of stuff available in the restaurant. Furthermore, they also have a “real” menu in the lounge, which they charge for, with such things as burgers, sandwiches, etc. The prices were reasonable at around $12ish USD for a burger.

That being said, one can easily make meals of the free stuff they offer in the club lounge.

Club InterContinental menu

Drink (really good!)

My delicious snack (all I know is that it involved mushrooms and cheese)

I inquired about internet and was informed that two laptops were available between 8PM and 8AM in the club lounge, and otherwise there’s internet in the “Inspiration Center.” Sadly there’s no free Wi-Fi in the club lounge, but being “disconnected” was more of a blessing than a burden.

Eventually we settled in for the night, and our bed problem was solved as well, because as it turns out the sofa right next to the master bedroom can turn into a bed. The butlers came and converted it, and their attention to detail was amazing (in terms of folding sheets as well as placing water, a bottle opener, and a chocolate on the table next to the bed, not to mention a bathrobe and slippers next to the bed). As usual, they were beyond friendly.

Converted bed

We decided to order room service for breakfast the next morning, since we had such an amazing terrace, not to mention it’s free, so why the heck not? We placed the order for 6:45AM, and it was brought promptly the next morning.

Breakfast which we later moved outside

It was a beautiful morning, although a bit cloudy, but you can’t beat the fresh air, sound of the waves, and overall feeling of the terrace.

View from the terrace looking towards the beach

View from the terrace looking towards the main pool

After breakfast we headed towards the club pool, which was still quite empty. The water was a bit on the cool side, but it was still a great morning all around.

Walkway towards the pool (and a Jimbaran Suite on the left)

Club pool

At around 9AM the “service” began at the pool, and everyone was brought a bottle of water as well as a bowl of fruit. While it’s nothing major, it’s a very nice touch. It’s nice not to be nickel and dimed on everything (I fly US airlines a lot, trust me, I know the feeling).

Water and fruit

I’m not very good at sitting at a pool doing nothing, so I decided to go to the “Inspiration Center” to check my email and blog a bit (I know, that’s exactly what I should be doing when I only have 48 hours in paradise).

The Inspiration Center is located on top of the club lounge, and is staffed by some of the friendliest people on earth. The lounge has four computers and is just very well designed.

Inspiration Center

Inspiration Center

The ladies working here were true small talk experts, and always found a way to chat in a non-intrusive way, and by extension actually provide useful information! Being the curious bugger I am, I found out that the hotel has 1,000 employees and only 400ish rooms, which is a pretty damn good ratio! Also, their memory is amazing. Later in the afternoon I came back and said “Good afternoon, room 4229,” and she said, without looking anywhere, “Of course Mr. Lucky, welcome.”

Once I was done with my internet fix I walked around the compound for a bit. One thing I noticed is that without exception, EVERY SINGLE employee at this hotel was exceedingly friendly. Whether it was a maintenance person or butler, every time I passed someone I got a “Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening” with a big smile. Actually, when I got back on Singapore Airlines I almost felt like they were all matrons compared to these folks!

A big slab of concrete

The spa (club guests can use some things here for free)

The beach

The beach…. again

The lobby

Yet again, the lobby

In the lobby, and darnit, I’m sold!

Off the side of the lobby

Entrance to the hotel


Resort Entrance

Eventually I made it back to the club pool, which had filled up quite a bit but was still relaxing.

Club pool

Club pool

We decided to go for lunch and decided on “Jimbaran Gardens,” which is an open-air restaurant by the main pool. We both had pizzas (around $12USD), and they were delicious.

Jimbaran Gardens Restaurant


Menu at Jimbaran Gardens

We hung around the pool again for a good portion of the afternoon, and at around 4PM went back to the room. At 5PMish we headed to the club lounge to see what they had for dinner, and the selection was pretty decent.

Club lounge at 5PM

You guessed it!

Same drink as the night before, only this time legitimately free

In the evening one can order from the menu and they also have a buffet, which has some amazingly delicious stuff.



Snack buffet


My selection

The snack I ordered

The snacks can without a doubt constitute dinner, as can all of the other meals they have. The club room was totally worth it, as the only thing we paid for was lunch, which wasn’t too expensive anyway.

As we wrapped up dinner it was approaching 6PM, and we headed towards the beach for the sunset. While the sunset was beautiful, we were warned that the visibility was somewhat limited, so it wouldn’t be as nice as usual. It was still stunning. Pardon my complete lack of discretion when it comes to sunset pictures, but here are a few that I took.


If you think really hard I’m sure you can guess what this is.;)


Me too!

And me!

Stop post padding!;)

The beach as the sun is about to set

Once the sun set we walked around for a while. The whole resort has massive torches, lanterns, etc., to stay lit at night. Live music begins with the sunset, and keeps going almost all night.

Boardwalk (thanks to Megan for the inspiration of taking that picture, no matter how badly I butchered it!)

Jimbaran Suites

Overall we did a whole lot of the same stuff the following day, and I feel I’ve said basically all that needs to be said. The only real change was breakfast, which we had in the club lounge on the outdoor terrace.

The club terrace

My breakfast

Seriously, this resort is incredible, I HIGHLY recommend it. I’m not much of a beach/pool bum type of person, but I still had a great time. There’s so much beautiful scenery (please don’t read too far into that), nice sunsets, not to mention great dining in the club that there’s nothing not to like. The staff couldn’t have been any nicer, and I’d gladly return in a heartbeat.

While I’ve always wanted to go to Tahiti and Bora Bora, I’m not sure I could really enjoy myself more than I did here, especially considering the premium one pays both for getting to Bora Bora as well as the hotel there.

One other concern I had before the trip was safety. The reviews of whether or not Bali is safe seem to be mixed, but all I can say is that yes, I felt 100% safe all the time. I wouldn’t for a moment hesitate to return.

The following evening we set up our (free) airport transfer for 5PM, and were once again driven to the airport in a Jaguar. We were dropped off at around 5:20PM.

More to come….

  1. OMG. I want to live there, esp the Inspiration Center. It’s like adult daycare… which is exactly what I need! lucky, Bali is definitely on my “must do” list now.

    Did you guys ever leave the property to sightsee? Or is it not safe?

    BTW, I enjoyed the Boardwalk pic.

  2. Thanks guys!

    Boxo, we went to the market near the hotel and felt very safe. The reason we didn’t leave other than that isn’t because we didn’t feel safe, but rather because there was too much fun to be had at the hotel. Based on what I saw I’d feel very safe anywhere in Bali during the daytime, and likely anywhere but the bars at night as well. The locals are so friendly and have good intentions, it’s only the few extremists, but they seem to be after bigger targets, so like I said I wouldn’t have hesitated to go anywhere else…

    Gray, I was born Royal Ambassador. 😀 OK, if you want a more serious answer, I’ll send you an email with details on that.

  3. Lucky, Great pictures, I was in Bali last Jan and feel very safe walking around, next time you need to go to Ubud too.

  4. It would be great if you would also email me the details re: the Royal Ambassador thingy, sounds fanatastic. We arrive at IC on 11 Aug and can’t wait. Do you think it’s a good place for a family with young children?

  5. I definitely think so, there’s a lot to do and the pools (especially the main one) are very good for young children.

    I’m sure you’ll have a blast.

    Email on its way…

  6. Yup – i know that feeling. Stayed at this resort more than a dozen times. It ranks as the best place I have ever stayed – even though its sprawling grounds make it feel a bit too big at times. I’ve stayed on a private island in Malaysia at what Conde Nast ranks as its Top Island resort – Pangkor Laut – and while it was good – it was not the IC Bali.

    I hear that iC will open at least a 2nd property in Bali shortly. It will be hard to match the marvels of Jimbaran Bay.

    Your photo journey was excellent.

    Could your unknown gift possibly be a small black bamboo woven thingie? I use mine as a cigar holder!

  7. p.s – and Lucky as other comments suggsest you really need to get away from the resort next time.

    Feel free to ask me for my Bali tips on restaurant, spa etc. To match your IC sunset, you need to head to KuDeTa and soak in that ambience…

    I think the safety issue is warranted, given that one of the last incidents ocurred on the stretch of beach next to the IC between IC / FS – be smart – avoid Kuta – and as Lucky put it – there is really no reason to leave the compound.

  8. Bali is so safe. I often travel to Bali – from Sydney, so much so I own a condo at Tangjung Benoa, (near Nusa Dua).

    There are a few issues in Bali, one is drugs, the person selling them to you ( if you are stupid enough to buy them) will most likely sell that information to the police, and there are a few extremeists who hate westerners.

    Personally I don’t go to many places that attract lots of tourists, like some of the great restaurants, as the cost of a meal there is about 3 months income to the average person on the island. This can cause friction, and could be a target of terrorists. The main reason the Sari Night Club was targetted was the over the top drunken behaivour there. It offended the few Muslims on the island and the rest is history.

    Bali is a wonderful place, has great resorts, wonderful people and a MUST on every itinerary. Get up into the middle of the island, Ubud and Bedugal, or Besakiah and Candi Dasa.

    There is a reason why this place is called the “Island of the Gods”. Its a magical holy place

  9. Canuck and Adam, many thanks to both of you for your thoughts. Very interesting stuff!

    Canuck, that actually sounds like it might be it, thanks!

  10. Dude,
    Thansk very for the fab pix! I’ve been thinking of Bali for years. Local residents, airline pilot-friends, are offering to rent a train car for travel for the lot of us, but they also allow as how they “just take the kids indoors when the bullets start flying.” YIKES!—and why I’ve hesitated. I think we might just hang at the IC for first visit, if when that happens…
    If you got into/near the water, what was your take on how clean or swimmable it was?
    Merci, again!

  11. Frankly I’m more of a pool than ocean person, so I can only speak from what I saw. While there were many people at the beach, I didn’t see that many people in the water, although it looked swimmable from where I was.

  12. Thanks for this great review, we are going here in 2 weeks and have just paid extra for a club room. Sounds totally worth it !!!!

  13. dcutcher – the water is lovely, a great surf surge in the mornings and early evenings – the beach is well groomed by the IC staff and unlike many other beaches on the island and around the region – you will find no one selling you anything! The IC staff will set you up with an Umbrella and chaise lounge and small table and the comp. afternoon fruits often get brought down to the beach as well.
    warning – there is a bit of rocky patches as you enter the water but out a few metres its just perfect …

  14. Adam is spot on about the drug culture – but lets keep in mind that while the Sari NC bombings were in Kuta and targetted the party going / beer swilling / dope smoking westerners … the most recent attacks were just next to the IC on the stretch of beach btwn IC and the Four Seasons at the fantastic seafood restaurants …
    The places i mentioned such a KuDeTa while popular with tourists are quite different from the Kuta pubs (though correct me if I am wrong – potentially the same owners?) and feature lots and lots of security.
    Perhaps the safest bet is to stick to the IC and the compound.

  15. Hi Lucky… totally awesome review, we’ve booked at IC (club suite) for 10 nights next month; I’m intrigued about this Royal Ambassador business… I, too, believe I was born for that kind of title! Could you send me an email?

    Thanks v.much, pilks.

  16. That’s a great report. I have a two night stay booked next month, and now I’m sorely tempted to change it to club rooms. Was there a reason why there was no hard liquor in the mini-bar? The IC in Jakarta has a moderate supply in their mini-bar.

  17. I checked about changing to a club room, but all room seem to be sold out (at least on the IC website) for that night. I wonder what arrival service they offer to RA’s, if any?

  18. As far as I know, nothing really. I think you can pay for an airport transfer, but other than Ambassador check-in I can’t think of anything else.

  19. Great review/pictures Lucky. Mr. Useless and I are booked on CX for September (DPS,HKG,PEK) on great BA awards deal. I have been agonizing over Komaneka at Tanggayuda and the IC.
    Thanks to your report, I’m enrolled in Ambassador Club, and getting a referral for RA. Thanks for your input and a lot of the other info that you share.
    Can’t think of a better way to spend our 35th anniversary. Any ideas for PEK? (1 week)

  20. Thanks for the kind words, useless! 🙂 That sounds like a lot of fun, I’m sure you’ll really enjoy the hotel. I really would love to go back, but the challenge is finding the time to do so.

    Beijing is one of my favorite cities, with a never ending list of things to do. Depending on your loyalty there are plenty of good hotel options. The InterContinental Beijing, for example, has a fantastic club lounge, and as a Royal Ambassador you’d be upgraded to the club level.

  21. lucky, what a great report you’ve created. We’re totally convinced by this report to actually changed our mind at the very last minute for our wedding arrangement. We’ve been communicating with another hotel in Bali to arrange a simple wedding ceremony but they’ve been “counting nickels and dimes” with us. After reading your report and receiving an instant welcome e-mail from IC Bali after making an reservation (another two nights after the wedding date), we decided to request a proposal from IC for a possible full stay at IC.

    Anyway, would you please e-mail me the details regarding the “Royal Ambassador” status? It sounds fantastic and attractive. Thanks a bunch!!!

  22. @ cEci — I’m happy my report helped you make a decision. You most definitely won’t be disappointed with the InterContinental, and on a much greater scale Indonesian hospitality. Unfortunately Royal Ambassador is a bit more challenging than in the past (to say the least), but I would suggest signing up for Ambassador either way:

    With Ambassador you get a free weekend night certificate (great for Bali), 5,000 points, a room upgrade, late check-out, a welcome gift, etc. For only $150 it’s the best value out there.

    Congrats on the wedding!

  23. Great post lucky…I read this through the link from your most recent stay in 2012. I, too, would like an email about the RA info. Mine might be expiring soon, I believe.

    Also, what is your opinion (views) on this hotel being gay friendly? My husband and I are planning a few days stopover here on our around the world ticket next summer. Should I expect any hassles?

    ps…you don’t have to post the info, you can email or whichever is easier.


  24. @ Aeroman — Unfortunately the RA “trick” no longer works, sorry!

    There are lots of gay couples here, so I’m sure you won’t have any hassles at all. The people here are great. Enjoy your stay and let me know if you have any other questions!

  25. Would they make you change rooms or remove the return airport transfer if you were to book first night in the Club room and other nights on award stay?

  26. @ E — My guess is that they’d make you change rooms, though you’d probably still get the airport transfer.

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