Swiss-Belhotel Rainforest in Bali - Detailed Review
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Covered in the Article
- Winter Break in Bali
- Swiss-Belhotel Rainforest
- Hotel Type
- Restaurant and Cafe
- Challenges in the Hotel
- What Could Make the Hotel Better?
- Where to Book?
- Bottom Line
Winter Break in Bali
We spent a month-long trip in Bali in the middle of the cold Finnish winter. When the temperature falls below -10 C degrees in Finland, spending a few weeks in a tropical environment is more than welcome. After we had evaluated a few Asian destinations, we chose to travel to Bali. It was a perfect destination with daily sunshine, many sightseeings and outdoor activities and the hospitality of the Balinese people were just amazing. Affordable hotel prices made the island an even more attractive option.
We do not usually write comprehensive hotel reviews where we have stayed but this time is an exception. We stayed exceptionally for a long time in the same accomodation which made the hotel and its staff familiar to us. Because we liked the hotel's concept, we decided to write a hotel review in a detailed way.
Kuta - Bali's Tourist Area
Kuta village is a crowded tourist area in Kuta District, Bali. Even though we prefer nature destinations, we still decided to stay in the Kuta area because all services were near and it was easy to move around from there. Transportation in Bali is cheap so using taxis was not an issue for us. However, we got surprised about the long driving times on the small island due to traffic congestion mainly on Sunset Road and the Ubud area.
For first-time Bali visitors, we do not recommend driving yourself since the traffic culture is less safe than in Western countries.
Swiss-Belhotel International is a hospitality company founded in 1987 and is headquartered in Hong Kong with other properties overseas mainly in different Asian countries. The hotel chain has multiple hotels in Bali and we stayed in Swiss-Belhotel Rainforest in Kuta.
Below, we share our experiences with the hotel. During our 4-week stay, the hotel became our Balinese home.
Swiss-Belhotel Rainforest is located on Sunset Road, one of the main roads of Kuta. The hotel is a little outside of the tourist areas which is just good. There are more local restaurants and services nearby and they are cheaper compared to the price levels in the main district of Kuta. Reaching Kuta's main tourist areas and beaches take only 15 minutes with a taxi ride or 30 minutes by foot. For example, a taxi ride to Kuta Beach cost often less than 1 euro.
Near the hotel, there are spas, restaurants and a big modern shopping mall, Trans Studio Mall. There are also grocery stores and a supermarket, Grand Lucky, with a good selection for daily needs and foodstuffs only a few minutes walk away and an inexpensive laundry is also nearby. Cash can be withdrawn from many ATMs located near the hotel. We think that the hotel's location is perfect if the longer distance to the beach is not an issue. Even though Sunset Road is crowded with cars and motorbikes making the surroundings noisy, it is still peaceful inside the hotel. Swiss-Belhotel is a good place to unwind in the eastern part of the hectic Kuta.
It is easy to walk in Kuta but crossing streets may become a nightmare. We advise optimising walking routes and avoiding unnecessary road crossings. If so, be deliberate and confident in your actions when you want to cross the road - holding up your hand and making eye contact towards drivers to stop the traffic.
Swiss-Belhotel Rainforest is a 4-star premium hotel suitable for holidaymakers but you can also have conferences at the hotel. As a premium hotel, it has everything you need: restaurant, bar, gym, outdoor swimming pool, spa and wellness centre, conference area, parking garage and 24-hour reception.
We stayed in a Deluxe Room. It was a basic but spacious room meant for two people. Our room didn't have a balcony but better room classes in the same hotel have. In addition to a queen bed, the room had a work desk, a chair, a small round table and a softer chair for relaxation. A safety deposit box was also available. There was a small television with access to international tv channels. In addition, there was a small fridge, water heater and instant coffee and tea bags/creamers and sugars were refilled daily as needed. There was a clothes rack, wardrobe and slippers were provided. The bathroom included a toilet and shower. A hairdryer was available and toiletries were provided. Compared to other similar hotels, the bathroom was a little bigger. It had a wooden door showing signs of decay due to constant moisture from water splashing during a shower.
The other room classes are: Grand Deluxe, Junior Suite and Executive Suite.
Our room had an excellent air conditioner. It was almost too efficient so we had to turn it off now and then to keep the room warm enough. We were not expecting to feel cold in Bali but that happened quite often because of the air conditioner. Luckily, the shower offered warm water with good pressure.
The room was a typical but spacious hotel room of a 4-star hotel. It was not in perfect condition anymore but still clean and comfortable. Hotel's housekeepers cleaned it well every day even though the cleaning times varied daily from 9:30 AM to sometimes as late as 4:00 PM.
Restaurant and Cafe
The hotel has a restaurant called Oak and Cafe Bule. Even though the cafe and restaurant were on different premises, they had both the same menu. There were no separate staff working in Cafe Bule but you had to call them by a bell. The staff then came from Restaurant Oak or the bar.
In practice, Restaurant Oak was the only place to eat in the hotel. In the morning, it served a hot breakfast buffet and after that, it transformed into an a la carte restaurant which was open until 11:00 PM. The restaurant offered also room service without extra charges. Foods and beverages could be ordered to the hotel room just by dialling the number 2.
Some of the warm foods at the breakfast buffet varied every day but the main staple in Balinese cuisine like rice and fried noodles were always present. Generally, these warm foods were spicy which Indonesian foods are famous for. For western taste, there were croissants and toasts but not much more. For example, hams, cheeses and traditional butter were missing. Two cooks were preparing eggs according to customers' wishes and waiters brought food to the table. The buffet tables included fresh salad, assorted fresh sliced fruits (papaya and watermelons), puddings, tea, coffee and juices.
When we were having breakfast, there was a lot of smiling staff at the restaurant. Used plates and drinking glasses were cleared from the table faster than you could imagine.
Restaurant Oak served Asian and western meals. For example, we tried pasta, black pepper beef, burgers and pizza. The best thing was that the price level was low considering that hotel restaurants are typically expensive. Naturally, the restaurant served alcoholic drinks but we preferred having thirst-quenching drinks like milkshakes and smoothies. During our holiday, we ate multiple times in the hotel's restaurants because the food was just so appetizing and the plating was excellent.
A bar was attached to Restaurant Oak. We liked especially its cosy atmosphere and friendly staff. We felt that all of the staff and their trainees valued their customers by always delivering polite and friendly customer service. Communication skills in English by the staff could be further improved.
Great food and friendly restaurant staff are great reasons to dine in Swiss-Belhotel Rainforest.
The fitness room is being advertised on hotel booking sites as one of the hotel's facilities. For this reason, it influenced our decision-making to finally choose Swiss-Belhotel Rainforest. As we knew that we will be staying for a few weeks in the same hotel, it was important for us to have easy access to the fitness centre. Unfortunately, the hotel's gym was also our biggest disappointment. The gym was small and some of the machines were broken every day even though we complained many times. Sometimes, the fitness room ran out of drinking water and the air conditioner was never on making the room so hot as four small windows are slightly open. Opening the gym's door during exercise helped somehow to let fresh cold air inside. Someone should take care of the hotel's gym because now, it leaves the customers disappointed. We would not return to the hotel before the gym has been fixed.
The hotel has its spa services offering different kinds of massage. The Spa room is located adjacent to the gym in which there is a toilet and shower area with two massage tables. The spa treatment services were not proactively advertised but customers may just notice that such service is existing in the hotel when someone takes a look at the spa treatment price list while entering the gym.
The hotel has a nice small pool with a bar. Pools always look big in photos but in reality, they are smaller. This was the case with Swiss-Belhotel Rainforest's outdoor swimming pool, too. The small size was not a problem because barely anyone was swimming in the pool so it was big enough for us. The pool was cleaned every day and the water was warm.
There were no staff all the time at the pool bar as there were no regular pool visitors but the staff came promptly once called. The pool bar served the same drinks and snacks as the hotel's restaurant.
The hotel has two lifts. One of them was many days out of order. It was not a challenge since using steps is better for your health and the other lift worked well every day. Though, when the hotel gets crowded, it would be nice seeing both lifts working.
All premium hotels need a good-looking lobby to give the first good impression. Swiss-Belhotel Rainforest has a nice courtyard lobby with a fish pool and tall green plants. The lobby was an open-air premise so when it was raining, the rain came "inside the hotel". Naturally, the reception, bar and restaurant areas were covered so the rain made the hotel even more comfortable.
We liked this unique idea by the hotel as they always set a nice rain every morning in their restaurant area that truly sounds like you are in a rainforest or when it is really rainy outside, the natural water rain pours into the hotel's fish pool.
Swiss-Belhotel Rainforest has its parking hall in the basement of the hotel. It has ample spaces for cars and motorcycles alike. A security guard is usually on duty to ensure security at the place. Taxis are allowed to drop off passengers who are hotel customers in front of the hotel's reception.
Challenges in the Hotel
Swiss-Belhotel Rainforest has amazingly friendly staff but still, we faced minor challenges. During our first days, we had challenges getting the food that we had ordered. For example, we once ordered two meals on the phone and by surprise, only one of them was delivered the restaurant had a closing time so we have to share a meal for two. Later on our vacation, all food orders were eventless as we always confirmed to the waiter that all orders were correct.
On the very first morning of our hotel stay, the cleaners came very early keeping in mind that we had jet lag so we just woke up in the middle of our sleep. Of course, the housekeepers might not be aware of that. However, as a better service, the hotel could have better communication between their staff like ordering cleaning in a way that during the first morning of hotel guests, your room would not be the first in the cleaning order to let customers sleep a little longer.
On the second night of our hotel stay, another annoying incident happened, someone entered our room at 1.47 AM with his key waking us up again in the middle of our sleep. The next morning, we complained at the reception being worried about our security in the next 4 weeks. A helpful female staff contacted the hotel security staff who arrive quickly and promised to sort out what has happened. A few hours later, we got a report from the hotel staff that their security staff has found from the CCTV recordings that it was a member of the staff who had 'accidentally' entered our room. The said female receptionist explained to us that they are normally checking vacant rooms at night and a night employee had made a mistake by entering our room. We had difficulties accepting the explanation because it sounded weird: Why would they be checking rooms during the night?
In the afternoon of this incident, a supervisor knocked on our room and personally apologised ensuring us that the same thing will not happen again. A fruit plate and two glasses of drinks were also delivered for free to us in our room as a gesture of apology. We thought that the hotel management had discussed the case together and they had noticed that we were bothered about the incident. The words of apologies from the management and the basket of fruit confirmed to us that they did their best to appease us.
What Could Make the Hotel Better?
According to our understanding, the hotel does not offer a laundry service. That is why we used a laundry service, Laundry-In Express, nearby. Laundry is an important service in a tropical environment like Bali because you need to change clean clothes often. This is especially true when one of us went actively playing badminton a few days a week during our stay. Usually, the hotel advertised its laundry services by providing laundry bags in the hotel room and a laundry service form to fill up. We haven't noticed such things in Swiss-Belhotel Rainforest.
We guess that the hotel can arrange tours but they were not proactively advertising them. Partnering with local tour operators would give the hotel some extra revenue and customers would get in contact with reliable tour operators.
We were never asked if we need a taxi service - not even when we were heading back to the airport. Naturally, we knew the local taxi applications so ordering a ride was easy for us. Usually, hotels recommend their taxi partners but we are unsure if this hotel has a transportation service.
The hotel could earn much more by actively offering its services.
Apart from the lobby which has still a fresh look, most parts of the hotel need renovation. For example, the walls on the corridors were in the middle of repainting works during the last days of our stay. The wooden toilet doors of the hotel rooms show signs of decay. The toilet seat lid in the spa room maybe needs replacement. More importantly, major facilities like the elevator and gym equipment must be ensured to be working all the time or at least maintenance works should be done quite faster.
We rate Swiss-Belhotel Rainforest as a 4-star hotel for holidaymakers. The room was bigger than usual and had a nice green view of the 'rainforest'. The hotel has all the basic services you need but the staff must take more effort to make it better known to customers. The staffs are amicable and very courteous towards guests. The hotel's location is good. However, it needs some renovations and the service processes could be optimized further. Overall, the hotel is a good choice for accommodation either for a short stay or even a long vacation as we did.
Where to Book?
We recommend booking Swiss-Belhotel Rainforest on Booking.com which is our favourite booking site. By using know booking.com, you know to get support if something goes wrong. In addition, it has low rates, good cancellation terms and a comprehensive description.
Our Booking Challenges
Because we wanted to stay a long time in the hotel, we also wanted to optimize our price as low as possible. We decided to contact the hotel directly if they could give us a lower rate than external booking sites. It would have been a win-win situation.
We contacted the hotel by Whatsapp, calling them and by email. It was almost shocking to notice that getting a quote from the hotel became difficult. The staff were not able to give prices straight and they promised to get back to us. Sometimes, they kept the promise but the overall reply rate was low. We got the impression that the hotel does not want direct bookings but they recommend using booking partners.
When we finally got an offer from the hotel, it was much more expensive than on 3rd party booking sites. Then, we made the decision, let us book on an external booking site. The hotel will lose revenue but we get a much better rate.
Making wise business decisions is not a strength of the hotel according to our booking experiences.
- Where is Swiss-Belhotel Rainforest?
- The hotel is in Kuta Village in Kuta District. It is a few kilometres out from the tourist area and the beach
- What kind of hotel is Swiss-Belhotel Rainforest?
- The hotel is a 4-star premium hotel meant for holidaymakers and business travellers.
- What services does Swiss-Belhotel Rainforest offer?
- The hotel has a pool, gym, restaurant, bar and cafe. In addition, there are room service and free WiFi.
- Is there a pool in the hotel?
- Yes, there is a small open-air pool.
- Is there a gym in the hotel?
- Yes, there is. But it was in bad condition during our visit.
- Is there a room service in the hotel?
- Yes, there is. It does not cost extra.
- Are the rooms spacious?
- Yes, the rooms are more spacious than in many other hotels.
- Is there WiFi in the hotel?
- Yes, there is and it is free.
- Is the hotel noisy?
- The hotel is quite peaceful but the noise from the corridor and other rooms is hearable.
- Where to make a booking?
- We recommend booking on Booking.com.
- Can we recommend staying in the hotel?
- Surely. The hotel is very nice for staying even a longer time.
We can recommend having a long holiday in Bali. Even though Kuta is not the most beautiful area in Bali, it has its advantages. Services are near and moving around the island is simple and affordable as you can order a taxi quite fast at any time of the day. There are also beaches nearby and the weather is better than in the north - sunnier and less rainy.
Swiss-Belhotel Rainforest is a good option to stay in Kuta while vacationing in Bali. Since it is a few kilometres out from the tourist area, it is a little cheaper. Still, there are many services nearby and the hotel itself has all services you need. The best things are the hotel is peaceful and cosy and the customer service is good and polite.
Have you stayed in Kuta? What is your hotel recommendation? Comment below.