Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Day 1 - Sanur

Things were a lot better this time round. We were comfortable enough to take an airport taxi to our hotel in Sanur, rather than have the hotel pick us up. No problems there – 55000 Rp. Immediately after we had checked in at Griya Santrian, we went out for a walk to suss things out and see how different things were.

We walked along the beach, all the way from the hotel to the Le Mayeur Museum and back. The redevelopment that was just starting in December 2002 was over. The beach looked better, and there were new features such as breakwaters, walkways and lamp-posts.

Beach fronting Griya Santrian

It was definitely busier too. We saw more tourists walking around than we did the last time. This may account for why we felt less hassled by passing vendors and such - people were less desperate for business. I think we were also a little more adept at saying “no” and not feeling bad. “No, thank you! Not today. Don’t worry, I’ll remember you.”

Despite more people being around, Sanur as a whole felt very peaceful. Griya Santrian itself was a little noiser – kids in the pool and so on. HM thought it was a little too hustle-y and bustle-y, but the beach area in front of the hotel was quiet and deserted. No vendors even!

Had a relaxing lunch, poolside, once we got back to Griya Santrian.

Griya Santrian's pool area

Here's what we ate:

Watermelon juice tastes better in Bali

Nasi goreng with seafood kebabs and egg

Deepfried Stuffed Tofu with Peanut Sauce

Griya Santrian seemed quite untouched, with the exception of a new spa and pool table. We had opted to stay in the beach wing again. The rooms in the beach wing are decent, reasonably well-maintained, although you could say the interiors are somewhat past their prime if you look hard enough.

Superior beach wing room at Griya Santrian

The bathroom

Still, I'd recommend it to anyone who prefers a well-run sedate hotel. Party animals, stay clear.

Had a look at Besakih next door too. The pool area seems even nicer. Hmm, if the rooms are as well appointed or better, we will consider staying there for a change.

Pool at Besakih next door

The latest innovation at Griya Santrian – a seafood grill on Friday night ala Jimbaran Bay, with tables laid out in front on the beach and a decorated boat with fresh seafood laid out on ice.

Jimbaran Bay.... NOT...

The last time we were here, there was a gamelan band hanging around listlessly, because there was no one other than us. This time, staff members were setting up equipment for a band. Not our cup of tea so we went out for a walk and dinner instead.

The first thing we did was to hit the Uluwatu Lace shop. The interiors are so beautiful; my next house is going to look like that, assuming I can afford it! HM checked out the kebaya tops while I looked for some embroidered blouses for my Mum. There was a sale on, and for non-discounted items, we could use our SQ boarding passes for a 15% discount! But we decided to have a look at their other boutiques in Kuta first, before committing ourselves. I bought the Colin McPhee book, A House in Bali, from, of all places, the Hardy's supermarket.

To our disappointment, Lotus Pond was closed for renovations. Yes, it’s a little generic but we knew what to expect from it and it was one of the first places we had eaten at the last time. The Village hadn't been on my list of must-eat places because eating Italian wasn’t a priority. After all, Italian is common in Singapore, and pretty good Italian at that. I’d also heard that THE chef had left to start his own restaurant. Then again, The Village was literally at Griya Santrian’s doorstep, so what the heck, The Village it was. And it was good! Excellent, excellent value for money. The décor was comparable to more upmarket places in Singapore, places that charge two to three times as much.

The Village

Looks good even from the outside

Suitably chi chi

The food, while not quite of the same culinary standard as the afore-mentioned places, was definitely worth it. Ingredients were really fresh, portions were big (ok not Australian big but a good size). The warm octopus salad and ginger crème brulee stood out. Yummy!

Here's what we ate:

(We were too excited and forgot to take photos)
Foccacia with tomato pesto
Warm octopus salad with rocket and herbed potatoes
Homemade beef agnonelli with freshly made tomato sauce
Seared tuna sicillian style
Ginger brulee with cashew rum sauce, and panna cotta with mango and pear

The damage: 254100 Rp (S$50 - a steal!)

As they say in primary school compositions, we went to bed tired but happy.


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