As we're more familiar with Harris Hotel chain, their Kuta Raya hotel was our initial choice: and they have a kid activity center, with a lot of in-house activities to do. However, what MaxOne Bukit Jimbaran offers is something that can be matched only by Harris Bukit Jimbaran (which in fact situated right across MaxOne): a top of the hill location, with a rooftop pool overlooking two bays that sits almost next to each other: Jimbaran Bay, and Benoa Bay.
The lack of kid center is very well compensated with the swimming pool, as Zayan is quite a pool dweller, he loves to play with water, and can stay until 3-4 hours until his small fingers wrinkles.
Sits near the end of the sloping road right after Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK), MaxOne looks young and groovy, compared with the established and grande look of Harris Bukit Jimbaran right across, the hotel that's fully booked for Nyepi days before the holiday.
While MaxOne aims for the budget travellers, I'm quite fascinated with its design, quite different than most of the budget hotels I've been to. I love the colour and pattern plays that introduced into the interior, while the furniture and other interior details looks playful, and well executed.
There's also a pool table down stairs, and a meeting room turned into small cinema special for the Nyepi Holiday, free WiFi and that's all! There's not even a refrigerator available in the room, which might pose a trouble for long staying guests.
While there's a hotel-operated convenience store right beside the Lobby, and Papaya Express is also nearby, they're both will be closed down during the Nyepi holiday.
The StayIt was a bit hectic checking in, as guests are queueing to place or confirm their order, and there's only two front desk officers to handle the sudden burst of guests. As there's an option to upgrade to one class higher room, with a direct view to the seas, we opt for this, adding just another 100K IDR to the total cost. At least we got the view, and the balcony.
What's bad is that there's a big tall tree sits right outside our window which making the sea view are still unclear, and the smell was awful, strong mouldy stench like those encountered in some shopping mall's basement musholla. So we asked for a room switch.
Request was handled quite slow, with some hotel staffs checking on our room condition and admit smelling nothing. They're all smells like a cigarette however, which making the lack of sensitivity to smell is understandable.
I remember Chef Allen Stevano mentioned during his Masterclass a while ago, that he forbids all of his kitchen staff to smoke during their work hours. Not that he doesn't smoke but he knows that smoking reduces one's sensitivity to smell, and flavour, and that would compromise his staff's ability to control and adjust the taste during different cooking phases.
After some talking with the Manager we finally get our room switched to the one at the end of the corridor, which means it's right beside the main road. It was noisy during the day, but there's no foul smell so we gladly accept the switch. During Nyepi there will be no cars passing through anyway.
Needless to say the room was comfortable, the shower was strong, WiFi was okay on most occasion, just that there's no substitute to the two bottles of beer that stands as the hotel's compliment to all their guests, drinking or not.
Both wife and kid spent their afternoon in the swimming pool, while yours truly peacefully catching up on his sleep deprivation.
Our Nyepi breakfast wasn't really fascinating, which however has been expected. The Semur Kentang really don't match with the chicken liver, making it the less favourite item among the three. The green beans and tempe stir fry was okay though, so was the chicken.
The good news was, the food for lunch was way more better, we love the corn fritters and the Soto Betawi. Still fall below PrimeBiz Kuta, that backed by the skilful people behind Kopi Bali, but delicious nonetheless.
While lunch has been a success, less could be say about the dinner, here's why:
- During Nyepi, no lights allowed to be lighted, and that mean as the night falls it will be total darkness, including inside the hotel where its open dining room is clearly seen from outside the building.
- Anticipating this limitation, the hotel decided to serve dinners two hours earlier, starting 5 p.m.
- That is however, not well communicated so many of the hotel guests are quite shocked when they went down for dinner at 7, and found the dining room in total darkness, with empty trays, and a lot of hungry hotel guests.
- The hotel however, tried to handle the situation with cooking each guests a meal. Not a feast as expected, but a solution nonetheless.
The Nyepi Night
To cut our story short, right after devouring our meal in the total darkness, we quickly went upstairs to the rooftop pool, to enjoy this once in a year moment of experiencing Bali in total darkness.
Only one anomaly spotted that night, but three others less significant spotted in the early morning around 5 am.