Spending Nyepi at MaxOne Bukit Jimbaran Hotel Bali

So in this year's Nyepi, we decided to take a holiday instead of just cuddling in our comfortable home like the previous four years. What has driven our decision this year was comfort seeking, and budget availability. Still we're looking for the best bang for our bucks, and so after some last minutes comparing, we're left with two options: Harris Kuta Raya (1.35 Mio IDR), and MaxOne Bukit Jimbaran (1.1 Mio IDR).

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.

The Hotel

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.

The room number on the floor; easily missed the first time, but it's a welcomed alternative.

Instead of the usual door hanging card, they put this large wheel with message varied between this, I'm sleeping do not disturb, and I'm away please clean my room. Or something like that.

The ring around the TV act as an art piece of the room

The fancy room key card! 

The rooftop pool with 180° view. They even have kids pool too.

The chair that looks like something coming out from my DS-301 Furniture class.

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 Stay

It 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.

Yes this magnificent view is right outside of our hotel room, at the front end of the corridor.

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.

The Food

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Anticipating this limitation, the hotel decided to serve dinners two hours earlier, starting 5 p.m.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

Minutes before Nyepi night falls, there's trouble in our room: the circuit board has broken, which resulted in electricity failure. It took some while for the technician to repair it but they made it, that's good. Outside the Pecalang from nearby Banjar has gathered to start their Nyepi patrol.

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. 

The stars steal the night show, millions of them suddenly appeared before our eyes, while for the year long it's hidden behind the ground-light pollution. Thanks God the weather was clear too so we can see what's going on in the sky above Bali.

Including an anomaly spotted not long after our arrival at the platform. Many of the hotel guests saw it, but most of them are convinced it was meteor that they saw, despite its lamp-like, slow speed, indirect path, and gradual disappearance of the phenomena. Watch the video below and tell me what do you think?

Only one anomaly spotted that night, but three others less significant spotted in the early morning around 5 am.

The Verdict

We encountered several issues with our stay, which resolved quite well. However after rechecking the package offering we realized we never received neither the fruit basket nor the mocktails included in the package. My ex colleague who's staying in the same hotel mentioned that there's a booklet with list of activities and events covering the whole Nyepi holiday, but we never get that booklet either. The front office staffs only provided the breakfast ticket, but failed to inform about dinner, cocktails, or any other amenities and facilities the hotel has to offer.

Seeing the dinner incident, and the missing amenities, it looks like they're quite overwhelmed handling this Nyepi event. Not totally unprepared but it looks like the lack of communication is the main cause. Kudos for the staffs though keeping their cool under such stressful situation.

Will be back? Well we love the rooftop pool so yes! (byms)

The hotel's mirror serves as a good selfie facility too.