Grand Lobby of the Apurva Kempinski Bali

“The stunning and grand Balinese architecture make this resort one of the more impressive ones I have stayed at. The wood carvings are one of a kind and the attention to detail is mesmerizing.”

Apurva Kempinski Bali

If you are familiar with Bali you will know that there is an abundance of luxury resorts on Nusa Dua. Adding to the big brand names like St. Regis, Conrad, Ritz Carlton, Hilton and Grand Hyatt we have a new kid on the block. The Apurva Kempinski Bali which is currently still in the soft opening phase. The resort is tucked in between the Hilton and the Ritz Carlton and occupies a very large piece of land.

The resort offers 475 rooms and includes suites and private villas. Although at the time I was visiting the private villas were not ready yet. Also of the 5 planned restaurants only one was open. So if you plan on heading there in the near future please take note of this.

Apurva Kempinski Bali Lobby

Apurva Kempinski Bali – Lobby

Once you arrive at the resort you are greeted by a stunning lobby which really takes your breath away. The design is very grand and incorporates magnificent Balinese architecture and wood carvings. The ceilings are very high and the vast amount of space dedicated for the lobby is really impressive. It is quite difficult to show the grandness in pictures as the space is so big that you cannot really capture it properly.

 

Apurva Kempinski Bali Lobby

The lobby faces the sea and you get a stunning overview of the resort. You can also see how massive this resort is and the views of the pools and gardens are really breathtaking.

Stunning view of the resort and sea

The wood carvings took around 600 artisans to complete and really make you feel like staying in a palace fit for royalty. The Kempinski really did not spare any costs to make a great first impression.

Apurva Kempinski Bali

Apurva Kempinski Room

For this stay we booked an Ocean facing Junior Suite which comes with the complimentary Cliff Lounge access. The Cliff lounge is the executive lounge for the resort and you can enjoy breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails there. 

The Junior suite was located on the 7th floor and was generous in size with a separate dressing room area separated from the room. The bedroom and living area was also decent in size and also included a desk at the side of the room should you need to get some work done. One negative about the room was the air conditioning. It didn’t feel cool enough at night but during the day the air conditioning was stronger which was a bit annoying. However given that we were only there for two nights I could not be bothered to change rooms and it was still cool enough to sleep. I would have however preferred it to be a bit cooler. 

 

Ocean view Junior Suite

Below some shots of the room during daylight as we checked in at night. 

Junior Suite

The TV was wall mounted but could be turned to either face the bed or the sofa area which is a clever design.

The living area faced the private pool and had a very large sofa as well as two chairs which shows how generous the living area is. They also replenished the fresh fruits on a daily basis during our stay. 

The private pool came with two comfortable deck chairs and offered beautiful views of the resort as well as ocean. One thing to note though is that Nusa Dua gets morning sun and hence in the afternoon there is no direct sun anymore which means the private pool can be a bit chilly. We spent more than actually at the various main pools or the pools at the Cliff Lounge. However if you want to relax in the privacy of your room this pool definitely does the job,

Apurva Kempinski Bali Bathroom
Private Pool by day

Apurva Kempinski Bali – Bathroom

The bathroom is very large and comes with a separate shower, toilet and bathtub and features the usual double sink. The design is modern and incorporated some Balinese features. The bathroom is facing the private pool as well as the sea which gives it a lovely view especially when taking a bath. One thing however which I guess is still a teething issue for the hotel is the water pressure which was often varying during our stay and one time you could not even flush the toilet because there was not enough water pressure in the pipes. However this was rectified relatively quickly thankfully. 

Apurva Kempinski Bali Bathroom
Bathtub during day time

One thing I loved was the Japanese Toto toilets which the Kempinski installed. I do not understand why not more five star hotels invest in this feature. 

Apurva Kempinski Bali Toilet

Apurva Kempinski Bali – Cliff Lounge

As mentioned previously the room we booked came with complimentary access to the Cliff Lounge which is located on levels 9 and 10. The lounge is where check in takes place, breakfast can be taken as well as where afternoon tea and cocktails are served. The Cliff Lounge also comes with two private pools which is a nice feature if you want to avoid the crowds at the main pool. Whilst it was never crowded whilst we were there, given that half the resort was not open yet, I can imagine it getting busy if the hotel is running full occupancy. The lounge is beautifully designed with both an indoor and outdoor area as well as a generous outdoor lounging area by the bar.

 

Apurva Kempinski Bali Cliff Lounge

Breakfast was served at the Cliff lounge and there were a number of hot and cold choices available at the buffet. The selection included international as well as Asian cuisine and the staff was very attentive in replenishing items. In addition there was an a la carte menu where you could choose a main course which was freshly prepared in the kitchen. The food was very tasty and everything tasted fresh and as soon as you took some food the staff would come and make sure it is either replenished or they will arrange it nicely for the next guest. In general the staff during breakfast was very attentive and genuinely wanted to make the experience a memorable one. Although sometimes there were some lost in translation moments but nevertheless the staff provided great hospitality throughout our stay. 

Apurva Kempinski Bali Breakfast

 

Selection of pastries available at the Cliff Lounge
Breakfast with a view

 

Outdoor terrace of the Cliff Lounge

In addition to breakfast the Cliff Lounge also offered evening cocktails and afternoon tea. The food was prepared freshly and served on spoons or small plates and were a perfect snack before dinner. The food was delicious and included items such as beef, vietnamese spring rolls, small cakes as well as madeleines. 

Drinks wise the bartender served a selection of cocktails of your choice and they also had some Balinese wines and sparkling wines available which were pretty decent actually. Whilst some would prefer a buffet setup where you can get as much food as you want I thought that it was a nice change to have the staff come to you with freshly prepared dishes. 

Canapes served during cocktail hour

Apurva Kempinski Bali – Pool Area

The resort offers a humongous main pool to cater for the large number of rooms in the middle of the resort. The main restaurant is also located in between the main pool and the kids pool. As of now it is the only restaurant open at the resort. The pool was divided in a lot of small corners and the pool beds were arranged in a way to allow a couple to have some privacy from the rest of the pool. 

If you have access to the Cliff Lounge you can also make use of the two private pools on Level 9 which are at the Cliff Lounge. They offer a small pool as well as a hydro pool which is nice if you want a quieter experience at the pool. Also the views are fantastic as you can see the sea and the whole of the resort.

Me at the private Cliff Lounge pool
Cliff Lounge pool

 

Apurva Kempinski Main Pool
Sunken lounge chairs in the main pool

Apurva Kempinski Bali – Spa

The rate we booked came with a complimentary 60 minutes spa treatment. Unfortunately the spa is currently still in a temporary space as the main spa is not open yet. They converted some rooms on level 16 in to spa treatment rooms. The plan is that the spa should open by summer time and will occupy a large area below the main lobby. 

The treatments were a bit on the pricey side for Bali I felt when I compared them to other resorts which offer spa treatments. However the massage was very good and the spa therapist attending to me was skilled and professional and the pressure was perfect. 

 

Apurva Kempinski Bali- Summary

Overall the Apurva Kempinski Bali is a stunning resort. The setting and the design is magnificent and the resort definitely leaves a memorable impression. The staff was also very pleasant and friendly throughout our stay and made sure we had a good time during our stay. Another pleasant highlight was the food, which was very delicious. I never had a bad dish during our stay in the Cliff Lounge or in the main restaurant. Given that there was only one restaurant open I was a bit worried at first the food would get boring after a while but the selection was plentiful. 

Things which need improvement though were the following:

  • The staff whilst friendly and pleasant were not very informative or knowledgable it seems. For example when we checked in we were not informed about the various benefits, features and facilities of the resort. 
  • The finishing of the resort in many common areas is very shoddy for a five star resort and definitely needs a lot of improvement. Given that the resort is not fully opened yet you will also still see and hear construction work going on. 
  • The only restaurant whilst serving good food does not have sufficient choices. If you stay more than two days you will definitely be bored. We went to the Ritz Carlton next door to have lunch one day as the options in the main restaurant did not appeal to us. I hope once more restaurants open the food will be equally as good and provide more options.
  • We encountered some teething issues as well during the stay such as the air conditioning not being cold enough or the water pipes not working for part of the stay. These will hopefully be resolved soon. 

Other than that I think the resort is a great addition to the many resorts in Bali and definitely can compete with the other resorts on Nusa Dua once it is fully opened. I would consider going back again eventually once things are more up and running. I would recommend this resort for a short weekend getaway if you want to avoid the busy area of Seminyak. 

 

 

“As soon as you enter, the city noise disappears and you are transported in to another world of calm and serenity. The staff ushers you to your sanctuary the Ochanoma to unwind over a freshly brewed pot of sencha”

Hoshinoya Tokyo

If you want to stay in a stunning ryokan (traditional Japanese hotel) in the middle of Tokyo then look no further than the Hoshinoya Tokyo. It’s a purpose built modern “Tower” Ryokan  with its own Onsen (hot spring) on the 17th floor. This is really one of the most unique hotels I have ever stayed in. 

The Hoshinoya Tokyo offers six rooms per floor and each floor has an Ochanoma, which is a mini lounge/living room dedicated to each floor. The Ochanoma serves complimentary snacks and drinks throughout the day. 

The concept is to have a mini Ryokan on each floor which gives it an intimate and homely feel. One thing to note is that you are only allowed access to your floor only and can’t visit other floors during your stay. Hence if you are traveling in a group I strongly recommend you to ask the Hoshinoya to arrange for rooms on the same floor. 

Deluxe King Room at Hoshinoya Tokyo

Hoshinoya Tokyo – Rooms

As mentioned above, the Hoshinoya Tokyo only has six rooms per floor and only offers three type of rooms. The King or Twin Deluxe Sakura room, the Yuri corner room and the Kiku triple room. We chose the Sakura King room which is around 35 sqm in size. It’s not the biggest room but given that you spend a lot of time in the Ochanoma and the Onsen it’s more than sufficient. Having said that, the corner room is only marginally more expensive and next time I would choose it over the Sakura room as it also comes with a proper wardrobe area to store your luggage. The one downside of the standard room is that you don’t really have space for your luggage, especially if traveling with someone. One thing to note though, is that the rooms come with an eco-cleaning concept. This means that housekeeping will only replace towels and remove trash on a daily basis. The sheets are changed after three nights (which is common with a lot of hotels nowadays). 

Hoshinoya Room Types

The design of the room is quintessentially Japanese and combines traditional ryokan design with a touch of minimalism. The entire hotel, including the rooms feature the traditional Japanese tatami mats which are pleasant to walk on. I like the traditional Shoji screens which also act as day curtains. At night they have proper thick blinds which will close behind the Shoji screens. Given that the ryokan is in the middle of Marunouchi near Tokyo station and surrounded by office towers there is no view to be had. Hence the Shoji screens are perfect to give you some privacy and also help you to escape the hustle and bustle of Tokyo.

The futon-style bed was very comfortable and I slept very well all six nights we were there for. The sheets were also high quality and the blanket was just nice. I also liked the firmness of the pillows which can often be a hit or miss in hotels.

 

Minimalist Japanese design

Hoshinoya Tokyo – Bathroom

The bathroom is separated in to a shower and bathtub as well as a separate room for the toilet. This gives you privacy when traveling with someone and I wish more hotels would offer this. The glass walls can be frosted with the touch of a button which is a really cool feature. In case you are not keen on using the Onsen you can use the deep bathtub available in the room. The shower is pretty standard and they offer their own shower gel and shampoo which also can be found at the Onsen.

Link

Hoshinoya Tokyo bathroom
Shower and sink area

Hoshinoya Tokyo – Ochanoma

One of the awesome features of the Hoshinoya Tokyo is the Ochanoma. This is a “living room” available on each floor which can only be used by guests staying on that floor. The concept is to resemble a space for you to relax, read a book, have some snacks and plan your day in Tokyo. The staff is more than happy to help arrange activities and book restaurants for you should you require that.

 

Ochanoma

I really like that big communal table they have in the Ochanoma and there is a lot of attention to detail which you can’t see at a first glance. For example there are multiple power ports available around the table so you can work and charge your devices at the same time. 

 

Ochanoma table
Hoshinoya Tokyo – Snacks

I would like to dedicate one paragraph to the snacks which the Ochanoma offers. The choices are amazing and you have lots of Japanese traditional snacks on offer which is a great way to try different Japanese tidbits. The Daifuku with strawberry for example below was super delicious and is the best Daifuku I have ever had. 

 

Daifuku with strawberries

 

 

I also liked the various biscuits and crackers they offered and they also had some great noodle soups and instant soups available if you felt peckish after a late night out. 

Japanese snacks available throughout the day

When we first arrived the kind staff gave us this beautiful welcome snack which is a traditional Japanese sweet called Higashi.

Welcome snack
Hoshinoya Tokyo – Breakfast

If you would like breakfast you can add it at a relatively reasonable price (JPY 3’300 for the Western and JPY 4000 for the Japanese breakfast) . They will serve it at a specified time in your room as there is no restaurant really to have breakfast. Alternatively if you just want to  have a small snack the Onigiri (Japanese rice balls filled with salmon or plum) and miso soup will be served in the Ochanoma. This is complimentary and comes with freshly brewed drip coffee made to order by the lovely staff.

Onigiri and Miso Soup in the morning

We tried both the Western and Japanese breakfast during our stay. The Western breakfast beautifully presented in a bento box and included freshly baked breads, croissant, yoghurt, fruity jelly and salad. The main course was an omelette served with a sausage, vegetables and a demi glace sauce which was very tasty and is prepared by the head-chef. Hoshinoya Dining

Hoshinoya Tokyo Western Breakfast

The Japanese breakfast included some tasty cold small bites, fruits in jelly, salad as well as grilled fish. The miso soup and rice was served separately. Both the Western and Japanese options were very tasty and if you have the time you should try both of them during your stay. 

Hoshinoya Tokyo Japanese breakfast
Hoshinoya Tokyo – Reception area/Sake and wine tasting

Should you ever need the reception you can find it on the second floor where a beautiful reception desk greets you. The staff are always ready to assist and also usher to you to the sake and wine tasting which is available daily between 5-7pm. 

Reception area
Reception and lounge area on level 2
Sake and wine tasting

Another popular activity the Hoshinoya offers, is the free sake and Japanese wine tasting. The staff are more than happy to introduce the various sake and Japanese wines they have on offer. For the sake you have a choice of having it cold or hot and the staff will heat it up for you should you prefer it hot. The selection changes regularly and during our six nights stay we managed to try a variety of sakes from different parts of Japan. The wines were also interesting as Japanese wines are usually hard to come by outside of Japan. The white wines were actually really good too and I really enjoyed them. 

Japanese sake and wine tasting
Lovely sake cup served in a traditional wooden cup (masu)

You also get to witness some traditional Japanese art performances which is called Grand Kugara. During our stay we were entertained by a professional juggler which was a great way to immerse ourselves in the Japanese adaption of this art form. I highly recommend to go for one of the performances if time permits. 

Daily performance by Japanese artists
Onsen 

The probably best part of the Hoshinoya Tokyo has to be the onsen which can be found on the 17th floor. It’s first of all very rare to have a real onsen in the middle of Tokyo and to have it on such a high floor is so unique and special. We made sure to use the onsen at least twice a day as we loved to soak in the warm water after a long day of walking around Tokyo. The onsen is almost open 24 hours and you can even go for a midnight soak if you are keen. Especially in winter, it was such a pleasant experience to be soaking in the hot water whilst breathing in the crisp winter air. 

 

Entrance of the Onsen
Open air Onsen on the 17th floor
Views of the sky from the Onsen
Summary and how I booked it

The room rate is definitely not cheap and this kind of luxury does come with a price tag. However one way to get this ryokan at a more affordable rate is to book the 120 day in advance rate. This rate is available through their website and brings the cost down significantly. The best discount you can get is if you stay for six nights as the discount is 60%. However even if just staying for 3 or 4 nights the discount is still quite worthwhile. The downside is the rate is non refundable and non changeable. So if you are the sort of person who likes to book last minute you might need to pay the full price for the stay. Alternatively if you are holding a Citi Prestige credit card you can make use of the stay 4 and pay 3 nights offer which is another great way to lower the cost. 

Citi Prestige Credit Card

The Hoshinoya Tokyo is probably one of my favorite city hotels in the world. The unique features, design and amenities make it the perfect city hotel for me. It’s not the usual grand 5 star hotel we might be accustomed to. So if you are expecting five restaurants, a huge gym, conference room facilities and a swimming pool this is the wrong hotel for you. However if you want to experience Japanese luxury  with a blend of tradition and Japanese hospitality this is the perfect place to explore it. The staff was very helpful and welcoming during our stay. Whenever we required any help they were more than eager to assist us. For example for the restaurant reservations I asked them to help us with, they printed a lovely itinerary with all the essential information we would require (i.e. address, time, etc.) to make it easier to find.

I personally can’t wait to stay again at the Hoshinoya in Tokyo and am looking forward to my next stay in autumn again. Maybe I will see you there?