Medewi Bay Retreat
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There are two things you need to know before you read any further: this hotel is not in Medewi (the surf point is a 12-minute drive away), nor is it on a bay (it's 860m from the beach). Misnomers aside, Medewi Bay Retreat is a firm favourite with many return guests who prefer to sacrifice instant access to Medewi’s surf point for a lush environment with a peaceful tropical feel and views of the mountains. A big draw card too is one of the finest pools in West Bali.
What's the appeal?
We've met many travelling families who choose to return time and again to this hotel. Their reasons for coming back? Some appreciate the space the kids have to play (the pool is hard to beat), some say they like that the bigger rooms have kitchens, and others say it's a convenient location because they want to be able to surf at both Medewi and Balian. Medewi is a 12-minute drive away, and Balian is 25 minutes.
There are 26 rooms, ranging from simple "studios" to a three-room family villa that has its own bar area, sitting room and kitchen. All rooms have a veranda, aircon, fans, a refreshment station (with kettle and toaster) and a TV. The honeymoon suite – used by the foreign owners when they return – overlooks the pool and has a romantic four-poster bed, an old rocking chair and a swing-chair on the veranda. The second-storey rooms have particularly appealing views towards the mountains, and perhaps more privacy than the (more expensive) pool-view rooms.
Upgraded rooms (the Deluxe Studios) have small but nicely laid out and well-equipped kitchenettes that make this a good for longer stays. This would be an ideal stop for digital nomads, if it weren’t for the fact that WiFi is only available in the restaurant and around the pool.
Breakfast is included (continental, English, American or Asian) at The Palms restaurant or via room service. Orchid Spa offers massages and body scrubs, body scrubs, facials and mani/pedis. There is an unusually extensive library here, too. Transport and tours of the area can be arranged, and you can also hire scooters or cars. Keep in mind that some of the rooms have good kitchenettes. And did we mention the pool? It's one of the best in the area.
It’s a 10-minute stroll to the vast stretch of a truly wild beach that arcs eastwards from Pekutatan. Medewi is a 12-minute drive away but the hotel offers a shuttle service (Rp50,000 each way) or you can hire a scooter for Rp70,000 per day. The poolside restaurant has an extensive menu but if you prefer to eat out, stroll 600m down the lane to Paon Bali (just before the beach). Turn right just before the Pura Dalem ("Death Temple") and you will find a whole string of ikan bakar (barbecued fish establishments). These too are highly recommend… but don’t arrive hungry. The food here takes time to prepare.