Just the mention of Bali conjures up images of gorgeous sunsets, pristine beaches, impeccable service, friendly locals and amazing food. Did my Ritz-Carlton Bali stay live up to my expectations of it being a world-class resort in one of my favorite places?

Here is a compilation of the review in case you missed some:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

The answer is yes and no. The Club Lounge was amazing, and one of my favorite parts of the entire resort. The ladies of the Lounge were so kind, helpful and the food was wonderful. But why so stingy with the alcohol, and also water bottles? If paying or eligible for Club Lounge access, I’d think that the property wouldn’t have an issue with offering guests that freedom.

I was surprised that construction was still going on inside the resort well after the soft opening had supposedly been completed, and also that it is still going on today.

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During the day there were workers tap-tap-tapping away, and hearing the whirring of saws was not uncommon. Walking around the resort I’d see guys carrying building materials, and I felt humbled at times to think that here I was enjoying the coolness of a swimming pool while they toiled away in the heat of the mid-day sun.

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I was thankful that my stay was not affected by the mammoth amount of resort construction going on next door, but I was also not in the buildings that were nearest to that side of the resort. Surely the noise would be much more annoying there, and I hope that the hotel is proactive in placing guests as far away from that as possible.

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The property was so new when I booked that there was nothing on the website about car service to and from the airport. Every time Iā€™d been in Bali before car transfer had been included in the rate, but not this time. My husband inquired and was given the price of $50. The price is still not listed on the Ritz website, and I think that charging guests for transport when other nearby comparable properties don’t is not something that is a welcome surprise.

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The Pool Pavilion was lovely, and the semi-private swimming pool that accompanied it was more than generously sized. Before arriving at the resort I hadn’t realized how many of the suites/villas share space like lagoons and even swimming pools though, and the property has a low number of true separate villas. The website doesn’t do a good job of clarifying the differences between room types, and doesn’t make it easy to figure out which units are connected and in which way.

There are 18 Pool Pavilions, but these are not private villas. Some are connected and are also sharing a pool with 2 other pavilions.

At a resort located right on the beach, it was disappointing that the Ritz-Carlton Bali didn’t offer ocean views from many of the rooms, and it was quite a trek to get to the beach or back up to the reception area. Some of the nicest villas at the Ritz-Carlton Bali are supposedly those set high up on the cliffs rather than right on the ocean. The website doesn’t offer any more photos yet, but it appears that they can be booked.

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For 50,000 Marriott Rewards points I think it is a good redemption value. However, if paying $450+ there are many options that I’d choose over this property. I’ve stayed at the St Regis just down the street and that property is significantly smaller with 123 rooms while the Ritz Carlton has 313 rooms. The St. Regis Bali has a total of 44 private, free standing villas, all with private pools that are a lot more private and typically go for less money than the Pool Pavilion at the Ritz-Carlton Bali.

There are only 15 true private villas on the entire property and all except one are located furthest away from the ocean, some even next to the main road passing by. I find the placement really puzzling as these villas are the most desirable and expensive.

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Also, the Pool Pavilion itself was large and welcoming, but I constantly felt like the resort was either too large or that it was missing the feeling that each guest’s location was tucked away in a private corner. One thing I like about many accommodations in Bali is the small, private feel whether in a beach bungalow or jungle villa and I don’t think this property hits the mark in that area.

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I did enjoy my stay here, but it wasn’t as relaxing at it could have been. When thinking of how many stars the stay earned, I would have said 3.5 but the smiling Club Lounge ladies changed my mind so I upped it to a 4.

The Ritz Bali will not be my go-to property in Bali but maybe for others it will be.

Will you try it out?