The Oberoi Beach Resort Bali: a Hotel Review

April 3, 2023laurenslighthouse

Home to centuries of rich culture and heritage, Bali hasn’t made its name as a prime travel destination simply for pretty natural landscapes, good eats and island getaways. Its unique spirit is what we’re most drawn to and we don’t want to miss out on this experience when we visit the island.

For almost five decades, The Oberoi Beach Resort Bali has been at the forefront of offering an immersive Balinese cultural experience while being steps away from one of the island’s most popular beach, night life and shopping quarters. 

Having been transformed from a private property to an exclusive club to now an Oberoi brand resort since 1978, The Oberoi Bali has a unique position of already having Balinese architecture and tranquility built in from the beginning before the influx of hotel chains came into the picture. Today, the resort maintains its efforts to keep its roots deeply planted in the old world elegance of Bali and takes luxury to a whole new level with grand villas, sensational dining and phenomenal service with the kindest staff members we’ll remember for years to come.

Arrival & Check-In at The Oberoi

Driving past the front gates and into the vast property of The Oberoi felt like we had been teleported into a completely different world. Instantly separated from the chaotic traffic and intensity of the streets of Seminyak, we entered a tropical oasis that lies on 15 acres of Balinese quietness.

As soon as we stepped out of the vehicle, we were greeted by our hosts with kind smiles and the freshest frangipani leis we’ve ever smelled. Our main host Juli walked us through the stretch of outdoor corridor from the driveway to the lobby before reaching the open air reception where we immediately heard and smelled the ocean waves lapping onto Seminyak Beach. While Juli checked us in and got us seated comfortably by the open doors to the ocean, a welcome refreshment with soothing lemon, ginger and honey came with the cutest stirring sticks with pearlescent turtles on the top!

Once we were checked in and had our first few relaxing moments taking in the atmosphere, it was time for us to make our way to our room with a short tour of the property along the way. It became very clear to us that The Oberoi prioritizes guest experience, space and tranquility over maximizing profit. With only 60 lanai rooms, 14 villas over 15 acres of land, it feels more like a retreat to a serene Balinese village than a trip to a beach resort. The property maintains its strong connection to authentically display Bali’s culture, history and spirituality throughout the grounds while providing luxurious comforts to its guests. This was apparent even in in the privacy of each accommodation.

The Oberoi Rooms & Villas

We had the privilege of staying in both of The Oberoi’s room categories: their lanai room and their villa. The resort’s 60 lanais are considered their standard rooms, each structured slightly different and various views. The 14 villas are also not built identical, some with larger interiors, others with larger terraces, and 9 of them boast a full size private swimming pool to enjoy all to yourself.

Luxury Lanai

Our first night was spent in the comfort of a luxury lanai room with a large veranda – hence the name “lanai” for these rooms – to dine or enjoy a coffee or tea on your own outdoor deck. We entered the room through the sliding glass doors from the stone-walled lanai and were pleasantly surprised to see how much of the space is kept true to Balinese materials and homestyle technology. Though the walls are painted a modern eggshell colour and the floors are tiled with polished marble slabs, the ceiling is made of a wooden frame and a woven pattern. The beautiful intricate canvas at the headboard drew our eyes immediately and conveyed a peaceful and traditional ambience for our room.

At the foot of the comfortable king size bed is one of many handmade furniture pieces in the lanai room. At this couch, we could enjoy an indoor view of the outside greenery while having our daily dose of fruit on the coffee table, which was also handcrafted with a woven material and a round glass panel placed on top. Each day, housekeeping will replenish you with different kinds of unpeeled fruits for you to try. A menu is always placed on the coffee table, detailing every fruit with a picture and description, and you can use this menu to order specific kinds you’d like to try next.

A hop over from the coffee table is a marble counter work desk that can also be used as a vanity. I loved the unique feature of every room having a branded notepad and pen, the pen being a uniquely handmade item placed in a cinnamon stick instead of a plastic tube. It smelled amazing and wrote so smoothly! Within the work desk were drawers that housed all of the main outlet plug-ins as well as some other Oberoi branded stationery.

Next to the work desk is the flatscreen TV that swivels out to face the bed and the coffee station found within the flush wooden cabinetry. Hidden within are pull-out drawers that contain everything you can think of for a coffee bar: a Nescafe Dolce Gusto pods coffee machine, a kettle, fresh bottled waters with a can opener, a French press, an ice bucket, my favourite turtle stirrers, and all the classic teas, coffees, creamers and sweeteners. What’s more is that many of the containers they use – not only at the coffee station but throughout the room – are made of recycled and compacted materials and give the room amenities more of an islander aesthetic.

Further storage space can be used within the drawers under the TV, but you’ll find your main closet space in the bathroom. You’ll enter the bathroom through the double louvered wooden doors and the closet houses your much needed resort amenities, including your safe, iron, insect repellents, your branded bathrobes and best of all, a pair of both indoor and outdoor slippers: soft slippers that cover your toes for your time in the room and flip flops you can use out on your lanai.

Though the bathroom boasts a clean and polished contemporary atmosphere with its marble-clad interiors, large mirror with bright lighting and black granite countertop over its double sink vanity, some of the old world elegance comes through here as it does in the bedroom. The most unique feature has to go to the sunken bathtub, something we had yet to experience in a hotel bathroom. Though it may give a modern luxury impression with its perfectly seamless look with the rest of the bathroom, I find it resembles a roman thermal bath of sorts.

Bath amenities were provided, which I gladly used later that night, and included a soft bath pillow (with a water resistant interior and a towel material pillow case), candles dressed with fresh frangipanis for a spa-like ambience, matches to light up said candles, a bottle of body wash to pour in for some bubble action, a shower cap, a loofah made out of a real sea sponge and a nice pot of bath salts to pour into your bath to your liking.

Both the bathtub and the glass shower faced out the floor-to-ceiling window pane to an enclosed terrace with a garden and a hand sculpted Balinese statue. It was delightful to have the extra light come through from the outside while still maintaining our privacy with the pleasing scenery and cultural reminder of where we are.

Luxury Villa with Pool

For our two remaining nights we were head over heels with an upgrade to a luxury villa with its own private pool. The villa gates open up at the top of a couple of steps and lead into a large courtyard around the corner that is protected by a purposely placed wall for added privacy. On the other side of that wall is a small koi pond which acts as a basin for a built-in water fountain with Balinese sculpture work. It’s a lovely opening to what lies adjacent to it: a massive pavilion for in-villa dining – which I’ll get to very soon – and the largest private swimming pool I’d ever laid my eyes on!

Typically, when hotel villas will come with their own pool, they’re reduced to being a plunge pool or one that you could maybe do a few strokes in before reaching the end. This one was large enough for me to actually swim in back and forth, and even took a couple of strokes to cover the width. You can have some serious parties in here, but we happily enjoyed our romantic moments in the pool all to ourselves. A garden lines two sides of the pool, wrapping it in flora (and the odd fauna) in an L-shape. The tall trees just outside the villa help shade the entire outdoor space, especially after midday when the sun hangs west.

Towards the villa entrance is the sundeck complete with a large parasol and a sun bed for two. The space is certainly perfect for honeymooners or couples on a romantic getaway, I’d say! The flat sun bed is dressed with soft pillows and both a towel to dry off and one to spread across the lounger to lie on. Under the parasol are some much needed refreshments for some time at the pool: bottled waters, fresh glasses, face towels and even The Oberoi’s own refresher body spray and sunscreen for you to replenish with. You could take those last two amenities home with you after your stay if you wanted to!

Onto the villa! The room is evidently much larger than the lanai’s at first glance, with a high vaulted ceiling over the bedroom using Indonesian methods for structuring. Our bed was laid in a wooden frame with curtains for a mosquito net, and it was set much higher up than your average bed would. They actually provide you with a cushioned step on both sides to get yourself up onto the luxurious king size bed.

The villa bedroom is so spacious – which is certainly accentuated by the extremely high ceilings – that the night tables on both sides of the bed were each wide enough to act as a full work desk. The living area at the foot of the bed boasted the same handmade furniture that we had in the lanai room and cookies were also provided as a welcome snack along with our plate of fresh unpeeled fruits.

Against the partition by the TV was the enclosed coffee station. Much like in the lanai room, you’ll find everything you would need for coffee and tea, as well as glassware for other drinks you may want to enjoy in-room, but instead of a Nescafe Dolce Gusto machine, we had a Nespresso Original machine. The assortment of pods they provided were top notch! Typically, hotels provide the most basic ones with two varieties, but they gave us six different ones with Cocoa Truffle being one of them! Fancy stuff.

On the right side of the partition is where you’ll find your closet space, which contains all the same goodies as the closet in the lanai room, but also an additional item you can use throughout your stay: an outdoor Balinese style kimono. It’s perfect to wrap yourself with in between dips at the pool, while you’re enjoying the Bali air out on the pavilion or checking out the huge private garden terrace through the sliding doors beside the closet.

Behind the partition with the wardrobe, coffee cupboards and storage cabinets is the bathroom, and my goodness is it massive! It definitely rivals some massive bathrooms we’ve come across in the past. On both sides upon entering is a symmetrical layout with his & hers vanities. and a storage bench across from each sink. The vanities are nicely spread out with tons of room to display our cosmetics and a large mirror with makeup room style lighting. We also came across some more refreshing frangipani spray and Oberoi branded sunscreen at the vanities here for convenience.

Past the sinks are the enclaves for the shower and the toilet. This rainwater shower stall is the biggest we’ve ever seen! You really have space to move around in here and there’s a bench for additional support which is helpful when cleaning your lower half. The clothes line in the shower was so long that you could easily all of our swimwear and more to hang dry. Just like the shower stall in the lanai room, you could unlock the glass door leading out to a second garden terrace with a koi pond and unique Balinese statue, the perfect private view for your villa’s bathroom.

And of course, The Oberoi’s signature sunken bath with modern grey tone marble tiling lies front and centre of the large four-piece luxury bathroom. The tub appeared larger than the one in the lanai room, potentially having room for two if you wanted to get cozy. For honeymooners or couples here on special occasions, housekeeping will actually lay frangipani flowers in the tub and fill it halfway during turndown service so you could enjoy a romantic soak after dinner.

They’ll even place a cute teddy bear on your bed like they did for us! Notice our initials in the hearts that are glued onto the bear’s shirt? How adorable!

Dining at The Oberoi

There are two main dining spots at The Oberoi Beach Resort Bali. Kura Kura serves a fine dining a la carte menu daily for dinner only and Frangipani Cafe is their more casual beachside setting for breakfast and lunch. There are also other ways to dine at The Oberoi, including private dining which I’ll get to soon, as well as a weekly dinner set up in the Amphitheatre during the Balinese dance performance every Saturday.

Kura Kura

We opted in for a half-board dining package which gave us a 3-course dinner every night at Kura Kura. The restaurant opens at 7pm daily so you can enjoy sunset along the vast Seminyak Beach before retreating to the nighttime ambience of the restaurant. On a good day when the setting sun gives an encore, you can still take in the glimpses of pinks and purples from your dining table!

For a beach resort restaurant, we weren’t expecting the culinary journey to be what it ended up being. But we were wowed at every turn! We tasted three incredible meals, with every course being a mouthwatering delight. The portions were also a pleasant surprise as we didn’t expect the dishes to taste as good as they did while also filling our appetite! Some of our personal favourites would have to be: the fresh sashimi selection which came with five different kinds of fish with four or five slices each that just instantly melted in your mouth; the Baked Crottin de Chavignol with Walnut Crust that had the perfect combination of crunch and softness, savoury, sweet and bitter from the goat cheese, honey and arugula; and the crispy duck leg confit which I swear my husband still dreams about. And that’s just the appetizers!

The mains were also phenomenal and there were so many to choose from! It was hard picking from such amazing options from around the world, but we got to try a little bit of everything each night. Our favourite was the Malabar Fish Curry which comes in a roasted coconut shell!

Now where do I start with dessert? I wish we stayed here for a whole week just to try all of their dessert menu and as many of their wide in-house ice cream, gelato and sorbet selection! They even have five different sorbet flavours that are sugar free and a gelato that is lactose free (and soya milk based) for those who may have dietary restrictions but who still have a bit of a sweet tooth. From the main desserts, we absolutely loved the Baked Valrhona Chocolate Fondant Cake served with caramelized bananas and Papua New Guinea ice cream. It seriously hit the spot and was just sweet enough while still maintaining the richness of smooth chocolate! Another top favourite goes to the Coconut Panna Cotta, a simple dish but elevated with it being served in yet another creamy coconut shell and with satiating coconut pineapple ice cream.

I can’t forget the wide variety of teas and coffees we could choose from to complement our dessert! Though I was eyeing their coffee list, we typically can’t have caffeine too late, so we both opted for a pot of Pink Flamingo tea. I adore the flavour profile and the colour of this tea, and surprisingly, so did my not-so tea loving husband, that we ordered it again another night!

Since we had a half-board package, the hosts actually gave us a slightly different menu than the regular one at Kura Kura. A few of the items were altered and there was no price list on our menu as the 3-course dinner is inclusive of any item we chose. With every dinner comes a daily bread selection. The servers actually come around with a fancy cart displaying four different kinds of bread baguettes. We often saw a white bread, sourdough, multi-seed, a walnut raisin, pumpkin seed, and some other delectable fresh breads baked with various herbs and spices. On the cart, the server would ask you which bread(s) you would like and cut up however many slices you want before plating it on your bread plate, along with either butter or olive oil & balsamic vinegar – or both if you prefer!

I cannot rave about the service enough! It’s not only at Kura Kura that you get to experience the top tier service of The Oberoi staff, but it’s certainly where you’ll get to witness their exquisite attention and kindness firsthand. I have to say, even if we weren’t staying at The Oberoi Beach Resort Bali, I would still go out of my way to have at least one dinner at Kura Kura.

Frangipani Cafe

When the weather is nice, breakfast is served in the most ideal setting you could ask for at a beach resort in Bali. The al fresco Frangipani Cafe is located right by the shores of Seminyak Beach, but slightly elevated on a hexagon tile landing and set behind a low and well groomed hedge. Under the Balinese parasols and frangipani, coconut and hibiscus trees, you’ll have the perfect combination of shade and ocean breeze while you enjoy your breakfast or lunch. I could’ve stayed here for hours, enjoying the fresh morning air and views on my comfortably cushioned teak wood seat.

Our half-board package offered us the choice of anything off the a la carte menu or either the American, Indonesian, Continental or Healthy breakfast sets, and each comes with way more than we could have expected. We went with the American set and we were stuffed at the end of our breakfast to say the least!

Freshly squeezed healthy juice blends, a colourful fruit platter, granola with yogurt, cold cuts, toast and condiments, sausage and bacon, a whole pastry basket, a delicious cappuccino and a spicy Masala Chai, as well as a full main course from the hot a la carte menu – where we picked out our exquisite eggs dish – was a breakfast for champions.

In-Villa Dining

Every night, during turndown service, housekeeping will lay a traditional wooden capsule on your bed with a sheet to fill out. The form is a list of in-room or in-villa breakfast options that you can check off if you wish to have your meal in the privacy of your own space. The breakfast set options aren’t as comprehensive as the ones you’ll find on the Frangipani menu, but they’ll still fill you up for sure!

We opted to have an in-villa breakfast on our final morning before checking out and dined in the shaded pavilion overlooking the pool. How you let the staff know you would like to have your breakfast in-room is by placing the closed capsule with the filled out form outside your door, hanging on the door handle, and the night staff will come and pick it up around 3 or 4am.

At 9am sharp, the time we requested to have breakfast, a server came with the whole spread: our omelettes, sausages, bircher muesli, abundant fruit platter, fresh juice, large pastry basket and a whole pot of French press coffee. He set up the whole table for us and kept some of the handwoven wooden basket lids on some of our dishes and drinks to keep them warm or cool and free of bugs while we made our way through our courses. It was a fantastic way for us to end our time at The Oberoi!

Daily Afternoon Tea

The resort also offers complimentary eats daily as well! Every single day, at 4 to 5pm, there’s a special guest experience held at the large Amphitheatre, situated between the pool and the restaurants. Along with this experience comes a spread of afternoon tea delights that change daily. It features a great mix of Indonesian and Western bites, and a variety of savoury and sweet. We loved being able to try different Indonesian treats we hadn’t heard of or tasted before along with a fresh cup of tea or coffee. One of my favourites was the bubur injin, a sweet black glutinous rice porridge with coconut milk. Great thing is I could always go back for seconds!

Surya and Dalem greeting us for afternoon tea

Their dinnerware was my absolute favourite with the cutest colourful Balinese cartoon designs that were displayed on the plates, cups and saucers. I would’ve loved to take my own set home!

Guest Experiences

Daily Guests Activities

During daily afternoon tea in the Amphitheatre, you’ll get to check out some incredible Balinese guest experiences that you likely won’t be able to enjoy at any other resort. You can ask the reception for the weekly schedule to see what you can participate in during your stay.

After checking in and settling into our villa, we made our way to the open area to enjoy the light bites and witness our first guest activity. A local artist Made who’s spent many years with The Oberoi, and his father many decades before him, was skillfully painting beautiful duck and wooden eggs as we watched intently.

Our second day, we learned how to write our names in Aksara, the Balinese alphabet, while listening to Rindik music. And on our final day, a nature walk was held throughout the property before enjoying our delicious afternoon tea in the Amphitheatre.

Weekly Evening Cocktails

Every Wednesday from 6 to 7pm, a complimentary cocktail hour is held by the Kayu Aya Beach, just steps from the Amphitheatre. All guests are welcome and you’ll receive an invitation to partake from the housekeeping team when they make up your room.

The servers greeted us immediately when we arrived with an elevated hors d’œuvre selection at the ready and asked us what we would like to drink. They were serving a specific handmade cocktail so we opted to try one of those over a glass of wine. Though I can’t recall the name or what was in it, it certainly was a delight to my taste buds!

If your stay overlaps a Wednesday, be sure to check out the cocktail hour and meet some of the amazing members of the marketing team, sales department and guest relations. It was interesting for us to get to know them and the inner workings of The Oberoi family, and to hear what’s on the horizon for The Oberoi Resorts.

Turtle Conservation Program

Between the months of May and October, female sea turtles make their way to Seminyak Beach to lay their eggs during the night. The beach’s security guards and the resort’s workers stay on the lookout for mama turtles and their eggs, and alert The Oberoi’s gardeners who come and recuperate the nests to keep them safe from predators. During an incubation period of 45 to 50 days, the eggs remain in The Oberoi Bali’s turtle sanctuary until the baby turtles start to hatch.

The hatchlings remain in the resort’s saltwater sanctuary until they’re strong enough to make it out to sea, at which point The Oberoi Bali invites guests to help them release them. With half a coconut shell filled with water and a single baby turtle, each guest is able to carefully carry the little ones out to the shore and watch as the baby turtles swim out on their own. Kids and adults alike are able to join in on the conservation program and I totally wish we could’ve been here during turtle hatching season for this once-in-a-lifetime experience!

The Oberoi Guest Amenities

Swimming Pool

The resort’s main swimming pool was the place to be during all three sunny days we had here. It boasts a traditional Balinese setting with its cement tiling for the rim and stone-laden water spouts, and particularly with its stunning “candi bentar”, or Balinese split gateway, that separates the Amphitheatre from the pool.

We were pleased to have the pool all to ourselves most of the times that we visited, even if other guests were chilling on the sun beds. The atmosphere is perfect, with shade from the tall trees on all sides and the vibrant Balinese parasols.

We spent a number of hours lounging on the sun beds lined along the west edge of the pool facing out to the ocean. The breeze from the shore was incredibly welcoming on the hot sunny days we were experiencing in late February. And the water temperature of the pool was perfect for us to cool down with a quick swim for a quick break from the lounging.

The Oberoi Spa

If you’re looking to get a workout in during your stay, you’ll find the fitness centre upon entering the spa. You can just walk straight through, past the check-in desk and the short corridor with the garden ponds on both sides before reaching the air conditioned gym. The room contained various cardio machines, free weights and basic workout equipment – enough for us to get a good pump during our time at the beach resort. They even provided full headphones if you wanted to plug them into your phone and play a workout playlist!

If you’re hoping for a much more relaxing experience – or would like to destress your muscles after your workout – you have to sign yourself up for some Balinese spa time. We were scheduled for an Oberoi Signature Massage which was 75 minutes of pure bliss. The medium pressure with soothing rhythmic strokes helped boost our circulation once again. But it wasn’t just the massage that helped us reset.

Because we had a couple’s massage and we were the only two scheduled for a treatment when we went, we had the whole place to ourselves. After the check-in process, we were lead by our hostess into the changing room to get ready. The room was separated into two, with the lockers and vanity on one side and the full bathroom on the other. It was quite large and gave us plenty of room to get changed.

Tons of toiletries were provided on the vanity including wooden combs, cotton swabs and balls, shower caps, a sewing kit, body lotion, hair spray, deodorant spray, and a blow dryer. The bathroom side also had full bottles of shampoo, conditioner and body cleanser in the shower stall as well as mouthwash by the sinks.

In our locker, we could find our bathrobe and a pair of disposable underwear to use during treatment. And in front of our locker on the floor, were a fresh pair of flip flops placed for our use.

Once we were good to go, our massage therapists Padmi and Eka greeted us and lead us into the couple’s massage room which had the perfect ambience overlooking the garden pond through the partly closed blinds. A couch is placed on one end where we were served our welcome drink of a fresh fruit juice blend and a cold wet towel. We got settled in and the ladies prepared our foot bath. Yup! We got a glamorous foot bath as part of our massage package!

The basin was filled with flower petals and Eka proceeded to lightly massage my feet and scrub them with salt and lime as a natural antiseptic. It was the first time we ever had a foot bath and it made us feel so clean before our treatment. A great start to our couple’s massage!

While we enjoyed our welcome drink, we selected our massage oil scents as Eka and Padmi placed a sample from each of the three vials onto our arms for us to smell. All three had phenomenal aromas but I went with the Relax since I love the scent of Ylang Ylang. Beneath the head rest of the massage table was a bowl of beautiful flower petals including some frangipani blooms which just accentuated the aromatherapeutic experience of our Oberoi massage.

The next 75 minutes went wonderfully and I was saddened for the massage to end. After getting changed, we relaxed in the check-in area and were served some refreshing tea to end our time at the spa.

The Oberoi Beach Resort Bali will go down as one of our most memorable stays. Not only for the incredible luxury experiences that went beyond our expectations, the enlightening culinary journey, and having an authentic introduction to Balinese culture, architecture and love for nature, but for the exquisite service that we hope everyone has the opportunity to experience. We will remember the bright smiles of Dalem, Surya, Billy, Robby, Aguss and many more that we interacted with daily for as long as we can.

Disclaimer: This post was written in partnership with The Oberoi Beach Resort Bali, but guys, it’s worth every penny. All opinions are my own and I am already dreaming of us coming back in a few years, hopefully with the opportunity to bring our parents because they would LOVE. IT. You can’t go wrong with The Oberoi as a brand as a whole as they bring luxury to a whole new level, and you will leave feeling like you’re leaving a part of your new found family.

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