07 August 2010

Puri Damai: A Lovely Boutique Losmen (a hotel review of sorts…)

a stone statue welcoming us to Puri Damai

We’ve never liked staying at big properties or often soul-less chain hotels whenever we travel. Every time we go anywhere, we really try to research and look for smaller properties, B&Bs or inns to stay at. On this trip to Bali, while looking for a place we could stay at in the Legian/Seminyak area (while we really wanted to stay at Ubud for most of our stay, we decided to spend atleast a night near the beach so we could take the little boy for a swim on our first day!), we were lucky enough to be guided (by a kind soul on ever-so-dependable Tripadvisor.com) to one of the most charming boutique properties we’ve ever stayed at anywhere.

Puri Damai - a boutique losmen
Puri Damai claims to be a boutique losmen in Legian, Bali. A losmen is actually a traditional homestay where local Balinese people open their own homes & houses to travellers who need a room to stay at for a night. And while Puri Damai isn’t exactly a losmen in that sense since it’s really more like an apartment complex built for tourists, I guess what makes it still a losmen is how it’s run by its owners so there’s still that personal touch & home-away-from-home feel!

Puri Damai's small courtyard

Puri Damai is basically made up of a few 1-Bedroom and 2-Bedroom Apartments surrounding a pretty little garden courtyard. I fell in love with the place as soon as we stepped into their small reception area where we were met by the lovely Ayu Giri. I wasn’t the only one smitten by the place, too. While the Mister & I were checking in, the little boy noticed the window overlooking the super cute tiny pool they had right next to the reception area so he immediately ran to the poolside to check it out. The pool was just about 14m long, really small but just perfect for swimming short laps and taking quick dips. Of course, our little boy was quick to find that the pool had an even tinier kiddie pool right beside it, complete with little stone fish fountains. So adorable! And while at first I was worried about how small the pool area was, I was surprised to find that we had the pool all to ourselves every time we took a quick dip. Needless to say, we had a hard time getting the little boy out of the pool every time so we ended up running late for most of our reservations and our planned itineraries because of that.

checking in at Puri Damai

a peek at the pool through a window
at the reception area
the tiny pool at Puri Damai
and an even tinier kiddie pool!
our only other companions at the pool

Our room at Puri Damai was just as lovely. We booked a downstairs Single Apartment. We had our own open-air living area with a nice big daybed (perfect for just curling up with a book); a small dining table for 4; a quaint little kitchen with everything we could possibly need to cook & prepare our own meals (a fridge, a stove, plates, glasses, utensils, a couple of pots & pans we used to reheat food we ordered from outside); a small siting area by the front; and a door that leads into a small cozy bedroom with a comfy queen-sized bed, a working desk/dresser, a cabinet, a safe, a ceiling fan, aircon, and even a small TV (yay for the little boy!). The bathroom had one of those ubiquitous shower in a tub, and was kept fairly clean. A small room but it had everything we needed and more! Plus points too for their small green initiatives: solar-heated water! Oh and did I mention free wi-fi?!

Apartment 4 - our own little apartment for the day

our dining & living area
the small cozy sitting area right by the door to the bedroom

our dining table & our favorite spot -- the daybed

our super comfy queen-sized bed
beautiful Balinese batik & pretty flowers on the bed
we even had a small working desk!
The only thing I guess I didn’t like about Puri Damai was the food. They didn’t have their own restaurant but since Puri Damai’s owned by the same people who own the legendary Made’s Warung, we had a huge photocopied menu of Made’s Warung that we can order from and they promised to deliver in 15 minutes.

So, we got pretty excited about the food since hey, this was Made’s Warung – one of the most popular, most established restaurants in Bali! And since we didn’t think we’d have time to make a stop at Made’s Warung later on in our visit, we decided to order some merienda while the little boy takes a quick dip in the pool so we could atleast try their food. Turned out to be a bad idea. :s we had to wait for more than half an hour for the food! And when it got there, the food was already cold & our lassies & fruit shakes weren’t even cold anymore. We ordered a plate of the ½ Nasi Campur ½ Gado Gado combo (Rp35,000/Php179/$3.75), a Tri-colored Ravioli (I know… Ravioli in Bali?! what were we thinking?!) (Rp43,000/Php216/$4.75), and a traditional Balinese Black Rice Pudding with Bananas which turned out to be the only thing we liked out of everything! We also ordered an Avocado Shake (Rp15,000/Php77/$1.75) & a Mango Lassie (Rp24,000/Php123/$2.75) – both actually tasted good but it was already warm when it got to us so it wasn’t as refreshing as it should’ve been. Our little boy still loved & finished his mango lassie though! We paid around Rp180,000 (around Php920/$20 including taxes) for a disappointing lunch and we ended up leaving half an hour late for our drive to Uluwatu because the food took so long so we weren’t too happy about that!

soggy Tri-Colored Ravioli from Made's Warung
Yummy Black Rice Pudding with Bananas & Shredded Coconut
and a glass of Fresh Avocado Juice

Service was hit & miss. After our disappointing meal, when we called the reception to send someone to take away the used plates to avoid unwelcome visitors scavenging at the leftovers, we were told that housekeeping hours were over so there'll be noone to clean up anymore. *sigh* It was all good though. Having to wash the dishes & cleaning up after ourselves gave it that 'living like a local' feel. :p When we got back from a late night out though, their staff were always so warm & welcoming and even helped out the Mister plan a small surprise for me (but that's another story!).

Over all though, Puri Damai provided us with a lovely, lovely place to stay at during our quick stop at Legian and we’re glad we decided to stay here! And for only $57.50 (or around P2,670 in pesos), we thought it was a steal and would definitely stay there again on our next trip to Bali!

the entrance to Puri Damai
the way up to the second floor apartments

(Sidenote: Being an avid Tripadvisor.com user, I also posted a review on Puri Damai here: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g608487-d735701-Reviews-Puri_Damai-Legian_Bali.html.)

1 comment:

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