Small -- very small
Stylish, small and by the sea: Le Pirate Beach Club is a cute little new offering on Nusa Ceningan that makes a lovely place to relax for a few days if space isn’t high on your list of priorities.
This resort shows that you don’t have to be big and flashy to be comfortable, with tiny, quite well designed bungalows that encourage you, really, to hang out on their (also little) verandas boasting cleverly placed hammocks and cushions, or by the (also little) pool overlooking the working seaweed farms between Ceningan and Nusa Lembongan.
The 10 standards — which they honestly call “beach boxes” — are fan-cooled, all-white bungalows, which come with a comfortable double bed with white sheets, a basket sitting on a shelf in the corner, two bedside tables and a spot to hang a few items of clothing. You can pay extra for air-con. Inspirational quotes hanging over the bed include a few trying to convince you that small is always better.
While this may be true in the boxes, we think Le Pirate pushes this idea to its limit with the two four-bunk rooms (550,000 rupiah). Suited to kids, these really are so tiny as to be quite impractical as there’s nowhere to put your bags other than the bed; the bunks plus entrance door and door to the bathroom take up all of the wall room. If you do grab this room, you’ll want your kids to be old enough to comfortable leave alone at night if you’re booking them in here as they don’t connect to any other bungalows. We’d probably suggest just taking two boxes rather than the bunks.
Cold water bathrooms are open-air and spacious compared to the rooms themselves; in ours we found the water sometimes backed up in the shower. We thought for the prices charged (450,000 rupiah) the rooms should have been cleaned daily, but they weren’t cleaned at all during our three-night stay, which was disappointing. Rooms are so white that the dirt immediately shows, and while you can sweep away some muck with the provided brooms, you can’t mop out the wet stuff. It’s not like the rooms are so big they’d take long to give a quick wipe out.
The on-site restaurant offers breakfast (at an additional cost) and decent lunches and dinners, with buffet options for all meals. WiFi is provided and works. We found meals a little variable and a touch on the pricier side. One night our tuna steak was superb, the next it was obviously frozen. If you’re after something more local, and cheaper, there’s a great warung well placed for sunset a 10-minute walk away.
If you’ve got kids in tow, make sure they do not play over the edge of the horizon pool, which has a roughly four-metre sheer drop to rocks. One (admittedly reckless) child here fell off during our visit and was lucky to only break his wrist and score some cuts and abrasions. We were not impressed at all with the way the stand-in manager on duty at the time handled the crisis — he ridiculed the injured child to staff while we tended to the child, which we felt was incredibly inappropriate. He also smoked and spoke loudly in the restaurant for much of our stay. Overall he was enough to turn us off returning to Le Pirate, but when the younger primary manager returned (to cheers from the staff) he brought with him a far more appropriate and relaxed vibe — be sure to time your visit with his shift (his name is Koh) and you’ll have an excellent stay.
The pool is open to the public, with visitors required to spend a minimum consumption fee. Though there are only limited bean bags and lounges, we never found the pool too crowded for our tastes, but it would only take one loud person to ruin it for everyone — so fingers crossed.
All in all we’d say Le Pirate is more suited to couples travelling by themselves who like to keep things simple and stylish. Bring a book, your swimmers, perhaps hire a boat to go snorkelling over on Lembongan, explore Nusa Ceningan by motorbike — or even head over to Nusa Penida for some real adventuring — and do head down for a swim in the ocean at high tide — it is deliciously icy compared to the pool.
If you’re after more space or you do have kids in tow and you like the sound of Ceningan, perhaps give Jenny’s Place a whirl.
Check rates at Le Pirate Beach Club Hotel - rated 8.1/10 on Agoda.com.