Popular mixed bag
Sprawling Taman Sari harbours a vast range of accommodation choices from cottages and bungalows to deluxe hotel-style rooms, through to private suites and villas, some with ocean views and many with outdoor bathrooms.
The popular upmarket resort is accessed via its own private road at the western end of Pemuteran. Rambling gardens provide plenty of space to run around, or zip about on one of the resorts Segways. The grounds stretch to a wide beach where you can snorkel the award-winning coral restoration project.
Rooms are rather a mixed bunch. Some, particularly the standard cottages, are a bit long in the tooth, while other new rooms are perhaps a little cramped. Decor styles range from classic Balinese to modern funky “pan-Asian” in the deluxe studios. A newer double-storey longhouse-style block in an adjacent compound overlooks a courtyard swimming pool and almost feels like a different hotel. The top-range suites, although pricey, are the best value of this hodge-podge of choices — classically styled either double-storey or with wide terraces for relaxing and individually decorated with antiques and art. They are comfortable and spacious, as you would expect at the price-point. You can enjoy the croaking frog symphony from the surrounding lotus-filled moats, or simply gaze at the ocean views.
The resort offers a relaxing beachfront restaurant and bar, scattered with comfortable lounges and benches where you can dangle your feet in the sand and sip on a beverage of choice. However, we noted that the food here gets mixed reviews (we didn’t try it), though in any case, it’s a short walk along the beach to several other restaurant choices.
We love the two organically shaped swimming pools entwining yin-yang-like beside the sea. Shady pondoks and wide double lounges are just the ticket to take full advantage of the pleasant holiday ambience. Wind down with a pampering in the spa, or for the more active, Taman Sari’s friendly staff can sort you out with diving and trekking.
Despite some faults, Taman Sari is a favourite of Bali expats and families with kids and popular with European tour groups, so is often busy. If you can live without a sea view from your room, we think Pondok Sari next door is a good deal too.
By Sally Arnold
Last updated on 15th September, 2016.