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Reviewed 12 November 2012

I must admit I WAS trepidous before arriving, having read previous reviews. As a person with over 30 years experience in the travel/tourism industry, I didn't expect 5 star for just over $28 per night, however I thought this was a good opportunity to visit a remote area on the west coast, somewhere I hadn't been before.

I organised my own driver to get there for $40 for the day, and we stopped off at several lovely spots on the way up from Seminyak, which made for a great day trip. Upon arrival at the Retreat I was initially allocated an upstairs room located within metres of the on-going construction. After a brief, pleasant discussion with the Manager, he was more than happy to re-allocate me to a private villa with its own swimming pool at no extra cost, to which I am most thankful. This villa is one of two villas which share their own pool, and during my stay there were no guests in the other villa. It was perfect for me, and I spent much of the time reading and swimming in peace and privacy. I could vaguely hear the road noise day and night, but it didn't particularly bother me. Although I was happy with the villa, it didn't have a kettle, nor a microwave. It was clean and roomy. I don't go on holiday to watch TV, so it didn't matter that there weren't any English speaking channels. I went for a walk along the adjacent road to the isolated beach. Along the way I had the chance to look at a typical coastal village, and to talk to some very friendly locals. Black sand, yes, I already knew to expect that from reading reviews. It is most unfortunate that there is so much rubbish littering the beach, but that is out of the control of the Retreat. A community clean-up of the beach area could make this a stunning destination.

There is a local 'deli' just a short walk across the main road. The lady who runs it and her family are delightful. Each day I went over there, bought an Almond Magnum, or a pack of chips or a cake, and played with her little children for an hour or so. As they say, when in Rome.........

What is there to do? As there weren't many suggestions forthcoming from the staff, may I suggest: 1. Catch the local bus into Negara for sightseeing in a non-touristy town. Have lunch or dinner there. The restaurants are so cheap and the food is authentic local. There is a bus stop on the main road. Costs around 30 cents.
2. Walk. Walk to the beach.....Walk around the village.
3. Rest. Relax. Read a book or two. There is a well-stocked library (free).
4. There are other resorts and retreats in the immediate area, so spend a day visiting one of them for a change of scenery. Contact them, and they will send a car to collect you at no cost - and drop you back again. You are NOT a prisoner at the Retreat, and I did not get the impression they expected you to stay there day and night for the duration of your stay.

Only a few disappointments with this Retreat: The orange cordial 'welcome' drink is not a good first impression. The meals ARE overpriced for Bali. Breakfast of 2 overcooked eggs, 1 piece of toast and 2 pieces of bacon the size of 20 cent pieces at $5.50 (including taxes etc) and a complimentary orange cordial is not good value.

The size of the main pool will be a challenge when construction of the new apartments is finished.
There are not enough lounges available for sitting around the pool, and this problem is exacerbated when selfish people place their towels on them at the crack of dawn, leaving them there all day, and thereby denying others the opportunity to utilise them - even when those selfish people are off doing other things. Management need to address this as a matter of urgency.

The Retreat is a work-in-progress, so give it a chance.

  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled solo
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10  Thank Victoria B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 November 2012

Ripped off on the cost from Denpasar to Medewi. Had to pay AUD$60 into Perth bank account and the driver was not traditionally dressed, drove like a maniac for 3 hours, passed on corners and going up hills just before the summit!!! Would not listen to requests to take it easy.
Upon arrival, given a glass of orange cordial - strange as there are mano trees in the area laden with fruit!!!

Rooms do NOT have complimentary water - had to walk to a little shop on side of the road to get water ( too expensive (outrageous actually) through Medewi)

Only one room has TWIN beds - it was not ours! We had to sleep together in a double!

No block out on curtains, light shone in eyes all night

Booked into a cottage but were placed upstairs in 2 story building, beside new contruction

Food was expensive and shocking.

Stayed two days instead in of 7 days.

Manager did not welcome us, did not talk to us, did not seem interested in us at all.

The first day a couple a couple left early after an altercation with the manager about lack of amenities.

Second day we left, another two guests, who were also unhappy left ( we shared a driver back to Seminyak) and the following day another couple booked for a week, also left, we met them in Seminyak!

NO money exchange available - it is a 1 hour drive to Negara and then an hour return (just to change money)

Use of credit card encouraged because they slug you with a massive surcharge!!!!

No Wi-fi. The laptop with toggle was useless and your 1/2 hour charge was used up just trying to get online.

Grounds were nice, the pool was nice, the staff friendly and helpful and happy EXCEPT the manager.

  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled with friends
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6  Thank maraniska
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 October 2012

Many years ago on one of our earlier trips to Bali we hired a car to explore. We had a short stop at Medewi Beach, were taken by its natural beauty and thought one day it would be nice to return. Some 20 plus years and many more trips to Bali we returned to the area in late September 2012. Medewi Beach is a popular surfing spot however it is about 10 minutes drive by local bus from the Medewi Bay Retreat and a further 15 minutes by local bus on to the larger area of Negara.

We had booked for 7 nights at the Medewi Bay Retreat, but after the first couple of days we could not escape from this place quick enough.

The information about this property states that it is 2 hours from Denpasar – It took us 4 hours to get there, leaving Denpasar at 1.00pm on a Saturday afternoon. The traffic for the entire journey was horrendous, we averaged 30 kilometres per hour for the journey.

We emailed the resort ahead to obtain information and confirmations regarding our booking. We explained in our email that it was a long drive and we did not want any issues when we arrived, written assurances to all our requests were given. As it turned out, our advance planning was a waste of time.

We requested a room in a quiet location and it was confirmed to us by email from the companies “off site” head office that we would get this. On our arrival we were allocated the closest room (5 metres) from the ongoing construction of new rooms. The construction commenced at 7.00am for 7 days a week, this probably will not change as there appears to be continuing construction plans evident.

Our information stated that we had a “partial kitchen” with a full size fridge. Other Trip Advisor contributors suggested that with the remote location of this Retreat it is best to bring some groceries and drinks. With the knowledge of the kitchen facilities and full size fridge we brought provisions to cook most of our meals. We enjoy cooking and being able to use local produce, spices etc during our holidays. We brought chicken, fish, meat, fruit & vegetables and drinks that all needed refrigeration.

In this room (next to the construction site) there was a kettle, toaster, microwave and very small mini bar fridge (about 60 cms high) with no shelves in it and it was not turned on. There was no kitchen sink or cooking equipment.

We discussed with the reception girl, who had good English, that the written information we had and the allocated room did not meet with this information.

We were then shown another room newly completed with 2 gas hotplates, and a small but adequate size fridge, but again very close to the construction. There was one other room of this type available in this building but it had been vacated 3 hours earlier that day and not yet cleaned. We would have been happy to take this but the estimated cleaning time was very vague and knowing Indonesian “jam karet” (rubbery time) we were not prepared to wait for this to be available as it was already early evening.

The other option offered to us was to “pay for an upgrade”. This unit was at the other side of the property and had a “private pool”, which is not actually a private pool as it is shared in a very confined space with an adjacent unit. We were assured that the other adjacent unit would not be occupied during our stay.

By this time we had observed that the pool area was overrun by screaming children, blow up pool toys and balls and very much an “occa culture” of loud Australians. For this reason we opted to pay for the upgraded unit with the “private pool”.

This unit had 2 gas hotplates, a small but adequate size fridge, a kitchen sink and a good supply of kitchen equipment. They also put a microwave in the unit. However the electricity voltage was too low to toast the toast, heat anything in the microwave and the kettle took about 5 times as long as it should to boil water.

The one air conditioner is very inadequate as the thatched roof has a big air gap above the walls, therefore the cool air can not be contained.

The bed sheets were greyish white and the towels raged and badly stained. The pool towels that have to be collected from reception are in limited supply. The receptionist with a lovely smile on her face told us that one will be enough, we told her we would like 2 and were offered a greyish raged stained bath towel.

The assurance that the adjacent unit would not be occupied during our stay did not last for long. By early afternoon the next day hotel staff were showing a family with 2 young children through the unit. We “bolted” over to reception, as there is no telephone system to contact reception, and spoke to them regarding their assurance that the other unit would not be occupied. His arrogant response was “Oh you have paid for both units, have you?” We requested he call his manager and speak to them about the assurance to us that the unit would not be occupied while we were in the adjacent unit. This family was subsequently accommodated elsewhere. The only way these two adjacent units could be occupied at the same time is if both occupiers were travelling together. The small pool, outside area and living areas are in very close proximity and have very confined spaces with a small outside table.

Although we committed to the additional daily charge for the accommodation, it was plagued with problems and after 3 days made alternative arrangements to increase our booking at a hotel in Tuban near the airport, we had one night booked at before we flew out from Bali.

On our first night, the nearby Temple/Mosque had very loud chanting coming from it shortly after we arrived until 11.00pm, inside our unit it was louder than the normal sound level of a TV. The second night the electricity went off for several hours, which included having no water as the water pump needs electricity. The water pump outside the bedroom switched on and off continuously including all night even though the water was not being used. The toilet was leaking dirty unhygienic water from the base over the bathroom floor and at times it would not flush. We reported the toilet problems to management, it took 2 days for someone to attend to it and we were further inconvenienced for 2 hours by the fix up with plumbers walking in and out of our room continuously for tools and parts.

The traffic noise, horns etc from the main road nearby is very loud and continues day and night.

The Beach is approximately half a kilometre walk from the hotel, it is not a leisurely walk through the village. The village is on one side and a temple is on the other side of a rough bitumen road with trucks and motor bikes racing along the road. When we visited, the ocean was very rough and appeared to have dangerous rips, so we were not game to swim in the ocean, it is rocky with black volcanic sand.

The retreat grounds are messy and the gardens are not up to the same standard as other accommodation we have stayed at in Bali. Due to the building work there are lots of patches of dirty building sand and the odd bricks used to level off steps for building workers to wheel barrow building materials from one area to another. Due to this mess, care is needed when walking on the paths.

The on-site restaurant is the only place to eat within miles. We only ate one evening meal there and the food was bordering on edible. We did read on Trip Advisor about another local restaurant called “Tides” but did not venture there as the local bus and taxi drivers are sharks waiting to take every Rupiah from the tourist.

The basic spa beds are located close to the noisy pool and did not look inviting. There is small shop next to reception with very little stock and no shopping in the area.

The TV selection is extremely limited with no English speaking channel. Our room had a DVD player but not sure if this standard. The hotel charges 150% of the purchase price in Bali for each DVD hire.

The internet is absolutely useless. The resort has no Wi-fi as they do not have a fixed telephone line. They offer guests (free!!) a mobile broadband wireless modem and a very old laptop computer which are both not worth persevering with. Our own wireless modem and three year old laptop put theirs to shame. Bring your own technology and buy a local SIM with about 100,000 Indon Rupiah loaded on it for phone calls and internet use - although ours was much better than the hotel’s set up, the internet is still at times unreliable.

We travelled from the East Coast to Medewi Bay and the driver we used on the East Coast charged us 550,000 Rupiah for the trip. The hotel wanted to charge us 998,000 Rupiah for the trip, almost double!! On our arrival we asked our driver how much it would be for the return trip to Tuban, near the airport. He went and asked reception how much they charge and said his charge would be the same, 522,500 Rupiah. Once you are there you are at their mercy and will pay dearly to leave.

During our stay at this resort we spoke with two couples who had travelled from the other side of the world and were staying for 2 weeks. It saddened us to know this was the only area of Bali they would see. Bali has much more diversity, beauty and culinary experience to offer that this area, particularly compared to the East Coast. We can not recommend this hotel or the area.

Happy and safe travelling!

Room Tip: Don't go there!
  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank OzziesDownunder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 October 2012

At 4pm the day after we arrived, our room still had not been made up.
When I enquired I was told that "There is a US$10.00 daily charge for this service."
This was the first that I had heard of such a charge.
They did change the towels after two days, and replenished the shampoo, tea-bags, tissues and toilet roll.
The hotel have you as a virtual captive audience, which is fine if you do not want to do anything, as there is little to do in the hotel, apart from the restaurant and the pool, which are both very nice and well maintained.
The hotel is looking a bit tired, and needs some money spent on it in maintenance. Pool mattresses are cracked and worn for example.

  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank yted
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 October 2012

We stayed for 4 night's and that was too long. We had a 1 week voucher for $200 and that's about all it was worth. Upon arrival we were told that our villa had a leaking roof so they would upgrade us to a large 3 bedroom villa. The villa was very large but only had one small air con in 1 bedroom. The rest of the villa was stinking hot all day and night. It also had windows that did not close properly and large open areas in the roof of all the bathrooms that let mozzies, lizards and anything else in that wanted to enter the house. The retreat also has no high chair in the restaurant and the smallest wooden baby cot you could imagine (my 2 yr old could climb out of it). This made for fun times at night time. We tried eating at the restaurant once but as it had no high chair my little boy who is very active was getting down running straight for the pool. Other issues were the so called satellite tv in the villa is only in Indonesian language. Totally useless. Forgot to mention that in the ad it seems, the internet that they charge you for is so slow it takes half hour to load one page and we had large gaps in our front door frame causing more insect issues. Oh and did i mention that our hot water did not work and took 2 days to fix.
The staff were super friendly but this is pretty normal I've found i bali. Overall a pretty poor experience for us.

Room Tip: Must have newer room.
  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled with family
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4  Thank Jareds83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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