How do I experience
paradise in Bali, safely and without contributing to
the problem for other tourists and the Balinese themselves?
Actually, it is very simple to find true paradise, and
a safe haven (from disease, crime and terrorism while
in Bali). And by taking a little bit of time, you should
likely have a far more enjoyable (and safer) holiday,
plus help the Balinese and be able to come back home
with a clear consience.
It is a natural process really, when you think about
it. Bad or so-so hotels, then to be that way in every
regard. So, if you find hotels / villas that meet certain
business criteria, it is almost certain they will be
gems across the board. And you should then be closer
to your slice of paradise for you all important holiday
/ vacation in Bali. So what are these business criteria
to look out for and avoid?
If you stear clear of hotels / hotel areas that are
built on contentious ground, e.g.
a) Hotels built on land that was compulsory purchased
at rock bottom rates under Suherto, and then used by
his family / sold to foreign hotel chains at huge profits,
such as most if not all hotels in Nusa Dua.
b) Hotels built on land too close to temples / shrines,
or which otherwise contravene building regulations,
such as Le Meridien Nirwana, Grand Bali Beach, and The
Four Seasons Sayan.
That would be a very good start. After all, these hoteliers
must have known what they were doing.
Also, if you find a hotel which is built on land that
is owned by a Balinese (this includes foreign / foreigner
owned hotels), you are also more likely to be looking
at a hotel that contributes to the local community and
provides a true Balinese experience to its guests.
Avoiding hotels that cater to tour groups is another
good idea. As tour group hotels tend to sell their rooms
at very low prices to tour operators, they thave to
cut costs elsewhere (even when you book independently).
You are also, arguably, more likely to find the annoying
stereotypes at tour group hotels such as people that
reserve the best sun lounges with their towels at 6am,
people whose index finger seems to have a nervous twitch
and be permanently glued to their camera button, and
loud groups with a petulance for alcohol.
Finally, finding hotels that treat their staff well
is a sure sign they treat their guests as well as they
possibly can. How do you know if they treat their staff
well? Its easy, find the ones that do not cheat their
staff of the service charge! To find more about cheating
staff of service charges, please read our Bali
Travel Agents page.
So, how can you do all of this in just a few seconds?
It is very easy, just send the hotels you are considering
Dear Sir / Madam
We are considering staying at your hotel / villa. Can
you please answer the following questions.
1) Is your hotel / villa built on any contentious land?
a) Land whose title is the subject of a land title dispute
with the previous Balinese owner, or;
b) land that was compulsory purchased by the Soherto
c) Land that has contravened local building regulations,
epsecially if this is in respect of building too close
to Balinese shrines / temples.
d) Land over which the local Balinese protest over.
2) Do you sell rooms to tour operators for tour group
3) Is the land your hotel / villa is built on, is it
owned by a Balinese person or company? If not Balinese,
where is the company / individual based?
4) Does or has your hotel / villa been owned, partly
or fully, or managed at any time by the Suharto family
or a company which they are a director of?
5) Is it OK for me to pay the service charge directly
to the staff? If not, can you please detail exactly
how much of the service charge the staff get and how
this is distributed (equally amongst the staff, or where
directors and managers get more - please detail fully)?
6) Does your hotel / villa have a full operational
license and is it registered for tax?
And watch out for slippery answers!
We can almost guarantee, if you go through this process
and eliminate the hotels / villas that answer negatively,
poorly or not at all. And then select a hotel or hotels
from the ones that give the right answers, you will
find one of the best hotels / villas in their area for
Please do not become a victim or part
of the problem. Read:
Tourism (Should I go, where, and how do I avoid
adding to the problem / putting myself / my family at
risk in Bali?).