Trip Report: St. Regis Bali (also, Revisited)

Winter has settled in at the cabin, it gets dark at like, 4:30, and with the holidays and probably snow right around the corner, I thought I’d travel back in time to much warmer days—ie: my ongoing trip report for Southeast Asia.

When last I left off, we had just finished the first leg of our first big post-COVID international trip—three days in Singapore. The next leg of our trip took us to a familiar destination: St. Regis Bali.

St. Regis at sunrise

We loved St. Regis Bali on our first visit in 2014. The staff, the food, the villa, the lagoon, the private pool – it was all just perfection. So much so, in fact, that we tried to go back in 2017 but because of some WTO ministerial or some other international governing body visit, we were informed just weeks before our stay that St. Regis was unavailable, but the fine Starwood folks would be happy to put us up at literally any other Bali hotel. However, my shrewd travel-agent-for-life, XFE instead suggested that they put us up at the newly opened St. Regis Maldives and that’s where we went (spoiler: It was really, really nice as well).

We woke up early and made our way to the Singapore airport, where I proceeded to have a bit of a meltdown at pre-boarding security. Let me start by saying: I am a very conscientious packer. I’ve seen too many people (including on this trip) try to take all sorts of items that they must know by well would not make it through security, including food and drink items, lighters, lighters that look like replicas of guns (!), handcuffs (?!), box cutters, literal scissors (hand on my heart, I saw an Indian woman trying to take scissors through security in her carryon this very trip. And also, baby food and formula. Lots of it).

So I always make damn sure there is nothing in my bag that could set off security, not even a sewing kit. Except for this time. This time, I had a pair of cuticle scissors in my makeup bag. They were part of a nail kit that I had thrown in without realizing. And boy, was I adamant that I did not have any scissors in my makeup bag. I threw a hissy fit and kept insisting that nope, not me, no way, I did not have anything even remotely sharp in my makeup bag. Except that I did. Oops.

Now sweaty, flustered and embarrassed, I settled in for our two-hour flight from Singapore to Bali.

True to form, Bali was again getting ready for an international gathering of trade and politics, the G20 Summit, which took place in mid-November. Signs and advertisements were up everywhere. However, this time, we would not have to reroute our trip and would be staying at our favorite resort again.

Check-in at St. Regis was easy and we were in our villa in no time. And, it was just as wonderful as our first visit. The villa was the exact same; ie: gorgeous and smelled like frangipani. The private deck and plunge pool was amazing and secluded. XFE had called ahead and made sure we had a kite ready and waiting in our room, which was really sweet.

Our villa floors.

We changed and got in some beach and pool time. Now, I’m not much of a beach person and while Bali does undoubtedly have some lovely beaches, there is one small issue (actually not small, it’s a real problem) – trash. A ton of trash washes up on Balinese beaches. Although to be fair, this isn’t just a problem in Bali. It’s all through Southeast Asia. Just a lot of single-use plastics, Styrofoam, and other debris wash up on the beach all day long. Despite the resorts best efforts to clean it up, it just keeps coming.

Clean beach spot.

Despite the trash, the days became a peaceful blur and we settled into our resort routine – early breakfast at the buffet and some kite flying (and trash pickup) on the beach.

Then back to the room for a very liberal application of various sunscreens. We had all the SPF numbers in cream, gel, stick and powder formulations. Properly protected, we’d head out to our deck and pool to read and listen to music.

At lunch, we’d head back down to the beach area to eat with our feet in the sand and people-watching—my favorite resort activity. My lunch favorites were the fish and chips and a pizza with tomato confit. XFE had an amusing encounter while ordering a club sandwich. He asked for extra mayo and ended up with extra chicken, bacon, and lettuce instead.

Our kites patiently waiting for us to finish lunch.

We’d fuel up with mojitos at the beach bar and then head back to our room for more reading, lounging, napping until 5-5:30, when we would clean up and go to the King Cole bar for sundowners and to watch the champagne sabering and the sunset fire dancers.

We made a meal off their appetizer menu one night and ate at the resort restaurant, Kayputi another night (my fish dish was divine) but most nights we ordered room service (the mushroom risotto and Caesar salad were particularly good).

We usually fell asleep pretty early most nights because we are just such hard-core partiers (raging till 8 or 9 every day). On our last day, we gave our Balinese kites to two boys from Switzerland and XFE showed them how they worked.

Everything was just as wonderful as our first visit and the staff was exemplary and friendly as before. It was a truly idyllic resort vacation. I didn’t even miss my cuticle scissors.

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