Monday, March 19, 2007

Hard Rock Beach Club Bali Sucks

I first stayed at the Hard Rock Café Beach Club in Bali about 6 years ago when it was still new. It was young, hip, fresh, distinctive, and overall an awesome place to stay. The staff was full of energy, the activities were stimulating, and the pool was the largest and most exciting free form pool on the island. The guests at the hotel were equally exciting, with hot European and American women laying about the poolside and wandering around the hotel, kids playing games and enjoying their holidays, and even young couples getting in the mix, enjoying the music and drinks at the lobby Stage Bar. The rooms were out of the ordinary featuring the distinctive HRC music incorporated designs and awesome snacks and drinks in the mini-bar that were fir for a rock star. HRC Beach Club was where any young people visiting Bali with some money to spend would want to be.

I have spent the odd night at the HRC Hotel in Bali over the last few years. There have been good trips where the hotel was running at high occupancy and bustling with life, and then there were the hard times after the bombings that things were just dead. But overall all my stays there have been extremely pleasurable, until Feb 2007. After my vacation I stayed back for a night in Bali and checked into the HRC Beach Club. There was a time the check in process was festive, this time it was depressing. We had to wait 20 minutes before we received any attention and in that time we were not even offered a welcome drink. There was a time when if the staff were busy the guest would be seated in the Lobby Bar with a cold beer. There were times I have even been checked in right at the bar!

Once we were escorted to our room the first thing I noticed when I walked in was that old mildew smell. This is something I would expect from some $30 dive on Legian, not at the HRC. Also the furniture in the place was just all run down. The tables and counters were chipped and pealing. The TV was the same old 17 inch box they installed when they first opened. Even the most nominal hotels have already switched to plasma’s. The curtains were rusty and not functioning properly and the mini-bar I once loved was full of local crap. There were not even any quality snacks in there! How am I supposed to feel like a rock star with no 24 access to Jack Daniel’s?

There were no cool gadgets or gimmicks in the drawers. Back in the day they had their customized matches and even HRC condoms, now only some local tea. They even had a cool window feature in the bathroom that they have now sealed up. Almost every hotel I have been to has a toiletries kit in the bathroom and the HRC Bali does not even have that! They used to have Dove Soap dispensers until a few years ago now that have some no brand soap in there that smells like crap. That was most disappointing for me.

The Hard Rock Café is an establishment I have always admired because of our mutual love for music. And I was extremely disappointed at how run down they have allowed their Bali hotel to get. What was once a sought after destination for vacationers from all over the world has now become a budget hotel for local tourists. There is nothing Balinese about the HRC Bali apart from the people that work there. I am very sad to say that the Hard Rock Café Beach Club in Bali is the very last place I would recommend any visitor to Bali to stay at. I could go on and on about the shortcomings I faced regarding their food and other services. But they are too far gone.

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