Traveling solo and on a budget requires a lot of preparation, research and advance booking. And after spending weeks reviewing the budget hotels in Bali as listed at Agoda.com, I settled for Pop! Hotel Kuta Beach because of the price ($69.64 for two nights), location (in Kuta but very near Legian) and the newness of the hotel (built in 2012).
My driver/tour guide, Kadek, had a hard time looking for the sign that indicates the direction to the hotel. The sign was amongst others and could be easily missed. When we found the right street to take, I immediately panicked because we entered this narrow side road and there were many turns and unlighted parts. I started to regret choosing this hotel. I was lead to believe that it was right at the beachfront. But it definitely wasn’t.
Anyway, I checked in at past 7pm and I was asked which room I prefer: 2 singles or 1 king-sized. I obviously chose the king because I was traveling alone. Then the receptionist requested for a 20,000 IDR key deposit. Then he told me that they were giving me complimentary breakfast, available from 7:00-9:30am. Breakfast was not included in my booking with Agoda.com but I was still getting it for free. Yay!
After that, I headed to the really well-kept elevator and ascended to the 3rd floor. When I opened the door to my room, I was amazed! The room was super spacious; aside from the big bed, there was also this sofa where another person could also sleep. Definitely more than sufficient for a solo traveller like me.
Meanwhile, the bathroom, which was this grey plastic pod, looked a bit out-of-place in the room. That was okay because it served its purpose. The only notable thing was that the shower took a long time to heat up.
Then, the cable TV was really cable TV with lots and lots of watchable channels like HBO, Star Movies, Diva Universal, National Geographic, AXN, etc. but I was most impressed because they had two french channels! Now that was cool!
Then I tried their Wi-Fi connection. After entering the special log in details, I was in! And the connection was satisfactory. But that only reminded me that I was yet to charge my phone which also doubled as a camera. So I looked around for the socket and I was dismayed that they only had these (but there’s just one).
After a rejuvenating shower: dinner. The front desk recommended Warung Totemo, a restaurant at the end of their winding street. I think they have a tie-up with this restaurant and I was right. When I went back to the hotel after dinner, I saw that their guests get a 5% discount there but they have to get the coupons from the front desk first.
I was able to try their complimentary breakfast the next day and the day after that. There were two choices of traditional rice meals, wrapped in banana leaves, and some bread, (unfortunately without any butter or jam). Then it was a choice between tea or coffee. On my first breakfast, I chose nasi jinggo and on the following day nasi uduk. Both dishes came with rice and some noodles and some meat. Both meals were okay, not very outstanding, but absolutely too spicy for morning fare.
I was reminded that they had a swimming pool while eating breakfast because it was beside the dining area. Some kids were playing in the pool. I think it was a good 25m in length and it was clean. Too bad I didn’t get to try it.
Upon returning from my second day tour in Bali, I was pleasantly surprised that they fixed the room! It was sort of embarrassing because lots of my clothes were strewn around. But anyway, it was still good to go home to an orderly room. They also replenished my supply of mineral water and towels (but not the soap nor shampoo).
During check out, I was asked to fill out an evaluation form and then my key deposit was returned to me. I asked their tour agency tie-up to please take me to the airport. The fee for hiring a car to the airport was 100,000 IDR. I was running a bit late and was mildly freaking out so the guy at the counter kindly told me that I should’ve informed him the previous night so the car would be waiting for me when it was already time to go. I guess he was right because I would’ve joined a group that was also going to the airport and saved up on the transport fee. But what’s done was done and a car arrived anyway who took me to the airport in less than twenty minutes, more than enough time for pre-departure procedures and checking out the airport stores. The driver was also very friendly and we chatted amicably all the way to the airport.
I am a budget traveller and only require so much in the hotels I stay in. Pop! Hotel Kuta Beach was able to meet my basic needs and that was enough for me. My room was more than sufficient for just a place to crash in after a day of touring. And though I had minimal interaction with them, the staff seemed cool enough. If there was anything I didn’t like about the hotel, it was the location. They could improve the street lighting so that adventurous backpacker girls like me won’t have any qualms walking around alone at night. All in all, I had a satisfactory experience with this hotel and wouldn’t mind recommending it to others who travel like me.