Bang-smack in the middle of Kuta and across the road from the beach, you couldn't ask for a better location to immerse yourself in this, Bali's most famous – and at times infamous – address.
Step out of the hotel door, cross the two-lane road, walk through the entrance of the newish sandstone fence (dubbed the Great Wall of Kuta by some) and you're on the endless strip of sand that is Kuta beach. It's a minute from the hotel that opened to the beach in August 2014.
To the left and right of the hotel are a mix of budget and mid-range restaurants, a supermarket or two, liquor store and bars including The Stones Entertainment Centre. It's a short stroll to the BeachWalk shopping complex, with all its modern wares and chain stores, while just behind this "mall" are rows of traditional market stalls cheek-by-jowl in Poppies Lane II.
The views from the balcony of Citadines' first-floor restaurant "Lada Garam" (Salt & Pepper) are wonderful, while the hotel's rooftop bar has a panorama that stretches from the airport in the south to the more subdued enclaves of Legian and Seminyak to the north – an amazing vista.
The hotel is part of the Citadines chain of 54 properties mostly located in Europe and Asia (Australia has two), which calls itself "Apart'hotels".
The look is city hotel rather than resort, however, thanks to colourful chairs, cushions and Balinese bed throws and wall prints, along with some funky looking furniture, there's a real holiday feel.
The narrow four-storey building has a busy check-in and bar just off the street, which flows into a casual lounge area (with an array of colourful chairs) and a small and welcome laundry and mini-gym at the rear.
Accommodation of 194 rooms is spread over four levels and topped with the great roof bar/restaurant and pool.
The long corridors leading to the guest rooms are blindingly white with their marble tiles and shiny walls, which had me imaging I was in some super-clean modern hospital. No doubt it's all very functional as there's plenty of room to move on each floor, which would come in handy when big groups of Indonesian guests are checking in and spilling out of the elevators.
Thank heavens for the charming little first-floor restaurant with a batch of rather crazy but cute furniture from cane pouffes to sofas and long, shared tables. The majority of the rooms are studios of various types (basic, executive, premiere and deluxe), while there are nine one-bedroom and three two-bedroom apartments. The basic is a classic hotel room, while my executive studio had a partial sea view; the premiere and deluxe studios have views and also kitchenettes and microwaves. The apartments vary with some having full fridges, stovetops and washing machines (and no views) to those with views and other amenities with the idea that there is plenty to choose from depending on what comforts you need and how long you intend to stay. Regardless of what's in the kitchen, the downstairs laundry is free for all, with the general manager boasting the hotel was the only one in Bali with this facility.
While a typical Bali resort has large grounds, lush foliage and several pools, the Citadines has a great roof top bar that is a little akin to a club, without the doof-doof noise or live bands. The pool is not large, but big enough for a swim and if not extensive laps. Adjacent to the pool is a small kids' playground.
For a studio, my room had all I needed and was quite spacious with a comfortable armchair and bed, although the bathroom was a squeeze. The TV with cable and movies was positioned perfectly for bedtime viewing and the free Wi-Fi works a treat. Airconditioning was quite Arctic-like but many like it cool, although I turned it off. The apartments are obviously plusher. My only real gripe is the phone positioned on the other side of the room and not by the bed.
The breakfast buffet offers plenty of choice and made-to-order eggs and omelettes. Room service food was ordinary (the tom yum goong soup had one lonely prawn).(It was however cheap at IDR25, 000 for the soup (about $2.40) and IDR45,000 for a burger).
Citadines Kuta Beach, Bali, is the ideal place for the young budget traveller (or family) who don't really want to mix it with the usual young budget travellers and backpackers who flock to Kuta. Friendly staff go out of their way to help.
If a Kuta-based holiday is on the cards, this is a great pied-a-terre. While the tiny gym may appeal to some, what should not be missed is ordering an in-room massage – the best Balinese massage I've ever had. And for surfers and beach bums, the waves couldn't be closer.
Rooms cost from $US75 a night and include breakfast for two people.
Citadines Kuta Beach Bali, Jalan Pantai Kuta, Badung. Bali 80361
Phone +62 361-849 6500, see www2.citadines.com/en/indonesia/bali/kuta_beach.html
Highlight: Great location opposite Kuta Beach
Lowlight: Can be busy with groups
The writer travelled as a guest of Citadines.