Mamaka Ovolo Bali review: Resort revitalises tired Kuta Beach

 The Place

With the unfortunate opening timing of November 2020, there hasn't been too much noise around the Ovolo group's first hotel in Indonesia. And what a shame that is. Injecting a much needed dose of "good vibrations" in the form of hip and modern energy into a somewhat tired stretch of Bali, this could be the catalyst that transforms the area into something that draws tourists who are looking for more than just a cheap room and a couple of Bintangs.

The Location

Mamaka is situated right at the heart of Kuta overlooking the beach, with major shopping and dining precincts on either side. While the once buzzing streets of Popies Lane 1 and 2, and Jalan Legian's nightclub strip are quiet right now, they won't be forever. And to be honest, I'm not sure it's a bad thing to be able wander around the streets freely without being harassed to buy sarongs and cheap jewellery every five steps.

The Space

Throught the hotel, vibrant pops of teal, mustard, green and coral remind you of the beach outside. Retro music is pumped throughout the entire hotel, very hummable, predominantely '80s mood-elevating tunes. A huge lobby houses a gift shop with tempting made-in-Bali designs, and there's also a free laundry, a gym and beach-facing Street 23, a cafe-style open-air eatery which is open until 5pm. You'll find another restaurant on the hotel's top floor, along with Bali's highest rooftop pool and a huge bar. The entire space is designed to look like a beach shack, with a large arched "straw" roof. The views of Kuta and surrounds are spectacular, particularly at sunset. The spacious rooftop will undoubtedly be one of Kuta's hottest destinations for a sundowner, featuring a DJ, great cocktails and food, and small but thoughtfully chosen wine list.

The Room

I'm in a 'Swagger Suite', and before I'm finished with the oohs-and ahhs, a man with a portable cocktail trolley knocks on my door to whip me up a fruity welcome drink. Cocktails, here, are key: in my room, I have all the fixings for creating my own concoctions with specially made ingredients from Bali such as salak-flavoured gin. It's very hard to resist, except to note you must pay for each of the bottles you use (about $30). The drinks in the minibar are free though, and include a few beers, water, softies and a bottle of Jamu, an Indonesian fruit-based health tonic flavoured with turmeric.

The room itself is spacious and eye-catching, with a dining table, teal lounge suite and bedhead on the king sized bed, plenty of space to stow away your belongings and a large bathroom with sunshine-yellow bathtub. The toiletries are courtesy OMG, there's multiple USB and international power sockets, a 140-centimetre television, coffee machine, and high speed Wi-Fi. Retro pictures of Kuta's surf scene adorn the walls, along with quirky little pieces on the shelves such as model guitars and motorbikes. I'm on the third floor, in a room that has floor-to-ceiling views of Kuta beach. The room's blinds can be raised and lowered via a switch on the side of the bed.


Whether it be in the lobby or restaurant, the ever-smiling staff here are friendly, professional and prompt. I was best able to test this theory by downloading the Mamaka app, which allows you to message the staff on the reception desk directly if you wish for anything at al. It's through this app you can order room service, surfing lessons or an in-room massage, book a car, order an extra towel or some more water.

Some of the special services on offer are surfing lessons from accredited coaches from the Quiksilver Bali Surf Academy. You can book a boxing class in the gym, or arrange a 60 minute massage for about $35 to have in-house, which is very handy indeed.

The Food

Once I realised how great the food was here, I rarely ventured outside the hotel. Breakfast was of a particular high standard, featuring crab omelette, smashed avo or Indonesian nasi goreng. For lunch, the vegan tofu char kwetiau with dried mushrooms was great, as was the chicken burger. Cocktails were good but I got addicted to the 'healthy potions' - thick icy concoctions with combinations such as beetroot, mango, mint leaves, honey and carrot. There's also great coffee courtesy 'One Pink Goat' coming out of an impressive looking "espresso deck" and poured into pink cups. Dinner is served upstairs on the rooftop and has a separate western-leaning menu such as panfried fish and roasted organic chicken with sides of roasted potatoes and baby carrots, which I had delivered to my room with a glass of wine on a rainy evening.

Stepping Out

All the surf action unfolds right out the front of the hotel on Kuta beach, and the hotel staff can direct you to restaurants in the area. It's a good idea to ask, because some restaurants have not updated their social media or Google to indicate whether or not they are open. After being stuck home for two years, I was keen to get out and explore and the staff were able to organise a scooter - a well-maintained, comfortable and easy to ride Scoopy where I motored up north past Ubud for the day, and down to Uluwatu in the evening, costing me around 80,000 rupiah, or $7.60. If scooters aren't your thing, you can arrange car and driver from the hotel, or download Grab and Gojek apps which are  the Indonesian versions of Uber and can take you anywhere your heart desires.


The Verdict

Ovolo knows how to stand out from the crowd and Mamaka is no exception. With a smashing rooftop, vibrant design and great food and cocktails, this hotel is bound to be a giant drawcard for the region.


You can book the Swagger Suite for around $180 a night, but there are smaller rooms that start from about $70 per night.

Jl. Pantai Kuta No.32, Legian, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung; +62 361 8496 500;


On my departure I was gifted a portrait of myself on a scooter in Bali - possibly the greatest gift ever, at least from a hotel.


The relentless rain meant i was not able to witness much-hailed sunsets from the rooftop or swim in the pool.

Our rating out of five 


The writer stayed as a guest of Ovolo.