After spending some time enjoying the cultural sites around Ubud, we were ready to unwind on one of Bali’s beautiful beaches. Our trips tend to be a mix of affordable yet well-appointed rentals like our Airbnb in Ubud and nicer hotels that we stay at for free using points. So when looking into what points options we had on Bali, the Intercontinental Resort at Jimbaran Bay immediately captured our attention.
Intercontinental Resort Bali | From $189/nt
We booked our stay for three nights through the IHG Rewards Club program. Both Iylana and I have the Chase IHG Rewards Club Mastercard which awards holders with a free night at any property, annually. That took care of two nights, and the third cost us 40,000 IHG Rewards Club points. We had a stash built up from various promos that offered points, but the best way to quickly earn IHG points is to sign up for the Chase IHG card. Because of the free annual night and with an annual fee of only $49, it has earned a permanent spot in our wallets. A night at the Intercontinental Resort Bali costs about $200 after taxes, so think of the card as giving you a 75% discount on a stay there—and there are a slew of more expensive properties in the IHG portfolio that can increase the savings.
Free nights aside, we could still recommend this property for those that had the budget for a nice resort with beach access.
We hired a driver to take us from Ubud to Jimbaran Bay, which was about an hour a half ride and cost us Rp 300,000 ($22.50 USD). Ngurah Rai airport is very close to the resort, about 10-15 minutes, and shouldn’t run you very much for a taxi.
Upon arrival we gave our names and were taken to the check in desk where we greeted as IHG Rewards Club Platinum Members (a perk bestowed by the Chase Mastercard). We were offered a welcome drink and a welcome gift, a sandalwood fan, which came in handy over the rest of our trip during sweltering days. We were also given leis, which seemed a little odd, but was a welcome gesture at any rate.
Since we had arrived early, our room wasn’t quite ready so we had to wait a few minutes in a lounge and were offered complementary refreshments.
The resort is in the middle of a remodel, so it seems a lot of the property was unavailable for guests. They were unable to provide us with a king room, but instead offered us an “upgrade” to one of the newly-remodeled twin rooms, which was quite spacious. In addition to the two twin beds, there was a sitting area, balcony, a large closet, and bathroom with separate tub and walk-in shower and an enclosed toilet room. The decor was sleek and modern while still incorporating traditional Balinese design.
Complimentary bottles of water were sitting bedside and in the bathroom and refreshed daily. We were also brought a complementary fruit basket on each day of our stay, which made for a good mid-afternoon snack.
Wi-fi is available to guests for no extra charge and worked without any problems throughout the property at good speeds.
The design of the property offers a feeling seclusion from the bustle around it, even though it sits along a main thoroughfare. A large landscaped pond greets you as you drive into the property, giving some space between the rooms and the road. Each wing has a lot of green space and trees around it, further enhancing the feeling of seclusion and privacy.
Around the property there are plenty of places to carve out some space for yourself and relax. During our stay there were ample lounge chairs available and the pools were never very full.
There are five restaurants along with numerous bars. We liked the Sunset Bar and Grill for its location on the beach, with covered lounge beds looking out to the water. We ate there one night as well and the food was very good and, while more expensive than most of the nearby restaurants, still reasonably priced.
Adjacent to the Sunset Bar and Grill is a small hut where you can rent water sport equipment such as surf boards, body boards, and kayaks.
The resort is located on the southern part of Bali, along the isthmus that joins the Bukit Peninsula with the rest of the island. Situated right on Jimbaran Beach, you can see planes landing at and taking off from the airport to the north and the Bukit Peninsula extruding to the south. You can step right off the resort property to access the beach, which is open to the public.
During our stay the beach was not crowded at all, which may have been due to us being there in shoulder season. Whatever the reason, we breathed a sigh of relief to not have to contend with large crowds of people competing for the narrow strip of beach in front of the resort.
Although the resort offers several high-quality restaurants, eating in them can quickly evaporate a budget traveler’s food funds. Fortunately there are a number of restaurants directly adjacent to the resort right on the beach at a substantially lower cost, and this is where we ate most of our meals—breakfast, lunch and dinner.
There are numerous beach cafes offering just about any cuisine you desire but the real highlight are the ones offering fresh seafood from Jimbaran Bay. Iylana and I had a seafood feast one evening, each ordering a whole fish. We didn’t realize it would be prepared this way—we could have easily split one plate! Still, with drinks and sides our bill only amounted to $30—not bad for a fresh seafood dinner directly on the beach.
Although we initially had plans to explore outside the resort a bit more, we were enjoying our time on the property so much that our only excursion was to Uluwatu Temple, located at the west end of the Bukit Peninsula. Other possible excursions would be Tanah Lot temple, Denpasar, and the backpacker’s haven Kuta. A day trip to Ubud would also be possible if you don’t already have plans to overnight there.
Overall, the Intercontinental Resort Bali exceeded our expectations and we can enthusiastically recommend it to those looking for a resort property with beach access. Our search for a nice property we could use points on ended up being a place we would gladly pay for—and honestly, the $190 nightly rate seems fairly reasonable given the amenities and beach access the resort offers. With affordable restaurants and spas nearby, you don’t have to worry about getting nickel and dimed on the resort, letting you stretch your vacation budget further.