We have compared Bali apartments to other Bali properties like hotels and villas in terms of expenses, now let’s compare and contrast each accommodation type in terms of lifestyle, amenities, and location.
If you rent an apartment in Bali you can expect an experience that combines the best of a hotel stay and never leaving home at all. For instance, the absentee owner (just search online-apartments are easy to find) will most likely have everything you need to be comfortable, right down to cutlery and towels. The unit will have everything you’d expect in hotel room and a whole lot more, because apartments are geared toward ‘living’ while hotels are for ‘vacationing’, and there’s a big difference, after all. The Bali property market is evolving in ways that can benefit even short-term visitors, as apartments become more plentiful.
Apartments: More Dining Options
Naturally eating in wonderful local restaurants in Bali is a high point of any trip to the island. You’ll find an amazing array of different cuisines at truly remarkable prices; whatever your budget the value for money in Bali restaurants is absolutely outstanding. However, many people also enjoy cooking and if you stay in an apartment you will likely save money by cooking for your family (though not as much as you would in Europe say, with prices in Bali being what they are). With all the local produce and seafood, in all likelihood you’ll really enjoy the use of a kitchen sometimes. With an apartment it’s not necessary to go to a restaurant every time you feel like a snack. And, if you have special dietary requirements staying in a Bali apartment is a way to ensure that you eat more of what you should.
One of the best things about either a villa or an apartment in Bali, compared to hotels, is your ‘pembantu’, or Balinese maid. If you think it’s great having hotel room service visit every day to make everything wonderful again in your hotel room, just wait until you have a pembantu! There will be no question of cleaning up after yourself or fixing anything around the apartment should something break, because the owner will almost certainly have a maid, who will be very happy to provide her services for you during your stay. This may include only basic cleaning, but if you have cooking facilities she can also help with food preparation or even cook for you and your family. She can do your shopping for you, and take your laundry to one of the many local families who provide laundry services to hotels, tourists and ex-pats. Your maid will be a facilitator to help you with minor problems that arise, or quickly find someone who can, speaking Bahasa Indonesia as she does. Depending on what you require your Balinese maid may only stay for an hour or two, but she’ll probably be flexible enough to accommodate your needs, though she will most likely have cleaning duties in other apartments in the building as well.
Bali Apartments: Location, Location, Location
With your own kitchen and pembantu, a Bali villa shares some of a Bali apartment’s characteristics, while in most ways superseding an apartment or a simple hotel room for sheer luxury. Let’s face it, staying in a villa on a Bali holiday is a dream vacation, and everyone should experience it at least once. Before we bought our apartment in Bali my wife and I splurged on villa holidays at different times, and enjoyed the private pool and the semi-outdoor lifestyle that retains its privacy by being completely walled off from the street. But we learned something too.
With the privacy of Bali homes might come some isolation. Villas on the island tend to be a little further away from the busy shopping areas and nightlife. For some people this is perfect, especially if you come simply to relax at your own pool for a week or so. But for longer villa stays you’ll probably want to get out a bit, and mobility becomes more important. You’ll most likely require a motorcycle or car rental, or the services of a driver. Proximity might be more important if you visit Bali for more than a couple weeks, and an apartment near the beach, restaurants, etc. make it possible to avoid the worsening Bali traffic when you’re just heading down to the Bintang Supermarket on Legian Street for some groceries.
On the other hand, often both hotels and apartments in Bali are located closer to Kuta, Seminyak or Sanur beaches and restaurants etc. than an affordable villa in Kerobokan or Batu Belig or areas further north. Being in a location where you can walk to the sand rather than having to find a place to park your motorcycle (and pay for beach parking in Seminyak and Kuta–it’s true!) for your sunset beach walk is attractive to most people. Of course this is not to say you cannot find a villa right on the beach, but it will cost you, and you’ll be surprised that for the cost of a mediocre hotel room back home (or in Bali for that matter) how short your stroll will likely be down to the beach or to the market or nightlife, when you’re renting a Bali apartment.
So to sum up this very brief general comparison of Bali apartments, hotels and villas, it has to be said that you can absolutely have it all if you’re willing to spend the money. You can have a six-bedroom compound overlooking the cliffs at Uluwatu on the Bukit Peninsula for US$1500 a night or so (and please look me up so I can come visit!). For most people though, especially if you like to be near the ocean, a hotel or apartment in Bali is a much more reasonably-priced option. In my opinion, in many ways apartment rentals in Bali are a ‘sweet spot’ in terms of location, price, and most of what one needs to be as comfortable as they are in their own home.