ith more than 10,000 temples spread across Bali, this
island paradise is on the wish list of many Indians. I
recently had the opportunity to visit Bali thanks to an
invitation from Andrew Khoo, M.I.H, General Manager, Hard
Rock Hotel, Bali (HRHB) in August 2012 who feels India is a
very potential Market. “India is a big market for us as there are a
lot of Hindu temples. I have been very close to this religion and
even in our hotel we have a small Lord Ganesha temple. We
expect to tap the families and honeymoon couples,” said Andrew
Khoo. I could truly sense his soft corner for Indians.
Fandy Lo, Asst. Marketing Communication Manager, HRHB
had been in touch with me since December and finally in June the
plans crystallised. We coordinated with Malaysian airlines that
flew me business class (as it has fast connections - surprisingly
there’s no direct flight from India to Bali).
On arrival do keep USD 25 ready so that you can quickly get
the visa on arrival. The immigration process is also quick, though
it took quite some time for the baggage. The airport area is quite
crowded and you have to keep a look out for the hotel pick up
Staying at HRHB has its own advantage as its one of the few
five star hotels close to the airport and in spite of traffic it took us
20 minutes to arrive at the hotel. The entrance is impressive with
numerous guitars. On arrival I was met by Fandy Lo and
Rohaizad Puteh, Director of Sales and Marketing, HRHB. I was
led straight into a bar for my check in. Looking surprised (never
checked in at a bar) Rohaizad said that 'Centerstage', the place
where we were sitting doubles as a lobby, a bar, a live rock venue
and even a rock museum. In the check in packet you will also find
- a free drink voucher which can be redeemed at the bar; coupons
to redeem at Hard Rock Hotel merchandise shop.
From outside the hotel is doesn’t seem so large but its spread
across three hectares having 418 tribute rooms, luxury, deluxe
and kids suites with six food and beverage outlets Lil’ Rock –
Kids Club, Tabu Teen Centre, Boom Box Recording Studio, Rock
Spa, Body Rock fitness center and a Rock Shop – Hard Rock
HRHB is Asia’s first Hard Rock Hotel. The hotel is a part of
Hard Rock International (HRI) that has a total of 181 venues in
58 countries, including 142 cafes, 18 hotels and 8 casinos. Hard
Rock owns the world's greatest collection of music memorabilia,
which is displayed at its locations around the globe and this was
amply displayed all over the hotel.
The hotel is one of the best for families and was chosen as a
H o s p i t a l i t y
Global Destinations July - Aug 201312
RockOn@Hard Rock Hotel, Bali
The Family Friendly Hotel
The sprawling Hard Rock Hotel, located in Kuta Bali’s famous entertainment and shopping district and just across Kuta
beach makes it a perfect hotel for Indians on a vacation or honeymoon says Chandragupta Amritkar
winner in the Top 10
Family Hotels cate-
gory by TripAdvisor
in its 2013 Travellers’
Choice awards. I
think it deserved it as
I saw many kids and
themselves in the
pool. The hotel has
the largest free-form
swimming pool in
Bali. The pool twists
and twirls along the
resort making it a
(and a feast to the
eyes as you watch the
wet happenings by the pool – kids, men, women laugh and enjoy
the pool while you can have a drink or a snack at the poolside
Splash Bistro restaurant). It also serves as a stage for outdoor per-
formances and volleyball matches. There are 22 poolside cabanas
nestled around the swimming pool e quipped with tables, chairs
and day-beds. The Shack Bar located at free form pool is another
place to have some delicious food.
I was staying in the Deluxe Premium Room and from my room
I could walk right into the chill out pool a much smaller swim-
ming pool right outside the ground floor balcony for guests stay-
ing in the Deluxe Premium Rooms and Suites. For those who
don’t want to go to the free-form swimming pool and want no
crowd this would be a good option.
The hotel has 418 rooms of which 242 are Deluxe Rooms, 134
Deluxe Premium Rooms, 10 Deluxe Premium Pool Access, 11
Loft, 8 Deluxe Suites, 8 Kids Suites, 2 Luxury Suites, 2 Luxury
Kids Suites and one King Suite. The best rooms are the Kids
Suite spread across 64 m2 featuring one deluxe master bedroom,
one living room with two day beds, a dining table and an addi-
tional kid’s complete with Play Station 3 and other children'
entertainment and toilet amenities. The presidential suite spread
across 224m² is fit for "The King". It offers a deluxe master bed-
room and a deluxe guest bedroom with en-suite bathroom, a fam-
ily room featuring a king-size daybed, living room complete with
home theater system, LCD TVs, dining room, kitchenette, and
If you are in a group and get rooms in different wings you are
bound to spend some time tracing the best path. So ideally try to
get adjacent rooms. Also it will take a bit of experience to move
from room to the lobby, kid’s zone, gym and various restaurants.
Do use the map.
For the food lovers there’s a wide choice of restaurants. Apart
from the restaurants on poolside there’s the Hard Rock Cafe fac-
ing the Kuta Beach that features ‘live’ band performances and
hefty portions of burgers including vegetarian burgers. The rock-
ing crowd is here upto 2am daily, and till 3am on weekends. Starz
Diner is HRHBs all-day dining restaurant offering both indoor
and outdoor seating for up to 210 diners. New York style 'Hard
Rock Beach Club (HRBC) Deli just adjacent to Starz Diner has
some excellent pastries, brownies, cappuccino and chocolates. I
did pickup some chocolates to take back and my family relished
them. Though the hotel is provides free WIFI at HRBC one can
check your emails or surf the net but unfortunately at a price.
The quality of food is good (Indians will appreciate the paratha
and the curry sauce). Apart from these options there are quite a
few Indian restaurants too in close vicinity including Bali Indian
Food restaurant. The surrounding area has lots of eateries - local
delicacy, fast food etc.
The rock star experience is not complete without an hour or
two at HRHBs very own Rock Spa. Rock Spa is located next to
the pool and offers a wide range of body therapy and treatments
to restore and balance the mind, body and soul. I had two Rock
Spa experiences. The first was the Traditional Balinese Massage.
This 60-minute relaxing massage using Balinese technique. The
oils used are Lavender, Geranium, and Cedar Wood. I also had a
60-minute Foot Reflexology on the last day. During both treat-
ments the welcome drink was made of ginger, lime and honey.
The fitness center boasts a fully equipped gym, sauna and
steam rooms, hot and cold plunge pools, available free of charge
to all hotel guests. Experienced instructors are there to guide the
guests through various calorie-burning programs and exercises.
The Hard Rock Hotel Rock Shop has an extensive range of
Hard Rock designer wear, souvenirs, cool gifts and funky acces-
sories. I picked up a nice T-shirt for my daughter with the HRHB
logo and she loved it.
HRHB also offers MICE facilities that features a range of
themed parties and events in any of their entertainment spaces. It
can be conventions, conferences, incentive programs, weddings
and banquets in various sizes of rooms including a ballroom
boasting a capacity of 400 -450 people.
H o s p i t a l i t y
Global DestinationsJuly - Aug 2013 13
Lil’ Rock Kids Club and TABU Teens Club
These two are what I am sure many Indians will
like as we love to travel with our kids, grand chil-
dren, extended families and friends with families.
For the little ones, Lil' Rock Kids Club has numer-
ous fun activities and games. From Lego building to
Play Doh modelling, Balinese dances, Treasure
Hunts and Beach Club Party at Sand Island. Kids
will get Lil’ Rock ID Club for daily access to Lil’ Rock
Kids Club & all Lil’ Rock activities, Gift Pack, Free
Soft Drink & water at dining outlets for the entire
stay, free lunch daily at Lil’ Rock Kids Club. The kids
club is the best value for money.
For the young adult (13 – 17 years old) there’s
the TABU Teens Club. Spread across 252-square-
meter, TABU offers a nightclub equipped with
multi-purpose DJ Booth, Internet and Gaming
Lounge with WII, Xbox Kinetic and PS3 facilities,
private cinema area, bar and lounge with chill out
area and pool table. Tabu is exclusively for young
adults, age. There’s also the recording studio /
karaoke (boom box) that offers Karaoke rooms as
well as a state-of the- art recording studio.
HRHB also offers a 5m high Rock Climbing Wall
facility that offers three levels of difficulty. Located
at the poolside area, trained instructors are avail-
able to assist the more adventurous guests,
whether beginners or experienced climbers.
lso known as the Island of a Thousand Temples, Bali is a
majority Hindu island located in Indonesia, an over-
whelmingly Muslim nation. The island is famous for its
number of temples, about 18,000 temples and tourists visiting
Bali often say the island appears like there are more temples than
houses. How true, as I could see this as a fact as our vehicle
moved across the Island. “Almost all houses in Bali have their
own temples,” said Fandy Lo, Asst. Marketing Communication
Manager, Hard Rock Hotel, Bali.
The hotel was kind enough to arrange a tour of the Island and
we left at 8.30am in the morning from the hotel located in Kuta,
famous for its beaches and shopping. Our first stop was Besakih
Temple or Mother Temple, the biggest Hindu temple in Bali. Dur-
ing the 2 hour-long drive relished the wonderful scenery - the
forests, rice fields and villages.
Besakih Temple is open to visitors all year round and there’s a
small official entrance fee. The temple is sadly exploited as a way
to shake tourists down for money in the form of donations. But if
you need a guide (it’s not compulsory) you can pay the donation
and hire one. To enter any temple you must be appropriately
dressed with a sarong and sash. Take your own sarong from the
hotel or they can be rented at the entrance of each temple. If you
plan to visit many temples it's better to buy one and use them
throughout your visit.
To reach the temple complex, you have to stroll up a footpath
for about 800 meters, which can be a healthy walk. Alternately
you can rent a motorbike offered by the locals. The temple com-
plex is massive and awesome. From far it’s an impressive com-
plex of pyramid-like temples, extending up the mountain. The
temple is located in the plateau area (one can feel the cool atmos-
phere) with Mount Agung as a back drop. It is situated 3,000 feet
up the slopes of Mount Agung in East Bali. From the top of tem-
ple area one can see the beautiful nature.
The word “besakih” is derived from ancient Javanese words
“wasuki” or “basuki” that means salvation. The temple consists
of 22 temples. It was built based on the concept Tri Hita Karana,
a Hindu concept on the balance between human, nature, and God.
Surrounding three main temples dedicated to Shiva, Brahma and
Vishnu are 18 separate sanctuaries belonging to different regen-
cies and caste groups. Religious ceremony is often held in the
complex. One of them is Ekadasa Rudra ceremony that is held
every 100 years. The first recorded mention of its existence
comes from an inscription dating back to 1007 AD.
Pura Besakih made the world spotlight in 1963 when it’s said
that the temple remained untouched when Mount Agung erupted
while the villages around the mount perished. A visit to Pura
Besakih is truly a spiritual experience into the heart of Balinese
religious and cultural life.
From here we proceeded to the Sacred Monkey Forest located
in Ubud, Padangtegal. It represents a sacred Balinese Hindu site.
The Monkey Forest is dwelt by hundreds of monkeys. These
monkeys are believed as Gods Guard of Pura Dalem Agung Tem-
ple in the middle of forest, estimated built in the middle of 14
century. There are three Holy Temples in this monkey forest –
Apart from Dalem Agung Temple there’s Holy Bathing Temple,
next to the stream and Pura Prajapati Temple (the cremation tem-
ple), alongside the graveyard. The forest itself is beautiful and
well worth the walk around. In case you are not comfortable with
monkeys its advisable not to take in any food to avoid contact
with the monkeys.
After an Indian lunch we proceeded to the rice terraces,
designed very beautifully with exquisite hollowing rice field. I
have seen many tea gardens in layers in India but these rice ter-
D e s t i n a t i o n
Global Destinations July - Aug 201314
The Island of a Thousand Temples
races were amazing. We reached there and Fandy mentioned they
will look great if was a sprinkle of rain and it rained heavily for
an hour or so – the only time that it rained during my stay. The
rain truly added to the beauty of these terraces. The view was
heart warming and joyful. We had coconut water which was
After it stopped raining we went to Gua Gajah, or Elephant
Cave, near Ubud. Built in the 9th century it is actually a temple
that is tucked within a cave. The entrance to
the cave is an ornately carved demon's mouth.
Once you enter the cave, you see Ganesha, a
set of 3 shiva lingas on one end and some
other idols of gods. There is a pool located in
the middle of the cave courtyard with statues.
The temple is also known for its dense canopy
and waterfalls on the temple campus. A little
path leads to a waterfall, rice fields, and some
Buddhist stupa fragments. It is on the
UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List.
Late in the evening we went for the Kecak
dance. Also known as the Ramayana Monkey
Chant, the piece, performed by a circle of 75
or more performers wearing checked cloth
around their waists, percussively chanting "cak" and throwing up
their arms. Besides these dancers, there are also other dancers
who portray the characters of Ramayana as Rama,Shinta,
Ravana, Hanuman, and Sugriwa.
Using a rental car with a driver is certainly cheaper than taxis
(around USD 50-60 per day). The drivers are usually English-
speaking and they can also act as informal tourist guides recom-
mending good destinations and restaurants.
D e s t i n a t i o n
Global DestinationsJuly - Aug 2013 15
Entering its 19th year, the Indonesian annual travel mart, the
Tourism Indonesia Mart & Expo (TIME) or ‘Pasar Wisata
Indonesia’ will this year take place in Padang, the capital city of
West Sumatra. After being held for two years in Bandar Lam-
pung, this premier tourism event is scheduled to be held on 18 –
21 October 2013 at Grand Inna Muara Hotel & Convention Cen-
tre. TIME is organized to promote Indonesia as a tourist destina-
tion in the international market and at the same time raise the
country’s image as a global travel destination.
“The shifting of TIME to West Sumatra is aimed at promoting
West Sumatra to the international market and speeding up the
development and improvement of infrastructure, tourism facili-
ties and tourism attractions in the region, so that at the end the
destination could establish itself as a global travel destination. It
will attract more tourist arrivals to the island and speed up the
improvement of infrastructure and encourage more investors to
the region to develop new hotels as well as tourism attractions,”
said Meity Robot, Chairwoman of the Steering Committee of
Various destinations in
Sumatra are equipped with a
good variety of quality hotels
as well as cultural, natural
and man-made attractions.
“Hosting TIME would allow
international buyers to take a
closer look at the products on
offer and aid local tourism
stakeholders in selling their
products overseas,” she
This year also the organiz-
ers expect top industry policy-makers, sellers and buyers of
Indonesian tourism products and services will be participating.
The annual mart is run on a yearly rotating basis to promote as
much provinces to the world as possible in the future.
Last year, TIME in Bandar Lampung attracted 83 buyers from
28 countries dominated by India, Singapore, China, The Nether-
lands, Australia, Malaysia, and the United Arab Emirates, with 74
Indonesian sellers occupying 60 booths.
TIME 2013 is organized by the Indonesian Tourism Council
together with the Provincial Government of West Sumatra and is
fully supported by the Ministry of Tourism & Creative Economy
of Indonesia and the entire tourism components in Indonesia.
TIME 2013 is also supported by Garuda Indonesia as Official
Airlines, other supporting airlines, Association of the Indonesian
Tours & Travel Agencies (ASITA) Padang, Indonesia Hotel and
Restaurant Association (PHRI) Padang, Indonesian Conference
and Convention Association (INCCA), and Pacto Convex as the
‘TIME’ moves to Padang