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Kuta has long had a reputation for all night partying but Indonesia’s affluent domestic travel market has seen the Bintang singlets and ‘party central’ vibe of this popular Bali holiday spot slowly being replaced by high-end shopping, upmarket restaurants and trendy bars. If you want to head out and hit the town you are sure to find someone who is willing to join you but don’t expect these new venues to let you in wearing a Bintang t-shirt and thongs. Hotels are also changing to fit in with the area’s more upmarket tourism landscape.

Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort is one of the newest and caters primarily to wealthy Indonesians who come here to enjoy a the shopping next door at the Beachwalk shopping complex and some well-earned relaxation around the pool. If you want to experience Kuta minus the Bintang party crowd, this is the hotel for you. Here are some hints and tips to help you get the most out of your stay at Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort.

Prime people watching perch

Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort is located directly across from the main beach strip and rooms at the front of the hotel overlook the passing parade. We spent hours sitting on our balcony watching locals hanging out together, families flying kites, and tourists trying to park their scooters. Some of the original Kuta vibe remains but rather than this being a problem, it is extremely entertaining to watch from the comfort of your room.

People watching from the balcony
People watching from the balcony

Sheraton Kuta Bali Resort scooter

We couldn’t resist climbing onto the hotel’s very cool retro scooter. Contrary to what some people say on TripAdvisor, you CAN rent this scooter. However, is it is not an automatic ‘twist-and-go’ so you need a motorbike license to take it for a spin. Some solid riding experience is also recommended as it’s apparently a bit tricky to simultaneously manage the sidecar and the Bali traffic. Our family agreed it was more fun to sit on the scooter for a photo instead of trying to ride it!

Scooter adventures at Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort

Big, big breakfast buffet

This hotel must have one of the best breakfasts in Bali! We spotted everything from sushi to breakfast pizza, dumplings, poached eggs, nasi goreng and chocolate donuts on the buffet. Don’t miss the pancakes and waffles which are made to order and come with ice cream (hey, you’re on holiday). There is also a dedicated children’s section that is worth a look for the cute theming even if you don’t have kids.

Cute boiled eggs on the special kids' buffet
Cute boiled eggs on the special kids’ buffet
Superman loves donuts!
Superman loves donuts!
Breakfast goes on forever
Breakfast goes on forever

Classy pool area

Sheraton Bali Kuta has an upmarket pool area with a shallow kiddies section off to one side so romantic couples and families with littlies don’t get in each other’s way. Pool service is speedy if you want something to eat or drink while you are soaking up the sun.

Swimming in style at Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort
Swimming in style at Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort

Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort rooms

Unlike some ‘family friendly’ Bali hotels, the accommodation at the Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort feels very luxurious with upmarket fittings and a high-end feel. Some rooms have better views than others so study the room categories carefully before you book. It is worth paying extra for a high-floor room overlooking the beach as the views are beautiful, especially at sunset.

Luxe rooms that are also family friendly
Luxe rooms that are also family friendly
The resort has a choice of room categories
The resort has a choice of room categories

Retail therapy at Beachwalk

Beachwalk, an upmarket shopping complex located next to the hotel, has shops including ZARA, Hugo Boss, Victoria’s Secret and LEGO. There is also a special area for families with Miniapolis, a popular Jakarta-based children’s indoor playground, and Cheeky Monkey, a child care and playgroup for children aged up to six. It is easy to spend an enjoyable couple of hours here if the weather isn’t great.

Special welcome for families

We were surprised how family-friendly this hotel was given its stylish and upmarket vibe. Rooms come with kiddie essentials such as a step stool for the wash basin as well as a cute amenity kit for little kids. We loved the mini bathrobe and slippers hanging in the wardrobe. Our room was very spacious and had a queen size bed and a single so there was no need for a rollaway.

Kid's amenity kit
Kid’s amenity kit

Kids’ club fun at Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort

There is also a vibrant kids club on the ground floor that is small enough for first-time kids club visitors to feel comfortable in. The upstairs area in the club has electronic games and things to entertain bigger kids. While the club didn’t tempt our 11 year old, it is sure to be a big hit with under 8s.

Downstairs at the kid's club
Downstairs at the kid’s club
Upstairs is for the older kids
Upstairs is for the older kids

Quick trip from the airport

If you have come off a long flight, you will certainly appreciate the fact the Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort is only a 20 minute taxi ride from the airport, even in peak hour. Check-in time is officially 3pm but if the room is ready before then, reception is more than happy for you to check-in early.

Disclosure: The writer stayed as a guest of Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort.

We’ve got plenty of hints and tips for travelling in Bali and also some great hotel and resort suggestions. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, we’ve reviewed the Ritz-Carlton Bali Resort, Peppers Seminyak Resort, Apurva Kempinski Bali, Bulgari Resort Bali, Aria Villas Ubud, Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort, The Mulia Bali, Merusaka Nusa Dua, Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort, Anantara Seminyak Bali, the InterContinental Bali for couples and those travelling with kids. We’ve compared the Singaraja and Club rooms at the InterContinental Bali and found the best luxury family hotels in Bali and the best honeymoon hotels in Bali.

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Dr Tiana Templeman is an award-winning food and travel journalist, travel author and media industry academic. She is the creator of The Travel Temple, writes for Australian and international media outlets and appears on radio talking about where to go, what to see and travel industry trends.