Chaotic, noisy, lots of hype, but a great playground. Originally what drew visitors to Kuta was the wide beach and the surf, and it still has one of the best seafront on the siland, though it is now clustered with hundreds of hotels, restaurants, bars, boutiques, travel agencies, antique shops, car dan bike rentals, banks, cassete shope and countless numbers of tourist. there are now many first – class hotels, but the 5 km (3 miles) strip still caters best for the economiy traveller who likes to be in the thick of things. The legian end of the beach is the best place to stay for any period of time because it is much quieter and more relaxed.
Kuta Beach has so many bungalows, beach hotels and homestays (losmen) that no list could ever be complete, nor is a list really needed. Drop in and shop arounsd. The difference between Kuta and Sanur is the that the visitor has far more choices in the lower price range here. Reservations are necessary for the large hotels during July to September and December to January.
First Clas (above US$35 a night): There are two luxury class hotel on the Kuta side, the Bali Oberoi and Pertamina Cottages. The Oberoi’s Restaurant, Kura Kura, is excellent, and breakfast al fresco at the Oberoi is one of Bali’s great treats. Pertamina Cottages feature tennis courts and convention facilities.
There are also, several comfortable fisrt – class bungalow resorts, notably the A Kuta Beach Palace, the Kuta Beach Hotel and the Kartika Plaza. The Legian Beach Hotel offers air – conditioned rooms on the beach for under US$40 a night. Prices quoted do not include the obligatory 21 percent tax and service surcharge.
Bali Oberoi (72 rooms), Kayu Aya, P.O. Box 351, Kuta, Tel: 51061-5. Away from it all at the far end of the beach. Tasteful air – conditioned beachside bungalows, in an attractive garden, with a large swimming pool. US$70 to US$250 a night.
Beach Hotel Kartika Plaza (120 rooms), Kuta Beaxch, P.O. Box 84, Denpasar, Tel: 51067-9. Beachside rooms and bungalows in a large garden. All with air – condition and hot water. Swimming pool. US$40 to US$84 a night.
Kuta Beach Club (96 rooms), Jl. Bakungsari, P.O. Box 226, Kuta, Tel: 51261-2. A bungalows style hotel 150 metres from the beach. With air – condition or fan and hot water. US$38 to US$75 a night.
Kuta Beach Palace (106 rooms), Legian Kuta, Tel: 25858. Large first class hotel up in Legian with 3 storey wings overlooking the sea. All with air condition and hot water. Swimming pool. US$42 to US$85 a night.
Legian Beach Palace (110 rooms), Jl. Melati, Legian, P.O. Box 308, Denpasar, Tel: 51181-2. Right on the beach in the middle of Legian. Excellent value. US$36 to US$38 a night
Pertamina Cottages (178 rooms), Kuta Beach, P.O. Box 121, Kuta, Tel: 51061. Facilities include several restaurants, banquet and convention halls, tennis courts and swimming pool. All rooms with ari condition with carpeting and hot water. US$68 to US$620 a night
Natour’s Kuta Beach Hotel (34 rooms) , Jl. Pantai Kuta, P.O.Box 393, Kuta, Tel: 51361-2. Opened in 1959 on the site of Ktut Tantri’s House, it is the oldest and most spacious of Kuta’s Hotel. Quiet bungalows and rooms by the sea. All with sir condition and hot water. US$48 to US$62 a night.
Intermediate (US$15 to US$35 a night): If you are willing to do without air conditioning you can find many beautiful bungalows in the US$20 to US$30 range. Poppies Cottages is one of the most popular establishments, almost always fully booked. And the Yusa Samudra puts you right on the beach in Kuta.
For more privacy and for longer stays, the Legian Sunset Beach, the Blue Ocean (both in Legian) and Nova Nova (father down, in Seminyak) are among the favourites (with many private bungalows renting for about US$10 to US$15 a night, less by the week or the month).
Kuta Cottages (40 rooms), Jl. Bakung Sari, P.O. Box 300, Kuta, Tel: 5401. Small bungalows with a fan just back from the beach. US$15 to US$25 a night.
Mandara Cottages (27 rooms), Jl. Padma, Legian, Kuta, Tel: 25785. Bungalows 100 metres from the beach. Some with air – condition. US$22 to US$35 a night.
Poppies Cottages (24 rooms), Poppies Gang, Kuta, P.O. Box 378, Tel: 51059. 300 metres from the beach. US$24 a night.
Ramayana Seaside Cottages (45 rooms), Jl. Bakung sari, Kuta, P.O. Box 334, Denpasar, Tel: 51864. 150 metres from the beach. Some rooms with air condiiton, many with fan. US$21 to US$36 a night.
Sunset Beach Hotel (16 rooms), Legian Kuta, P.O. Box 346, Denpasar, Tel: 6721 ext. 60. US$24 to US$51 a night.
Yusa Samudra (65 rooms), Jl. Pantai Kuta, Kuta, P.O.Box 53, Denpasar, Tel: 51562. Seaside bungalows on the beach in the middle of Kuta. Dining room famed for its fresh seafood. US$27 to US$30 a night.
Budget – US$15 a night: There are some 300 losmen or homestays in the Kuta – Legian area, where rooms rent for only US$2 to US$10 a night. Often you’ll be approached at the airport to or at the bus terminal on arrival in Bali. But the best way to find a room is just to walk around in any area that you fancy – whether near Kuta or Legian, near the beach, or far back in the coconut groves, away from the crowds.
Rooms are available for less tha US$3 a night, just a bed, with a shared splash bath and outhouse. For US$5 to US$6 you get a private bath and a few frills. For US$10 you can get a bungalow up in Legian or beyond with electricity and a fan. Some have luxurious garden bathrooms and second – storey sleeping lofts with bamboo staircases.
New restaurants seem to open daily in Kuta, from small fruit salad and yoghurt stands by the beach to large Chinese, French or seafood establishments. The quality of the food changes as cooks come and go, so we list here only a few old standbyus where you can hardly ever go wrong. Ask around though for tips on the latest “in” restaurant.
Bali Indah and Lenny’s have excellent Chinese cuisine and seafood. Try the crab in black bean sauce at Bali Indah. For fresh lobster or fried tuna fish steaks, go to the Yasa Samudra Hotel (at the end of Jl. Pantai Kuta) and dine under the stars by the sea.
Made’s Warung on Jl. Pantai hasn’t missed a beat in its metamorphosis from one of only two foodstalls on the main street of a sleepy fishing village, to a hip Cafe Voltaire in the St. Tropez of the East. It has great food (spare ribs, Thai salad, escargots, turtle steaks, home made ice cream, chocolate mouse, capuccino, fresh squeezed orange and carrot juice, breakfast specials).
Poppies, down a narrow lane, is another Kuta fixture. Avocado seafood salads, patre, tacos, grilled lobster, steaks, shishkebab and tall mixed drinks pack this garden idyll to capacity during the peak tourist season. Get there early to get a table.
In Legian, the Blue Ocean Hotel’s beach side cafe is a popular gathering point for breakfastand lunch. And farther down, in seminyak, La Marmite (also know as Chez Gado – Gado) serves Balinese “nouvelle cuisine” in a secluded open air location by the beach. The after dinner disco on Saturday nights is the happening.
The Kura Kura restaurant in the Bali Oberoi hotel, several kilometres beyond Legian, is perfect for that special occasion. A quiet pool side terrace overlooking the sea. Go there for the sunset, dinner and drinks. Try the pepper duck, or grilled lobster.
And Bali’s only serious Japanese restaurant, Shima, is located in the Pertamina Cottage Hotel, several kilometres south of Kuta at Tuban. Two Japanese chefs prepare a full range of Japanese dishes.