Standard Room: $40/night (plus $15 for an extra bed) Deluxe Room $57/night
Five minutes' walk from the beach and located on a street lined with cafes, spas, massage/beauty parlours and trinket shops, Ari Putri Hotel stands out with its many traditional features: elaborate wall reliefs, terracotta bricks, beautiful gardens and tiled roofs. Rooms are western-style and air-conditioned. Ours was spacious and very clean. Although grey and a little threadbare, sheets and towels are changed daily, a blessing in the tropics. Beach towels are also provided upon request. We had no problem with leaving valuables in the room. Safety deposit boxes are also available at reception.
Our standard room had a fridge, a shower – choice of cold or boiling hot water – and a bath. We paid a little extra for a child's bed. A balcony at the back of the room provided space for drying towels and craft activities. We couldn't get a jug in our room for love nor money, but hot water was available at the coffee shop by the pool if we asked nicely. Breakfast was included – limited choices for coeliacs (eggs fried or scrambled, omelettes, fresh fruit) but it was so bland that I preferred to hold off until we went into the street. Orange and guava juice are available on tap, and also milk. The coffee and tea are so vile that I recommend bringing your own teabags and begging for hot water.
As a general rule, I've found that the more sumptuous the décor, the more expensive and unappetising the food. The more bules (foreigners), the more bland and expensive the food. We found some great places to eat by asking drivers to take us to local warungs. Grilled fish and chicken, spicy soups, rendang, nasi goreng, satays - anything freshly prepared carries little or no risk of food-poisoning. Drink aqua (bottled water) or other bottled beverages, and peel your fruit.
Moro Senang is a padang-style warung we discovered by ourselves, only a short walk from Ari Putri and one of few places open at 11.30 pm, which is when we arrived in Sanur. (By the way – the taxi drivers at the airport, aka pirates, will mercilessly fleece you just when you are unkinking from your sardine-class seat and least feel like haggling – you do NOT need a porter, as the trolleys are plentiful and free, and Rp120,000 ($12) is a more than fair fee from the airport to Sanur, even by the toll road, but you will have to walk away a few times before you find someone who will take you for that.)
Some helpful fellows at the airport will sell you sim cards at three times the street price; almost worth it for the convenience of having them set up your phone/i-phone with a local number that will last the duration of your stay.
Several laundries around the hotel will wash your clothes for Rp15,000 ($1.50) per kilo, or 10-50 cents per item. Others will charge ten times as much, so beware!
Ari Putri's best feature, especially for kids, is the pool. (There are two, but one is for patrons of the deluxe rooms, who also get jugs.) Surrounded by a gorgeously decorated garden, the water is clean and cool. A sunken bar allows Mum and Dad to ring for refreshments, but be careful: the pagoda covering this bar has a very low roof-line – about five foot – and scalps or stuns many guests as they leave the pool.
All in all, Ari Putri Hotel is a very pleasant oasis in the heart of Sanur.