Bali Still The World's Best Island - Aug 31, 2006
Bali has recently enjoyed plenty of overdue good news. Last month US Travel & Leisure magazine awarded it for the fifth time the gong of ?World?s Best Island?. In the same survey (of 23,000 respondents), Bali was also crowned ?Asia?s Best Island? for the seventh time, and three of its hotels were ranked in the world?s top ten ? the Four Seasons at Sayan (second place), the Four Seasons at Jimbaran (fifth) and the Ritz-Carlton (seventh).
?I just had the best time ? it was absolutely fantastic,? said personality management entrepreneur Mr Harry M Miller on his recent return from his first-ever trip to Bali. Singing the praises of Bali?s people and hospitality, Miller noted pointedly that ?This wonderful place and wonderful people do not deserve the negative treatment they so often get in the mainstream Australian media, which is often unfair and stupid.?
Mr Miller and ?food identity? Simmone Logue visited Bali in conjunction with Conrad Bali Resort & Spa, Alila Hotels and Garuda Indonesia. The Conrad Bali, under the leadership of Australian GM Michael Burchett (also chair of the Bali Hotels Association) has been among the forefront of properties striving to project a positive and secure image, not only of Bali?s hotel sector, but the whole island. He notes that ?when Indonesia sneezes, Bali catches a cold,? referring to the ?overload of negative news? that Indonesia attracts in the Australian press. Balancing this, Mr Burchett also notes the great strengths of Bali for visitors remain ?the people, the culture and the quality of experience.?
Set within 6.8 hectares of beachfront gardens and pools facing Nusa Dua lagoon, the luxury, 313-room Conrad Bali has a strict security regimen ? as do the majority of Bali hotels ? involving inspections of the under-body, engine bay and boot of all vehicles entering the hotel grounds. It is a sign of the times that such measures today feature among a hotel?s attributes, alongside its spas, bars, pools, waterfalls, fine dining, seafront bales, executive club, broadband access, extensive kids? facilities and so on. Reassuring rather than ?good? news.
On the airline news front, Garuda Indonesia, predictably, has maintained its commitment to its Bali-Australia routes. Significantly, JetStar has shown faith in the returning Australian market by announcing that it will begin flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Denpasar in December. Rumours in Bali persist that Air Paradise might even arise phoenix-like to fly again to Oz, with Bisnis Indonesia reporting that the airline has sold 49% of its shares to an un-named Australian airline
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