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Published: December 10th 2018
Issy decides to sleep in and give breakfast a miss, so I bravely head off on my own. Our hotel, the Sofitel, is massive and a bit over the top luxurious for either of our likings. One of the main reasons we came here was that we managed to find a special deal on a holiday website which made it a whole lot cheaper than going to our originally planned destination which was a very downmarket and much less interesting resort on the central coast of New South Wales back in our homeland. Go figure.
One of the downsides of coming to the Sofitel is that it is so big that I get lost coming back from breakfast. This is not helped by the room numbering system. I’m fairly sure that the Sofitel is a French chain, which is presumably why all the staff greet me with “bonjour“, even though I doubt that I look particularly French, and the overwhelming majority of my fellow guests seem to be either fellow Aussies or Chinese and would probably be much more at home with either “gidday mate” or “ni hao ma”. When it comes to room numbers however the Sofitel seems determined
to be much more global. It seems that the number four is considered very unlucky in Chinese culture, because it sounds very similar to the Chinese word for death; the number thirteen is considered by many westerners to be unlucky because there were thirteen people present at the Last Supper. The Sofitel has therefore decided in its infinite wisdom that none of its room numbers will include either of the numbers four or thirteen. There are five very large accommodation blocks in the hotel, but they are numbered 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6. Our room is number 6115, but the room next door isn’t 6114 or 6113, but rather 6112. I wonder if people can really be so superstitious that they would refuse to stay in a room just because of its number. I know that some hotels don’t have thirteenth floors, but surely anyone staying on the fourteenth floor of such a hotel would know that it’s really just the thirteenth floor with the wrong name. Presumably it would be too expensive for a hotel to have a thirteenth floor but just not have any guest rooms on it. Maybe hotels could get around this by building a
thirteenth floor but making it a lot shorter than all the other floors. I think I need to stop thinking about this and move on.
We walk north along the beach past wall to wall fancy hotels, and the odd traditional and very attractive Balinese shrine. As we move into the neighbouring district of Benoa we notice that a lot of the hotels seem to be abandoned. There do seem to be an awful lot of hotels here and the prices are much lower than back home or in Europe, so it’s maybe not all that surprising that a lot of them can’t make a go of it against all the competition and then have little choice but to shut down.
We pass a restaurant called Mr X. Well actually it was called something else, but its real name is the name of our manic next door neighbour back home who shines lasers through our windows to get us to pull our blinds down because he thinks we’re invading his privacy, and walks up and down our fence line three times a day with his leaf blower on full throttle. He drives us all insane. I doubt he’s
in to reading travel blogs, but if he was and saw that we’d named him I dread to think what other terrors he might decide to unleash upon us. We give Mr X’s a wide berth.
Issy is determined to have some Balinese massages while we’re here, and she auditions a few prospective venues we pass along the way. I’m not a huge massage fan, but I suspect that escape will be difficult.
We spend the afternoon lazing by the hotel’s massive pool. All the rooms on the ground floor have balconies with steps off them directly into the water.
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