I Travel 400,000 Miles Every Year — But Here's Why I Call Bali the Ultimate Destination to Recharge

I Travel 400,000 Miles Every Year — But Here's Why I Call Bali the Ultimate Destination to Recharge

PART FIVE: Here’s where the guy who goes everywhere goes to clear his head (in total luxury, of course).

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Why (and How!) I Live Full Time in Airports and Luxury Hotels

Hey, it's Ben Schlappig again, the blogger behind One Mile at a Time, and the guy who introduced you to my uber-luxury travel lifestyle — which I've managed live by using miles and points. When we last left off, I had just arrived in Bali after spending an amazing layover at the Singapore Changi Airport.

As much as I like to visit new places as much as possible, there are also some places I love to return to over and over. For me, Bali is one of those places.

It’s not just because Bali has the most beautiful beaches in the world, or the most perfect climate, or that there’s an unlimited number of things to see, although those are all major perks. For me, Bali is the ultimate relaxation destination. There’s something about the spirit of the island that I find so calming. I find that Balinese people are among the most hospitable people in the world (along with Fijians — at least based on the places I’ve been).

Given that I travel constantly and spend a lot of time in high energy cities, Bali is a place where I can go to recharge for a few days.

Oh, and as a points addict, the other thing I love about Bali is how many great points properties there are. No matter which loyalty program you’re loyal to, there’s likely to be a great option for you in Bali.

We decided to stay at the St. Regis Bali, which I visited for the first time a couple of years ago, and loved. The hotel is in Nusa Dua, which a quiet resort town in Bali, not far from the airport. Bali has so many different areas depending on the vibe you’re looking for, ranging from Nusa Dua, which feels like a quiet beachfront town, to Ubud, which is inland and surrounded by rice paddies and jungle, to Kuta, which is where a lot of Australians go to party.

After landing at the airport, we were immediately met by some staff from the hotel, who helped us through immigration and then drove us to the resort, where we were quickly whisked away to our villas. The St. Regis Bali has all kinds of room options ranging from standard suites, to pool suites and even beachfront villas with several bedrooms.

Some of the decadent accommodations at the St. Regis Bali

The Nusa Dua part of Bali is great for every kind of traveler, ranging from families to honeymooners to people just looking to get away. If you just want a quiet getaway, you can get a villa with a plunge pool and almost never leave it. If you’re with kids, the hotel has bigger pools as well, including a saltwater lagoon.

I’m an SPG Platinum member, a status you can earn by staying at least 50 nights per year with Starwood (or by making 25 stays, with each stay being defined as a check-out and check-in) and which gets you space-available upgrades to standard suites, complimentary breakfast, lounge access (if the hotel has a lounge), 4 p.m. check-out, bonus points, free premium wifi, and more. The benefits add up, and if you stay at one group of hotels with any regularity, I think it’s worth putting in the effort to earn status. In Bali, I got upgraded to a beachfront villa, which was stunning. The villa had a separate living room and bedroom, and had a huge outside area with a plunge pool and direct beach access.

Certainly not a bad view!

On day one I started the day at breakfast, which is insane at this hotel. First of all, there’s a buffet with a seemingly endless array of delicious looking things. But that’s only the start. There’s also a menu you can order from, with small dishes that complement the buffet. (They’re included in the cost of the buffet — or in my case, since I’m an SPG Platinum member, it’s all free). These items range from lobster omelets to caviar to steak and eggs to foie gras to a selection of sashimi. Not that I’m asking for much sympathy, but having restraint when it comes to these amazing hotel breakfasts has to be one of the biggest challenges of living in hotels. First-world problems, I know.

This buffet came with almost any dish you could wish for.

I spent the rest of the day getting caught up on work, as is often the case after a long travel day. However, fortunately I managed to work almost exclusively from a lounge chair at the beach and from outside while sitting at my pool. Talk about an office with a view!

Stay tuned as we spend another day at the St. Regis and continue to put off figuring out where we’re going next.


Catch my epic airport layover in Singapore on the way here!

Or in case you missed it, read up on my Hello Kitty-themed flight to get this far...

And the Hello Kitty airport experience to match!

And here's where it all began at LAX.

Here's why hotel rewards members can score big time in Bali:

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Why Should I Even Care About Hotel Loyalty Programs?

Ben Schlappig, the blogger behind One Mile at a Time, experiences about $1 million worth of travel every year using miles and points — and covers about 400,000 miles annually this way. Ben has teamed up with Bravo’s Jet Set for a series called The Upgrade, in which he shows you how you — yes, you! — can score real-world-ready strategies for upping your travel game. Come along for the adventure!

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