Brief: A couple are looking for a relaxing holiday to Bali for up to 10 days. They want a luxurious hotel with a spa and a beach nearby, plus some ideas for excursions to see the island’s famous temples and stunning scenery.
Verdict: Expert knowledge and attention to detail made the winning agent stand out.
Winner: Little Luxury Islands
The colourful website is packed full of pictures and really gave me the feeling that paradise was out there waiting for me, plus there was plenty of information about special offers and excursions available in Bali. My call was answered within two rings and the agent was very friendly and enthusiastic.
He was interested in finding out whether it was a special occasion and what had prompted us to choose Bali, and asked everything he needed to put together the perfect holiday. He sent an email within an hour suggesting either four nights at the Banyan Tree Bali, with a five-night Bali Experience tour around the island for £4,998 in total, or a straight nine-night stay with local excursions for £5,169, both departing July 1.
I was very happy with the package and impressed that this knowledgeable agent had taken the time to go through my holiday in detail, so I would feel confident when booking that all my needs would be taken care of.
Winning agent: Adam Hird, travel consultant
"There are some amazing places to visit around the world, I really enjoy talking to people about their travel plans and looking for the right holiday. It’s always very satisfying when you get it just right."
Although this website had some details about Bali, no prices or packages were mentioned – it was a bit basic. Nonetheless, my call was answered quickly. The agent was very knowledgeable, recommending which areas would be more relaxing and which would be quite busy. The quote was emailed quickly and was well researched.
I was offered five nights in a hotel and five nights on Kuoni’s Bali Experience. I was impressed as I was given prices for four hotels, starting at £1,298 for the Mercure Sanur, up to £1,729 for the Grand Hyatt Balir. The customer service was very good.
I found all the information I needed on this agency’s website, which is very well organised and easy to use. When I rang to get a quote, it took quite a while for my call to be answered and I found the agent was very rushed when dealing with my enquiry. I was asked some basic questions but had to volunteer a lot of information.
I was surprised she said there was only one option available. I did receive a quote for six nights’ B&B at the Sanur Beach Hotel for £2,900, flying out on July 17, but I wouldn’t book it because I was disappointed with my overall experience of this agency.
Want to know how you could have scored 100%? We look at some options to make Mystery Shopper's ideal itinerary
Bali is a paradise for luxury lovers with a well established offering for high-end travellers, although there are options for those who want to see its historic Hindu temples and stunning landscapes.
Where to stay
The south of the island is the most popular area with tourists, and home to all the hotels recommended to Mystery Shopper.
Upmarket Nusa Dua has all the luxury resorts such as the Grand Hyatt, St Regis and Melia Bali Resort, plus one of the best golf courses on the island, the Nusa Dua Golf & Country Club.
Kuta is one of the liveliest resorts with plenty of surfing, while nearby Seminyak combines good nightlife with being the spa capital of the island. For a more relaxed feel, Sanur has a great range of restaurants and accommodation.
Those wanting a more authentic cultural experience can head to Ubud, which is surrounded by rice fields, ancient temples and small villages boasting unique arts and crafts – and well worth a day trip.
What to do
Although Bali’s beaches are a huge draw, agents can boost commission by suggesting a tour of the island’s scenery and cultural highlights.
Kuoni’s Bali Experience tour takes in the unmissable Ulun Danu Temple on Lake Bratan, Mount Batur volcano, a traditional dance in Ubud, and Goa Gajah, better known as the Elephant Cave. For day-trippers, Bali Orchid Garden near Sanur and the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud are worth a visit.