I like to think myself a tough guy. A Tripadvisor guru. A man who books cheap flights in one hand while saute-ing hostel leftovers in the other. A man deaf to snores and creaking springs. A man who eats 10-hour delays for breakfast and enjoys a cold marble floor. But nothing could have prepared me for Sofitel Nusa Dua’s 5-Star Beach Resort.
Drawn by the
gloating floating breakfasts, shimmering pool, and a private butler service that hotel PR teams talk about in hushed tones, I felt compelled to dip a toe into the Luxury World. For journalism.
But first: context. As The Economist observed in 2017, the prospect of getting a flight-upgrade used to be enough to make “respectable people fling themselves to their knees like beggars.” However, in 2019, a Photogenic Floating Brekkie (delivered by a team of private butlers), is the new #goal of Luxury Travellers seeking Instagram Steeze.
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Don’t believe us? Just check out the 19, 536 Instagram posts with the hashtag ‘floatingbreakfast’ (or consider the fact that 75 of them were uploaded in the last 24 hours alone).
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From Bali’s Nusa Dua to the Gulf of Thailand, the obsessive quest for the perfect floating breakfast (shot) has become a veritable phenomenon. Mine, however, was more of a natural disaster which, despite Sofitel Nusa Dua’s best efforts, ended up doing laps of the pool unattended.
It all began when three hotel staff brought a heavily laden breakfast tray to my door, and brought it through to the pool for me. Rubbing the sleep from my eyes, I asked them to put it in an almost enclosed area, knowing that I would require a minute or twenty to get ready.
They put it down, confused as to why I didn’t want it in the main section of the pool, which would have allowed me to wander around and take photos. “No, no, it’s all good,” I replied, not wanting them to realise I was planning on getting another quarter hour’s sleep before tucking in.
“You sure?”, they asked, reminding me the tray required two people to move.
I returned 15 minutes later, with a marginally clearer head, only to realise that a one-metre squared radius was hardly going to show off the pool in all of its glory. I decided to move the tray.
Although the staff would have come back in a heartbeat, I was embarrassed to ask. So—putting my back out, spilling my champagne, drenching my croissants with orange juice and creating some home-brew cafe au chlorine—I deposited my tray on the other side.
I then hastily re-arranged each item so that it resembled how the hotel staff had left it. But before I even had the chance to look around guiltily, my private butler appeared out of the (perfectly manicured) undergrowth, wielding an iPhone and the grin of a Papparrazi photographer who had just caught the royal baby taking its first steps.
I then posed for a few photos, attempting to ignore the rumbling in my stomach and the chlorine on my tongue, pretending to have a good time. It was then that I realised: I was missing the entire point of a floating breakfast.
I ate a few bites of my omelette, gobbled my Smoothie Bowl, and waded around trying to look cool (but looking more like a pale, elderly man with a mobility aide).
I then returned my tray to the pool edge outside my back door, and popped inside to make some capsule coffee. By the time I returned, the tray had gone. But after hearing so much about the hyper-efficiency of the hotel’s butler service, I assumed my tray had been whisked away in more capable hands, shrugged, and went back inside.
Later in the day, I came upon the Press Group discussing what sort of person would order a floating breakfast only to send it on a solo adventure around the Nusa Dua resort. I mean—seriously—who would do that? Right?
Not me. That’s who.
In all seriousness: Sofitel’s floating breakfast is an awesome experience that anyone with slightly more common sense than I will be able to enjoy. Just remember not to put it in the side compartment of the pool, and to pack your compass and map.