Indonesia’s Lost Hotels: Bali Beach InterContinental Hotel

radit mahindro
3 min readAug 14, 2020
Indonesia’s Lost Hotels: Bali Beach InterContinental Hotel | Grand Inna Bali Beach history
InterContinental Bali Beach Hotel in mid 70s

InterContinental Bali Beach Hotel (BBIH) was built in 1962 at the suggestion of the first Indonesia President, Soekarno, before the completion of the Tampak Siring Palace. Development funds obtained from the spoils of war in the Japanese colonial era, but, ironically, the construction was done by a Japanese contractor, Taisei Construction, together with PT. PP Indonesia.

The project was completed when Soekarno had resigned from his post in 1966. The hotel was subsequently inaugurated by Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX with operational management handed over to the InterContinental Hotels -then was a luxury hotel chain established by PanAm as accommodation for the aircraft cabin crew and for the tourists who fly PanAm.

Located right on the waterfront with views of Mount Agung and the Nusa Lembongan island, the hotel is laid in an area of ​​over 40 hectares of which are equipped with the best facilities in Bali of its time. BBIH building remains the tallest hotel in Bali (10 storeys) to date -there had been no regulation on the maximum height of man-made structure in Bali until years later.

Indonesia’s Lost Hotels: Bali Beach InterContinental Hotel | Grand Inna Bali Beach history
InterContinental Bali Beach Hotel in late 60s

At first the hotel consisted of 605 rooms located in the main building with additional 41 cottages located next to it. The hotel facilities, among others, are four specialty restaurants, one casual restaurant, two lounges, three bars (including one pool bar), two multi-purpose room with a total capacity of 900 people, two swimming pools, doctor on-call, tennis courts, a golf course, car and sailboat rental, tour desk, and office spaces occupied by postal service, tour operators, and airlines.

The hotel is less than 10 minutes drive from Denpasar city government centre, 15 minutes from Sukawati Art Market, 30 minutes from Ngurah Rai Airport, and 40 minutes from Tampak Siring Palace.

In late 1960s, the Indonesian government established a guided tourism policy for state-owned hotels in which hotel room rates are determined by the government and not by the operators of the hotel. This policy reduced the competitiveness of state-owned hotels which led to the degrading quality of services, physical deterioration of the building and facilities, and eventually, financial problems.

Consequently, InterContinental Hotels, as the operator of BBIH, stopped managing BBIH in 1979. BBIH was later renamed to Bali Beach Hotel, managed by PT. Hotel Indonesia International (HII), a state-owned hospitality enterprise. A major expansion of Bali Beach Hotel was completed in 1979 with additional garden wing, increasing the number of cottage from 41 to 111 units. Expansion in the midst of internal financial crisis proved a major problem, and to date, Bali Beach Hotel has not managed to achieve its similar success in the past.

On 20 January 1993 nearly the entirety of the main building and the cottages burnt down except room 327 rooms and cottage 2401. Urban legend associate it with the myth of Ratu Pantai Selatan and Soekarno, respectively -Soekarno himself had reportedly never used the room. The government appointed PT. PP to restore the building before the reopening in September 1993 with a new name, The Grand Bali Beach, inaugurated by President Soeharto. Room 327 and cottage 2401 had been left vacant ever since.