What happens when a hotel closes down mid-stay?


I shared the entire experience via Suitesmile’s Instagram stories a couple of weeks ago.

After hotel-hopping around Bali from March to June this year, I decided to have a long stay at Hilton Garden Inn Ngurah Rai Airport Bali to slow down a little.

I wrote a review on my 80-nights stay in HGI Bali in 2019.

What’s great about HGI Bali?

HGI Bali is one of my favourite hotels in the world. Why?

  1. The hotel is located on paradise island, Bali.
  2. It costs next to nothing to stay here. Without any offers, I could stay here for only 3,000 Hilton points (worth S$21) per night, all year round! In fact, I was only paying 2,200 points per night during this stay.
  3. Ergonomic office chair in every room.
  4. Amazing, caring staff. On my birthday last month, these guys even came to my room, with a cake, to sing a birthday song!
  5. Huge gym with a sunset view.
  6. Large swimming pool.
  7. Close to the airport. In 2019, I flew home to Singapore (with just my passport) for a meeting and back here to spend the night!
  8. Being a large, low-rise property guarantees every elite member top-floor rooms (less noise).
Birthday surprise
View from the gym at HGI Bali
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What happened?

On 4 August 2021, the owners of the property decided to close it down indefinitely with just 4 days notice. Staff and guests found out about it at around the same time.

The painful bit? Staff members, who’d just found out that they would be jobless indefinitely, had to pass this bad news to all guests and explain what happened, while they were breaking, clueless and in shock!

Notice to leave the hotel mid-stay

Was I covered under Hilton Honors’ Walk Policy

When a hotel needs to relocate a guest, this is called “a walk” in the industry lingo. Unfortunately, Hilton Honors do not publish its Walk Policy, although guests, who are covered by this policy, are usually compensated US$200 for the inconvenience.

I was told by Diamond Desk that my situation wasn’t considered a “walk” as it wasn’t cause by the hotel being overbooked.

What options did I have?

It was painful to speak to the staff about my rights as a hotel guest who was served an eviction notice mid-stay. So, I turned to Hilton’s customer service on Twitter.

Hilton’s Twitter team has been fantastic over the years in resolving stay issues. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case. I used to receive replies within 6 hours but now, it’s usually over 24 hours, or sometimes, no reply at all after 2-3 days.

Hilton’s Diamond Desk also mentioned that they could not step in to assist.

As all office staff were no longer working, my only point of contact, for a resolution, was the General Manager.

What annoyed me the most was the hotel owners’ ruthless decision to close the hotel with only 4 days notice, before allowing the management to prepare alternative plans for existing guests.

One day before the hotel closed down, I was offered the final 3 options:

  1. Get a refund, in points, for the remaining 4 nights.
  2. Transfer to a hotel “on the same level” for the remaining 4 nights. The hotel was HARRIS Hotel Tuban.
  3. Top up over IDR 1m (S$95) per night to transfer to Conrad Bali.

I ended up going for the refund as I didn’t feel that HARRIS Hotel Tuban was a fair replacement and definitely not on the same level as HGI Bali. And paying money for Conrad Bali? Ha.

Moving out day

I ended up staying in this hotel for only 60 nights this time.

I requested for a 1pm check out, to have lunch before moving to Courtyard Nusa Dua (review coming up), but the ever-wonderful staff offered a 3pm check-out.

We were the last guests to leave and it was difficult to watch white cloth being placed on all furnitures around the hotel, as well as all guest room doors being left opened.

You may re-watch those videos on Suitesmile’s Instagram story highlights (Bali Aug 2021a, after videos of Anantara Uluwatu).

The hotel is now accepting reservations from 1 November 2021 but that will probably change.


Bottom line

It was heart-breaking for the staff. I knew that the pandemic had taken/is taking a lot of lives and made many people jobless but it’s a whole other experience to see it with my own eyes.

This situation also reminded me that my fantastic hotel stay experiences in Bali were mostly due to the outstanding staff on the ground. Not so much the hotel loyalty program, and definitely not the owners who do not care about anything other than profits.

I hope that HGI Bali returns stronger in future and that I will see those familiar faces smiling again. And please, please do not rebrand into something lame like a Best Western or Holiday Inn!

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