Need a Night Off From Parenting? Hotel Tugu Bali Has Romance Galore!

Need a Night Off From Parenting? Hotel Tugu Bali Has Romance Galore!

You all know how it is…constantly moving, working, gathering clothes off the floor, making snacks 25 times a day. When do you find time to chill, sleep and enjoy being a couple with your partner? It’s been a long time (like at least 2 years) since my husband and I spent the night away from the kids. It was about time to detach ourselves for 24 hours. The beautiful Hotel Tugu Bali offered us the perfect opportunity to spend the night and attempt some romance. I say attempt because my husband isn’t exactly known for his romantic gestures and to be fair neither am I. 

Turns out it’s pretty hard to not feel romantic when you arrive at Tugu. The setting is perfect, atmospheric and very authentic with all the beautiful antiques, wooden furniture and lush gardens. It also helped that we were handed a nice glass of wine upon arrival. Our room was an incredible wooden bungalow with stunning views out to the surf, a massive sunken bathtub, and a four poster bed that could have fit the whole family including our many pets. Luckily, it was just the two of us.

Hotel Tugu Bali Nights

Canggu gets pretty wild on a Saturday night and, being old farts, we were ready to leave the youngins to their partying. After dinner with friends we had a wander around the gardens and headed back to our room. We could hear the music from the bars from our bed, which we sort of expected knowing Canggu. The only problem was we didn’t know it would go on until 4am. However, there are earplugs next to the bed and I’ve since talked to the staff at Tugu. They assured me it’s only on the weekends. They are also working on soundproofing some rooms closest to the bars.

Hotel Tugu Bali Mornings

In the morning I had a long soak in the enormous bath and we headed down for breakfast. You can actually have your breakfast served in your room or anywhere else around the hotel, which is a very cool touch. And if you want to stay in bed, you can have breakfast whenever you choose to get up. We chose the roof terrace where there was a nice breeze and we could watch the surfers. By the time we’d had our nice long breakfast (I savored every spoonful of my incredible smoothie bowl!), it was almost time to leave. It’s funny how you can’t wait to get away from the kids sometimes and then miss them terribly when you’re away. I definitely didn’t want to leave our beautiful room and the lovely feeling that Tugu exudes. But heading back to my kiddos was nice too. I think I can speak for my husband when I say we both felt refreshed after our stay. And we’d finally got to spend some real quality time together.

You Ready to Get Romantic at Hotel Tugu Bali?

If you’d like more info about Tugu and their romance packages click here: Hotel Tugu Bali If you can’t get a whole night away you might want to make a dinner reservation at Ji Bale Sutra or Ji Terrace by the Sea. Soaking up the unique decor and feasting on delicious Japanese and Asian cuisine is a certain path to romance.

Booking a Bali Villa Made Simple with Villa Finder

Booking a Bali Villa Made Simple with Villa Finder

Looking online it can be incredibly overwhelming to see the amount of villas available to rent in Bali. And when you’re a parent it’s even more daunting booking a Bali Villa for your perfect family holiday. Thankfully you can make the whole process much easier by enlisting the help of Villa Finder!

Started in 2012, Villa Finder currently has over 1,000 villas in Bali, Phuket, Samui, Sri Lanka and Mauritius. Each villa is meticulously inspected before being listed online and is also frequently re-inspected. This ensures the villas are well maintained and the level of service is consistently excellent.

Booking a Bali Villa: How To

When you look at villas on Villa Finder you will be able to search by number of bedrooms, area and also the kind of activities or atmosphere you’re looking for. When you find something you like you can place a request on the villa. This is where the professional travel consultants come in and make sure the property is suitable for your family.

Someone from the team will call you to talk more about your family, finding out how many kids you are traveling with and how old they are. They will ask if you need a pool fence, car seat, and other equipment. At this point they will probably also offer you a list of other villas that would suit your family.

This personalized service doesn’t end when you’ve booked your villa. The concierge team at Villa Finder will contact you after you have booked to arrange everything you need for your stay. Whether you need an airport pick up, day tours, in-villa massage, special dinner, or nanny service, they will get you just what you need. This saves you time researching all these services and costs nothing extra.

How About Some Bali Villa Examples?

Villas like rustic 3-bedroom Villa Madura give you your own home base in the heart of Seminyak. Or if you’re coming with a big group you might want to have a look at sprawling 5-bedroom Villa Alea just a short drive from Seminyak and Canggu. These villas have character, comfort and are ideal for families wanting to spend quality time together.

Heading to Ubud, East or North Bali? There are plenty of options all over Bali…not just in the most touristy areas. You could even book a whole estate like Pandawa Cliff Estate for a family gathering, birthday celebration or wedding. If you’re thinking of booking a villa in Bali Villa Finder will save you time, money and even your sanity!

You can also feel good about booking with Villa Finder because they are planting a tree in Sumatra, Indonesia for every booking made. Make your life easier and help the environment at the same time!

 

Start your villa search with Villa Finder now!

Take a Family Break at Holiday Inn Bali Benoa

Take a Family Break at Holiday Inn Bali Benoa

Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa is one of the highest rated resorts for families in Tanjung Benoa and even on Bali in general. We’ve stayed once before a couple of years ago and my kids Lola (10) and Marlow (5) absolutely loved it. I was interested to see if it would still be a favorite now they are a little older and have been to a lot of other resorts. Read on to find out all about our stay…

Getting to the Resort

& Checking In

Tanjung Benoa is the small peninsula that sticks up from Nusa Dua into Benoa Bay. It’s very easy to get to from the airport to Tanjung Benoa (in around 15 minutes) thanks to the overwater toll road that connects them. We drove from Ubud which wasn’t quite so easy thanks to a huge amount of traffic in July, so after 2 hours we were crazily happy to get to the hotel.

When we arrived I immediately noted it was much busier than it had been the first time we stayed (in February I think). There were lots of kids and groups and it was a real mix of Australians, Europeans and Asians. We were given welcome drinks, cold towels, and the kids even got a great little activity pack. I didn’t mind at all that our room wasn’t quite ready yet because the staff were all really lovely and we could see they were all at working full speed.

The Area 

Tanjung Benoa isn’t everyone’s favorite area. Some say it’s boring or there isn’t enough shopping/eating/excitement going on. For me, I think it’s pretty ideal if you have kids and want to hang in the resort, play in the pool, and do day trips out to other places.

There is a shuttle to Bali Collection shopping centre in Nusa Dua, and a driver to Kuta/Legian/Seminyak will only cost $20-ish.

It’s quiet at night and the sunrises are beautiful. There are also all kinds of fun watersports if you want a bit of a thrill. There will always be haters, but I’m a fan of Tanjung Benoa with the kiddos.

Our Room

 

There are 171 rooms and 19 suites to choose from at Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa with 2 room types specifically tailored to traveling families. This time we stayed in a Tanjung Family Adventure Suite on the 4th floor.

This room has 2 bedrooms, a nice big ensuite with a king bed and private balcony for the parents, and a spacious 2 single bed room for the kids. The kids room is complete with ocean-themed walls and sheets, a PS4 and an ensuite bathroom designed just for the kiddos.

Both rooms open onto the living room with a table and sofa, tv and dvd player, coffee and tea making facilities and a large balcony. The sunrise from the balcony was really lovely. We also watched fireworks from here at night.

The suite had the feel of a cozy apartment with wooden floors, loads of wardrobe space and a comfy sofa. The space between bedrooms makes it feel like home and not having to share a bathroom is fantastic!

The only sounds we heard from the room were the tweeting birds in the courtyard atrium and the ocean breeze when the balcony doors were open.

 

The Layout of the Resort

 

The Holiday Inn Benoa is really nice and compact. A huge lobby leads to the courtyard pool that the pool access rooms connect to. The pool is shady and has little islands in it and Duke’s Pool Bar and Lounge is here as well. Pasar Market Cafe where breakfast is served and the Kids Club is at the end of this and then the 2 tiered beachfront pool with the gym on one side and Nudi bar and restaurant on the other.

The beachfront pool and on the beach is where we spent most of our time and it seems most other families do as well. The little kids area is shallow and has a dumping bucket and small slide. The other parts of the pool are all 1.2 metres deep, so kids need to be supervised carefully. Marlow is swimming but isn’t confident if he can’t touch the bottom at all so we had to be in the pool with him all the time. There aren’t a ton of loungers around the pool so make sure if you want to spend the day there, you get to the pool nice and early.

The beach at Tanjung Benoa isn’t usually my favorite but I have to say the sand and water were very clean this time. I suppose it just depends on the time of year, tides, weather conditions etc. We did splash around in the water and play on the beach a bit but didn’t really swim.

 

 

Kids Facilities

The kids club at the Holiday Inn Resort might be quite small but it packs a punch. The staff are absolutely fantastic and keep the kids having fun with activities all day long. It’s also open 9am – 9pm, which is much longer than a lot of kids clubs and allows parents to enjoy dinner and drinks together. 

There do crafts, indoor and outdoor games, movies and lots of other engaging activities. This is one kids club my kids have really wanted to spend time in…although Lola at 10 is now not so interested as she was a couple of years ago.

The kids pool is also small but perfect for being able to watch littler ones splash around. The slide is small and the tipping bucket is pretty gentle unlike some others so young kids love it. There are also daily activities on the beach like football, volleyball and kite flying that kids and parents can join in.

Because Lola is a little older, we played a couple of games of pool and table football in the games area just off the lobby. Marlow was happy to play on the Wii that they have there while I spent some time with Lola.

Eating

 

I didn’t feel like we ate the whole weekend but we were all definitely full all the time. Kids eat free at the Holiday Inn, which is a deal maker for me. Eating in resorts can be a huge expense so this takes the weight off a little. It’s also great to see healthy things on a kids menu. This is something Holiday Inn is really serious about.

Let’s start with Breakfast. The food is fresh, set up is easy to navigate and the kids were happy with all the goodies. There is a little kids area but my kids know fresh pancakes, waffles and adult sized donuts are where it’s at so they didn’t really take anything except chocolate milk. I always judge my breakfast on the fresh fruit, yogurt and seeds and nuts being the boring mum that I am and I was very happy with the selection.

On the first day we ate what we made at our cooking class so were stuffed to the gills. I did have a cocktail at happy hour which was very tasty and 2 for 1s can’t be beat. The second day we had a lovely lunch set up in the upstairs area at Nudi. It has beautiful views to the beach and the food was really tasty. The kids had burgers and pasta and I had a delicious salad with roasted veggies.

We didn’t have anything over the weekend that we didn’t like and the kids menu is definitely a major plus at this resort!

 

Fun Extras

 

When we go to a resort we love to put ourselves in the shoes of families that have never been to Bali before. We want to experience the introductions to Balinese culture and traditions like they would.

At Holiday Inn Resort Benoa we got the chance to do just that with a cooking class and a spa treatment in their beautiful Tea Tree Spa.

We’ve done cooking classes before but this blew our expectations out of the water. The chef was fun and great with the kids and let them do just about everything. Over about an hour and a half we made fish ball soup, chicken satay, veggies, and even dessert.

We ate by the pool at a table they had set up for us. There was so much food and it was all delicious! We would definitely recommend doing this class!

Tea Tree Spa was also a fantastic experience. Lola and I had the mom and daughter package, which consisted of an hour massage and 30 minute facial for me and a 30 min massage, 30 min facial and 30 min pedicure for her. The spa therapists were fantastic with Lola and Marlow who wanted to come along and then decided to go to the kids club about 15 minutes in.

We felt totally spoiled and beautifully sparkly after our treatments.

 

Rounding up our Holiday Inn Resort Benoa Review

 

I won’t keep you in suspense…Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa is one of our very favorite resorts in Bali. The staff go above and beyond, the rooms are fantastic, the food is great, and the prices are excellent. I honestly can’t think of anything that I don’t like about this resort and if I did I would be seriously nitpicking.

The beach may not be Nusa Dua fabulous but the pools are excellent and even when they were at full occupancy it didn’t seem crowded or too noisy.

Basically, go stay at this resort! You won’t be disappointed.

If you’d like to read about our last stay at the Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa click this link: Bali Kids Guide Holiday Inn Benoa Review

If you’d just like to know more about the resort, visit their website: Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa

 

Is this Paradise? It is for Families at Grand Mirage Family Paradise!

Is this Paradise? It is for Families at Grand Mirage Family Paradise!

Reviewing a hotel a couple of times may seem unnecessary, but I’m learning that it often gives us a different perspective on the hotel and the area. We first reviewed the Grand Mirage Family Paradise in 2017, not long after it had opened. It was a quiet time and the hotel wasn’t very full. We stayed in a Family bunk room last time with no inclusions, and a 2 Bedroom Suite with all inclusive benefits this time. The experience we had this time was quite different and I’ll explain why. You can also read our first review here: Is Grand Mirage Family Paradise the Most Family Friendly Resort in Bali?
Getting to the Resort & Checking In

 

The Grand Mirage is located in Tanjung Benoa, the peninsula that sticks out north of Nusa Dua. This area is only a 15-20 minute drive from the airport and is known as the watersports hub of the island.

The resort consists of 2 wings, the older Grand Mirage wing and the Family Paradise which opened in 2017. They are both beachfront and the walk between them is just 2 minutes.

We were checked in quickly (with a little stop in the VIP lounge) and got to settling in to our suite. 

Our Room

 

There are a number of different room choices at the Grand Mirage Family Paradise. This time we were in a 2 bedroom suite, which had a king bed in the master bedroom and a queen and a twin in the second bedroom. Both were en-suite and the master had a bath. The living room had a big fold out couch, arm chair, dining table and sliding doors to a balcony.

We were in the very closest room to the pool, which didn’t have direct access from the balcony, but the other rooms of this kind do. The room could easily sleep 5 and I was told the same room type but garden facing sleep 6.

My first impression of the room was that it didn’t look as big in real life as it does in the pictures, but I think it was more about the shape because we were in the end room. The bedrooms and living room are a great size and the bathrooms have tons of space. I especially liked that the wardrobe and shelves in the master bedroom were in the bathroom. I like being able to tuck my mess away so I don’t have to look at it.

We all found the room extremely comfortable and being so close to the pool was awesome. One thing I would have changed would be the fridge and unit with tea/coffee etc. in it looked like it had just been plonked in the room with no thought for what it looked like.

The Resort & Area

 

The layout of the Family Paradise is really exceptional. It’s small enough that you’re never far from the pool/restaurant/kids club. There are 2 restaurants on the 2nd floor, one by the pool, and the kids club and games area on the ground floor with the water park area just in front. A few steps from the pool and you’re on the beach.

Outside the resort the main road through Tanjung Benoa is lined with spas, restaurants and small shops. There isn’t anything really interesting along here, but you can easily get the shuttle to Nusa Dua and Bali Collection Shopping Centre in 10 minutes. Pirates Bay, Surf & Turf (small water park/beach club), restaurants along the beach and the Devdan Show are all just down the road as well.

Speaking of Devdan Show…go and see it! It’s managed by the same company that owns the Grand Mirage so guests get discounts and a free shuttle. I didn’t expect to enjoy it so much, but my whole family LOVED it and the kids still talk about it. You can read more about it here: Devdan Show: Learn About the Treasures of Indonesia

 

Kids Facilities

The Grand Mirage Family Paradise has everything covered when it comes to kids activities. There is a kids club with soft play area, ball pit, toys and space for crafting. This is open to kids from 4 years from 9am-5pm. Children under 4 can use the play areas with a parent or nanny. You can also use the facilities from 5pm-9pm but there are no staff during these hours.

Older kids will love the games room, which has xbox and playstations. There is also a big screen for movie time and interactive games. A pool table, ping-pong table, giant chess board, and mini boxing ring keep everyone busy. There are also daily activities like cooking classes, face painting, beach walks and crafts.

The mini waterpark is another big plus for the Grand Mirage. Kids under 15 can play there and there is a lifeguard watching from 10am-5pm, but we would recommend going along to keep an eye on them as well. Lola at 10 years old seems about the top end of kids that are interested in the waterpark. The bigger kids definitely love the slide in the main pool best.

I also noticed older kids activities like mini golf and movie nights on the beach. There are lots of posters around telling you what’s going on and the kids club staff are great for knowing what’s happening.

Eating

 

Just 2 days to eat our way through the 3 restaurants on the Family Paradise side as well as 5 more on the other, we had a big challenge. We started with Mahi-Mahi Poolside Resto where a really good Mediterranean-style lunch was had by all. Thumbs up for the falafel, wraps and hummus. They also make a mean Bloody Mary at the bar.

Our dinner wasn’t quite so inspiring unfortunately. We chose the Chinese restaurant Chopsticks and found it to be a bit of a let down. The food was ok, pretty standard Chinese takeaway fare, but it was the atmosphere that really fell short. The music was loud and totally random (think panpipes followed by Lady Gaga), the air conditioning was arctic, and it generally seemed like a Chinese tour bus stop rather than a resort restaurant.

Thankfully the resort was redeemed food-wise by an outstanding breakfast. Lunch was by the pool again and then we wanted to have dinner at La Cascata but it was full. The kids were hungry so we had pizza, spaghetti and BLTs in the room. The pizza was great but spag bol with no red sauce and cucumbers and fried egg in the BLT? Questionable.

To Do All Inclusive or Not?

 

The question I get most about the Grand Mirage is to do all inclusive or not. We’ve done it both ways now and, as terrible as I am at maths, I did some calculations while we were there. Bear in mind that when my husband is around we spend more and this time we were with my mum who eats like a bird.

So….breakfast is great and you can definitely fill up but the kids were always starving by lunchtime. Food is always a little on the expensive side at hotels so you can expect to spend around Rp400-500 thousand (approx. $40-50) on lunch without drinks or sweets. We found dinner to be about the same with added beers, so say around Rp500-600 thousand. Throw in a few drinks round the pool and you have a day of around Rp1 million plus a bit depending on how much you drink.

Gold all inclusive is $75 a day (half price for kids under 12 and free under 5). If you’re planning to do a lot of drinking and your family likes to eat all inclusive is great for you. We loved not having to think about how much each drink was or if the kids could have dessert or not.

You can add all inclusive days to your stay, so maybe if one day you want to go all out you can pay for that day. You can also go for the blue all-inclusive, which has a few more restrictions than the gold which is $65 a day.

A Little Round Up of the Grand Mirage Family Paradise

 

I think I know this resort pretty well now after 3 stays so here are my thoughts in Pros and Cons bullet point form. There are way more pros than cons to this resort for sure. We’d happily stay here on a holiday and definitely recommend it.

Pros:

– Excellent facilities

– Small and easy to navigate

– Clean rooms with really family-friendly layouts

– Well-trained staff (except for a few that couldn’t speak very much English and consistently got orders wrong)

– Lots if kids activities

– Wide choice of restaurants

– Choices of all-inclusive or not

Cons: 

– Really loud (bad) music by the pool

– Food (some great, some not great at all)

– Drain smell in the bathrooms (this is pretty normal in Tanjung Benoa)

– Internet was horribly slow (this mostly bothered me bacause I wanted to watch the England World Cup match and had to have my husband whatsapp me updates instead)

 

Try Something New at the Kids Summer Holiday Camp at Novotel Lombok

Try Something New at the Kids Summer Holiday Camp at Novotel Lombok

Novotel Lombok Resort & Villas

Lombok, Bali’s closest neighbor to the east, is best known for the ‘Gilis’, the three islands off of the northwest coast, but stay on the mainland and it’s a different world. Kuta Lombok bares little resemblance to Kuta Bali, as it is still a small coastal town with gorgeous stretches of white sand and glistening blue water. Novotel Lombok Resort and Villas opened their doors in 1997 and remains one of the only major resorts in the area. This means plenty of space, sea breezes and quiet you rarely find in Bali these days.

Starting this year, Novotel Lombok and Rinjani Indah School will be running a Summer Holiday Camp for kids aged 4-12 years old. If you’re looking for a place to relax and explore, but also have the kids entertained and stimulated, this could be the perfect place.

Summer Holiday Camp Fun at Novotel Lombok

The Summer Holiday Camp will run Monday – Friday with a half day on Saturdays from the 18th of June – 27th of July 2018. The program will be held on the grounds of the Novotel Lombok but will be fully supervised by qualified teachers from Rinjani Indah School.

Kids will be stimulated with fun learning activities both inside and outside, games, water play, sports, arts and crafts and plenty more. Kids will get a healthy and delicious lunch (full day) to keep their energy up for all the exciting things they’ll be doing during the day.

Fees are paid on a half or full day basis, Rp200,000 and Rp350,000 respectively. This means you can enjoy the summer camp whenever for a few days or the whole month. However, spaces are limited so get in touch with Novotel Lombok as soon as possible by email or phone +62 (0)370 6153 333 to reserve your spot.

Why Choose a Villa in Bali for Your Family Holiday?

Why Choose a Villa in Bali for Your Family Holiday?

You’ve been saving for the perfect family trip to Bali and want your villa in Bali everything to be just right, so making the right choice when booking your villa in Bali can be daunting. You’ve seen pictures of fabulous luxury villas, but how do you make sure you make the right choice and get exactly what you see in the pictures? And how do you choose from all the villa options out there?

Elite Havens is here to help with their professional villa specialists who will get you exactly what you want for your Bali holiday. Whether you’re looking for bunk beds, kids playrooms, a shallow pool or any other family-friendly facilities, they will make a personalized selection just for your family.

Why Choose a Private Villa in Bali?

You may think a resort is the only way to go, but the option of a private villa is great for a family. Think about having your own space, with no worry about disturbing other guests. Little kids can nap in their own room while you’re enjoying the pool or reading a book in the sun. And bedtime doesn’t mean you being stuck in the room, giving you some adult time in the evenings.

Your main concern is most likely finding somewhere your kids can have space to play and splash in the pool safely…and you can still relax and enjoy your holiday. Book the right villa and you can enjoy this freedom without worry. This is where Elite Havens comes in.

What Elite Havens Offers

 

Elite Havens is the premier luxury villa rental company in Bali and are the official owner representatives for all the villas they offer. All villas are short-term rental properties and each one is staffed with managers, butlers, and cooks. You won’t have to worry about a thing, as your personal concierge will arrange everything from transportation, kids items, activities, island tours and nannies for your whole trip or if you just want an evening out.

Many of the villas are already set up for families with baby cots, high chairs, a good supply of DVDs, books, games and pool toys. Elite Havens can also arrange for a pool fence to be installed for your arrival and will make sure any children’s items you need which are not included in the villa are ready for you (at extra cost). You can read more about renting baby and child equipment here: Children’s Hire Items

But Won’t My Kids Get Bored?

 

Some parents worry that without a kids club or other kids around their kids will get bored. Kids clubs are great, and might be the right choice for you, but usually a villa’s new environment and private pool are more than enough to keep little ones entertained.

Older kids will love having their own space and independence in beautiful surroundings. If you have pre-teens or teenagers, Elite Havens’ Instagram worthy properties make the perfect backdrop for holiday photos.

Picking the Right Villa for Your Family

All of Elite Havens’ villas are stunning, but some of the villas have kids rooms, bunk beds, media rooms and other features that might suit your family. Your kids will never forget how special their stay was in a villa that welcomes them to feel at home and have fun.

If you’d like to find out more about the most family-friendly villas Elite Havens has to offer follow this link: Bali Family Villas

All images in this article are property of Elite Havens villas.