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)

 

Discovering Maya Sanur with Kids

Discovering Maya Sanur with Kids

Maya hotels might be better known for their long-established Ubud resort, but their Sanur location should definitely be on your radar as well. This architectural masterpiece is probably the most unique hotel in Sanur and thanks to the management there, we got to check out how the interior matches up to its fabulous exterior.

 Getting to the Resort

& Checking In

  Sanur is a seaside town around 30 minutes from Bali’s international airport. It’s a more laid-back, ex-pat kind of vibe than Kuta and Legian, and has white sand beaches for miles. Here at Bali Kids Guide, we love Sanur for loads of reasons, but especially because it’s really easy to get around on foot and its nice and family-friendly. Maya Sanur stretches from Sanur’s main street Jalan Danau Tamblingan all the way down to the beach. From the outside it looks incredibly impressive with its sloping grass-covered roofs and stone walls. However, I would never have guessed what lies behind the trendy looking restaurants at the front if I didn’t know it was a hotel. When we arrived we were shown to the lobby, where an amazing art installation, modern furniture and a mad mix of building materials all meld together into a pretty amazing sight. The lobby was extremely quiet and I was a bit worried that I was in for a weekend of shushing, but no one seemed to mind Marlow shooting his Hotwheels across the shiny floor. Our room wasn’t ready when we arrived so we went straight to Reef Restaurant for lunch…more on that later.

Our Room

  We stayed in a Deluxe Garden View Room, which was on the 3rd floor close to reception. The room was plenty big enough for all 4 of us, and has a nice little day bed that was made up for Lola (10). Marlow (5) still sneaks into our bed, so he usually sleeps in the big bed with my husband and I when we stay in hotels. At some point we’ll have to reconfigure, but for now it works out perfectly. The room had a nice mix of modern and Asian antique-style decor. We loved the Chinese dog/dragons by the bath with lights in them. The mix of old, new, textures, wood, stone and textiles seems like it would be all wrong, but somehow it works perfectly. It ends up being somewhere between super-sleek and easily lived in. The bathroom is fitted with a huge bathtub, a shower with a stone seat in it, which the kids loved, and double sinks. There were all the amenities we needed and fluffy towels and stylish robes (kids and adult sizes) that the kids took to swanning around the hotel in. They are getting a little too comfortable in hotel life I think! There is a nice selection of tea and coffee and much to my surprise, a very reasonably-priced mini bar. Rp15,000 for a Coke or Rp35,000 for a can of Bintang isn’t the same price as the shop next door, but it’s much less than we’ve seen at other hotels. I like when I don’t feel like I’m being bled dry by a hotel. There are other rooms to choose from as well – most noticeably the Deluxe Lagoon Access with fantastic little daybed/pods on their balconies next to the pool that runs down the centre of the hotel. Deluxe Lagoon View Rooms are above these, and there are also Beachfront Pool Suites. If I had to say anything negative at all about our room, I would say the garden view isn’t really a view at all. We didn’t spend much time at all in our room, so it wasn’t a problem at all, but if we were staying longer it would probably be nice to have a view.

The Hotel Grounds

The Maya Sanur is not a huge sprawling resort. In fact it is on quite a narrow strip of land running from street to beach, but somehow it seems huge. There is something about the different levels and styles of landscaping and building that make the hotel really interesting to walk through. It’s like lots of different concepts under one roof with very 3 different restaurants, 2 pools and the lagoon, Tree Bar right on the beach and the spa and wellness area. There isn’t really a centerpiece at the Maya like you might find at larger resorts, but every area has its own personality and atmosphere. Saying this, the whole resort is very chilled out and there is a lot of reading by the pool, floating in the pool and sipping cocktails on daybeds by the pool going on. One of our very favorite things about the resort was the rooftop garden. It’s pretty amazing to be able to walk down the roof of the hotel you’re staying in. And even better to roll your stuffed animal down it (kids and parents enjoyed this). The views are gorgeous and it gives you a whole different perspective on Sanur.

Outside the Hotel

Sanur is relatively small compared to Kuta or Seminyak. It’s really easy to get around on foot, by bicycle or even bemo (local trasnport vans). There are also taxis around pretty much all the time. The main street and the beach pathway run parallel to each other and both have lots of restaurants, cafes, shops and market stalls along them. If you’re a huge shopper Sanur might not be for you, but for casual browsers it’s great. Sanur is also easy when it comes to super markets, pharmacies, money changers and other necessities. The beach is literally a few steps from the hotel grounds down a few stairs. It’s not the widest part of the beach, but it’s quiet and the waves are very calm. It’s ideal for small kids because the reef that protects the beach here and keeps it warm and shallow. My kids will play for hours on Sanur beach, and I have no worries about them running back and forth to the water to fill their buckets. Sunrise is also spectacular in Sanur as it faces to the east. I wasn’t up for sunrise when we stayed but luckily my husband loves to get up early and take photographs.

Eating

  We started our stay at Maya Sanur with lunch at Reef Restaurant. This is a lovely setting at the front of the hotel with indoor and semi-outdoor tables set over the pool that runs alongside the restaurant. The style is very relaxed and like a upscale cafe. I was surprised to find they also have a great kids menu with colouring pages and even a free scoop of ice cream when you finish colouring! You can’t go wrong with keeping the kids busy and free ice cream can you? Happy Hour starts at 5 at Tree Bar on the beachfront, and I took full advantage of the 50% off cocktails. They were delicious but not so strong so I actually managed to try 4 different ones. There are also virgin cocktails for the kids and delicious cassava chips and peanuts for the table. After a late lunch and snacks at happy hour, we weren’t too worried about dinner…so on to breakfast. A buffet breakfast is served at Reef or you can also choose a la carte at Graze at the front of the hotel. The kids always go for the buffet option, so we went back to Reef. At this point after a day of great service and excellent food I expected nothing less than an amazing breakfast, and it definitely delivered. Everything was fresh, beautifully laid out and there was tons of choice. It’s not the mammoth buffet you get at some resorts, but the quality was definitely better than pretty much anywhere else we’ve been.

Spa at Maya

If there is one thing Lola and I love to do together it’s getting a spa treatment. This is one of the few times we can get away from Marlow and just have some girly time together…even if we both fall asleep. The Spa at Maya was a beautiful place to chill out and have a relaxing massage and they were wonderful with Lola, who is pretty tickly. The rooms are simple but bright and have big baths, a private toilet, changing area and shower. We got to choose our oils, and Lola somehow managed to get it up her nose as you can see in the picture. We had Balinese massages, which is a light massage with long flowing strokes. This is a great massage if you just want to relax and not be pummelled to hard. If you want something a little more specific to particular aches and pains, it’s probably best to try something else. I can imagine getting this massage before bed would be amazing as well! Spa at Maya also does beauty treatments like manicures, pedicures and facials. I can only imagine they are as high quality as the massage.

My Roundup of the Maya Sanur

I’m not sure how much more great stuff I can say about the Maya Sanur without sounding over-the-top, but we really did 100% love this hotel. Even without a kids club I felt so incredibly relaxed I really wished we were staying longer. The staff we incredibly professional and lovely with it, the food was great, rooms were cozy and the outdoor areas are stunning. Sanur is one of my favorite places in Bali because it’s so laid back and a little old school, so the location of the hotel was also 5* for me. I understand other families might want more shopping, excitement and screaming in the pool, but I think it’s nice to have a little downtime as well. We’re happy with a day bed by the pool, good cocktails and a beautiful view. And Maya Sanur ticks all those boxes. Find out more about Maya Sanur

Tijili Benoa

Tijili Benoa

I came across Tijili Benoa on Instagram and thought immediately that it looked really cool and funky. I’m constantly searching for new hotels in Bali that might be interesting to families and this one seemed to fit the bill. So why haven’t I ever heard of it? you may ask. Well, I wondered the same thing, so I did what any self-respecting blogger mum would do…I took the whole family to check it out!

Getting to the Resort

& Checking In

 

Tijili Benoa is located just above Nusa Dua on the Bukit peninsula around 30 minutes drive from Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport. The overwater toll road that runs from the airport to Tanjung Benoa has made this area easily accessible and faster to get to Kuta, Seminyak and other places for day trip. We drove from Ubud on a Friday afternoon, which was pretty smooth sailing thanks to the toll road.

We checked in at around 3pm and had a quick look around. Our first impressions were that it was a really cool little hotel. The lobby is really bright and funky and there are tons of cool design touches. We loved all the green walls and cool characters decorating the building and public spaces. Once we’d had a peek at everything we were roasting and headed for the pool to cool off.

Our Rooms

There are 270 rooms at the Tijili Benoa, which seems like a lot, but somehow it feels like a much smaller hotel. We had Interconnecting Deluxe Courtyard rooms perfect for our family of 4. You could even get a 3rd child in with no problem.

The rooms are bright and have lots of interior touches like the wall art, colourful tabletops and chairs. The galss doors of these ground floor rooms open out onto the hotel courtyard where there is a small playground. This was nice for the kids to be able to run outside a little while I was on my laptop.

The rooms were clean, but there is a little wear and tear on them. I noticed some holes in the curtains and a bit of mould. It didn’t smell mouldy in the room at all, but I think the curtains must be a little damp from the condensation on the large windows.

I was impressed with the quality of the amenities and also that the soap and shampoo in the showers are refillable. It’s one of my pet peeves when hotels don’t use refillable bottles, so this was really nice to see.

The Layout of the Resort

Tijili has rooms on multiple levels around a main courtyard. There is a large pool in the courtyard surrounded by grass and palm trees and a kids water play area at the side. Ground floor poolside rooms are available and there are chairs outside so you could watch the kids from outside your room.

The 2nd pool is on the 6th floor next to the gym and spa. It’s a beautiful spot but there are only a few chairs and one beanbag so it’s really better for couples or singles. There is a bar on the roof as well so an evening swim with a cold drink would be really lovely.

Tijili Benoa has two restaurant, Kakatua on the ground floor looking out to the courtyard, and Bamboo Restaurant on the beachfront. Kakatua is really stylish and modern where Bamboo is much more natural and beachy. I really liked the look of both restaurants and the kids loved all the big wall paintings of birds and bright coloured furniture.

Kids Facilities

Apart from the kids water play area there is also a kids club. The hotel recently moved it from the ground floor by the little playground to the 3rd floor above the lobby. It would have been nice to have the outside play area attached, but my kids really liked it anyway.

The room is really nice and bright with plenty of colourful toys, kids beanbags and a tv for watching cartoons and movies. We were really impressed with the quality of the toys and books and also the cleanliness of the kids club. Sometimes at bigger resorts things can be a bit rough around the edges, but this was pristine!

There was only one staff member but she was full of energy and all the kids seemed to immediately take to her. She really played with them and seemed like she was having fun.

My daughter Lola is 10 so doesn’t last long in kids clubs, but she was happy to be there for half an hour or so at a time. Marlow is 5 and would have stayed there all day playing lego and watching cartoons.

Eating

We only stayed one night but somehow we managed to fit in a number of meals. We arrived hungry and had a chicken burger with french fries by the pool, which went down a treat. Everything was really fresh and tasty and a pretty good size as well.

At night we went down to the beach for their Friday night BBQ. An acoustic band was playing and the atmosphere was really nice. Eating on the beach is also awesome when your kids don’t want to sit down and eat, or decide to spill everything. The selection was pork or chicken satay, pork ribs, or fish, which pretty much covered what everyone eats. The side dishes were a mix of salad, indonesian style noodles and rice. Dessert was a mix of fruit and Indonesian sweets that always go down well with the little ones.

The only thing I would say about the bbq was that we had to send fish back because it was pretty raw and I questioned the cook on some of the chicken. We all ate and were 100% fine, but it’s something to watch out for (wherever you are).

Breakfast was served at Bamboo Restaurant as well, although large groups are served in Kakatua. This is really nice because fighting tour groups for food is not fun first thing in the morning. The selection of fruit, cereal, toast, pasteries etc. was really good, and waffles, pancakes and eggs were cooked to order. The kids got waffles which were the best we’ve ever had in Bali!

 

A Roundup of Tijili Benoa

 

It can be difficult after only one night to make a judgement about a hotel, but in this case I think we got a pretty good feel for our accommodation. Tijili is definitely modern and funky, has great outdoor spaces, comfortable rooms and lovely staff. We loved the pools and the beachfront, and were really happy with the size of our rooms.

I think the atmosphere is the point that people might either love or hate. Some guests might love the quietness and the fact that there aren’t a million families around the pool, but others might say that hanging out with other families and finding new friends is the best part of the holiday. The majority of guests are Chinese and Indonesians, so the hotel is quiet during the day while groups are out on tours. We loved this, and if you’re going to be out a lot this is the perfect spot. If you plan to stay, eat and play inside your resort Tijili is probably not for you.

I think we’ll probably visit Tijili again for short breaks and would love to also check out the Seminyak property. For a great base, or if you just want a few days to chill, it’s a fantastic value-for-money hotel.

If you have any questions about Tijili Benoa, leave us a comment or get in touch on Facebook or Instagram

You can also check out the Tijili website for special offers and more info

Bali Kids Guide Check Out Bali Dynasty Resort

Bali Kids Guide Check Out Bali Dynasty Resort

One of the resorts that pops up in our Facebook feed in one way or another almost daily is Bali Dynasty Resort. This resort is one of the longest-standing and most popular resorts in Kuta. With newly renovated rooms and more room choices for families than ever, it was time to have a look for ourselves.

Getting to the Resort

& What’s in the Area

Bali Dynasty Resort is located in Kuta, on the way to Tuban. This makes it very easy to get to from the airport in around 10 minutes. It’s just next door to Discovery Mall and a couple of minutes walk from Waterbom – a must do on a Bali holiday! There are tons of restaurants, shops, bars and other entertainments within a short stroll of the resort.

We checked in just after Mount Agung started erupting at the end of 2017 so the resort was incredibly quiet. A few families were still waiting for flights out of Bali, but few were checking in. Usually, the resort would be getting packed at this time of year, so it was a little eerie.

Thankfully, I hear it’s since picked up and families are in full holiday mood again.

Our Room

We were in one of the newly refurbished Family Suites. This room has a master bedroom with an ensuite bathroom and a large living room with two single Murphy beds that fold out of the wall. There is also a sofa bed, so really this room fits 2 adults and 3 kids. This area also includes a nice sized kitchen and dining area and a small second bathroom with a shower.

I really liked the simplicity of the master bedroom and the huge bed. There was plenty of room and light and a nice spot on the balcony to sit out in the evening. We had a TV and DVD player in the room as well as one in the living room. It’s always nice not to have to watch cartoons.

The kitchen was complete with a fridge, microwave and water cooler. There were also dishes and cutlery enough for a family of 5 plus a few utensils for simple cooking. This is amazing to have if you want to save a little money, have a picky eater or even for baby food.

The living room was also great for a little extra space. A comfy couch, coffee table and armchair make a huge difference when a family are staying together in a hotel room for a week or two. That little bit of extra space and distance helps with the family harmony.

Speaking of family harmony, two bathrooms always help. The kids had their own bathroom and shower and there were even amenities laid out for them, which was a really nice touch. However, if you have two or three kids you might want to make sure there is enough of everything. We had a little scuffle for the toothbrush and rubber ducky.

The Resort

 

The Bali Dynasty Resort has been around for 27 years but to be honest the grounds look better than many newer resorts. The buildings look a little dated in their older Balinese style, but because the rooms have been renovated you don’t really notice.

The resort isn’t directly on the beachfront, but it’s very close. The path that leads down to the beach next to the kids club is well marked. There are Bali Dynasty Resort loungers on the beach, although when we were there the tide was high so there wasn’t much sand. Unfortunately, there was a bit of rubbish because of the rainy season, but the resort staff does clean the beach daily.

The resort isn’t directly on the beachfront, but it’s very close. The path that leads down to the beach next to the kids club is well marked. There are Bali Dynasty Resort loungers on the beach, although when we were there the tide was high so there wasn’t much sand. Unfortunately, there was a bit of rubbish because of the rainy season, but the resort staff does clean the beach daily.

The Pool Area

The pool area is the centre point of the resort and is extremely spacious. There are tons of loungers both in the sun and the shade. The pool itself is shallower towards the restaurant, but keep an eye on the kids because it does get to 2 metres deep. There are lifeguards on duty during pool hours.

The pool bar is on the shallower side so you can easily watch the kids from the bar. There are activities by and in the pool, which really gets families together and the kids make friends really quickly. We watched a lively game of water volleyball on the afternoon we were at the pool. It’s great how the staff joins in and really gets the other players going.

One of the greatest things about Bali Dynasty Resort is the thought that’s gone into the facilities for kids. The kids pool and water play area is fabulous! Plenty of loungers surround the pool for parents to relax in while the kids play. The colourful shades protect you from the full sun and little bales are great for napping babies.

Kupu-Kupu Kids Club

 

Kupu-Kupu Kiddies Club is newly renovated and is located right next to the kids water play area. The downstairs has an enchanted garden theme and is for kids 4-12 years. There are tons of games, a space to watch movies, books and toys in the kids club. Also a schedule of crafts and activities keeps the kids busy and engaged. If the kids want to play outside the kids club, there is also a small playground great for littler kids.

We found the staff lovely and the checking in and out system well organized. The kids loved feeding the fish and the hula hoop contest by the pool. Everyone was really friendly and there were lots of staff that got the kids excited about the activities.

The upper floor is The Den Teens Club for 10-16 year olds and has really cool graffiti on the walls. Both facilities are provided free of charge. The Den has internet, games consoles, movies, pool and tennis tables and also has lovely staff.

Both areas of the kids and teens club are open from 9am until 6pm and are free for hotel guests. After the renovation in 2017 they are far more spacious and the kids love the amazing paintings that decorate the walls. For all ages there are Movie Nights on Thursday and Saturday evenings from 6pm, which are really popular and allow parents to have a couple of hours a free time in the evening.

Food

 

There are 6 restaurants at Bali Dynasty Resort, all of which have a great reputation. While we were there the Golden Lotus Chinese restaurant was being refurbished, but we did get to try a few of the others.

We had breakfast at SEN5ES, where there was a good buffet. The kids were happy with pancakes, donuts, fruit and cereal. My husband had as much meat as he could find as usual. For me there were healthy options like yogurt, muesli and plenty of fruit as well.

We didn’t have lunch at the resort but did have dinner at H20 next to the pool. The kids menu was pretty standard, but great for picky eaters like my son. He liked the pizza and got a side of corn, which is one of the only vegetables he eats. We also had rice paper rolls, roast chicken and a couple of other dishes that were really tasty.

Every evening there is a different Themed Buffet Dinner at H2O where kids under 12 eat free with each paying adult (Rp225,000 per adult). This makes a great family dinner and is excellent value for money!

After dinner we headed over to Gracie Kelly’s Irish Pub, where I had a pint of Guiness for the first time in years. Being from the Isle of Man, in the Irish Sea, it was very surreal to be in an Irish Pub in Bali. Every detail is perfect and the Guiness was good! We played pool and had a laugh with one of the staff members, who happens to be a high school friend of my husband’s.

Other Things We Loved About Bali Dynasty Resort

For me it was some of the extras things I learned about the Bali Dynasty Resort that really made it for me. I loved that a number of the staff had been working there since it opened 27 years ago. This really shows that the management takes care of their staff and knows the importance of experienced staff. They know families come back again and again because they are so well taken care of in the resort.

I was also really impressed with the evening craft market on a Friday night (also held every Monday & Wednesday). It was very quiet when we were there, but it’s a great chance to meet some of the locals that come to sell their products. We saw some really fun things for kids like names and animals made from glass and mirror mosaics.

I also learned a lot about the charity work Bali Dynasty Resort does. It’s pretty incredible how much money they’ve raised over the years from events they’ve held as well as donations collected in the resort. Their biggest fundraising night of the year is the Back to Bali Dynasty Party in Perth. This event raises money for Solemen Indonesia. 2018’s party will be the 25th anniversary of the event and will be held on February 10th. For more info on the party click HERE

So Much More to Mention About Bali Dynasty

 

There is actually way more to mention, but it’s so hard to get it all into one review. In the resort you’ll also find a salon and spa, kids hairdressers, small shops, a fitness centre, quiet pool and loads more. It’s really no wonder so many families have been staying at Bali Dynasty Resort for years.

The management obviously knows very well that to stay on top of the market they have to continuously upgrade and keep everything looking fresh. Kudos to them for keeping this resort on top for nearly 3 decades!

Montigo Resorts Seminyak – A Family Friendly Seminyak Resort

Montigo Resorts Seminyak – A Family Friendly Seminyak Resort

It was a full on week and the light at the end of the tunnel was a weekend in Seminyak checking out Montigo Resorts. As you can see in the pictures, we arrived in the evening after a Halloween Party (we don’t usually dress this way), and were pretty wiped out and ready for a chilled weekend at Montigo Resorts Seminyak.

Getting to the Resort

& Checking In

Montigo Resorts Seminyak is located on Jalan Petitenget, right in the middle of swanky Seminyak. From the airport it takes around 30 minutes, but this depends on the time of day and traffic. It can get pretty slow in Seminyak, so always plan to leave a little early for your flight. From Legian and Kuta it’s just a short taxi ride and to Ubud takes about an hour.

We checked in close to 8pm and the staff understood we were tired, hungry and ready to chill. They brought us a lovely welcome drink and cold towels, which were just the thing to unwind after a long day. The pool and restaurant looked lush but we were ready to see our room, take off our Halloween makeup, and get some room service.

Around the Resort

If you haven’t been to Seminyak before, think of it as the trendier younger sister of Kuta and Legian. There are tons of shops, restaurants, beach clubs, and bars within a stone’s throw of the resort. The road is busy but has good pavements to walk along, so no problem with kids. We stopped by Lycklig Ice Cream for dessert, which is just 100 metres from the resort. Yum!

Petitenget is known for being the home of Potato Head Beach Club, Ku De Ta, Biku and just about every other trendy Bali beach club, must-visit restaurants and bars. This might not seem like the ideal family area, but for younger families and even slightly older ones like mine that still like to party, it’s the best of both worlds.

If you want to rent a scooter the resort has these cute Vespas for just Rp100,000 a day! A little more than your basic scooter, but how awesome is it to cruise around on a Vespa for a couple of days!

Our Room

We were in a Balcony Suite, which has a huge king bed and a day bed set up for our daughter. The room is spacious and modern and has a huge balcony with a day bed on it. The only minus to this was the piles of rubble from the building site next door that was our view. However, I understand this wasn’t the fault of the resort and being in Seminyak you have to expect some building work.

The partition in the centre of the room is a nice way to make two separate spaces. The TV in the central console also rotates so you can watch from either bed. This was nice when everyone fell asleep and I wasn’t tired yet so watched a bit of TV from the daybed.

The kids absolutely loved the colouring pages and pencils all laid out for them. When we realized they also had their names on them we were all extra impressed. There were also little notes to the kids from the Executive Housekeeping, which was really lovely.

The bathroom was large and clean with an open shower. Once you get used to soaking half the bathroom while showering it’s ok, but a bit strange at first. I did really like the wooden slats on the shower floor though. They were non-slip and the water seemed to drain really quickly unlike some tiled showers. Double sinks and plenty of amenities were great for everyone being in the bathroom at the same time. And that little hiding space where the toilet is gave me the semblance of privacy. (Mums you know how it is)

The Resort

 

The resort looks quite small when you enter from the street, but in fact it’s long and narrow. It stretches almost all the way to the beach but for beach access you have to walk down to the next side street.

There are 3 pools in the resort, one on each side of the rooms and the one at the front next to the restaurant and reception. We spent most of our time in the front pool with the bar and loungers, although the larger pool on the right side of the rooms is actually better set up for families.

Kids Facilities

Tilo Kids Club is advertised as the largest kids club in Seminyak (330sqm), and I’m pretty sure it’s true. It’s a very big 2nd floor space with loads of building blocks, a whole lego area, costumes, video games and a mini cinema. The staff were fantastic and Marlow and Lola immediately felt comfortable with them.

There weren’t many kids there when we were staying at Montigo Resorts Seminyak so Lola and Marlow had the run of the place. They built all kinds of things, dressed up, painted at craft time and played some board games and video games too. At 9 years old Lola tires pretty quickly of kids clubs generally, but Marlow would have spent all his time there if he could.

Tilo Kids Club is free for in-house guests and is also open to the public for Rp100,000++ per hour. There is also a membership rate that you can enquire at the resort about. The wonderfully thoughtful thing about this kids club is it’s open until 11pm daily! Parents can go out and enjoy dinner and a drink without worrying about the kids. Any later and you can book a babysitter through the resort or check out our blog on recommended babysitters.

Eating

The restaurant at Montigo Resorts Seminyak is called Tiigo and is open to the public as well as hotel guests. It’s a really beautiful, trendy space with lots of light and cool designs on the windows and doors.

We were up early in the morning unlike most of Seminyak, so breakfast was very quiet. There’s a great selection of food, good quality breads and pastries, fruit, and freshly cooked pancakes, waffles and eggs. Outside guests can also have the buffet for just Rp100,000 per person!

Eating by the pool is one of the best things about staying in a resort, and lunch by the pool was great. My husband and I also got to do happy hour with snacks later on while the kids were in the kids club.

And finally, if you have a birthday boy or girl while you’re there, definitely let them know. Marlow turned 5 on the Sunday we were in the resort and got the most amazing chocolate cake for breakfast. The staff came and sang Happy Birthday without even telling us it was going to happen, so it was a surprise for all!

Montigo Resorts Seminyak: 5-Star Family Fun

So what did we really love about Montigo Resorts Seminyak? The number 1 thing for me was the staff. I couldn’t fault a single thing about them. Every single staff member addressed us by name and they couldn’t do enough for us. They were friendly without being fake and really amazing with the kids. We also loved the restaurant, the pools and the spacious room. The kids were totally happy in the kids club, which gave my husband and I some time to chill together and enjoy being in Seminyak.

If you are an active family who want to get out and eat, shop and play this resort is amazing! If you want total peace and quiet and to have a closed private resort feel you might not love this resort. However, I would definitely recommend spending at least a couple of nights at Montigo Resorts Seminyak to feel the buzz of fabulous Seminyak.

Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort: Your Kuta Beach Getaway

Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort: Your Kuta Beach Getaway

Located smack bang in the middle of the Kuta Beach strip, Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort is a pretty amazing place to be. We spent a weekend at the resort to check out the facilities and holiday in the heart of Kuta.

Getting to the Resort

& Checking In

Kuta beach is on a one-way system that comes down from Legian and Tuban, where the airport is. This are can get quite congested especially at certain times of the day, so expect for it to take 30-40 minutes to get from the airport. We drove from Ubud, which was about an hours drive to Legian. It then took an additional half hour to get through Legian to the Sheraton Bali.

You pull up to a grand entrance with a huge fountain wall and escalators going up to the reception and lounge level. The reception staff welcomed us and gave the kids welcome bags with a Sheraton teddy bear, water bottle and colouring goodies. They loved that and immediately felt special. We had to wait a little bit for our room, but the lounge is really comfy and the views to the pool and beach are gorgeous.

Our Rooms

There are 203 rooms at the Sheraton Kuta Bali Resort, 98 of which are interconnecting twins. The great thing about the connecting rooms is they have a main door with a small entranceway and then a door to each room. Our son is 5 and still wakes in the night so I just locked the main door and wedged the other 2 open at night so I could hear him. During the day and evening when we were in the rooms, I left both on the latch.

The kids had loads of surprises waiting for them in their room at Sheraton Bali Kuta. Towel animals on the beds, cupcakes, chocolates and cookies in a tiffin, kids bathroom amenities and best of all, bathrobes with their names on them! I realize we were being spoiled by the management, but I’m assured you can arrange these extras as well by calling ahead.

The rooms are really spacious, with large open bathrooms and a terrace/balcony, depending what floor you’re on. I loved the bathroom with the sliding door that closed either the toilet or shower area. However, Lola did walk into the glass once, so watch the kiddos. Also the mirror lights in the bathroom were really nice (and flattering ;))

Lastly, the duvets on the beds were by far the comfiest I have ever experienced in any hotel ever. I could have just stayed cuddled up in it all weekend…but alas there were other things to do.

The Layout of the Resort

The layout of the resort is really interesting. It is connected to Beachwalk mall and integrates with the shape and design of the shopping centre. Our room was on the 2nd floor, but actually felt much higher because of the views out to the beach. The pool is on the same level in a central area where Shine Spa, the gym and Bene restaurant are also located.

Downstairs on the ground floor is Feast, where breakfast and the Sunday Market Brunch are served. This is also one of the ways to enter Beachwalk Mall.

The pool area isn’t huge, but the views are gorgeous and there are plenty of loungers and tables to eat or drink by the pool. There’s a kids pool to splash in and it’s easy to watch the kids from anywhere around the pool.

Kids Facilities

Play@Sheraton Kids Club was a great space. Not too big and not too small, and very well maintained. There is also an outside space with a pool small pool and a shady playground area. Inside there are board games, computers, crafts and a little loft area to watch movies.

Lola and Marlow played chess, computer games and made some lovely bracelets and sand and shell pictures while we were there. They also got a chance to try out a fruit plate decorating class with one of the chefs, which the management is thinking about making a regular class.

We found the staff really engaged with the kids and were interested in what they wanted to do. It was nice to see they were really caring and hands-on.

Play@Sheraton has a door that opens onto level 2 of Beachwalk and is now actually open to the public. It’s just Rp70,000 an hour so heads-up parents, even if you aren’t staying at the resort you can drop the kids off and shop.

Eating

I feel like we spent about 30 of our 48 hours in the resort eating. Breakfast is a huge buffet with everything you can imagine. There are fresh breads and pastries, pancakes, waffles, cooked breakfasts and plenty of fresh tropical fruit. There is a kids area with kiddie tables and normal tables mixed together so you can sit with the kids just next to you at their own table.

For lunch we went over to Beachwalk and had ice cream…don’t judge, we were on holiday. There are tons of real places to eat as well, but we were still full from breakfast so hand-scrolled ice cream from XOXO was our midday snack.

For dinner we stayed in the resort and went to Bene, where we started with a glass of wine on the rooftop (stunningly beautiful) and then moved downstairs. Bene is famous for its authentic Italian food and 100, yes 100, pasta dish possibilities. I’m always skeptical of ‘authentic’ food here in Bali, but honestly I haven’t had Italian food this good since I was in Italy. We were so beyond stuffed full of pasta and pizza even the kids passed on dessert.

Feast Market Brunch

Despite still being stuffed from the night before, we went to breakfast and also to Feast Market Brunch on Sunday. This brunch is open to the public and you can choose from 3 different packages. Whichever one you choose, you get all-you-can-eat brunch plus a loaf of fresh bread and 1kg of fruit or veg from their market stand.

The food selection was excellent and the atmosphere really family friendly. There was even a kids corner with staff from the kids club in case you wanted to eat in peace. It was a really nice touch to go home with some fruit and great bread. The selection was a bit lacking by the time we got there at 2pm, but it was still great.

Definitely go hungry because there is so much to try! You’ll want to go back again and again to make sure you get a taste of everything.

Shine Spa

Lastly, I have to talk about Shine Spa at Sheraton Bali a little. Lola and I had the Mum & Princess treatment together for a real treat. There is also a father/son option, but our boys would rather hang out on the beach.

Our treatment consisted of a full body scrub, massage and express manicure or pedicure. Since Lola is almost 5 years older than Marlow it was lovely for us to have some time alone together. She’s also great at being pampered (just like her Momma). We were so relaxed, we both asleep at one point!

The staff in the spa were wonderful. They were obviously aware that Lola was still young and might be shy to say if the massage was too hard or she felt uncomfortable. She wasn’t, but I could feel that they were thinking about her. The room was very cozy and the lighting perfect for drifting off for a little sleep.

I would definitely recommend this treatment or one by yourself at Shine Spa. The quality of the treatments was really impressive and even as I type this a week later, my nails still look great! Also, their ginger tea is delicious and I would go back just for that.

Why My Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort Review is So Long…

This is probably one of the longest reviews I’ve ever written for a single resort and there’s good reason for it. I had tons to say! We did so much over the weekend with eating and drinking, swimming, spa, gym, shopping, kids activities. It really was a jam-packed weekend of fun, but amazingly we also got to relax. We were taken care of on a whole new level of being spoiled. The kids absolutely loved the Sheraton Kuta and so did we. We will definitely be going back!

Find out more about Sheraton Bali