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 

Child Friendly Luxury at Samabe Resort & Spa Nusa Dua

Samabe Bali Suites & Villas isn’t a resort you might immediately think of when you are looking for a family-friendly resort. But in fact it’s set up really nicely for couples, groups and families looking for an all-inclusive experience. After all Samabe Bali Resort & Villas is part of the Samabe Leisure Group, which also owns Grand Mirage & Thalasso and Devdan Show in Nusa Dua, so they know how to make families happy.

Getting There & Checking In

 

The Samabe Resort is on the southern end of Nusa Dua, outside the gated BTDC tourism area. The resort is around 30 minutes from the airport and airport transfers are included in your stay. We drove from Ubud, which took forever because of roadworks. We also stopped to do a little shopping on the way so that took time. From Kuta or Seminyak you can expect a drive of about 40 minutes, but of course this is dependent on the amount of traffic.

Checking in was a really lovely experience and I knew instantly this was no ordinary resort. We were given beautiful frangipani necklaces and blessed in the Balinese style with holy water and rice on the forehead. Then we were taken to sit in the beautiful lounge area where we had fresh, cold coconut water while the receptionist checked us in. The decor and views are really stunning and because of the way the resort is built over the cliffs, you can see all the way to the sea as soon as you arrive.

The Samabe Bali has 81 suites and villas stretched over 8 hectares, so we were taken by golf buggy to our villa. This is always fun with the kids of course. Our butler was waiting at our villa when we arrived and showed us around. We felt truly spoiled from the get go.

The Resort and Area

 

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 Villa

 

We were absolutely taken aback when we got to our villa; we’ve never stayed or seen anywhere quite like the Samabe in Bali. Our one-bedroom villa was like a luxury city apartment with the brightness and lush views of Bali.

The huge living room feels even more spacious thanks to the towering alang-alang roof and massive windows. There are plush carpets, which are unheard of in Bali and a comfy couch and chairs.

The bedroom is very simple with little clutter or furniture, but again it’s very luxurious with the carpet, big comfy bed and great lighting for chilling out in the evening with a movie or even an afternoon rest from the heat outside.

However, our favorite part of the villa was the bathroom. It was so open and bright and had the most gorgeous bath and shower, I could have spent all my time in there. The kids were so excited about their ultimate treat of watching cartoon network in the bath that they made me get in as well.

Of course we also had our own pool. We didn’t spend a lot of time in it because the main pool was so epic, but I did have a dip while the kids were chilling inside, which was nice because no one was hanging on to me while I floated around. (Photo of me pretending to be yoga-ish and relaxed)

Food

Samabe Bali is an all-inclusive resort that includes all your meals at Rempah-Rempah, Crystal Blue or Ring of Fire pool bar, as well as in-room dining. Also included is a fully stocked mini bar, an incredible afternoon tea, ice cream for the kids at 3pm, and alcoholic beverages from 5-12pm everyday. It’s also possible to choose a limited privileges package, but whichever package you choose, soft drinks, smoothies, milkshakes etc. are free all day long.

Breakfast is served in Rempah-Rempah restaurant and is an incredible calm and organized affair, unlike so many family-friendly hotels. You can choose from the buffet or a la carte menu, and the choice is everything from fruit loops to poached eggs with smoked salmon. The coffee was great and we even got little juice taster shots, which were gorgeous colours and fun for the kids.

On the first night we went to Rempah-Rempah but when we looked at the menu we realized our son, who is a picky eater, wasn’t going to eat anything on the Indonesian menu. We decided the best course of action was room service and ordered club sandwiches and fish fingers. I was a little surprised after the great service, that the food came pretty cold and it wasn’t really up to the standard of the restaurants, but we were hungry and ate it all.

The second night we were all so tired from a day by the pool and playing on the beach that we gave room service a second go and it was much better. The kids menu has pizza, pasta and fish fingers, all handmade so you don’t feel so bad if all they want is pizza and chips.

Afternoon Treats

 

The afternoon tea by the pool (usually on the beach but they were setting up for a special dinner) was beyond our expectations. I could live on the little cakes, sandwiches and fruit they served, and the kids absolutely loved how it all came in a birdcage. Chilling by the pool with fabulous snacks and my lovely family was a pleasure we don’t get to experience to often.

If you’d like some romantic adult time, book the cave dining experience in the beach cave. They were setting up while we were on the beach and we could see it was going to be quite a night. The setting, candles and menu looked amazing and we even saw from our villa that there were fireworks afterwards on the beach.

What to Do in The Resort

 

Samabe is a super-chilled resort, where you want to be if it’s time for a total getaway from reality. The grounds are gorgeous and lead down to a pool that looks out over the sea. On the weekend we were there the blue of the pool, the sea and the sky all blended into one stretch of tropical gorgeousness.

There is a shallower area in the pool, but nowhere in the pool is deeper than 1.5 metres, and it isn’t very wide, so you can always see the kids. The whole atmosphere of the pool area is very relaxed and we did feel a bit like we had to give other guests (especially honeymooners) some space from the kids, but there were other families with kids playing in the pool as well, so it wasn’t as if they had to be silent.

There is a kids club at the Samabe, and there are some fun games and things, but it really wasn’t somewhere my kids wanted to hang out. They made a bracelet with the (very lovely) girl running the club, and also played a couple of games of mini snooker. To be honest the pool or beach were more exciting for them.

If you want to do something other than lounging in the sun, there are cooking and yoga classes that you can book, and also a small gym and beautiful spa if you feel like going for the all-out pamper.

The Private Beach

Walking down the 170 stairs to the beach you can see the white sand and clear sea stretching out below. It’s one of the most beautiful views I’ve seen in all my years in Bali, and definitely feels like the ultimate luxury to have this as the resort’s private beach. The sand is soft and there are loungers and beanbags, and toys for the kids.

Non-motorized watersports are all included when you stay at Samabe Resort. Sea kayaks, catamarans, snorkeling equipment and stand up paddle boards are available and staff are on hand to help you get out onto the water. When we were at the beach the current was quite strong, too strong for the kids really, but when the tide is out it is pretty much flat calm and plenty deep enough to really swim.

 

The Samabe Bali Really is Luxury for Families

 

There are few resorts that I think mix real Balinese hospitality, luxury and family-friendliness, but The Samabe Resort is definitely one of them. The staff were incredible and we didn’t feel like we were disrupting the childless guests because there was plenty of room and quieter areas that they could hide away in. Also having other families at the resort made us much happier to let the kids be kids.

The only thing I would say would be, I couldn’t really imagine what it would be like with an active toddler. There are quite a few drops, gaps between stepping stones and lots of stairs that would put me on edge. For kids that are a bit older and more aware it’s perfect (mine are 5 and 9).

All-in-all The Samabe Bali is an incredible family-friendly resort experience with everything you could want to feel 100% spoiled. Definitely don’t dismiss this resort as too far out or too aimed at couples. It’s exclusive and fancy, but they know how to treat adults and kids like royalty!

Visit Samabe Bali’s website: www.samabe.com

Treat Your Family to a Stay at the Movenpick Jimbaran

Treat Your Family to a Stay at the Movenpick Jimbaran

The Movenpick Jimbaran opened in January 2017 and has been getting some pretty top notch reviews. We went for a weekend to see what it has to offer and find out how family friendly the resort really is.

 

Getting to the Resort

& Checking In

 

The Mövenpick Resort Jimbaran is located just on the south side of Jimbaran’s main strip, on the very start of the road that leads to Uluwatu. This means it’s a really quick 15 minute drive from the airport, or around 30 minutes (with the allowance for a bit of traffic) to Kuta. We drove from Ubud and it was an incredibly quick 1 hour, but it was a public holiday, so I think we were just really lucky. Normally it would be more like 1.5 hours.

Checking in was also really easy, although the lobby can be busy, the staff were really friendly and efficient. The kids also got really cute Mövenpick stuffed turtles, so even on check in they already felt spoiled.

The view from the lobby was gorgeous! This is only a small section of the pool, but once we has a peek at the design and the look of the grounds and the floating beanbags, we were ready to get in our swimmers!

Our Rooms

 

I thought we were booked into a Family Room, but I found they were all booked up so we got ground floor poolside rooms that were interconnected instead. This was a big treat for us and the kids, and they loved having their own space where they felt really special.

The rooms are really spacious at 34sqm and with two rooms, the openness of the glass bathrooms, and the sliding doors out to a little seating area, the space felt giant.

The thing that really made me fall in love with this setup was the little touches for the kids. There were towel animals on their beds, rubber duckies and kids Johnson’s amenities in the bathroom, and even kid sized bath robes and slippers. Even the sink is lower in the bathroom so they don’t have to struggle to reach the taps. The designers had obviously put plenty of thought into what families need when they stay in a hotel, and this isn’t something you find at every family friendly resort.

As for the ‘adult’ room, the bed was enormous and super-comfy, we got a lovely welcome basket of fruit and the bathroom was clean, spacious and well stocked with everything we needed amenity-wise. We never closed the connecting doors because our 4-year-old son isn’t really used to closed doors, but there was enough space that we could definitely chill in the evenings without waking them up. It’s also great that you can sit outside and have a drink without walking past sleeping kids.

The only thing I would say about these rooms is that you feel a little exposed because they are so close to the pool. My whole family basically wanders around in my undies whenever possible, so the curtains had to be closed a lot of the time. If you are used to wearing clothes this is no problem obviously 😉

I did get a chance to take some photos of the Junior Suite, which is also suitable for a family of 4. This room has a King bed with 1 sofa bed, 1 sofa and a cot also fits easily. The views from the balcony were lovely and the bathroom had plenty of space for a family.

The Resort

 

The resort is really conveniently attached to a small shopping arcade called Samasta. It’s hard to tell where the resort ends and the arcade begins as some rooms and the rooftop bar are actually above shops and restaurants. However, once you’re in the resort it still feels very much like a separate entity and not totally open to non-guests in the arcade.

The pool is really made up of a number of separate areas that stretch across the whole of the resort. Starting from outside the kids club and gym there is a shallow kids water play area and playground, next to a deeper pool with lots of shady seating areas and a open wooden roof over the top. Connected by a small channel is a pool with a sandy bottom and small beach area and the pool bar. Cross another channel and you’re in yet another pool with the mini waterpark at the far end. Cabanas, deckchairs and beanbags surround all the pools. We also loved the above water nets that you could hang out in.

There is also a small gym next to the kids club, a ping-pong table in a covered area by the pool and 2 restaurants, which I’ll write more about in the food section.

Kids Facilities

The kids facilities at Mövenpick Jimbaran were some of the best we’ve seen in all of Bali. When the kids walked into Meera Kids Club they immediately wanted to explore everything. The nautical theme, with a huge ship facade is really impressive it’s nice that the gaming area, indoor playground and movie room are all separated. There are also spaces for crafts, board games and extras like dance classes.

There is a limit of 4 hours a day for kids being left in the kids club, although paid activities like crafts, treasure hunts and pool parties aren’t included in this time. The 4 hours can also be spread out through the day, they don’t have to be 4 consecutive hours.

One of the most unique spaces in the kids club is the restaurant area that is designed just for kids. It’s in between the kids club and Anarasa restaurant and is a godsend for parents who want a little time to eat together. The only downside to this is there are very few tables for 2 in the restaurant, so you might be across a crowded buffett restaurant or even outside, so your kids can’t necessarily see you. There are staff and you have to sign the kids in, but I found we wanted to keep checking on them to make sure they were eating etc.

Outside the the kids club is a kids water play area with sprinklers, shallow water and places to run in and out of the water. There is also a nice non-slip play area where the kids can climb, slide and run around without the worry that they’ll break their necks running dripping wet. There are also beanbags around this area so parents can watch the kids while they play.

Our son can’t swim yet, so the mini water park wasn’t his favorite, but there were tons of kids playing there and our daughter loved the slides. There are chairs and cabanas around this area as well so you can watch the kids playing. There are also lifeguards on duty all around the pools from 8am until 8pm.

Eating in and Around the Resort

 

There is one main restaurant and 2 restaurant/bars within the Movenpick Jimbaran (as well as a cafe outside the resort and a lobby lounge). Anarasa is a huge indoor/outdoor restaurant on the ground floor of the hotel where breakfast is served. And when it comes to a hotel breakfast buffet this one is seriously impressive. I felt like the healthy selections at The Movenpick Jimbaran were way more plentiful than many resorts we’ve stayed at, and the quality of the food was really high.

There was a very European feel, with grainy Swiss breads, fabulous pastries and a wonderful selection of juices, yogurts, muesli, and nuts and seeds. Of course there was also the usual eggs, pancakes, sausages, bacon, waffles and all the great chocolate sauces, whipped cream, sprinkles…all the stuff the kids love because they don’t get it often at home. The kids area also had (very popular) waffles on sticks, fruit kebabs, donuts and a selection of kid-friendly breakfasts.

Anarasa serves lunch and dinner too, but you also have the choice of JeJaLa pool bar and grill, Above Eleven Bali rooftop bar and restaurant, Movenpick Cafe in Samasta shopping centre and Katha Lounge and Library for afternoon tea or drinks.

We had drinks at JeJaLa one evening and at Above Eleven the next. Both served up nice strong cocktails, beer at a good price and kids juices, smoothies and soft drinks. We thought Above Eleven might be a bit fancy for the kids, but in fact there were lots of other families up there admiring the view.

The food wasn’t cheap, but the setting is gorgeous, so it was really worth going up for a while. If I were to go again it would probably be for a nice meal for 2 though.

Yet another excellent thing about the resort is the fact that there are lots of restaurants, cafes and a small supermarket right outside the hotel in Samasta shopping centre. We ate at BaseBase, which was great Indonesian food and really cheap, and had treats at Gaya Gelato and Pat Bing Soo, a Korean dessert that is now our new favorite. There is also a fish restauarant, Wahaha Ribs, and a few other cafes and bars. I also noticed an Italian restaurant across the road.

Jimbaran Bay, which is famous for its seafood on the beach, is just a few minutes away (there’s a hotel shuttle) and the Four Season’s famous Sundara pool club and restaurant is just a 5 minute walk down the road. So basically, there is tons of choice in the area.

Extras

 

While at the resort my daughter and I did a yoga class in the morning (Rp175,000++ per person). It was a nice way to start the morning, and as we both practice yoga, our teacher Puspa did a nice strong practice with us. The class was at 8am so it did start to get a bit noisy around the pool about half way through, but apart from that was great.

We also did a Balinese cooking class (Rp240,000++ per person) with Chef Komang where we made our own satay, sambal and tum (meat and spices cooked in banana leaves), urap (veggies and coconut spices), and then got to eat it all for lunch. Even though we live in Bali and make this kind of food often, it was still fun and the kids loved it.

The one thing we were a bit disappointed by was the Chocolate Hour in the lobby, which is every day from 4-5pm. It was pretty underwhelming and the kids ended up grabbing a couple of chocolate buttons and heading back to the pool.

Our Overall View of The Movenpick Jimbaran

We were really excited to stay at the Movenpick knowing what we had lined up and we weren’t disappointed in the slightest. In fact the resort was far beyond my expectation in just about every respect. The family-friendly atmosphere didn’t dull the style or class of the resort, and the staff were eager to help, friendly without being over-the-top, and the area is much closer and more connected to plenty of entertainment, food, shopping and the beach than you might think.

The only thing we heard a few people complaining about was the lack of sun loungers and seating around the pool in general. A lot of people get their towels before breakfast and leave them on chairs so they are full by 9am. However, the management has been in touch and let me know that they have already bought more chairs and are adding them around the pool area. Overall, it was a fabulous stay and value-for-money-wise you really can’t go wrong!

Take a look at the resort and find great deals on their WEBSITE 

Is Grand Mirage Family Paradise the Most Family Friendly Resort in Bali?

The Grand Mirage Family Paradise Wing opened in early 2017 and we’ve heard nothing but great things about the resort since. We wanted to check it out for ourselves though, so we spent the weekend at the hotel to get the full scoop for you!

The Hotel Layout & Public Areas

 

The resort has just 77 rooms and suites so it’s more like staying at a really great boutique hotel with all the facilities of a huge family resort. The horseshoe-shaped building is only 3 stories and has 2 restaurants and a ground floor area dedicated to the kids club, e-lounge, and family area.

The kids waterpark is to the front (road end) of the hotel and the main swimming pool on the beach side. There is a nice clear map of the whole resort, including the main Grand Mirage wing, in case you get a little confused.

There are tons of light and bright (but not gaudy) colours, as well as some really cool modern features like the cozy pod area of

Ibu Kitchen, the resort’s Indonesian restaurant, where breakfast is also served. We didn’t eat at Chopstick Chinese Restaurant, which is also in the Family Wing, but I talked to other families who said the food was excellent. There is also a Starbucks attached to the hotel for those who need their caffeine or treats for the kids.

The pool and gardens facing to the beach are also stunning. The pool is a lagoon shape with a waterslide at one end and a shallow kids pool at the other. Because it’s all families, there is quite a bit of splashing and jumping, but also because it’s all families, everyone is cool with it! The kids were all making friends and it was great to be able to read a book and chat to other parents while the kiddos were playing.

The beach in front of the hotel isn’t my favorite in Bali. Because Tanjung Benoa is known for being a watersports area, there are a lot of boats in the water and the smell of the engine fumes is sometimes quite strong. The beach is pretty clean and the resort keeps the grounds very nice, but we only spent a little time actually playing on the beach and didn’t swim.

The path along the beach is lovely for walking or cycling though, and bicycles are available to rent from the resort. We saw plenty of families going out for rides. At night when we walked over to the other wing of the hotel the moon was really magnificent, so definitely get out for sunrise or to see the moon over the beach by night.

Our Room

Our room was a Family Suite on the 3rd floor and we were super impressed by the room as soon as we walked in. It’s a nice thoughtful space with bunkbeds and a trundle and then a queen bed.

The fabulous thing about this room is there is a sliding door in between the kids are and the queen bed that can be closed while the kids are watching tv or sleeping.

The balcony is on the ‘adult’ side of the room so parents can sit out and have a drink and a chat after the kids are in bed. This is one of the things we get asked most about at Bali Kids Guide, so I really felt there had been a lot of thought put into the rooms for both kids and parents.

The room also has 2 separate TVs, a small fridge and a tea and coffee making station. The bathroom is a good size and the shower has plenty of power and fit all of us in it at once (God forbid I get to shower alone).

We also got to take a little peek at the other room options. The Kids Suite is fabulous; two separate rooms, both ensuite and really beautifully designed to be a great space for a family. Every family that I talked to that had this room said they were surprised just how big it was and were enjoying their evenings on the balcony or watching tv while the kids were in their own room.

The last option is a Queen Room, which is simpler, but still spacious and beautifully designed. The beds are extremely comfy and the bathrooms are impressively large.

Kids Facilities

 

Now for the fun! The Grand Mirage Family Paradise is heaven for kids of all ages. Mine are almost 5 and 9 and they were happy to do a bit of everything. Bamboo Kids Club is located on the ground floor and is open from 9am – 9pm. However, staff are only available 9am – 5pm; after 5 parents or a nanny must supervise. Mini Club is available for 4 -7 year olds, Kids Club for 8 -12 and Teens Club for 13 – 15. Kids below 4 years can use the toddler room and other facilities only with the supervision of a parent or babysitter. There are activities during the day like games in the garden, crafts, face painting and movies (some at extra cost). My kids liked the extra activities, but didn’t want to spend much time in the soft play area. However, they did want to spend time playing ping-pong, giant chess and in the fabulous E-Lounge.

There are two gaming pods, which are all lit up in blue lighting and are big enough for two kids to get comfy. There are also two other gaming stations with beanbags and a big screen in the centre for dancing and virtual reality games. I believe the VR goggles are for age 12+, but I did see smaller kids playing with supervision. The E-Lounge is just across from the kids club so if you have younger and older kids, it’s fine to leave the older one in the Lounge and still keep an eye out while you play with the younger one.

The other fantastic feature of the Grand Mirage Family Paradise is the Mini Water Park. Slides, fountains, water shooters and a dumping bucket are great fun. It’s open from 9am-5pm and there is always at least one lifeguard on duty during this time. The only downside to the water park was that we found the blue tiles a little slippery. You can see in the pictures where the rougher grey stone turns to blue tile…be careful in these spots. Otherwise it’s a brilliant little water park and all the kids seemed to be loving spraying each other and trying out all the slides.

The Food & All-Inclusive Deals

The Grand Mirage, including the Family Paradise, is an all-inclusive resort. This doesn’t mean you have to stay there on an all-inclusive basis, but it seemed like the majority of families there had chosen a package and food is not cheap if you aren’t all-inclusive.

The Gold Package includes unlimited food, beverages, water sports, activities, and airport transfers. The all-inclusive package allows you to eat and drink at any of the resort’s 10 dining outlets, including dinner and a show at Rama Stage (4 times a week). There is an all-inclusive drinks list, but it is quite comprehensive with plenty of choice of cocktails and beers.

When we stayed in the resort we had breakfast in the Grand Cafe one morning and at Ibu Kitchen the next. Both were great, but I definitely preferred staying in the Family Paradise to eat because the restaurant is so bright and cheery. We also had a buffet dinner at the Grand Cafe, which was a hit with my daughter and myself, but my son who is very picky and doesn’t eat much seafood at all, ate mostly bread and dessert.

The other night we ordered room service and watched a movie because we were all completely wiped out from all the playing. The service was great and the kids were happy with their hot dogs and chips. I was happy to not have to go anywhere or cook anything!

Other Things We Loved About Grand Mirage Family Paradise

There were some other great touches about the Grand Mirage Family Paradise that I found really thoughtful and unique. For example, there is a coin laundry room. Granted it’s not super cheap – around $15 for one coin that washes or dries 5 kilos, but it is extremely convenient.

There were also beautiful 2 huge murals that the kids loved and which really made you feel like it was a family space. The staff were wonderful and nothing was too much trouble for them.

We had no wi-fi in our room when we arrived, but it was fixed within half an hour. However, the best thing about the whole place was that it was so family oriented you were never worried about making too much noise, the kids running in the hallways or singing and dancing around like fools. Every family was there for a family holiday and were totally up for the splashing, playing and kids being kids kind of atmosphere. I think most parents will agree that the opportunity to relax and not worry about disturbing others is a opportunity to really let go and have a fun family holiday.

For more details on the Grand Mirage Family Paradise please take a look at their website: http://www.grandmirage.com/ Or ask us a question on our Facebook page!

Our Nyepi Break at Hard Rock Hotel Bali

Our Nyepi Break at Hard Rock Hotel Bali

Nyepi, or Bali’s day of silence can be a wonderful day of quiet and relaxation, but with 2 kids aged 4 and 9 it can also seem like an endless day of whinging about being bored. Before kids it was all about reading a book and snacking the day away, now breaking up fights, tidying up and making endless snacks takes up most of the day. So…this year we decided to get ourselves a comfy room in the Hard Rock Hotel Bali to ensure there would be zero boredom for the whole day!! Yaay!!

Getting There and Checking In

Because of the Hard Rock Hotel Bali’s prime position on Kuta Beach (and the one way traffic system), I always worry about traffic. However, because it was the day before Nyepi and most Balinese people were at home, it was very quiet and took us no time at all to get there. From the airport the Hard Rock is only about 15-25 minutes depending on traffic.

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Check in was easy and efficient and the staff were great, despite probably being short staffed and having a million people checking in and out. I really give them props for their calm and friendly attitude under pressure, especially with a ton of families with kids! We had to wait a couple of hours for our room to be ready because we were early so we explored the hotel and had lunch at Starz Deli. The kids got menus that had activities on the back and crayons and the usual sausage and chips/mashed potato that they were both happy with.

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We also had a peek into Tabu Teen Club, which has comfy gaming chairs, a fabulous little cinema with a bean bag pit, a pool table and other games and books. Kids under 13 must be accompanied by an adult, but that was fine with me because I had fun in there as well!

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Our Room

Our stay at the Hard Rock Hotel Bali was in a Deluxe Premium Room, which came with a queen sized bed and a day bed that we had set up as 2 single beds. I had heard the rooms were smaller than expected, but I was pretty pleased with the size (although we were only there with small bags for a 2 night stay, so with suitcases it could be a little less spacious). The only strange thing about the rooms is that the balconies are so small you can’t sit out on them. It’s a shame because sitting out in the evening with a beer if the kids have already gone to sleep is always a treat.

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The bathroom was a good size and the kids are always ridiculously excited about amenities, which always makes me laugh. I searched and searched for somewhere to hang our wet swimmers and didn’t find that there is a retractable line in the shower until we were packing up (you can actually see it in the picture below..duh). It wasn’t fancy, but it was clean, everything worked and the whole family fit in at the same time. Is this a positive or negative…I don’t know.

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There were some nice details like the bowl of tropical fruit with an explanation of what it was, teeny little guitars embroidered on the pillows and plenty of tea and coffee options.

The Hotel Area & Pools

At first I was totally confused by the layout of the Hard Rock Hotel Bali, but once I figured out where our room was in relation to the main pool it was no problem. Some people complain that it’s a hike from the further rooms to the pool or kids club, but we didn’t find it so bad at all because we spent most of our time by the pool anyway. The changing rooms, showers and toilets by the pool are more like those for a beach club so there is no need to go running back to your room everytime someone needs the toilet or to rinse off.

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The main pool area is the real star of the resort. The pool is enormous, has a beach area and even sand on the bottom of the pool in the middle area. There are cabanas surrounding the pool, a sunken bar, slides and a kids water play area for the smaller kids. I counted at least 3 lifeguards on duty at all times and you can rent floats, and get free life vests for kids.

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My son hates the buckets that fill up and dump water like the one in the kids area, so we didn’t spend much time there, but other kids were having a great time. It has lots of trees surrounding it so parents can watch from the shade and the water is nice and shallow for the teeniest kiddos to splash around in.

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It was pretty crowded but we expected as much as it was Nyepi and no-one could go out. I can imagine in school holidays and in the peak season it can get pretty wild. The cabanas are a great idea if you want a little peace, but book in advance especially if it’s a busy time of year.

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I enjoyed it for a couple of days, but I also loved having the option of the chill out pool, which is available to guests staying in Deluxe Premium Rooms. This is something I would definitely pay the extra for if we stayed again. A pool access room on the ground floor here would also be a great option.

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The hotel is just a minute from Kuta Beach and we went down for sunset, which is always a treat. This area of Kuta Beach isn’t my favorite because it’s so busy, but it was relatively quiet and clean when we were there. It’s also a really easy walk from shops, markets and even to Waterbom water park just about a 10 minute walk away.

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Kids Club & Activities

Roxity Kids Club is open to kids 4-12 and is strict about this policy. No adults are allowed in the club, so kids below 4 can not join the kids club even with a nanny. I was happy for this policy as my son often wants me to hang out in the kids club with him, but I suppose I could understand that some parents would see it as a negative. It is also a paid kids club (Rp200,000 per day including lunch or discounted for longer stays).

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My kids spent the morning of Nyepi day in Roxity and had lunch with all the other kids before they wanted to play in the pool again. While they were in Roxity they played games, colored, were taken to the rock climbing wall and had slushies from the slushy machine, which was a big hit! It all seemed very organized and the staff are great with the kids. Sign in and out and the wristbands they wear make it feel nice and safe and like they are used to dealing with larger groups of kids.

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If your kids don’t want to spend their time in the kids club, there are also daily activities by the pool that they can join in for free. They have races, team games, walking on water and the big ball that was loads of fun to watch but my kids didn’t want to do either. The kids are put into age groups and win gold, silver and bronze medals for all the competitions.

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Eats

The Hard Rock has a number of food and drink options, The Hard Rock Cafe obviously, Starz Diner, Starz Deli, Centerstage, Splash Bistro, The Shack and Jamie’s Italian. We had a package that included breakfast and lunch buffets at Starz Diner; a special for Nyepi. My husband’s plate is usually a good measure of the food quality because I’m terrible when faced with a buffet and the kids tend to stick to bacon, sausages, pastries and pancakes. He seemed pretty happy with the selection, but I did feel like they could have done with more healthy options. There wasn’t so much fruit and the muesli was really sloppy and unappetizing.

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On Nyepi day we also had a couple of snacks at Centerstage while we watched a movie. The French fries were delicious and I ate far too many of them. The kids (actually my daughter and I because my son had fallen asleep on the couch) had a milkshake, also delicious and my motivation to hit the gym the next morning.

We didn’t have the chance to try Jamie’s Italian, Hard Rock Cafe as they were both closed for Nyepi or Splash Bistro because it closed early, so I can’t really say much about the food there. The prices for everything seemed pretty reasonable for a Kuta hotel though and there were some healthier options on the Jamie’s Italian and Splash Bistro menus.

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If you wander down to the beach there are lots of satay and corn sellers that are cheap and delicious. While we could get out the night before Nyepi we went and watched the sunset with some grilled corn. There are also tons of restaurants and cafe options within walking distance of the resort, so eating is never really a problem in Kuta.

The Pros and Cons of The Hard Rock Hotel Bali

We really had a great time at the Hard Rock and there are tons of Pros for staying there.

  • The kids had a great time and were really well taken care of
  • The pool area is amazing and extremely family-friendly
  • Our room was really comfortable and had everything we needed
  • The staff were fabulous and nothing was too much trouble for them
  • It’s very easy to get around on foot in the area
  • There are lots of food choices in and out of the resort

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There were a few things that weren’t my favorite about the resort:

  • I was freezing the whole time unless I was out in the sun. Even with no a/c on in our room it was arctic
  • The food was pretty standard and could have been healthier
  • There were a couple of areas of the hotel that needed a lick of paint
  • When there is a band playing in Centerstage you could hear and feel it in the room

All in all, we had a great time and the kids were really happy and are asking to go back soon. It’s an extremely family-friendly hotel and also seems exceptionally well staffed. There are so many reasons to love the Hard Rock and for a family who likes a holiday packed with activities it’s an excellent choice!

Thanks Hard Rock Hotel Bali Bali Kids Guide

A Family Hideaway at Silversand Villa

A Family Hideaway at Silversand Villa

Tourists from all over the world flock to the ancient Balinese temple of Tanah Lot, but very few consider staying in the area. Close to Canggu, but far enough from the hipster-ness of it all, is Pantai Kedungu and a scattering of villas and guest houses in between rice fields and world class surf. While we had my sister, brother-in-law and 2 nieces (4 & 6) in Bali to stay we headed down to check out a new villa called Silversand Villa. Our kids are 4 and 9 so it was a group of 4 adults and 4 kids in total.

Getting There

It took us around an hour to drive to Silversand Villa from Ubud, so from the airport or Kuta area it would probably take around the same time. Canggu is about 20-25 minutes drive away and Tanah Lot temple is just 10 minutes up the road. The roads are smooth until you turn off the main Tanah Lot road but even then they aren’t so bad. Also Canggu can get crazily congested so if you can avoid driving on Jl. Raya Canggu go around! The scenery on the way is beautiful as well, especially if you’re driving from Ubud.

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We arrived to a very smiley welcome from the villa staff, delicious fresh juice and a tour of the villa. We couldn’t have felt more welcomed into the villa and instantly felt like we’d arrived in a place where we could really relax…even with 4 kids.

The Villa

Silversand Villa is actually split in 2 with 2 bedrooms on each side. It is rentable as a 4 bedroom villa or two 2 bedroom villas with a shared pool. We worried a bit at first about having 4 kids with us and disturbing our neighbors, but the way the villa is designed is really smart and works amazingly well. We were also lucky that the family staying next to us were lovely, out quite a lot and very understanding of a bunch of kids splashing in the pool.

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On the ground floor is a great open living room and kitchen with a small plunge pool in the decking area. This for us was an absolute stroke of genius because the kids could be in the pool when the adults were pruney enough and just wanted to hang out on the couch with a cold beer. There is also a downstairs bedroom with a massive ensuite bathroom and enough room for an extra bed or blow-up mattress like we had.

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On the second floor is a small kitchen with fridge and water cooler (another genius idea) leading into a larger bedroom with a massive bathroom with a shower and tub, sitting area and a balcony with a lounger and bean bags. The other fabulous feature of this room is the daybed tucked behind the wall at the back of the bed. The kids absolutely loved this private little area and all wanted to sleep in it.

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Up a small iron staircase is the roof terrace with gorgeous views over the villa, rice fields and the Canggu sunset. There are 2 lovely bales, one for each villa, both with a light so you can sit in the evening. The railing around the terrace is nice and solid and the gaps between the bars are small enough so we didn’t worry about the kids leaning on it or slipping through. The only thing we watched the kids carefully with was the staircase going up to the roof.

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The Area

There aren’t too many other villas in the area and the closest resort is the Pan Pacific Nirwana (which will close for a change of management in June 2017), so views are pretty much unhindered and the quiet at night is wonderful.

The beach is less than 10 minutes walk down the road and it’s very much local with a minority of foreign surfers and plenty of roasted corn, satay and cold drink stands. There were kids in the water but we felt the current was too strong for our kids so they just splashed around in the waves while we watched and sipped cold Bintangs as the sun set. It couldn’t have been more perfect really!

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On the Saturday we drove to Canggu but couldn’t wait to get back to the villa! It seemed so crazy there compared to our quiet little haven and the heat and crowds at all the Canggu markets were way too much for the kids. We did have a nice lunch at The Lawn and a quick look around Old Man’s market, but we all agreed our pool was calling!

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Feeding the Family

Breakfast at Silversand was fabuous! Check out this amazing spread. We had an American breakfast the first day and then nasi goreng on the second. Both delicious but the nasi goreng really was one of the best we’d had, and there was loads of it to keep us going. The kids had toast, fruit, sausages and we loved that there were colourful plates, bowls and cutlery for them. It made us feel like kids were really welcome.

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We knew we wouldn’t be close to much so made sure to hit the supermarket on the way. We brought enough pasta, pesto and snacks with us to keep the kids happy and also went out for dinner at the next villa along on the second night. The food was pretty average but cheap enough and did the job for the kids.

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You can ask the staff to shop and cook for you and pay for the groceries and a small amount for their time. We probably would have done this if we were staying longer because they were great cooks!

Other Things to Do

One thing the kids loved was getting the local spa ladies to come and do their nails. There is a menu in the villa and the staff booked for us, so it was simple and very inexpensive (Rp80,000 for kids manicure or pedicure). It was a real treat, the ladies were lovely and the girls loved their nails and kept showing them off to everyone.

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We also planned to go to Tanah Lot or Batu Bolong Temple but after a long hot day we were all far too lazy to pile in the car again. We were treated to the most gorgeous sunset right from outside our villa though, so we didn’t feel like we’d missed too much. However, I would recommend if you haven’t been to Batu Bolong Temple for sunset before, it’s very close to the villa and a special place to spend an evening.

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Family Friendly Features

The owners of Silversand Villa have made sure families really are welcome with toys by the pool, a few games and books inside, plastic kids cups, plates and cutlery, bean bags and especially the nook behind the master bed. The staff were fabulous with the kids and understood when they were being picky with their food or made a mess. We loved that we could feel at ease and not worry too much about the kids trashing things because the simple decor and layout made it easy for us to watch them.

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The Perfect Weekend at Silversand Villa

We really couldn’t have asked for a more perfect weekend than the one we had at Silversand Villa. We thought the kids might get a little bored being away from everything, but in fact it was totally the opposite. The pool, beach and garden were all we needed for them to play, be outside and enjoy being in a different environment. Amazingly enough, I don’t think we heard a complaint of being bored all weekend and they definitely didn’t want to leave!

I can’t recommend this beautiful villa enough and would definitely go back to stay with family or friends again. It’s a great way to see a quieter, more gentle side of Bali than the craziness of the south and is absolutely worth the drive.

For more information on Silversand Villa visit http://www.silversand-villa.com/