From Jungle To Beach, Bali Is One Of The Most Family Friendly Holiday Destinations
Thinking about your next family holiday, mamas? The Indonesian island of Bali is known as much for its beautiful beaches as for its dramatic landscapes, lush rice paddies, jungle hikes and a really friendly relaxed vibe that’s just perfect for when traveling with kids. Whether you’re looking for a little adventure or you want to base yourself somewhere that caters entirely for children so that you can completely relax (well, almost completely…), these are 3 hotels to consider (each guaranteed to come with stunning sunsets!).
A visit to Bali wouldn’t be complete without some time in Ubud, considered to be the island’s ‘cultural heart’, surrounded by tropical rainforest and terraced rice paddies, dotted with temples and shrines and the ideal place for reconnecting with nature and soaking up a whole lotta green – perfect for desert dwellers looking for the antithesis to a sandy landscape! The Four Seasons, Ubud, located on the outskirts of the tiny village of Sayan, around 10 minutes drive from the centre of Ubud, is one of the most beautifully serene hotels in the region, surrounded by gardens and jungle and with the Ayung River tumbling at its doorstep, this is somewhere to stay if you want to get away from it all.
From the arrival via a ‘sky-bridge’ walkway that takes you up over the canopy of trees, to the impeccable service, beautifully designed rooms with all of the little luxuries you’d expect from a Four Seasons property – they’ve really thought of it all. And as for the kids? The Pici Pici (meaning ‘little snail’ kids club here offers free fun, discovery and entertainement for children aged between 4 and 12 years old in the cutest area made up of a colourful play centre and a Rice Barn Tree House with its own little jungle wonderland garden. From Balinese dance classes to palm leaf folding, the activities here are endless depending on how much your kids want to do!
An infinity pool over the rushing river below was perfect for a little chill out/splash about time (there isn’t a dedicated kids pool here and if you have very boisterous little ones then you might feel slightly self-conscious about them making heaps of noise) and there are loads of off-site excursions to try – including a guided rafting experience (an absolute must given that that the river is right there and you get dropped off literally at the rocks below the pool!). Our youngest (aged 4) was just too little to join (although the rafting is by no means ‘wild’ and actually I think she would have been fine) but we navigated the waters with our 5 and 7 year olds who absolute loved the scenic journey and spotting wildlife along the way. And if you’d like to indulge in everything from massage to spiritual practices and healing, The Sacred River Spa is just the place.
One of the newest totally family-dedicated properties to open in Bali, this is the ideal option for mamas who want to travel but still want all the securities of baby essentials and kiddie friendly facilities too plus a very short transfer time from the airport (only 15 minutes drive – bonus!). If you’re looking for authentic Indonesia then this may not be for you – but if it’s kids clubs, dedicated pools, splash park, kiddie dining areas, beautifully spacious family rooms with themed décor and all that kind of stuff that you’re after then read on!
Beautifully designed, this sprawling resort is built around a gorgeous pool/lagoon area complete with little sandy areas to mimic a beach, over-water hammocks and water-side cabanas which are perfect for families (get your towels in quick though as they’re popular!). And there’s a great water slide/splash area for the kids to go wild in plus a mini playground within eyesight so mama and dad can chill a bit while the kids have fun (providing your nippers can swim of course!). The Pirate themed Meera Kids Club takes little ones from age 4 – 12, is free of charge for 4 hours per child and open from 9am – 8pm. From arts and crafts to sports, games and movie sessions there’s plenty to keep the kids amused in the club plus family activities from Balinese cooking to preparing offerings for the hotel shrine that you can try too.
The hotel is about 10 minutes walk from the beach where there are plenty of places to grab a cold drink and watch the sunset (the waves are quite big – wouldn’t particularly recommend it as a swimming beach) and is also part of the Samasta Lifestyle Village, a little shopping complex complete with supermarket, a book store and more plus cafes and restaurants if you fancy something different. Handy if you want to stock up on your own water or have run out of any kiddie essentials!
On Bali’s South Western Bukit peninsula, Uluwatu is a surfers paradise and a fab place to head to if you don’t want touristy crowds. Towering cliffs, incredible sunsets and views across the Indian Ocean – this area is literally breathtaking (and perfect when combined with the jungles of Ubud). The Anantara is a modern/minimalist property with a beautiful position literally perched on a clifftop. This hotel is all about the elements – from hearing waves crash to feeling the sea breeze, we absolutely loved the feeling of being so connected with the surroundings. The rooms and bathrooms here are huge so there’s plenty of space for the whole family and all the paraphernalia that comes with kids – we stayed in an Ocean Front Suite which comes with an outdoor tub on the balcony – the source of much amusement for my 3 who discovered that bubble bath and Jacuzzis make a lot of foam when combined!
There’s no kids club here but that’s not at all what this hotel is about – with 2 infnity pools looking out over the surf below and the beautiful coastline to explore, there are opportunities aplenty for loads of outdoor fun and adventure and there are daily complimentary activities including pottery and yoga which the whole family can enjoy. The hotel has a lift to take you down the cliff to the beach below (which is only accessible at low tide) but we chose to walk – about 20 minutes down winding steps, past little surf huts and through craggy rocks before getting down to the most stunning bit of coast complete with rock pools where the kids got stuck into finding sea creatures. This part of beach links with Padang Padang bay where there’s calmer water for swimming, boards to rent if you fancy a go at surfing or paddle boarding plus little places to get a drink or bite to eat. And after a day out on the beach there was nothing better than getting back to the Anantara for a bubble bath on the balcony while watching the sun set over the ocean before dinner at the hotel’s rooftop restaurant – also the venue for one of the best hotel breakfasts I’ve ever had, complete with views of all the surfers below. Simply magical.