Our family holiday to Bali had finally arrived!! This would be our 4th trip together as a family and the kids especially had so much fun. We moved around quite a bit staying at Holiday Inn Baruna, Courtyard Marriot Seminyak, Mara River Safari Lodge and Villa Kawan in Sanur. This actually worked out quite well as we packed lightly and were able to try out a range of accommodation. Travelling with 5 and 2 year old kids is always fun but it was made very relaxing by using our brilliant nanny Kadek. She became like part of our family and helped my husband and I relax!! Here is our JBR or Just Back Report of our holiday, hope you enjoy and feel free to message any questions. I can be found on Facebook and Instagram or on email at email@example.com.
This is the 1st instalment of my trip reports, Happy reading :-)
Wednesday 31st August
The day was finally here, we were off to Bali!! As we live 3 hours from Melbourne Airport and had chosen the 9:15am flight to Bali we stayed at the new Quest Apartments Melbourne Airport in a 2 bedroom apartment. Great space and easy parking located right near ACE parking where we park our car.
Check in with Jetstar was easy with the bag drop as I had checked in online the night before. My favourite thing to travel with young kids is our Mountain Buggy Nano stroller. Mason is nearly 3 yrs with mild autism so is quite the escape artist and is hard to contain at times so the stroller was the best!! The flight left only 10 minutes late and the kids were pretty good on the plane. Mason slept 2 hours and Charlotte was happy playing on the iPad.
We arrived on time into Bali but must have landed after quite a few planes as the lines at Immigration were long!! So great that VOA is now free for Australians. It took 1/2hr to get through Immigration and I was so glad Mason was in the stroller or it would have been very, very painful. Bags were out once we got to the carousel and straight out, changed $100aud at the money changer then found our drive Made Mangku to take us to the Holiday Inn Baruna. If you ever have any issues seeing your driver like I have had on my past 2 trips, walk through the duty free area and out to where all the drivers wait. You will get asked about transport but keeping walking to the main desk and ask the operator to announce your drivers name over the loud speaker and they will come up. We have used Made for previous trips and he had cold bintang waiting for us and a soft drink for the kids!
Check in at Holiday Inn Baruna was quick and easy as Jed is a platinum IHG member. We had booked the kids suite room which is 2 bedrooms interconnecting with the twin room decorated for the kids. As it was their highest room category and they couldn’t offer us an upgrade that we get with platinum membership, they gave Jed and I a voucher for a 1 hour massage at the spa. We were shown to room 1126/1125 which is on the ground floor a short walk from the kids club and restaurant. It was also easy walking to the pool area. The rooms had heaps of space except the main bathroom was quite small for the size of the room. In the photos we had the blinds up for the bathrooms but rest assured the blinds on the outside of the windows worked well!! The outdoor sitting area was nice and looked out to a garden. The kids loved their room and we were very happy about the security of the room as it can be hard to keep Mason in at times!! They had high security latches on the main doors and security chains on the balcony doors. I think the one thing that will affect these rooms in the future is that the hotel next door will not allow as much privacy or relaxation in the outdoor space. It will be interesting to see what the plans for this area of the hotel are.
Bathers on and straight to the pool. How good are those first swims after a long day on a plane!! The pool was great, a large shallow ledge in the main pool and a great size kids pool close by. Food ordered from the pool bar and wifi accessed which was very quick and strong. Impressed with the friendly staff and beautiful gardens. It didn’t have the feel of a huge resort they way it was designed and everything was within easy access even from the garden view rooms. One thing to note with the pool view ground floor rooms is they had quite a few stairs leading down from the balcony sitting area. I’m glad with Mason we didn’t book these rooms as it would have been tricky getting up and down to the pool.
After the swim Charlotte wanted to check out the kids club which for our stay was in a temporary room next to the minimart. I chatted to the staff and they couldn’t give an exact date for the renovated kids club to be finished but it sounded like not until next year at some point. The temporary one was ok as the kids still enjoyed going there and the range of activities was still the same. The staff would give you a mobile phone to take and if Charlotte wanted to be picked up before we got back they would call us to let us know. Mason was also welcomed with our nanny Kadek as he was only 2 yrs he needed to be accompanied.
Dinner for our first night was at the hotel restaurant Envy. Very impressed with the service, drinks, food and prices. They looked after the kids well with a very clean high chair and pencils with colouring pages provided. Gorgeous spot to watch the sunset with plenty of room for the kids to run around and a fire dance show started once it turned dark! Early to bed after a huge day.
Thursday 1st September
So a general theme of our holiday is that Mason liked to wake up at 5am every day!! Fun fun, oh the joys of travelling with kids!! Breakfast at Holiday Inn started at 6:30am which was very handy as we were there at 6:45am. It was the usual buffet breakfast and you could order your eggs with the staff bringing them to you at the table. I loved the healthy juice which was different each day. The kids zone for breakfast was ok but could have been better, way too many sugary options for that time of morning! The one thing I did miss was a proper latte. They had coffee machines but it’s just not the same!!
After breakfast I went for a walk to get some supplies and Jed took the kids to the pool. I found a minimart close by that had milk and snacks for the kids. There are a couple of minimarts that are 24hrs a short walk from the Holiday Inn even having supplies of nappies, sunscreen etc. I then walked past Lippo Mall and through into Ramada Bintang Resort. A nice looking resort quite spread out, the pool overlooks the beach and there was a small playground near the pool. Back along the beach path to the Holiday Inn and straight to the pool as it was already quite warm! Mason was already turning feral by 10:30am so down he went for a nap. Kadek, our nanny, arrived at 11am and she waited in the room for Mason to wake while Charlotte went to the kids club with Jed and I heading out to Discovery Mall for a look around. If you would like Kadek’s details, as I highly recommend her, feel free to message me through my Facebook or Instagram pages.
I left Jed to keep shopping and I headed to Seminyak to catch up with friends via Wina Optica to get a new set of prescription glasses. They had moved from their old spot at Supernova building in Kuta but it was easy to find them as I had the map below. They did a quick eye test and then I selected a pair of sunglasses that they would put the prescription lens into for $50aud. They also replaced my lenses in my normal prescription glasses for $25aud and I picked up a 3 pack of monthly contact lenses for $30aud. Very quick and easy with pick up organised for Sanur when we arrived the next week.
I walked up to Jl Legian to get a taxi to Grain cafe in Seminyak and it only took 10 minutes. Was fantastic to meet up with the girls and I enjoyed a cold drip coffee and eggs benedict. Love this little cafe for their great coffee and food with the AC a great bonus!
Taxi back to the hotel and found Jed, Kadek and the kids at the pool. Charlotte had made a friend at the kids club and was having a great time swimming and playing with her. Jed and I had a great chat to her parents and enjoyed a couple of bintangs at the pool. Time went quick and before we knew it was nearly sunset! Back to the room for showers and ordered room service for Kadek and Mason while the rest of us jumped in a taxi and went to Beachwalk Mall in Kuta. Charlotte had heard me say that there was a Lego store and she was desperate to see it and buy some lego. She loved it and found a Cinderalla Lego set that we couldn’t find at home. The prices were very similar to home if not a bit more but the range was great! Also checked out the couple of kids play areas which looked great but we were all very hungry and Charlotte tired that we didn’t try them out. Quick dinner at Luna Negra where the food was ok but not that special. Charlotte was asleep in the taxi 2 minutes down the street!!
Friday 2nd September
Waterbom time again!! One of our favourite things to do as a family is to head to Waterbom for the day. The kids love all the slides and the kids zone, with us adults enjoying good food and clean surroundings. I had pre purchased the family ticket at the Holiday Inn through the tour desk which was run by Tour East. They were able to do the family ticket for 1,400,000rp which worked out about $23aud less than the gate entrance price. This really surprised me so worth checking around to see what price you can get. It was also great when we arrived as we didn’t have to line up but went to the pre purchased counter. I had forgotten to purchase a ticket for Kadek but they were able to do that for about $31aud. If you do go to purchase tickets for your nanny make sure they are aware that they are Indonesian as it is cheaper than for foreigners. We then went straight to the kids zone to try for a gazebo but they were all taken and we were there at 9:15am! It worked out OK in the end as we found one, number 17, just the other side of Pret a Manger cafe which was great as we could access there wifi too! If you are keen on not renting a gazebo near the kids zone then you need to go rent it from the locker area at the front entrance.
We had so much fun, Charlotte and I even attempted the Boomerang!! Check out the photo, so funny :-) Mason managed a 2 hour nap so it was fantastic to have Kadek there to stay with him. I also got a passout and went across to Sephora at Discovery Mall just across the road. I needed to stock up on makeup and even though the prices were similar to Australia it was very handy.
Hot tip: get to Waterbom by 9am opening time if you want to get a gazebo by the kids zone.
If you happen to run out the shop has supplies that you may need! Even though I’m not sure I would want to pay $5aud for 1 swim nappy! They even have reasonable priced bathers which I needed last visit as I forgot my bathers back at the villa!! Who does that ;-)
At 2pm we decided to head back to the hotel when Mason woke up and the kids went with Kadek to the kids club while Jed and I went to Tea Tree Spa to enjoy our complimentary 1 hour massages. Oh my goodness such peaceful, beautiful surroundings and we both agreed our massages were one of the best ones we have had! Would highly recommend if staying at the resort or nearby to book in for a spa session.
Charlotte had a great time at the kids club as she went to the kitchen with 5 other kids and baked cookies. Really impressed with the kids clubs activities and staff interaction :-)
Decided on dinner at Envy to enjoy our last sunset at the Holiday Inn but as we were ordering dinner I suddenly felt unwell and returned to our room and was sick! Very strange as I felt ok afterwards and managed to go back and enjoy a ginger ale with the family. Such a beautiful sunset and Charlotte and I walked down to the waters edge in front of the hotel. Watching the planes land was a lot of fun and the sunset was stunning! Everyone enjoyed their meals again and it was early to bed as it had been a huge day!
Saturday 3rd September
Getting quite used to Mason’s 5am wake ups, only in Bali do I enjoy getting up so early!! Another early breakfast and then Jed and Charlotte relaxed in the room as they were both not feeling the best. Jed with a nasty cough and Charlotte a mild temperature. Mason and I went for a walk along the beach path first towards the airport and then back to the Dynasty resort to have a look around. I was close to booking here but the prices were quite expensive for the family rooms! I was a bit surprised to see it wasn’t right on the beach and you accessed the beach down a gang. The kids areas looked fabulous but everything seemed quite squished in to me and very busy even at 8am in the morning. We may consider staying here is the future when the kids are 6 yrs and older to take advantage of the great kids facilities but I was glad to get back to the quietness and opened grassed areas of the Holiday Inn.
Quick swim before Charlotte and I enjoyed the Me & Li’l princess package at the spa. It was 1 hr long and we had a massage and facial. It was Charlotte’s first massage and she loved the whole experience. Another great massage for me and the facial was really good. Back to the room to relax before our complimentary late checkout of 2pm. Over the past couple of days the area outside of the other family rooms had slowly turned into a construction site and unfortunately it had really ramped up for our last few hours. Luckily Mason sleeps through anything but I did suggest to the front reception if the noise was going to continue at that level there is no way they should have families in the rooms! They responded well to my suggestions and for the inconvenience allocated IHG reward points to Jed’s account. Room service ordered for them all and I headed to Palm restaurant to enjoy a quiet nasi goreng and chicken satay.
We overall had a great stay at the Holiday Inn Baruna. I really enjoyed the beautiful gardens and pool area, it felt so open and not crowded. It really suited our kids being 5 and 2 yrs old as it was easy to walk around and the pool area perfect for their ages. We would defintely return and can’t wait to see how the new kids club area turns out. If you enjoyed reading about our stay and would like to book at Holiday Inn Baruna check their prices out here as I found the best prices to be direct through IHG. This is an affiliate link so I will receive a commission if you book through the link but the prices stay the same for you.
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