We were recently given the opportunity to go to Bali for four days (yes another Indonesian trip in the space of four months!) but this was completely different, so we jumped at the chance. We picked a luxurious resort in Jimbaran Bay, away from the Balinese hustle and bustle. This 4-day escape was going to be completely relaxing and I wanted to show it could be done with children in tow.
We flew Garuda Indonesia and once again they were excellent. One thing I think I failed to mention in my last article is that when you fly Garuda Indonesia, you go through immigration on the plane before landing. This is excellent with children as you simply get off the plane and go straight to baggage, no long queues.
The resort we choose was called Ayana, formerly the Ritz Carlton and I have to say, from the moment you arrive you know this is a very special place. To say the Ayana was the most spectacular resort I have ever stayed in is an understatement. It was magical.
On arrival, we were greeted with a huge smile and a frangipani lei that smells divine. The resort is set on 77 hectares of cliff top tropical gardens. It is a feast for the senses, as you walk around you can smell frangipani, gardenia, jasmine and lemongrass. The sunsets are like nothing I have ever experienced and it is impossible not to take a deep breath and let all the stress and tension in your body melt away.
The facilities Ayana provide for children are exceptional. They have a mega fun children’s swimming pool with not one but two water slides which are very gentle and even my two year old (who is a little daring) was slipping and sliding her way down. They have a Kids Club for children from 2-10 years of age with activities to suit each age group. An outdoor play centre, trampoline, foosball table, ping pong table, craft area, Xboxes if it’s raining – the list goes on and activities change daily. There is plenty of qualified supervision and staff employed by the resort to create these programs daily. Best of all, the infinity pool is fairly close to the Kids Club area so if you are a little protective and want to keep a watchful eye over your precious cargo, you can lounge pool side, sipping your cocktail and still be within ears distance from them.
We also took our children down to Kubu Beach, which is a private beach available exclusively to hotel guests. Despite the 100 odd steps to get down to the beach, it was well worth it. The children had plenty of room to run around, make sandcastles and splash about in the ocean. There is even a flushing toilet down there. The staff on the beach had tennis balls and volleyballs and played with the children for hours. This allowed my husband and I to play and relax in equal measure. We basically had the entire beach to ourselves for two hours until another couple joined us.
Now, I did mention I was out to prove that we could have a relaxing and romantic break with the children so I went about investigating the baby sitting services on offer. Given I had kept a close eye on the Kids Club staff, I was more than comfortable utilising the babysitting services. Aside from the fact that Indonesians are generally beautiful with children, the cost for baby-sitting is extremely affordable at $7USD per hour.
We took advantage of this and on the first night; after the children were in bed, we escaped to the Rock Bar. This bar is set in the cliff face of the Ayana resort. As a guest you get priority entrance and believe me this is well worth it as we walked past about 60 people lining up to get in. This place is so POPULAR and when you get down there you know why – 360 degree ocean views and delicious, affordable cocktails await but beware of the champagne, one glass will set you back $34!
The next night we enjoyed a family dinner night at a lovely Asian restaurant called Padi. The food was delicious and the children loved it. The highlight for me though was another night out with hubby at the Martini Bar and Dava. When you first arrive you walk down a boardwalk surrounded by water and a beautiful light display. The French food is nothing short of delicious as are the classic martinis.
Overall Ayana sucks you in and forces you to relax. This was a holiday enjoyed by the entire family. We all left feeling like we had been there for much longer than 4 days, which is always a good sign.