A Family Vacation. Time away to switch off, relax and recharge. Something we felt we all absolutely needed, some seriously good holiday love. Hello idyllic Bali.
We’re long running fans of this magical island. Bali manages to meld all of our favourite things into one. Great food, tropical climate, a buzzing outdoor lifestyle & friendly locals. It’s such a hotspot & caters for just about everyone. From it’s cool, hip & happening beach clubs, designer boutique shopping through to completely zen-like day spas & cultural retreats.
In the past we’ve opted for a private villa in the Seminyak/Canggu region. We love the serenity of our own space. However as our kids grow older we’ve come to realise they need a little more external stimulation. They need a little action, they need some people. Mum & Dad alone, just aren’t cutting it anymore.
We were still looking to achieve a ‘luxury retreat’ style holiday, so headed south to Jimbaran Bay this time around. Jimbaran is a quiet village that hugs the beautiful coastline south of the airport. It’s here we discovered the Intercontinental Bali Resort. Our home away from home for the next 10 days.
The Intercontinental Bali resort is well established. It’s been a favourite along this peninsula for decades. Although, an older ‘more traditional’ balinese styled resort, the setting is just stunning. The gardens are impeccably manicured, the tranquil waterways, common areas and restaurants are lovingly cared for. An exclusive haven. The Intercontinental Bali has a certain confidence & grandeur about it that you don’t find in some of the newer resorts these days.
Being part of the greater Intercontinental group you can be assured of one thing, the service is outstanding. From the moment we arrived, airport meet & greet, transfer & check-in to the moment we left, staff went out of their way to assist, seamlessly. Each & every person genuinely wanted to help. Service can really make or break a holiday, and this resort had it in bucket loads.
The Intercon is set on a private sandy stretch of Jimbaran beach. Crystal clear, blue saltwater laps the golden sand. Being a private beach, means there are no hawkers, its incredibly quiet. No $5 beach Bintangs, hair-braids or massages, it makes for such a serene location. This section of the beach is reserved exclusively for resort guests until sunset when day-trippers come to marvel at the sinking sun. A glorious view we never tired from.
For our family of five, we decided on a Club Suite. The suite was spaciously appointed, with a separate living/bedroom & wrap around balcony with daybed. Full bathroom, spa bath included as well as HAARN toiletries – beautiful products. Although the suite furnishings & decor were a little dated, it was really well maintained & clean. The room styling was very traditional as opposed to modern balinese – lots of rich timbers, elegant marble, batik textures and framed prints adorning the walls.
Now, the upside of being a Club Guest. You basically experience a resort within the resort, a private sanctuary just for Club guests. You’re charged a higher nightly room rate (around $200 more), and receive the following inclusive benefits:
* A room with a view in the Club Wing
* A choice of 4 breakfast venues
* Access to the Club Pool – incl all day poolside refreshments (non alcoholic)
* Afternoon tea at the Club Lounge (high tea style sweet & savoury fare. My girls thought it was pretty fabulous)
* Evening cocktails/drinks over a 3 hour period (enjoyed with canapés in the Club Lounge – adults only, or with a crepe station at The Club Pool – a must!)
* Unlimited access to Planet Trekkers Kids Club (standard guests pay around $7 p/hr per child)
* Club Car private airport transfers & check in/check out at the private club lounge
* Pralines/fruit bowl on arrival
* Priority seating at restaurants (when booked in advance)
* Butler/concierge for any bookings/tours etc
In my books, definitely worth it. Our girls (the two youngest) couldn’t wait to spend time at the Kids Club each day. From fishing, pottery, bike tours, cooking, jewellery making, puppet shows and dancing – they were in activity heaven. Not to mention the other inclusions that made grown-ups time all the more enjoyable.
The resort restaurants were a great experience all round. The extensive buffet breakfast at Taman Gita Terrace was an all consuming start the day. It’s what you’d expect from a five star resort spread – everything. As club guests, we had the option of venues for breakfast.
The a la carte menu in the Club lounge was extensive & enjoyable. From Eggs Benedict, Blueberry Pancakes to healthy green juices & cold drip coffee. The Club lounge however is an elegant & sophisticated space, geared toward the discerning traveller. With our three kids clanking about the fine china, we decided to mix it up a little and enjoyed all breakfast venues throughout our stay.
Intercontinentals’ award winning Italian restaurant. Housed in a large freestanding villa, the restaurant spills out onto perfectly manicured gardens. Expect bold flavours; authentically prepared pastas, seafood & classic aged meats, paired with a carefully selected wine list. The experience was warm, rustic & wholesome – just like Italian food should be. My pick; the Tagliolini S.Lucia, and the Pistachio Orange Semifreddo.
Sunset Bar & Grill
As the name suggests – the best spot for a few sundowners. This became a daily ritual. Beachfront daybed, afternoon cocktails, tapas and some sweet sunset tunes. The kids ran free on the beach, popping back to hydrate on freshly squeezed juice. The menu here was casual but varied, it never felt like we ran out of options. From burgers & salads to fresh seafood & traditional Indonesian fare. The service, again – flawless. Always polite, accommodating and warm.
KO Japanese Restaurant
One word, wow! We are lovers of good Japanese food. Consequently, Oliver is a little obsessed. We treated him to a ‘date night’ to experience a traditional Teppanyaki at KO. The girls were happily ‘crafting’ at the kids club. It was perfectly timed. Entering the restaurant was through a labyrinth of zen gardens. Long pebbled walkways met narrow corridors & secret doors. Dramatic lighting, chic contrasting decor, it felt very James Bond.
The Executive Chef is Nobu trained so we opted for the the full ‘KO’ Teppanyaki experience. A contemporary take on traditional Japanese cooking. The result was light, effortless & full of flavour. So many courses, so many textures. Prepared with drama, precision and love. A real spectacle for the senses, nothing short of amazing.
Jimbaran Gardens/Pool Bar
The place for a quick bite or easy sun-lounger lunch. We generally ate bikini clad by the pool (there are five pools), enjoying a mix of salads & wood fired pizzas. Finished off with an obligatory gelato – of course. The kids menu available throughout the resort restaurants is excellent, and like most things at the Intercontinental, plenty of variety. A mix of healthy options; vegie sticks & dips, soups and wraps & the usual crowd pleasers; fish & chips, burgers & fries, pizza & pasta.
A holiday isn’t a holiday without a little pampering. Hubby & I enjoyed a traditional Balinese massage at Spa Uluwatu, the onsite day spa. There are a few locations you can choose to have your treatment which is a real bonus. The main spa (completely indoors), in one of the pool/beach bures, or at the Spa Villas, these were a short Club Car ride away. A cluster of small treatment rooms housed in a large open villa with pool.
If relaxing at the spa or by the pool isn’t your thing, the resort had activities aplenty. Water sports for the aqua babes, bike riding, sunrise yoga, cooking classes, market tours, beach volleyball – there was something for everyone. The kind of place you can do as much (or as little) as you like.
Ahh bliss. Just waiting for the post-holiday blues to set in now.
All in all, our stay at The Intercontinental Bali resort totally exceeded our expectations. The resort was at 80% occupancy but it never felt crowded or busy. The expansive grounds and resort layout meant there was plenty of space for everyone to carve out their own little patch of paradise. It was such an easy, relaxed family holiday. Beautiful surroundings met with genuine Balinese hospitality. It catered to our every need & more.
For more information check out the resort website here. I’ll be posting a part two ‘Out & About in Bali’ to cover off our favourite spots across Bali to eat, play & shop. Watch this space.