In a Villa
Villas in Bali are now a growing trend and ideal option. With private pools and kitchen facilities, standalone villas offer luxury and seclusion. When costs are split between a group, they can work out cheaper than a hotel. Most include fully equipped kitchens and dedicated butler service or personalised concierge services. Some even offer shuttle services or private drivers to take you to a restaurant for dinner, or drop you off at the nearby beach. Villas are furnished with a living area, dining and fantastic open plan environments; not forgetting the outdoor private pool to laze the day away in. Booking your own villa is perfect for that relaxed holiday house atmosphere; great for families and groups of friends travelling together, or to celebrate a special occasion.
Plenty of space, modern conveniences, personalised service and attention to detail are all part and parcel of the private villa experience. Some villa complexes in Bali also have communal facilities in terms of a pool or restaurant onsite or a gym and spa, so it's a little like being in a nice resort but with the privacy of your own villa if you prefer.
Beautiful, first class, stunning, high-end, amazing, breath-taking – just some of the adjectives that come to mind for the number of luxury resorts that are sprinkled around Bali. The beachfront resorts that boast balconies and ocean views to the cliff top properties with infinity edge pools have all been designed to provide the ultimate in luxury. Award-winning spa complexes, attentive yet discreet staff and outstanding restaurants all come together to provide you with an exceptional home away from home. Many resorts in Nusa Dua are within a gated complex, offering 5-star service, ultimate luxury and is considered Bali’s most esteemed resort area. Benoa is still of high status but generally less expensive. The beaches are renowned for calm, clear water, ideal for swimming and snorkelling.
Your luxury accommodation is not often as expensive as you may think either. You’ll be wowed by the design of the hotel, the manicured gardens, the facilities on offer and the atmosphere within the grounds. Deciding on what photos to send to friends that best showcase what you’re experiencing is the hard part!
Bali has a surprising amount of restaurants that will cater for whatever you are needing. You didn’t book a trip to Bali to eat burgers so be sure to try a traditional Warung which is a small family- owned eatery serving traditional Balinese food. Gorge on bowls of Mee Gorings accompanied by a cool drink of choice and you’ve got a delightful and cheap lunch. Sunday Brunches are becoming a common event at some resorts and beach bars. Bookings are essential for a lazy Sunday spent eating good food and being kept hydrated in a relaxed setting.
Warehouses that have been converted to funky restaurants are proving a popular venue for dining as well. Offering individual or shared plates, you’ll definitely want to set aside an evening well in advance for what is likely to be a highlight of your holiday. Dining outdoors is commonplace in an environment where the air is still warm once the sun goes down. Grab a table outdoors when given the chance.
The best part of many of your dining experiences in Bali is the price. Nowhere near what you would be paying in New Zealand!
As a Family
Bali ticks all the boxes for a perfect holiday for families. Warm weather, sandy beaches, tasty food, great resorts and plenty of exciting activities to keep the kids busy. The tough part can be deciding what to do and where to stay. Family resorts often have pools, slides and kids’ clubs, while villas offer private pools and extra space. Pick locations that are convenient for restaurants, beaches and shopping. Visit a supermarket early on during your stay and stock up on snacks and drinks. If you are in a villa with a private pool, take some pool toys from home, or buy when in Bali.
When it comes to waterparks, the sprawling Waterbom Waterpark covers all sorts of heights and frights, with whopping 250 metre slides and some reach speeds of 70 kilometres per hour. Finns Recreation Club has a Splash Water Park, Bounce Trampoline Centre, Strike Ten Pin Bowling and Cubby House Kids Club. Mum and dad may like the Fitness Centre that is also here, or the Body Temple Spa.
Bali is not just all resorts and beaches within an hours drive from the airport. There are outer islands that offer quite a different experience. The most well-known are the Gili Islands - 3 small islands (Gili Trawangan, or Gili T for short, Gili Meno and Gili Air) that are located just off the northwest tip of Lombok and accessible by boat or plane. Island hop between the three on public transport, enjoy snorkelling, quiet beaches and no cars!
Nusa Lembongan is closer to the mainland and can be visited as a day trip, but it is best to stay overnight in a traditional Balinese type of building for a different experience in a Lumbung. The unique design of the thatched roofed lumbungs is inspired by a traditional Indonesian rice house. All lumbungs are fitted with ceiling fans, air-conditioning units, en suites and large glass doors which open out onto an intimate verandah perched 2 metres above a relaxing day bed. Absolute beachfront lumbungs enhance the experience, as you look out over the ocean. Glamping is a possibility too! Our favourite is situated 4-5 hours drive from Seminyak in Pejarakan, North Bali, Menjangan Dynasty Resort lies on a white sand peninsula with a safe swimming beach. Snorkelling and diving is easily accessible with the nearby reef or head inland to the surrounding National Park to explore the natural environment. The African-safari inspired tents are crafted with comfort, space and style. Each Beach Camp Tent is air conditioned and has a verandah complete with day bed and sun loungers.
Swimming a few laps around the pool or a morning walk along the beach is enough for some, but there are definitely other ways to get the blood flowing while on holiday. A cycling tour is a great way to get rural and learn a bit about Bali as well. With much of the tour downhill, it’s not strenuous at all and your guide will explain many things along the way. For a cooler activity, white water rafting will tick the box. The action starts when you launch into the river, navigating through 33 rapids set on a backdrop of wild unspoiled rainforest. Professionally trained guides pilot safety-equipped Avon rafts through the best river runs. Surfboards are readily available for hire along many of the beaches and there are surf schools if you are wanting to learn. Head to Ubud and wander through Rice Paddies, with a number of steps on the terraced hills, pause to look around when you need a rest.
There are buggy tours, land cruising adventures and cooking classes to keep you busy too. And when you need some down time, yoga is offer at numerous places and of course there are multiple spa salons in every direction offering cheap massages, rejuvenating reflexology treatments and nail treatments.