Earlier this month, we went on our very first family-only trip. As in the five of us. We had not attempted one yet, always having at least my MIL along, and it was on my insistence that we go on this trip alone. It was fantastic family quality time, with just us and the kids, no other distractions (or people to distract). We are not super parents, so it was achievement unlocked! My cousin’s wife was just telling us about how she brought her 3 kids on a skiing trip to Korea ALL BY HERSELF this holiday; her kids are between 7-14 years old, so I shall set a similar achievement target for the future. I think a no-itinerary beach holiday which is relaxing is not a bad place to start training, right?
This trip, we stayed at the Anantara Bali Uluwatu Resort & Spa, and it’s our third trip to Bali this year. It was also our third time staying in the Uluwatu area. This YEAR. Sounds a bit OCD but it was by coincidence, since the first time was in a villa with 6 other couples, villa not chosen by me; and second time for a stunning wedding by the Uluwatu coast, also no choice, had to stay nearby. Uluwatu is really quite ulu (which means “remote” in Malay), but we’re the sort of family who loves the beach and can stay in a resort for a week without going anywhere, so it was fine with us! And for all the remoteness of Uluwatu, you get amazingly stunning views. Like breathtaking views. But I am going to avoid Uluwatu for a while, probably.
The ocean view rooms at this resort are HUGE, and at 85sqm, that’s almost the size of my entire home (95sqm, sob sob!). The kids loved the huge huge sofa, and we were able to turn that into a sleeping area for the older 2 kids, which was as large as a King bed. We also had a baby cot, so I had plenty of space in the bed for myself! Currently it is rainy season in Bali, but there were still plenty of spots of sunshine, and although it was annoying, but the kids were also happy to play in the room. We enjoyed watching movies in the room, and they provided some kind of building blocks, which the kids loved putting into the various boxes in the room and playing with them. There are bathtubs in the balcony for you to soak and savour the view, but as it’s a cosy resort with all the rooms are trying to capitialise on the view, I wouldn’t do it in my birthday suit. Similarly, we had a room on the upper floor, which I think has more privacy that the pool suites or even 2 bedroom suites because you could look into many of them!
There is a mini-theatre which I think isn’t well patronized and they offered to run a movie for us whenever we wanted although they did display the regular movie times. There is one organised activity each day (pottery, towel art, etc), but we were happy swimming in the pool or going to the beach at low tide.
On our first day we took the shuttle from the hotel to Padang Padang beach, stopping to have brunch at Blue Heaven first (great food!). My kids loved the beach, and even though it is choking with seaweed, they had so much fun playing in the water and with the sand and catching hermit crabs (I’m good at that!). Our little girl also surprised us by insisting on going swimming in the sea. Yes, she INSISTED. What?! Thank goodness the husband brought her.
On our second day, we took the hotel lift down to the beach (only operational during low tide), and walked across to Padang Padang beach. It wasn’t an easy stroll because you have to navigate around some rocks, walking in the water a little, and the beach and water are choking with seaweed, so a pair of booties for everyone would have been good (that morning the hotel hadn’t set up their beach station which offers booties and drinks), but we really enjoyed the little adventure. That day we took the hotel shuttle back after lunch at Blue Heaven again (I hear The Mango Tree Cafe in the area is also very good). It started pouring during lunch after a quick call to the hotel they were kind enough to arrange for the driver to pick us up at Blue Haven instead of the beach pick up point 100m away. The shuttle drivers were also happy to stop at a little store for 5 minutes on the way back for us to grab some snacks.
What we didn’t like about the resort was all those steps from the main building to the pool side – especially when I was often carrying a 13kg baby. At least it was a good workout for me! But the steps are an inevitable because it is perched on the cliff, so I wouldn’t bring a pram or wheelchair around the resort. It is a very small resort, so I felt a little sorry if there were any couples who were there hoping for some peace and quiet, because life is anything but when you have young kids!
I don’t remember there being any kids club, but they do have baby chairs and no baby cutlery, which is fine because I hate those anyway. They do have a kids menu, and the food at the resort was very good, we enjoyed everything! The staff here were all very attentive and friendly, my eldest said they were “1000% friendly”! We had a late flight out, so they kindly let us have a shower room, where the younger 2 napped and puked and peed on the bed WHOOOPS!! Thank God they had somewhere to nap though. They even gave each of the kids a parting gift of M&Ms (no thanks), and a traditional wood flute-noisemaker thing. Impressed!