While five-star hotels offer easy buffets and kids’ clubs, Bali offers great getaways that may take a bit more effort to arrange but perhaps make a more memorable stay. And with a family in tow, it’s all about making memories, right?
Bali’s east offers gorgeous scenery and is easily reached now a major coastal road has been finished. We’re big fans of Life in Amed’s charming three-bedroom, oceanfront house with private pool, located right next door to its bungalow offerings and restaurant. You’ll hear the jukongs parked along the beach out front rev up their engines just before dawn as they fan out across the ocean. Go on, get out of bed and see them under the moonlight — you’ve been up three times already for the kids so what’s another? (If you do want fancy — you can’t go past Alila Manggis in this corner of Bali.)
You’ve probably heard people whinging about the traffic and congestion in Ubud, and they have good reason to complain as the once quiet in-the-hills village has been transformed in recent years, and not in a good way. Though you can certainly still find lovely places to retreat to in Ubud and its surrounds, we prefer short stays in Sidemen when we’re looking to just unwind and want to skip the shopping and fancy restaurants.
Though young kids will need to be carefully watched at the pool’s high edge, we love Teras Bali for its simple clean rooms, old-school hospitality and relaxed atmosphere. There’s not much to do, but that’s why we love it.
Bali’s Bukit seems to be undergoing its own boom these days, but Temple Lodge gives you a taste of when it was just a surfing mecca. Small kids will need to be watched as it’s located cliffside, but the views are fantastic and the Spanish-inspired food makes a trip here alone worthwhile. Surfing still comes first — when we stopped by once the owners had gone out, leaving a handwritten, “Gone surfing!” sign. It’s pricier but worth grabbing one of the cliff-front rooms for the awesome views. Don’t panic — you don’t have to walk all the way down to the beach for a swim as there’s a lovely on-site pool as well.
Medewi is another Bali surf mecca, offering not too much in the way of other activities. Hmm, sense a theme here? We’re kind of lazy when it comes to activities and just like hanging out, eating, playing games, reading and drawing. Medewi Surf Homestay offers a cute little two-storey house with three bedrooms perfect for this kind of break, especially if you’re on a budget. The best bit about staying here is having a massage with Ugi, so make sure he’s going to be there when you book your room and slot in a time for a massage as soon as you can too.
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
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