Silver beaches, warm blue waters, soaring volcanoes, tropical forests and vertiginous rice terraces… The list of reasons why Bali is a top tourist destination is almost endless. However, the Island of the Gods is also incredibly family-friendly, with something to do for all the clan. Plus, there is a dazzling array of family-focused accommodations, with tented villas, gigantic swimming pools action-packed kids' clubs. Here's our pick of the best of the bunch.
At this brand-new resort, stone stairs lead straight onto the buttercup sands of Dreamland Beach. It’s tucked away in a private compound on the Bukit Peninsula and features one- and two-bedroom villas – plus a four-bedroom Royal Water Palace – that come with au pair quarters, masses of outdoor space, private swimming pools and Indian Ocean views. Elsewhere, there are three lagoon-shaped infinity pools and the Peafowl Kids’ Club. Here, tots, tweens and teens can engage in a range of culture-based activities, including making Balinese paper lampion, creating their own jewellery, keben painting (hand-painted baskets), teen yoga and bonfire nights.
Sunset villa with private pool at Jumeirah Bali
Mandapa: a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
Pitched in a forested valley on the outskirts of Ubud, this ultra-luxurious resort has a one-of-a-kind kids' club in the shape of an enormous whale. Made entirely from bamboo, the eco-club is spread over two floors and has its own organic gardens and an educational farm where children can feed and care for the hotel's animals whilst learning about the environment and the importance of sustainability. Other activities include Balinese art classes, learning Indonesian musical instruments, and camping and bonfire nights. To stay, the Reserve’s two-bedroom pool villa – located above the Ayung River – is ideal for families.
L: Nighttime at Mandapa: a Ritz-Carlton reserve R: Children's eco-club made of entirely of bamboo
One for adventurous families, this upmarket tented camp was conjured into existence by fantasist designer Bill Bensley. Positioned on forested slopes a 40-minute drive from the centre of Ubud, stone stairs lead to extravagantly private tents decorated with clashing hand-painted Balinese fabrics, lofty four-poster beds, copper bathtubs and antique prints. There's only one two-bedroom family villa suitable for families, so book it well in advance! Despite there being no kids’ club, there is plenty to do as a family – whether swimming in The Cistern (a 20-metre outdoor pool heated in the cooler months), movies and s'mores around the campfire, art classes, chocolate tastings, or waterfall walks.
The Lodge's opulent bathroom at Capella Ubud
Bright orange vintage VW convertibles are used to shuttle guests around at this trendy hotel, which sits right on Seminyak's silvery sands. Its buzzing location makes this the perfect place to flit around the neighbourhood's surf schools, street markets and family-friendly beach clubs. Meanwhile, younger kids can check out Play Alila, which offers three activities per day, including making rice mosaics, planting seedlings and participating in kokoru art classes. Seminyak Suites have sea-view balconies and ample space for families, or you can splash out on a beach suite to have the Indian Ocean’s lilt rock the children to sleep.
Alila Seminyak's lobby at night
Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay
Active families will love the seemingly endless array of water-based activities on offer at the Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay. With direct access onto Jimbaran Beach – on Bali’s south coast – this bubbly resort takes full advantage of its location with a Tropicsurf surf school, fishing trips, free kayaks and stand-up paddle boards, and the island’s longest swimming pool (a whopping 57-metres). Children between the ages of four and eleven can take advantage of the fun-filled Jimba Club, where activities change daily but might include crab races, coconut bowling or tent-making.
Luxury lobby with city view at Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay
Sleepy Sanur is one of Bali's best spots for families. Fronted by a long stretch of golden beach, its sands are lapped by warm waters which stay calm all year round. Check in and hop on your complimentary bicycles for a loop around the Andaz Village, where stalls are set up offering a range of free activities for all the family, including batik making, coconut leaf basket making, ceramics workshops and cooking lessons. The supersized kids’ club has its own pool, theatre and gardens, and focuses on getting kids out and about – perhaps a treasure hunt or flying traditional Balinese kites? – and everyone gets free ice cream.
L: Kids' club at Andaz Bali R: Outside bar and lounge
St. Regis Bali
Whilst this opulent 20-year-old hotel is looking a little frayed around the edges, its family-friendly facilities really stand out. Set in rambling gardens with direct access onto Nusa Dua beach, many guests never feel the need to leave its palm-painted grounds – but Uluwatu Temple and Jimbaran Bay are just a short hop away. All rooms, suites and villas are extremely spacious, and many have private pools or direct access to the hotel's huge saltwater lagoon. There are two more pools dotted throughout the grounds, as well as tennis courts, an outdoor cinema and a Children's Learning Centre, which features areas devoted to youngsters and teens.
The Strand Residence guest room at St. Regis Bali
For more information or to book a holiday, please contact Quintessentially Travel.