Destination: Indonesia: Bali
Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay
A flower blossom-filled bath awaits guests upon arrival at one of the island’s most popular family-friendly resorts. The expansive property, located twenty-minutes south of Bali’s international airport, includes 147 thatched-roof villas, framed by gardens lush with bougainvillea. Guests rarely leave the resort; instead, they make use of the private beach, tennis courts, infinity pool and the10,000-square-foot spa. Try the therapeutic Lulur Jimbaran (a version of the mandi lulur ritual traditionally practiced by wealthy Javanese brides) that includes a mask and scrub of herbs and spices rinsed with a yogurt mixture, followed by a jasmine or rose petal bath.
If you do leave the property, it will be to eat. The one consistent criticism here is that the no-more-than-decent restaurant fare is overpriced (though no one complains about the extensive à la carte breakfast). Perks like the excellent babysitting service, kid’s club and the fact that children under twelve can stay in their parents’ villa for free draw lots of families.
Who Should Stay: Families who require a solid full-service hotel with a large spa, fitness center, kids club and multiple restaurant options. The Four Seasons also offers nine residences rentals, ideal for families and large groups.
Who Shouldn’t Stay: Couples or travelers looking for a property with a unique sense of place. Beach people may be disappointed by Jimbaran Bay’s sad, brown sand beach.
Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan
While people have mixed reactions to the UFO-like architecture of the island’s second Four Seasons resort in Ubud, everyone loves the view once inside. Upon entering the top floor from a bridge, guests encounter a breathtaking panorama of the surrounding jungle, terraced rice fields and the Ayung River. Eighteen one- and two-level suites are located in the main building, and forty-two one-, two- and three-bedroom villas are scattered below by the river (the best are the 2,000-square-foot riverfront villas). With many connecting rooms and multiple-bedroom villas, the property is perfect for families that require lots of space and grounds. The resort’s service and its intimate spa are top-notch, but the restaurants are nothing special—a good excuse to have your meals in Ubud, a fifteen-minute drive away.
Who Should Stay: Families who require a solid full-service hotel and want to meet other families while on vacation.
Who Shouldn’t Stay: Couples on a romantic getaway or travelers looking for a property with a more unique sense of place.
Ritz-Carlton, Bali Resort & Spa
*UPDATE: The Ritz-Carlton has closed. The resort is now called Ayana. From an Indagare member who recently visited Bali: “The Ritz-Carlton was re-branded last Spring as Ayana and is getting a reputation as dirty and cheap. The spa is no longer so great though the new bar is quite scenic.”
This resort, located on a seaside cliff in the southern part of the island and surrounded by fragrant, blooming gardens, looks like a Balinese royal palace. The 190-acre resort recently added thirty-eight villas with pale marble floors, four-poster beds, sliding glass doors that open to infinity plunge pools and spa-like bathrooms. Most impressive, the more than one thousand employees seem to know every guest by name. Rooms from $205.
With four bedrooms, including a kids’ rooms with bunk beds for four, this villa in southern Bali’s Kerobokan region is a favorite with families. The design scheme is glamorous but simple: pavilions surround a pool and there are plenty of public spaces, including a lounge that doubles as a yoga studio. And the villa is within walking distance of the popular Ku De Ta restaurant. Daily rates from $600.
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