We spent a week at the end of November/start of December at Club Med, Bali.
I’ve already talked about our vacation in terms of the all-inclusive resort experience here. I’m going to try to avoid doing a retread of those topics.
There were many things I enjoyed about Club Med Bali. There was only one I really hated, and I want to get that out of the way first. The rooms are not what I expect for this level of property. They are showing their age–the mattresses and furniture are worn, the handles on many cabinets were loose, the in room safe used an actual key instead of electronic coding, the rooms use physical keys that say the resort name and room number on them, the windows don’t stay closed very well, the air con is weak, and there were issues with ants.
That said, while we were there, I could see that they have begun fairly thorough renovations. In the rooms I could see, they had stripped it down to the cement and were completely redoing the rooms floor to ceiling.
I have no idea how long these will take or what complaints the renovation will fix. They had begun the first of the 5 hotel buildings, and one would assume they’ll work down the line. Work seemed to go on at all hours, although I couldn’t hear it from the building we were in. I just noticed that when we walked by at night, they had lights on and were continuing to work.
You may want to check on the status of the renovations before making reservations.
Something I doubt the renovation will fix is that there are 3 steps to get into each room, and there are no elevators except to reach the dining room by the family pool. If you have a family member with mobility issues, this may be something to explore more in depth.
Of all of the things I enjoyed, the Kids Club got top marks from me and the girls. Although they only went two (three?) times over the course of the week, all the kids club staff knew their names (and so did much of the wider staff). The girls played games in the pool/on land, were fed, and did age appropriate activities. Elanor did archery and the trapeze among others. Both girls were fed (and from what I heard, were allowed to eat together and play together whenever the 2-4 and 4-6 age groups were combined).
I felt comfortable dropping them off and picking them up without any concerns.
The only complaint was that they never seemed to have schedules in English for Elanor’s age group, which seemed odd, as all it required to fix that problem was a photocopier and five minutes. Luckily I speak French, so I was able to take the French schedule and translate it for Ravi.
Kids club for those 4+ is free. Under 4 is an additional surcharge.
Through the kids club, the girls were also in a show one night. We had the option of letting them do another show on one of the other nights and elected not to. The girls had a great time doing the circus show (Wednesday night, if I recall). They still like to play “Lions and Tigers” (the emcee played a lion tamer and told the kids to do things like “Lions and Tigers watch tv” and they would all pose).
“My goals are not to drop her and not to embarrass her, in that order.”
Don’t let him fool you, it went well!
While the beachfront is “public,” it’s only shared with other resorts. There were a few touts, but nothing on the scale of what we experienced at Patong Beach in Phuket, Thailand. As you can see in the back, there’s a breakfront set up so that the waves don’t hit the beach with much force.
We spent most of our time at the resort by the family pool. There is a shallow side of roughly .5 meters and a deeper side of around a meter, separated by a gate. The kids never wanted to leave the pool. Luckily, if you’re lucky, you can grab some poolside drink service. (If not, the bar is nearby).
The activities were well organized. Things were kept as simple as possible so that beginners could feel success at archery, safe while snorkeling, and so forth. The tennis courts looked well maintained. My mother in law reported that the spa was nice. I was able to take Ellie kayaking for the first time, which was a great bonding exercise.
Throughout your stay, there are staff photographers on hand, snapping away. There is a photo centre by the gift shop where you can go through their daily photos, create a folder, and burn a cd of images you want to take home. (The picture of E as a “tiger” in leopard print is the resort photographer’s. All others are mine). This does mean you can leave the camera in the room if you like, and if like me you’re the family photographer, you’ll actually show up in some pictures.
I liked Club Med Bali (as much as I’m going to like an inclusive resort). I think I’d like it much better after the renovation.
In the end, though, I would be happier just going back to Bali and staying at a regular hotel, though.