In all our travels, we have never had a vacation that kept us talking months after we’ve returned. In 2012, when we had our first Club Med experience, the sight of the Resort’s Chief of Village, Mr. Michael Clarke and his team waving us farewell as the facade of Club Med Bintan faded into the Bintan Island shrubbery is something I will always remember. So, when we were invited to experience Club Med again last month, this time on an island we love and know so well (Bali), we instantly put aside other holiday plans and jumped on it! We were thrilled to be going back.
Having had experienced Club Med before, we knew we were in for a special time of our lives – one filled with many unique, rare and precious moments. Club Med Bali, here we come!
Club Med Bali sits on lush grounds on one of Bali’s quietest beaches nestled on the exclusive islet of Nusa Dua. Here the 300-over room resort is served by Club Med’s signature multicultural staff headed by the Chief of Village Mr. Kareem who hails from Morocco. As with any Club Med, it is an all-inclusive resort providing full board, sports and recreational activities with Club Med’s friendly staff, known affectionately as ‘GOs’ facilitating all these experiences. After a short 30 minute ride on the resort’s minibus, we arrived to the trademark warm welcome by the GOs. We instantly recognized some of the GOs whom we met at Bintan previously. How special! It was like returning to family! In fact , Geril, the GO whom Dana knew from Club Med Bintan’s Kids Club, personally checked us in and helped us orient to the resort. Before we knew it, we were raring to kick start our new Club Med adventure!
Bali beckons with blue skies and clear seas…
There’s no place we’d rather be…than at Club Med!
Vacations are for everyone. But as busy working parents who travel with our children everywhere, a bonus on our itinerary are the opportunities to spend quality time as a couple (sans kids). We were thrilled that there’s plenty of such opportunities in Club Med Bali. With the kids safely (and happily) engaged in the Kids’ Club for 8 hours daily, we were able to take slow walks amidst the lush greenery and appreciate the intricate details of every sunrise and sunset. We took random dips at their new, adults-only Quiet Pool. We took up new sports together. We indulged in massages at their Spa. For dining, we spent many a private moment (from breakfast to dinner), far from the rest of the resort crowd, enjoying their fine dining fare at The Deck (a spanking new fine-dining restaurant). Cost of all items on their well-curated menu, including the alcoholic drinks, are all inclusive thereby freeing us to freely embark on our own culinary adventures! The food, needless to say, was well-prepared and delicious.
The Adults-Only Quiet Zen Pool…
Al-Fresco area of The Deck, the fine-dining restaurant @ Club Med Bali
Fine Dining below the Balinese Sky…
The Bar at night…yes, it’s kid-friendly too as they serve drinks for kids as well.
The Deck is transformed at night. We’ve had many lovely conversations here, as a couple and as a family.
Back in Singapore, we lead rather sedantary lifestyles (apart from the morning jogs at the gym and Sunday evening cycles). We never knew we would do this: Archery, Snorkeling, Aqua Aerobics to name a few and for me, a special chance to perform simple acrobatic acts with my daughter on stage! A Club Med vacation not only let us discover the place, the myriad of activities allow us to discover experiences which we would never have had a chance to do so otherwise. Best of all, all these activities come with well-trained GOs who guided us patiently and watched us practice. For instance, at Club Med Bali, the GOs taught us some good tips for snorkeling in the open ocean. Thereafter, a sampan pulled up and took us out to sea! The lesson plus the snorkeling ‘cruise’ was 2 hours long and we spent an unforgettable afternoon appreciating the beautiful coral-filled floor of the Indian Ocean! We also did archery together for 2 consecutive days – a sports that Angie and I would never attemped back home (lack of time, lack of skills, lack of confidence and motivation). If you want to go from beginner to advanced? Simple. Return the next day and then the next day and before you know it, you’re going home with a couple of new skills picked up from who-would-have-guessed? A holiday! Best of all, it’s all-inclusive – yes, all activities, all facilities and all coaching lessons. We would love to try wind-surfing one day at Club Med!
We picked up a new skill in Bali! Thanks to the coaching of the GOs.
Angie, very much motivated by a certain movie to pick up archery…
I love this shot of a Grandpa playing basketball with his Grandchildren. One of the beauty of a Club Med holiday is the opportunity for bonding – where facilities are freely available for both young and old to spend memorable time together.
Hilarious and Jaw-dropping Moments
No resort in the world would have their staff engage you (and your kids), dine with you, coach you in sports, shower so much attention on you. Then they magically appear on stage that same evening to put up a grand performance complete with superb lighting effects, sound and LED backdrops. Amazing! To say that the Club Med GOs are amazing is an understatement! From jaw-dropping acrobatic acts to hilarious comedies, from energetic dance routines to choreographing circus tricks with your kids, all the performances are highly entertaining, highly interactive…each night , every night for the entire stay.
And when you think the night ends with the entertaining theatre shows, you ain’t seen anything yet. Right when the show ends, the Chief of Village would lead the entire resort to dance the night away starting with Club Med’s trademark ‘Crazy Signs’ – a series of simple synchronized hand and body movements, simple enough for all to follow (even non-dancers like us!). So the whole resort sheds off their inhibitions and join in the dances! It was such an experience to see parents and children dance and dance, laugh and laugh, do the ‘Mac-arena’, or the limbo rock. Writing this makes me wanna go back and dance again! Club Med Bali Rocks! Oh and, yes…you can stretch out your hand at the bar and request for any drink, including cocktails to accompany your partying. All inclusive, without any 1030pm curfews.
The Kintamani Bar – the centerpiece of the resort. The watering hole for guests with all drinks inclusive anytime of the day….
Club Med Bali is not just a place with high-energy activities one after another. Within the compound is a Club Med endorsed spa offering subliminal Balinese massages at an additional fee. We opted for the couple room and were led to a quiet, serene and spacious enclosure for our couple massage experience. Nothing completes a resort holiday than a good full body massage and we particularly like Balinese massages for its long soothing strokes and relaxing aromatherapy oils. There is a private ‘Whisper Pool’ where couples can soak and swim after the spa session without any intrusions.
What is Bali…without a spa?
The good thing about having a spa in the resort is that when you’re done (with a massage), you can just laze-on back to the room for a deep relaxing siesta…
All meals and drinks in Club Med Bali are included. In addition to the normal meal times, there are afternoon canapés at the bar and beach BBQ in the early evenings. The Kids Club provide their afternoon snacks buffet and even a movie evening BBQ by the beach cooked by the Executive Chef! These were really good and substantial. The food at Club Med Bali is delicious and well-prepared. The menu changes at every meal time. If fine dining is on the cards, head on to The Deck, which is what we did for most part of our stay. Another thing that impresses me is that at the Kids Club, the kids eat from the same adult buffet line – there is so much inclusiveness for the kids. They are not ‘second rate’ just because they are smaller and younger. In fact, kids are taught to eat healthily by using the colour-coded trays (For e.g. green is where veggies are to be put, pink is for carbohydrates and red is for proteins etc.) The kids then take the trays and head on to the adult buffet line to pick their food accordingly – Education and Empowerment! For me, I was also glad that I achieve my target of trying every cocktail during our stay. Similar to Bintan, I sampled all 14 cocktails within our stay. Yes, what bliss (hic)!
I think I’ll let my photos do the ‘talking’. Some of our fav food from our stay…actually there’s too many to be included in this post…
All-inclusive fine-dining makes a food-lovers haven!!!
Our favourite breakfast from The Deck – Smoked Salmon bagel and really buttery croissant with an aromatic coffee to go with it.
There is no lack in good quality food in Club Med Bali…yes, desserts included.
There are little touches everywhere which remind you of Club Med’s signature hospitality, such as this watermelon carving…
The Club Med Bali experience may be all-inclusive but you also have the option to take a day or two off to sight see the many attractions around Bali. You can book quality external tours endorsed by the Club Med Bali Discovery Center (at an additional fee) to experience Bali outside of the resort. Speak to the friendly GOs and they will customize a trip that would fit seamlessly into your entire Club Med Bali experience. Our family has been to Bali three times and always engage this reliable Balinese driver to bring us around Bali. Contact him through his facebook at Bali Friend Esa. Within the resort, there are free evening performances which showcase the enigmatic cultural heritage of Bali.
Balinese Fire Dance, as part of the evening entertainment at the resort.
Kids Club Moments
“Daddy! Look at me!” There she was, perched 3 stories high on the flying trapeze and before I could respond, the GO at Club Med Bintan had released our soon-to-be 4 year-old daughter where she lurched forward and swung on the outdoor sea-front trapeze with the widest smile across her face. She then proceeded to try it again a few more times. I knew then that THIS was not your regular Kids’ Club. Most hotels and resorts offer some form of kids club. They range from baby sitting your child to having run-of-the-mill activities such as craft work, video watching, indoor ball games, computer games etc. to occupy the kids. Most of the time,these are usually staffed by 1 if not 2 staff. If you are lucky, it comes with meals. Not so the Club Med’s Kids Club. We were so moved by the dedication of the GOs at Club Med Bali that we’ve penned a open letter of appreciation to them. Click here to read it.
Dana and some of her little friends at the Kids’ Club…
Loving the main resort pool…
Club Med’s Kids Club empowers, educates and enriches the kids with activities that are safe yet able to build their social skills and self-confidence. With a small ratio of staff to child (about 2:4), every child is well cared for and actively engaged of up to 8 hours daily throughout your vacation. So while the parents spend quality time reconnecting, the kids are engaged, learning some new skills and having their potential stretched. Win-win holiday with no parents’ guilt!
The kids eat with the adults in the same restaurant, accompanied by the Kids’ Club GOs.
A good chance to make new friends with children from around the globe!
Club Med Bali offers a full spectrum of Kids’ Club activities that are customized according to the children’s age and abilities – from Baby Club Med (4 to 23 months), Petite Club (2 to 3 years old), Mini Club Med (4 to 10 years old) and Junior Club Med (11 to 18 years old). During our recent stay there, Dana picked up snorkeling, tennis, simple archery, lots of acrobatic moves (which she then performed with Daddy), many different dance routines among others and yes, countless times on the giant flying trapeze and mega-bounce. Needless to say, this intrepid little girl of ours was totally in her elements and had a whale of her time.
Dana on the flying trapeze (above) and the mega-bounce (below). She is a Club Med kid through and through.
However, it’s not so much the activities that appeal to us. It’s the mindset that in Club Med Bali, children matters. Children are treated as important as any adult guests and they are not relegated somewhere until their parents return. Children enjoy the same buffet spread as adults, they have a special kids ‘cocktail’ menu, even their own ‘steps’ making it easier for them to get their drinks at the bar. Children performed in their own stage show for the entire resort, they are given a chance to bond with their parents and I can go on and on. For me, there were a few memorable occasions. One was where a few Daddies and I were taught simple acrobatic skills to perform with our kids during one of the evening shows. I was impressed at how the GOs were able to get the kids’ cooperation in training them for the routines and then dolling them up in professionally made costumes. On another afternoon, several Daddies and I played tug-of-war and some outdoor tele-match games with our children at the lush coconut grove by the sea. How fun and memorable!
Ordering her own ‘cocktail’ from the kids’ drink list…
Parent and Child bonding time at Kids Club…
A friendly game of Tug-of-War…
Real People, Real Moments:
One of the unexpected joys at Club Med was the opportunity to mingle with a spectrum of guests from all over the world – something we rarely get to do on trips. There, we stepped out of our comfort zones to interact with both ‘newcomers’ to Club Med as well as ‘seasoned’ Club Med travellers. From ‘Second Honeymoon’ to ‘Building children’s confidence’, here are what some of them have to say when I asked for their feedback of Club Med:
Club Med Bali…a resort like no other, never a dull moment.
“ This is my 3rd Club Med experience. We go to Club Med every few years because my boys get to experience something new each time and my wife and I get to spend time alone together.”
Alvin, Singaporean. Father of 2 teenage sons.
“ This is my 4th Club Med experience here in Bali. I bring my daughter here at different stages of her life to experience all these wonderful activities here. It builds her confidence.”
Phil, Perth Australia. Father of a teenage girl.
‘This is amazing, I don’t believe I’m doing this.’
Ian, UK. Father of young child before performing on stage with me.
‘It is simply spectacular and special!”
Sergei, Russia. Father of 2 young kids after we performed on stage together.
“ This is our 3rd Club Med experience. We come here because there’s so much to occupy the kids and they actually learn something!”
Vincent and Veronica, Singapore. Parents with 2 preteen kids.
“ This is our first Club Med and we love it! There’s so much for us to do, there’s so much for our daughter to experience. She is absolutely loving it! “
Winnie, Melbourne Australia. Mother with a preteen daughter.
“ Now I know why Club Med is so special – parents can have their honeymoon again and the kids are safe and they actually learn and experience so much! “
Wei Leong, Singapore. Father of 3 pre-teen kids. First Club Med experience.
For us, we believe travel helps to enrich our lives and broaden perspectives. In return, it creates many memorable moments and memories for our family. During most travels, accommodation, while important, merely play a logistical role – a place to put your bags, shower, sleep and recharge for the next day. If you are lucky, you may have time to experience the pool, the gym, the beach or saunter around its compound. During most travels, the tourist attractions naturally would take precedence over the accommodation. But at Club Med, the resort itself with its premium all-inclusive myriad of fabulous food, fun activities, relaxation, discovery and entertainment ARE the attractions along with their legendary Kids Club which sets the benchmark for all other kids clubs. In short, there is NEVER a dull moment at Club Med Bali. In fact, for a normal family like ours, it was filled with many a memorable and life-changing moments.
Till next time and hopefully soon to all at Club Med Bali, ‘ Adieu’ and ‘Merci Beaucoup’!
There are no editing to these photos – this is the authentic colour of the Balinese evening sky…
Tips to enjoy Club Med Bali:
Sights around Club Med Bali grounds…
The rooms are resort-styled with ceramic tiled flooring…Some of the older blocks are undergoing renovations in phases…
Plenty of cabanas inviting you to relax your pace and laze around…
1. Bring along repellents: Club Med Bali is set within the lush jungle in the exclusive islet of Nusa Dua. Do expect the occasional mozzies and be prepared for them – you are after all in their habitat!
2. Bring sandals and sneakers: The standard of the room and their room service is largely basic resort style in nature. As it is a beach resort, you do need sandals of your own to walk around comfortably without the hassle of sand stuck in your shoes. For the many sports facilities you would need your own sneakers too. If you like, bring along your own room slippers too.
3. Suntan / sunblock: This is a must as most activities are held outdoors. Bring a bottle for your child as well. If getting a nice tan is on your cards, this place has lots of opportunities for that!
4. Plan and book early: For safety and comfort of the guests, most of the activities have selected slots and most have both a morning and afternoon schedule. Do have a good look at the activity guide given to you, plan and book your slots early. This applies to the dinner reservations for The Deck as well.
5. Get out there!: Staying in Club Med is to experience people and what life at large has to offer. While the serenity of the beach resort is tempting for a quiet retreat, for a fulfilling time, it’s best to go with an open-mind and adventurous spirit to try and experience new activities. The rooms may not be as luxurious as other swanky 5-star properties in Bali but hey, I dare say none of them offers a more comprehensive recreational line-up and Kids’ Club programme for guests!
6. Disconnect to Connect: Leave those smart devices in the room, there’s simply nothing like experiencing things and chatting with people for real and not live vicariously through a screen.
7. Kids’ Club: Send your children to the kids’ club (even if they are shy or show initial reluctance). That’s what you come to Club Med for. And they will thank you for it before the trip ends!
To discover Club Med holidays or for more information on Club Med’s Resorts, visit Club Med Singapore’s website at www.clubmed.com.sg or call 1800 258 2633. Time to make plans for your next holiday!
AN EXCLUSIVE GIVEAWAY ON LIFE’S TINY MIRACLES!
Thanks to Club Med Singapore, one loyal reader will win a 3 Days 2 Nights stay at Club Med Cherating, Malaysia for 2 Adults and 2 kids (worth S$1800). Travel by 30 April 2015. Simply follow the steps below to participate:
This giveaway ends on 06 March 2015, 11.59pm and is open to readers residing in Singapore. The winner will be contacted using the contact particulars provided when entering this draw and will have 48 hours to respond, failing which a new winner will be drawn. All incomplete and unverified entries will be disqualified. All entries will be verified before the winners are announced. To be fair to our sponsors, please note that all fake Facebook accounts (e.g. accounts set up purely to take part in contests with no or very few real friends) will be disqualified.
Disclaimer: Our Club Med holiday was sponsored by Club Med Bali for the purpose of this review. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions and photos are, as usual, ours. All photos taken using the Nikon D750 with most shot on the 24-120 F4 Lens. Read Part 1 of our Club Med Bali experience here and our experience of Club Med Bintan here.
Updated: Watch a special video montage we’ve put together on Club Med Bali here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHudxSnOlzg 🙂 Enjoy!