We had such an incredible time and without a doubt this was one of my favourite holidays of all time.
I had originally planned on not using my phone much whilst out there and to be honest I didn’t. I only used it when in the hotel room. I felt so free. It wouldn’t be the same sharing my holiday with you after the event. I want to take my blogging family with me through my journey – holidays included in real time! I had planned on not blogging at all while away, but I ended up doing what I love best as I found my blogger brain was able to write a lot better while away! Blogging by the sea/pool is a lot more fun! This was the first time I actually switched off from everything at home but was able to dip in and out of it without feeling pressure or stress.
I know Bali has a lot more to offer than we were able to see given the restrictions with a baby but we loved what we did see. And the main purpose of our trip was to relax which we definitely did. We spent ten days in Bali and although initially I had thought that was quite a long time, it was actually perfect. We thoroughly got to enjoy ourselves and truly relax as we had ample time.
I even managed to get a photoshoot in with Arjun to model some of my new kid’s tee designs which you can find at Baby Brain Apparel!
Let me start off with our arrival in to beautiful Bali – it started off somewhat chaotic. I would strongly recommend arranging a taxi via your hotel prior to landing. It didn’t feel as straight forward and easy to arrange a taxi at the airport and there was also lots of room for being ripped off. We were quoted $35 for a taxi and $55 for the same thing. In hindsight, it’s something I should’ve organised beforehand. It had totally slipped my mind!
As soon as you enter Bali, it’s bursting with culture. It’s full of a colourful rainbow of flowers, stunning architecture and beautiful statues. I didn’t manage to take many pictures due to the taxi fiasco!
Once we finally managed to arrange two taxis to accommodate six (plus a minute) and all our lugguage, we arrived at the Grand Hyatt and were instantly wowed. The lobby itself is so stunning – the tall ceiling with the beautiful white pillars with pockets of beautiful fish filled ponds dotted all over and the spectacular view of the sea in the distance behind a curtain of gorgeous pink flowers was definitely a welcoming sight!
Our first impressions were “wow”. Arjun loved the space and it didn’t take him long to start charming the staff! We’d been told the likes of Barack Obama stay at the Grand Hyatt so we were hoping for good things.
The rooms were really spacious and the staff were great at accommodating our requests of having our rooms located next to each other. We had an interconnecting room with my sisters which worked out so well for so many reasons a) it meant Arjun had even more freedom to run around b) he had a daily ritual of spending his evenings after dinner with them and would walk back in to our room once he’d finished playing c) it meant they were able to jump in and help us if needed. It also meant we had lots of laughs together.
Our rooms overlooked the sea and we woke daily to the view of soft waves. It was a lovely way to start each day. The beds are big and comfy. We didn’t end up requesting a cot as Arjun slept in the bed with us.
One down side compared to other hotels is that I had informed them we were travelling with a baby and would require a baby bath but we weren’t given that and to be honest I forgot as Arjun just ended up having a bath in the main bathtub.
The bathrooms are beautiful and really spacious. I especially liked be idea of open showers as it made the room look even bigger even though it often looked like a swimming pool once I was done showering! Ha!
I was really excited for breakfast and had really high hopes! I was a little disappointed by the breakfast buffet but that may be my own fault for not managing my expectations. I had assumed it would be similar to the Maldives – fresh jams and juices. There wasn’t any of that.
The jams were from a jar and fresh juices were not included as part of the buffet. That was a real shame. I haven’t been to a breakfast buffet in years where fresh fruit juices aren’t present – especially in a place like Bali where the fruit is so delicious and readily available.
Otherwise, the staff were very accommodating to vegetarians and would ask if we wanted anything especially made. We asked for paronteh one day and sautéed mushrooms daily as well as hash browns. They were very accommodating at all restaurants to dietary requirements which was great.
The spread of breakfast wasn’t as great as I’ve seen elsewhere but it was definitely sufficient. I’d still say hands down the most amazing breakfast for spread and taste was the Park Hyatt in Goa if you ever visit Goa!
I can’t commend the staff enough, they were all so super friendly and were so attentive to Arjun too. He had a daily catch up with his waitressing buddies each morning which involved running around like a lunatic with them playing chase!
The main swimming pool (of 5!) was absolutely breath taking! It’s made like a lagoon with lots of rock and cave like features. The pool was surrounded by large bushes and trees full of colourful flowers which would fall in to the pool (Arjun would take a bucket around collecting the flowers!). Arjun absolutely loved it as did we. This pool worked best for us as it offered lots of shade which was especially important for Arjun. Though the pictures are gorgeous, they still do it no justice!
There were also two water slides which the others had a blast on! Arjun could spend hours watching his daddy, Nana Ji and masis go down the slide and would clap enthusiastically when they made it down wth a big splash. He even went on it a couple of times with daddy and seemed pretty unphased! Though Preetam did ensure he kept Arjun above water when they landed.
I was surprised with how much time Arjun spent in the pool as on previous holidays he’s only spent an hour or two max in total daily so I only packed one pack of swim nappies this time assuming he’d do the same. I was so wrong! He spent up to five hours each day in the pool and didn’t even have his daily nap! He loved it so much. Not sure if it was the pool itself, the fact that we had company or just that he now likes water. Either way I was super happy! He definitely became a lot more confident as the days progressed but he still dislikes getting his face wet (just like mama!).
He enjoyed jumping in to his daddy’s arms from the side of the pool, pushing the swim float (rather than sitting in it?!) and doing the actions to “row row row your boat” while in the pool. We took a baby float with us and also some zoggs swim toys as well as his beloved turtle which he was given from the hotel in Dubai on his first holiday. We also ended up purchasing a sand bucket and spade for him while there.
Pre warning swim nappies are almost impossible to find local to this hotel. We were unsuccessful in our atrempts!
The resident huge lizard would sometimes jump in to the pool to cool off too. I thought he was super cute but not everyone shared the same sentiments!
There was also a toddler pool here which is covered by shade. Arjun spent lot of his time in this pool. I saw his confidence grow in this pool as by the end of the trip he’d run up to the fountain where the pool was at its deepest (up to his chest) and stand against the wall. He loved playing with his bucket and spade and collecting flowers from the pool. We did lots of counting too which he always finds hilarious for reasons unbeknown to me! There were no lifeguards at any of the swimming pools here which means you need to be extra vigilant.
Arjun spent a lot of his time wanting to climb the stairs and slopes at the hotel – sometimes very wet ones! He’d have a major tantrum if you refused. I don’t know how or where Preetam finds the patience but I wish I had some of it! I was exhausted after doing it once or twice. They must have burnt a hell of a lot of calories!
Preetams patience and understanding of Arjun is so admirable. It makes my heart melt seeing their bond. At times I find myself getting frustrated and wound up by Arjun’s behaviour.. In his 16 months of life I’ve never seen Preetam lose it with him. He’ll always try and understand why Arjun is behaving how he is as opposed to looking at the behaviour (you can see my post on toddlers and tantrums here). Arjun is super blessed to have such an understanding dada.
It was so nice going on holiday with my family. Especially as the twins have been there since he was very small. It was good for them and his Nana and Nani to spend quality time with him. It was their first holiday with him. He became inseparable from all of them the first day we got there. So much so that he wouldn’t even go to his own daddy! For those of you that know us know that he’s generally stuck to his daddy like glue so it was quite a surprise! But it meant daddy got to enjoy some me time on holiday too.
We really loved our first holiday with my family as we got lots of help. It meant Preetam and I got to relax too. A holiday with a child is so different – long gone are the days where you can snooze by the pool! Now it’s all about ensuring your mobile toddler doesn’t fall in! Arjun became even closer to my family while we were out there – he had a daily ritual of going in to the twins room after dinner and spending hours there playing and entertaining them. He’d ball his eyes out when we bought him back in to our room for bed time. He’s super lucky to have them! His vocab reduced considerably out there to just “Nana”! Even daddy became “Nana” lol. He definitely dotes on his granddad!
There’s an on site doctor at the hotel who is on call 24/7 which was very very comforting. I was really nervous about travelling to Bali as I’d read about how it wasn’t easy to obtain medical help if required. The doctor is based on the hotel premises and they also have medication on site at the doctor pharmacy. There is also a hospital a two minute car journey away. Thankfully we didn’t need to use either.
The hotel staff are all so helpful and friendly. I don’t have enough kind words to thank them. They were so attentive to Arjun too – especially the staff at breakfast. They were really helpful in accommodating our request for late check out (5pm) as we had an evening flight.
Bali isn’t the most child friendly place in terms of facilities. We didn’t visit a single place (hotel included), where there were baby change facilities available so it was always a challenge when out and about!
Kid’s aren’t complementary at this hotel which can be painful given he barely ate so a lot of food went to waste. That’s one thing I love about the hotel we stay at in Dubai – kid’s go free. Arjun didn’t eat as much as I’d hoped while we were out there which was a shame. He’s lost his appetite since having chicken pox. In Bali he lived off breakfast muffins, fresh fruit juice, chips, broccoli, watermelon, peanut butter and Cheetos! Odd combination but hey as long as he ate!
The hotel resides on a beach and we spent a few late afternoons there building sand castles. Arjun popped in to the sea a couple of times with his daddy but we did end up spending most of our time by the pool. My dad definitely made the most of the beach!
Another amazing thing to see in Bali is the water blow. We were lucky to have one just by our hotel. It was absolutely breathtaking and so magical! A must see!
Here are a few other things we got to see while in Bali.
While in Bali, we wanted to make the most of pamper sessions given it’s so cheap. Here are some of the places we visited:
Grand Hyatt Hair Salon: I can be a diva at times (incase you hadn’t noticed), and take any given opportunity to have my hair washed and blow dryed while on holiday. I have super thick long hair, and finding a power shower strong enough while away can sometimes be a struggle. Also, who doesn’t like having their hair done for them?! I was so happy that the hotel had their in house salon! Their sink chairs are super comfy, you get your hair washed pretty much lying down! The staff are so lovely and super friendly – Kristy didn’t believe I was married let alone have a baby haha. It was really relaxing every time I went and they give the most amazing head massages. The in house hair salon was by no means cheap, it cost £27 for a hair wash and blow dry but I was pleased with the result each time.
Tropic Spa: Bali Collection also includes some great spas. We visited Tropic Spa twice for a back massage and once for a manicure and pedicure. I suffer from upper back pain and have had massages all over the world on our travels and I can safely say this is the best massage I’ve ever had in my life. I was massages by two different ladies and the technique and consistency was exactly the same. The massage cost $10 for 30 minutes. Absolute bargain!
The same can’t really be said about the manicure and pedicure – my sisters and mum and I went to the spa for a pamper session on our last day and although we had lots of fun and giggles with the lovely ladies, we all agreed we’ve had a lot better. There wasn’t any consistency between our treatments.
One of my favourite things about going on holiday is the food! I was a little bit disappointed with the food in Bali. I imagined the food to be flavoursome and bursting with natural tastes. There were a fed hidden gems:
Pasar Senggol: This Indonesian restaurant is based at the Grand Hyatt. It’s a buffet style outdoor restaurant with gorgeous views at dinner time. The atmosphere is buzzing and there’s a street food style feel. There’s Balinese cultural dance and evening entertainment each day – I loved it as did Arj! He even had a bit of a boogie to the music and made it on to stage with his crazy Harv Masi!
The restaurant manager was super accommodating, as were the staff, in providing us with vegetarian food. They made us fried rice, noodles and BBQ’d corn on the cob especially. The Thai style potato curry was delicious and the selection of crackers was immense. The selection of dessert is also great – lots of ice cream, cakes, fresh fruit (I recommend the mango!) and Balinese desserts.
We ended up visiting here twice during our stay as we really enjoyed the atmosphere.
Queens of India: We were recommended this Indian restaurant by the restaurant manager at the Grand Hyatt. The restaurant was located about a 5 minute car journey from our hotel in Nusa Dua. The food was absolutely delicious!
We’d highly recommend the masala dosa and paneer 65. They were really accommodating in modifying dishes for us – they created paneer 65 instead of potato 65, and also a paneer dosa instead of a potato one! We went back a second time and it was packed full of tourists, locals and a private function which is always a good sign!
Salsa Verde: This is another Grand Hyatt restaurant. I absolutely loved the gorgeous setting of this place, it provided lots of home inspiration for our kitchen and extension!
Again, they were extremely accommodating here. Vegetarian lasagane wasn’t on the menu, but they were happy to make us one from scratch. I’d also highly recommend the mushroom tart – it was delicious!
This was the only restaurant we visited in Bali that had crayons and mats for children to play with – it entertained Arjun for a while which was great!
Out & About:
Bali Collection: The hotel is situated right next door to Bali Collection which is a shopping complex with restaurants and spas. We were so super lucky to have this at our doorstep and visited at least every other day for a stroll and to stock up on fruit and snacks. We were also able to pretty much purchase anything and everything from here from sunscreen to baby swim toys to snacks to clothes! If you are staying at the Grand Hyatt, don’t become too hung up on forgetting bits and pieces at home. If I’d known I wouldn’t have packed so many nappies and wipes. I didn’t see baby milk but they also had jarred food which i’d packed from home.
The souvenir shop is also amazing – it’s huge and full of all sorts. Arjun had a great time charming all the lovely shop assistants at Bali Collection by waving, shaking hands and even blowing them kisses and one lucky lady got a kiss on her hand!
I love how friendly and welcoming the people of Bali are. They are especially crazy about children. As soon as a shop attendant would spot Arjun, they’d all start shrieking and ran over to him. He loved it! He was like a little celebrity there. He got stopped by the locals too who wanted pictures with him.
Arj really enjoyed running around the shops and exploring. He’d play with toys there but was happy to leave them behind. We purchased his sand bucket and spade from here. In hindsight, had I known, I could’ve also purchased his baby float from here.
Ubud Street Markets: Ubud was about an hour and fifteen minute journey away from Nusa Dua. It was quite tiring but I’m glad we did it for the experience. Preetam decided to stay behind with Arjun at the hotel to spend some time with Arjun. I’m so glad he did because it would have been a very unpleasant experience taking a baby there – a) because of the heat, b) because navigating a buggy in between the tiny stalls would have been such a mission. It definitely isn’t impossible, but I don’t think I would have wanted to put him through that.
At the market you find lots of wood crafts, jewellery, fabric and clothing garments such as harem pants. Haggle! Make sure you haggle! – even when you think you’re getting a good deal, the likelihood is you’re probably still getting slightly ripped off but it’s all good!
I found the currency super confusing in Bali. £50 equated to 1,000,000 Indonesian rupiah. You’re dealing with huge numbers which can get pretty messy – especially when at the markets!
Ubud Local Workshops: On our way to the markets, we visited a few local workshops which was a really nice experience. We visited a wood art workshop where statues from the smallest to the largest are carved to such great intricacy. I was fascinated by the craftsmanship. This was definitely my favourite workshop.
We also visited a jewellery workshop and saw how jewellery was made by hand including earrings and necklaces – again a great level of concentration is required.
And finally we visited a fabric printing workshop where fabrics are decorated through different techniques including woven and wax print.
Temples: On our way to Ubud, we stopped off at Batuan Temple. I’m so glad we did. As we entered we were offered a piece of fabric to wrap around our waists as a sign of respect. It was nice to get involved in the cultural side. The temples in Bali are bursting with amazing architecture and intricacy. We really enjoyed being at the temple and exploring the premises.
We presented our traditional Balinese offerings (including flower petals). The temple felt really peaceful and calm. I felt balanced and reenergised despite the heat – the same feeling I get when I visit the Gurdwara.
We decided to skip the Monkey Forest as I’d read really scary reviews and wasn’t prepared to risk it. If we didn’t have Arjun, I may have taken the risk but the last thing I wanted was to get a monkey bite while away!
Overall we had an amazing time in Bali and Arjun really enjoyed himself! I hope to return one day! We met some lovely people – both staff and other visitors which made our stay even more amazing!
Have you ever visited Bali? How did you find it?