Bali adventures, part 1 – our stay at the Sofitel, Nusa Dua [Indonesia]

I’ve finally caught up on some photo editing and it’s time to share some of our Bali adventures.  In the last few years we’ve been on quite a few trips overseas and visited a lot of countries, but we haven’t had all that many ‘relaxing’ holidays. The last time we tried it was in Thailand in 2015.  We discovered we aren’t all that good at relaxing but with the kids now a little older, and another hectic European adventure on the horizon, we thought we’d give this relaxing thing another go!

Rather than my usual daily updates of our adventures, I’m going to split the Bali happenings over just a few posts, with collections of photos from the whole stay, around a theme. There was a lot of swimming, eating and cocktail drinking so a daily update would get a bit repetitive!  Part 1 of our adventures is about our stay at the Sofitel Nusa Dua.

Our Australia Day, 2018, was spent madly organising the house and animals for our departure and then it was off to Canberra airport we went.  It had been just over a week since the kids had last flown but 8 months since we’d last been overseas, so they were a tad excited to be embarking on another overseas adventure…… especially since neither kid had been to Indonesia before.

One of their favourite bits of traveling appears to be hanging out in various airport lounges, so after an upgrade to the Business lounge in Canberra and then a long layover in the international Qantas Club in Sydney (complete with gelato) they were happy but ready to get on the flight to Denpasar.

Our flights were relatively painless and with most of Australia already back at school, we had a half empty plane and a bit of extra space for sleeping.  The kids, used to much longer international flights (a tad over 6 hours seems short to us),  easily passed the time. Although, with it being after midnight Australian time when we cleared immigration, a rather long day!

We’d booked 8 nights in the Sofitel Nusa Dua on a ‘Luxury Escapes’ deal. We’ve done quite a few similar deals in the past, and always had great times, and found them pretty good value.  Due to the flight times it was near to 1.30am body clock time when we arrived at the hotel. We had hotel transfers included in our package and we were conveniently met at the airport, and then transported for the 20 minute drive to the hotel, and fairly efficiently checked-into our room.

It was well and truly dark so there wasn’t much chance to look around but first thing the next day we were off to explore our home for the next 8 days……. and it most certainly lived up to expectations.  The Sofitel is beachfront and is set in some lovely tropical gardens, surrounding 4 pools. It wasn’t hard to take good photos during our stay, it definitely wasn’t the worst way to spend 8 days!

Unlike many resorts we’ve stayed at we got a fair bit of exercise just walking around the resort.  The resort is spread over several hectares, which gave us more of a chance to work off some of the food we were eating!

The resort backed onto a small, but nice, section of  beach and we often wandered down to the beach but spent most of our time swimming in the pools.  The hardest decision was which section of the many pools to spend our time in!

Our package included 8 nights in a ‘Luxury room’, this is hotel speak for the base level room. It was in fact really quite lovely.  It was also fairly well sized at 48 square metres.  As a bonus both kids were able to be in the same room, which as parents with more than 1 kid know, is a significant bonus!

We were on the third (and top) floor so had great views over one of the pools and a balcony with a cool hanging seat.  Our room had a very large king-sized bed and a roll-away for Astrid.  Soren was more than happy to sleep on the corner couch, although could have either fitted in the king bed or with Astrid. Without the roll away the room would be been huge but we still had plenty of space, especially after some furniture rearranging.  The room came equipped with large amounts of heavy wooden furniture, which was lovely but we kept running into it in the middle of the night!

I never manage to get decent photos of the hotel rooms before we spread our copious amounts of possessions all over them!  The bathroom was also enormous and had the most amazing shower. The kids were a fan of the large stone bath in the middle of the room, although our inflatable Nemo lived in it for most of the time between pool visits!

The beds were super-comfortable and with all the swimming and eating it was lovely collapsing in them every night…… and sometimes for an afternoon kid-nap when you are tired from too much sun and swimming!

The main attraction was the pools and swimming.  The kids love swimming, and we spent many hours a day in the pools.  The water was always a pleasant temperature and in the late afternoon we could generally find a shady spot.  In the morning we just had to dip ourselves in sunscreen and wear our rashies but it was worth it to spend the morning relaxing and swimming in the sunshine…..

Our giant Nemo was a favourite pool toy and the kids had plenty of space to ride him around.  Even their parents got a few rides in, occasionally without falling off.  The kids also enjoyed their favourite game of being thrown in the air by Anto.  Apparently that one never gets old!

Aside from the first Saturday we were at the resort, where there were quite a few people in the pool, we barely saw another person until the following weekend.  During the week there were a number of conferences at the resort but the guests did not go near the pool, so we had them mostly to ourselves.  A lot of rooms had swim up access or private plunge pools, so quite a few other guests stayed out of the main pools. You can see from many of the photos how quiet it was many days!

Finally, on the last day, there were a number other Aussie kids around Astrid’s age and the kids were in heaven…….. and rather reluctant to head back to Australia now they had friends!

We most certainly didn’t go hungry during our 8 days.  We had buffet breakfast included every morning, which was held in the main restaurant, Kwee Zeen.  We’ve been to a lot of buffet breakfasts around the world and this would have to be one of the best!

The choices were pretty much endless, spread out over 5 different rooms with juice bars, 2 different egg chefs, a sushi and cheese room, a pastry and bread room and fresh curries and Asian breakfasts plus a noodle bar with noodles and soups cooked to order.

We may have stuffed ourselves silly the first few days……  and even once we hit food coma status we managed to squish a bit more in the next day as it was all really tasty. Even after 8 days we didn’t come close to trying everything. There was different sushi, curries and Japanese breakfast items every day, making it impossible to choose, especially when you were already full from the previous night.

The breakfast staff were super-friendly and had our coffee orders down pat and kept the cappuccinos (and hot chocolates for the kids) coming.  I managed to eat my body weight in curry and Soren had endless sushi, and Astrid a lot of freshly cooked noodle dishes.   The pastries and breads, while not quite up to Paris standards (which lets face it is rather high) were pretty good for a resort in a very humid country!

Our accommodation package also happened to include 8 dinners.  While we are generally more than happy to go out exploring for our dinners, it was rather convenient not having to leave the resort!  The dinners were spread over the 3 different resort restaurants.  This was great as otherwise it may have gotten a little repetitive eating in the same restaurant 8 nights in a row.  Our dinners all included a bottle wine and unlimited beer and soft drinks. A rather handy bonus!

We had three dinners at the beach bar and grill.  We only ended up using 2 of these as we arrived late the first night from Australia and didn’t have dinner at the resort.  The two dinners we did have at the beach bar were fabulous. It was rather pleasant sitting out watching the sunset and drinking and eating in the breeze.

The meal was a seafood platter, which was freshly cooked on the beach side. Not great for me as a vegetarian, but the kids and Anto were in heaven!  They always happily made me either a mee goreng or nasi goreng, which were delicious and we most definitely didn’t starve. You could order unlimited seafood but the kids couldn’t even get through the first platter, despite their best attempts!

Three nights we had the buffet in the main restaurant, Kwee Zeen.  It was a similar set up to breakfast, with multiple rooms of food and pretty much endless options.  Even after 3 nights we didn’t come close to tasting even a small fraction of the different things on offer.  Again the kids had plenty of seafood but we were all rather big fans of the dessert room. Yes there was a whole room (and it was different each night)!  If only we had multiple stomachs…….

Our other 2 dinners were at Cucina, the Italian restaurant.  We had been desperately trying to sit outside at one of the pool-side tables but hit rainy and windy weather every night, so ended up inside, but with a water feature on the room and pool views it wasn’t so bad!  Our package included a three course set menu with a couple of choices for each course, and the kids got to choose 2 courses from the kids menu.

It was rather good Italian, and the first night was definitely up with some of the best meals we had in Italy. The second night wasn’t quite as good, although we may have just been really full by then.  We couldn’t get close to getting through our meals, despite them being rather tasty.

The desserts were rather impressive too, not that we needed dessert, but you know……..dessert!
You can’t have a resort holiday without a swim up pool bar!  We took advantage of happy hour most afternoons (which conveniently coincided with it being shady and a lovely temperature) and hung out near the bar.  With the resort pools being quiet, the bar staff seemed more than happy for us to hang out and try all the happy hour cocktails over the week.

Aside from all the main pools there was a dedicated kids pool with slide.  The kids quite enjoyed splashing around in here from time to time, and they loved hurtling down the slide.  The kids pool was surrounded by garden areas full of butterflies so it was relatively pleasant to hang out in.  It was definitely too shallow to swim in, so we tended to pay it a short visit for a slide or two and then head back to the deeper pools to swim…..

The resort was fairly kid-friendly.  Aside from the kids pool, there was also a kids club.  Both kids were old enough to go to the kids club unaccompanied, and you are allowed 4 hours a day of kids club access for free.  We tended to only send them for shorter periods. They quite enjoyed going (and the staff were lovely) but liked spending time swimming and playing around the pool with us. Most days they’d go for an hour or two while we went to the gym, and a few days we managed to sneak a massage in too!

There was a published activities list for the kids club, but what they actually did seemed to vary depending on how many kids were actually there!  Every day there was a special activity, which did usually take place.  These activities were things like a cooking class, gardening, a mermaid by the pool day and an Australia Day party.  There was an additional cost if you wanted your kids to join in the special activities, but it was fine for them to just participate in the regular kids club activities during the special activity time.

One day both kids went on the gardening activity, which went for around 2 hours. They got to go and tour the resorts vegetable gardens (which apparently are huge and you don’t normally get access to) and pick some herbs and vegies then they went to one of the restaurant kitchens and made a nasi goreng, each having a go with the wok.  This was a huge hit!

Another day they did a cooking class which was again in the resort kitchens, and they made and decorated a carrot cake, and apparently got to wear a mini-chef outfit.  The left overs always came back to the room with them (not that we could fit in eating it!).  The kids definitely enjoyed kids club and we enjoyed having small amounts of time to do things kid free!

Some of that kid-free time was spent at the spa.  We had 2 included massages, one massage on the beach in the open-air massage pavilions, and a foot massage in the Spa.  The beach massage was lovely with the breeze blowing and the sea air, but both Anto and I found people wandering past a little distracting. Our foot massage in the spa was really good and we later snuck in another hour-long body massage in the spa which was much better. The spa was really beautiful and we took the kids in one day to have a look and they were quite fond of the water (and the staff)…..

Every day the resort had a number of activities running. We never did make it to yoga or aqua aerobics but we did give the archery a whirl.  Even the kids had a go!!!
On days that we stayed in the resort we most definitely made the most of our time in the pools.  We all love to swim and aside from one day of rain (which was on and off anyway) we had almost perfect weather.  Both kids are part-fish and love to swim constantly.

They actually preferred the areas of the pools where they couldn’t stand up and were swimming back and forwards over 20 metres at a time and entertaining other pool goers with their freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly practice.  Their butterfly is most definitely better than mine!

All in all we had a wonderful stay at the Sofitel.  The resort was beautiful, the food was way too delicious (causing too much eating) and the staff all friendly and helpful. The kids were particularly fond of Jason, the duty manager, who always went out of his way to come and say hello, entertain them (and generally hype them up). He even insisted we give him a call the evening we left for the airport so he could come and farewell us.  I think the kids were keen to stay at the resort and let us go home without them!Like the school holidays, all good things must come to an end, and the kids and I had to head back to Australia while Anto flew onto Jakarta for work.  Despite having flown domestically with them on my own plenty of times, I had yet to do an international trip.  Luckily they were model travellers and even got through the transfer to domestic in Sydney on little sleep and at what felt like the middle of the night, without too many problems.  I’m not sure I’m yet convinced on a 36 hour trip to Europe with them on my own but you never know!

While we are all back home and the kids are back at school there are still plenty more Bali photos and adventures to come in future posts.  We had some day trips to the Safari park, Ubud, a butterfly park, and of course there were beaches, waterfalls, markets and shopping.  Those are coming up soon……..

4 thoughts on “Bali adventures, part 1 – our stay at the Sofitel, Nusa Dua [Indonesia]

  1. Looks like an amazing stay Nic!! Super jelly!! Looking forward to your next Bali post….Justin and I are sneaking off for a week in June, kid-free, whooooo hooooo!!!
    When we went to Bali in 2015, we stayed in Benoa. One night we walked to the Sofitel in Nusa Dua along the beach path / walk way thingy and had dinner there. I had the best strawberries and cream dessert I have ever had in my life!! Your food pools had me drooling!

  2. Yes, the Sofitel was fab! I tend to love Sofitels anyway but definitely a great resort and the food was awesome. I don’t know how we didn’t all put on a bazillion kilos!!! We walked down that beach path quite a few times (photos to come) eyeing off all the other restaurants from neighbouring resorts but couldn’t even fit lunch in due to stuffing ourselves silly at breakfast and dinner.

    Oooh a week kid-free in June sounds fab, I’m jealous of that. The kids were heaps easier this time around doing a resort holiday but I still didn’t manage to get to lay by the pool reading a book as they spend so much time being fish that I was always in the pool. Cocktails helped though 😛

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