Bali Beautiful and the Resort Life
There is a reason Bali has become such a primary Indonesian destination for Western travelers – it’s beautiful from head to toe, inside and out. Because of its on-the-beaten-path image, I think many seasoned travelers are off put by its alleged charm – I know that I was. As with many of our short holiday hops, we chose Bali because we were able to fly there on United miles and stay at a Hyatt Resort – for FREE. And so it goes, and so it goes. HOWEVER, Bali more than exceeded my expectations. Sure, it’s super touristy and much of the economy is clearly powered with foreign dollars, BUT, there is most definitely MORE genuine culture to be experienced than cliche western charm.
I’ve had a love affair with Indonesia for quite some time and while Bali wasn’t my primary destination, it has blossomed my affair into a full fledged relationship. The problem is that now I need to see the rest of Indonesia – DAMMIT, more places to go. Why? Because, the people. And the land. And the art.
After going to Malaysia for the first time last May, it was determined that East Malaysian people (we were on Borneo – I can’t vouch for Malaysia proper) were the kindest on earth. Always greeted with a smile, genuine intrigue without aggression for our children, and a general kindness that is quite hard to find in Western cultures (with possibly the exception of Irish people, go Ireland!). It just seemed to ooze out of them. You felt it when you locked eyes with someone, you saw it in polite interactions with every random person you passed – you just couldn’t miss it. Balinese people were this and then some. When the first cab driver I interacted with greeted me with a smile, I was baffled. After our first day there, I was hooked.
If I was doubtful about Bali, I was MORE than doubtful about the Bali Hyatt Resort we were going to stay at (so much that I got cold feet and even researched cheaper rentals out of the city). But god forbid, I may now be a resort convert. Hello peaceful. Hello tranquility. Hello true relaxation. Hello two-for-one fresh Happy Hour pina coladas, drunk (the drink, not me) on the beach while watching the kids collect sea snails.
Even though it’s an older property (think dinosaur televisions and OMG, NO rain showers! Gasp.), the rooms are still lovely and the gardens set amongst the 150 acre resort (most of which isn’t developed) have been cultivated since the 70’s and are AMAZING. We were greeted with a variety of Balinese style cookies and brought a new culinary delight to our room each evening.
It’s set on the southern end of Sanur Beach (which pretty much runs the length of Sanur). There is a sandbar about 100 meters from the shore, which means that the snorkeling isn’t all that impressive, but in terms of a great kids beach, it’s on par with the best. At high tide, the waves are still very small and the water is calm enough for small children to float and practice their doggy paddles. But the best comes at low tide, where the water levels get so low that there is only a few inches of water in some areas and the greatest little pools are formed amongst the seaweed forests, where the kids can safely swim AND scamper about finding sea creatures. We spent most of our evenings at the beach collecting sea snails and building drip castles.
If you’re not so into salt water and are more of a resort pool-dweller, the Bali Hyatt’s two pools surely won’t disappoint. The two days that we spent just chilling around the resort, we saw multiple families and couples posted up in the same spots – ALL DAY. And I couldn’t blame them, the ambience demanded as much.
My last tidbit is about the Regency Club – the evening cocktail food was some of the worst we’ve experienced (breakfast was good), but set inside the most peaceful garden, with men playing the metallophone while our kids searched for water monitors, made it hands down the best Regency Club ambience we’ve encountered yet.
Oh, and in the lawn area between the hotel and the beach, you can find dozens (probably hundreds) of frogs when the sun goes down – so if you have animal lusting children like we do, this makes for an eventful evening stroll.
I can’t say that I wouldn’t opt to stay at the Bali Hyatt again (double negatives much?). It was lovely. It just was. Other than the Regency Club cocktail hour food, I really have no other complaints. And to be honest, I actually appreciated that the food wasn’t good because it motivated us to get out for dinner and test out the local Balinese cuisine. So there you have it, NO complaints. But we did stay for free, so I’d just be an ass if I whined about it.