Written by Stephanie Peeters
Photo by Heydi Paramitha
Have you always dreamed of taking that perfect vacation in Bali with your family? Searching for a place where your little ones can have fun while you and your partner rekindle that romantic spark?
Let me tell you a secret – you can have the best of both worlds at The Ritz-Carlton Bali.
A splendid luxury resort built on a sprawling 12.7 hectares of tropical beachfront land in Nusa Dua on the southern tip of Bali, the entrance of The Ritz-Carlton Bali is located on the edge of a high limestone cliff. As I entered the compound, I was blown away by the magnificent, jaw-dropping 180-degree bird’s eye view of the resort that sits glamorously below, bordering the deep blue Indian Ocean.
Besides its luxury suites and villas, exquisite food, beautiful swimming pools, hospitable and attentive staff and amazing facilities, the resort is also a playground haven for families with kids. You won’t forget to have fun with the complimentary daily activities for families and a complimentary dedicated kids programme, where they can learn Balinese dancing, musical instruments, and participate in marshmallow bonfire evenings and pajama parties with their new friends!
Curious about my experiences? Step with me now into the glass elevator, and we’re going to go all the way down to the bottom of the cliff, where my two-days-one-night luxury family-and-love affair with Ritz-Carlton Bali began.
1. Float in the spectacular oceanfront pool
Swim towards infinity in the sparkling beachfront infinity pool that overflows on all sides, creating shallow wading pools all around where kids can splash and play safely, as you soak up the sun on the in-water lounge beds.
The view of the azure blue ocean is breathtakingly beautiful as it blends in with the clear blue sky and the glistening water of the pool.
Cabanas are placed all around the swimming pool and lots of comfy sun loungers are found on the grassy lawn and sandy beach. Seek out the best spot and lounge the day away!
Thirsty? Get a fresh young coconut from the coconut master at his special coconut cabana stand. Or how about some ice-cream for the kids? I tried the chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavours and they are delicious!
Photo via anggy.daulay
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw a smart and fast waiter on roller blades skating around the pool with drinks to make sure nobody dehydrates. This rollerblading waiter provides guests with complimentary fresh juices and canapes every hour or so. Just what we all need!
There’s also free-flow infused drinking water available all day long, and even sunblock is provided, free of charge. I think its just great how the staff looks after their guests this way, it really adds a caring touch!
Want to wake up in the morning and slip into the lagoon pool just steps from your bed?
Photo via rinawonderlands
The Sawangan Junior Suite with Pool Access comes with a gorgeous swimming pool shared with the other Sawangan Lagoon Suites. This pool is fringed by tall tropical greenery, adding not only that wonderful exotic feel but also a great sense of exclusivity, away from the crowds at the main pool.
Your young ones will love this. Most kids never get enough of the water, do they? If they are too young, you can keep an eye on them as you relax by your peaceful private veranda with a cup of tea. As an expectant mother pregnant with my first child, I can imagine how my little ones would love splashing around!
Ideal for families, the suite is spacious, sleeps up to 3 adults, and features either one king-size or two queen-size beds. It sure made me want to stay in bed just a tiny bit longer after waking up in the morning!
After a long day, you will love soaking in the oversized bathtub or let the water of the monsoon rain shower rush down on your head and shoulders, relaxing you to the bone.
My husband and I got a little upgrade and we spent the night at the Pavilion Villa with Pool Access. This villa is similar to the Sawangan Junior Suite with Pool Access, only that it’s more luxurious and comes with your own private pool instead of a shared pool. The bathroom even has direct access to the pool!
Photo by Mightydork
Photo via The Luxury Bali
3. Transform your little girl into a mermaid: Ritz Kids Aquatic Goddess
Almost every little girl dreams about becoming a mermaid. Now, their dreams can come true.
With the Ritz Kids Aquatic Goddess programme, kids get to grow their own mermaid tails in their favourite colour and off they go into the water, sweeping their fins and dreaming about their prince. It was lovely to see their surprised little faces once they had their mermaid suit on.
The girls can take their mermaid suits anywhere, to all the swimming pools within the resort, as they let their imagination run wild.
Dear mermaids, how about enjoying a floating breakfast?
If you want to treat your little girl to something special, this is it!
4. Let the kids run wild: Ritz Kids
Ritz Kids is part of the daily kids’ activity programme. The little rascals will have the time of their lives while parents get to enjoy some undisturbed quality couple time together, just the two of you like in the old days.
To start with, there is a great kids club on-site, complete with an indoor and an outdoor playground. Parents can be assured that their young ones are safe and happy under the watchful eye of the staff. It was wonderful to see how the staff welcome the kids warmly, making them feel at ease as they invite them to play and try out new things.
The indoor playground features a colourful playing room with a big stack of toys, books and everything to keep the little ones happy for hours. Older kids will love to play ping pong or table tennis with their newfound friends. There are also guided activities such as lantern making, so the kids learn something new and get interact with one another at the same time.
At the outdoor playground, kids will find swings, slides, a sand pit and a basketball hoop as well as a freeform shallow kids pool, complete with a green caterpillar slide that they will absolutely love! Outdoor playtime is part of the daily programme so they can safely swim, splash and slide under the staff’s supervision.
Kids are also taken out on treasure hunts, walks to the beach to see crabs or to feed the fish at the big koi fish pond in the heart of this family-friendly resort.
Photo Via TripCanvas-Reginahartati
Did you know? The beach at the Ritz-Carlton Bali is also a natural nesting place for sea turtles. They lay their eggs in the sand and they hatch once a year. The resort is dedicated to the protection and conservation of these amazing sea creatures. Once the eggs are hatched, the little baby turtles are taken care of in a safe environment until they are strong enough to survive in the big wild ocean.
This is where the fun kicks in. Once the turtles are ready to be set free, kids get to give them a hand, releasing the tiny turtles to the sea. Read more about the sea turtle preservation programme here.
Photos by Danielle_Woro, Ritz-Carlton Bali
5. Beachfront dining by the Indian Ocean
5-a) Dine by the sea: Breezes Tapas Lounge
As the sun starts to set over the island and the magical twilight kicks in with a soft orange glow covering the resort like a silk blanket, it is time for a family feast on the beach.
The masterchefs of the Breezes Tapas Lounge are preparing for a mouthwatering BBQ buffet, grilling freshly caught seafood, lamb chops and beef right before your eyes.
Tables are placed on the grassy lawn and even out on the sandy beach for guests to sit together while the sky lights up with a thousand glittering stars. This is the time when candles are lit and the live jazz band starts!
The ambience is easy, laidback and classy. While you are enjoying a good glass of wine, kids won’t get bored – they can freely walk around and play on the grass or in the sand!
5-b) Romantic oceanfront private dinner: The Beach Grill
Once the kids are safely tucked into bed, it’s now time for the two of you! Celebrate your love for each other with a romantic candlelit oceanfront dinner at The Beach Grill.
The restaurant features cosy private indoor seating areas, or you can also book a special romantic dinner by the Indian Ocean, set up intimately in a beachfront cabana. This is what we did! It’s a true haute cuisine menu from risotto with baby octopus, to lobster, lamb rack and Angus beef tenderloin.
This special love-nest was draped in elegant white curtains and decorated with romantic flowers and candles specially for us. The soft sea breeze, the calming sounds of the sea, a mouthwatering five-course set dinner, champagne and the presence of your loved one – nothing stands in the way of love and romance, taking you back to your very first date, just a lot more glamourous.
6. Indulge in a family spa: The Ritz-Carlton Spa
Want to indulge in a relaxing massage but finding it hard to catch the right moment with the kids around?
The Ritz-Carlton Spa offers family spa packages and a special kids’ massage. So bring your kids along for a little slice of heaven!
The Mom, Dad & Me spa package starts with a warm, relaxing flower bath ritual. The luxurious spa room, complete with a jacuzzi tub and all, is set up with 3 massage beds next to each other for some true family pampering.
After the flower bath, get comfy on the massage beds for your traditional Balinese treatments. Moms and Dads can choose from any body massage followed by a special scrub. Kids get a 30-minute neck and shoulder massage with either strawberry or chocolate massage oil. Tough decision, kids!
While Mom and Dad are still far away in massage heaven, the kids are entertained with some exciting activities to complete Mom, Dad & Me.
After the blissful spa treatment, the relaxation is still not over yet. Head over to the Balinese Bath Pool. This stunning little lagoon, surrounded by rocks and greenery, is the ultimate spot to slowly bring you back to earth. The warm rays of the sun, crystal clear pool, sound of rippling water and lazy daybeds by the poolside simply make you want to chill a little longer, don’t they?
Take your time – you can stay as long as you like.
If this is not enough for you, when the kids are happily kept busy, head over to the little-known adults-only Hydro-Vital pool (a lagoon jacuzzi pool) for greater relaxation.
7. Rekindle the romance: Romantic couple photoshoot at the oceanfront Majestic Chapel
Many couples have said ‘I do’ right here, in this stunning oceanfront chapel that sits on the beach in Ritz-Carlton Bali.
The entire place, both the interior and exterior of the chapel, exudes romance and you will feel it. Reminisce your own wedding day and relive your love story – these memories will return naturally at this all-white oceanfront chapel.
You can take some amazing photos to capture this moment of love and romance!
Photo Via TripCanvas-Ddgettinlostin
8. Afternoon tea with ocean view: The Ritz-Carlton Lounge & Bar
Here, your afternoon tea is not just tea and sweets.
Your experience comes with jaw-dropping panorama of the entire resort with its beautiful ponds and gardens located beneath the high limestone cliff. And this stunning sight is topped with the amazing view of the mighty ocean.
You can choose between the classic English high tea or the traditional Indonesian one to surprise yourself with some thrilling new tastes of local sweets and fried snacks.
Photo by Beam_Pichchanan
We choose the Indonesian afternoon tea and tasty it was, indeed! Dadar gulung, a green pandan pancake filled with coconut and palm sugar, was my favourite!
9. Enjoy private Balinese cooking classes: Bejana Culinary Cave
Have you fallen in love with Indonesian cuisine? Want to bring home the art of authentic Indonesian home cooking?
At the Culinary Cave, a special cooking workshop cave found in the Bejana Restaurant, you and your family will be guided by the excellent in-house chef who will reveal the tips, tricks and secrets one by one.
You can book your cooking class either with or without a visit to the local market to get the finest, freshest ingredients. I certainly recommend visiting the market, as you and your kids can see the ins and outs of the authentic local life.
The Bejana Culinary Chef, Made, provided lots of personal attention, even to the kids, so it’s a fun and educational experience for everyone. It was also heartwarming to see the passion for cooking Made guided the class with. The Indonesian cuisine involves a whole array of local spices, so it’s a journey of scents, colours and tastes! We made some delicious Balinese satay that tasted pretty darn good!
In one workshop, you will get to cook up an entire Indonesian Rijsttafel that you can munch on together after class.
Every Thursday, you can get a free one-hour preview of the half-day cooking class, during which you will get to learn all about the ingredients and watch the culinary expert do his magic. Do remember to sign up beforehand.
The Bejana Restaurant and Culinary Cave are located way up on top of the cliff, featuring dramatic views of the surroundings and the sea. You can take some amazing pictures with your partner at the edge of the cliff, on the Bejana Wooden Deck, holding your loved one tight while you gaze at the horizon ahead.
Photo Via Aguzm.Photography
10. Mocktails, cocktails and sushi workshops at Raku Japanese Lounge & Bar
At Raku Japanese Lounge & Bar, not only can you munch on mouthwatering sushi with the magnificent view of the deep blue Indian Ocean, but you can also learn the art of sushi making, right here, from the head chef.
Photo via lauraponts
On other days, there are mocktail, cocktail and latte workshops. In the classes, the bartender will show how a little bit of this and a little bit of that shakes into a tasty, pretty cocktail or a non-alcoholic mocktail.
The best thing is, kids can join in too, and the workshops are offered complimentary to your stay. Make sure to book it in advance!
We joined the mocktail-making workshop. Look at these two amazing mocktails. Don’t you want a sip of that? And guess what, they were made by this little girl and her Daddy, and they tasted delicious!
I loved the attention to details – our mocktails look really extraordinary with chocolate bars as stirring sticks and a piece of pineapple cut in the shape of an exotic bird.
After the workshop, we sat down to enjoy our self-made tropical island drinks and I took a good look at the ocean view. It was simply enchantingly beautiful!
11. Sunset cocktails and tapas in the oceanfront cabana: Breezes Tapas Lounge
Who’s up for an afternoon cocktail at the beach?
I opted for a mocktail but that didn’t spoil the fun! At Breezes Tapas Lounge, you can climb up into one of the oceanfront cabanas and get ready to watch the sun set into the ocean, bathing the sky in a stunning golden glow.
As the kids are playing in the sand or busy in the kids’ club, you can enjoy your cocktails peacefully, soaking up the wonderful and laidback holiday atmosphere with some delightful tapas on the side.
12. Learn Balinese weaving, traditional music and Bahasa Indonesia as a family
You see these little handmade baskets filled with flowers everywhere on the streets in Bali – they are offerings for the many gods that guard and roam the island. Here, at The Ritz-Carlton Bali, you can learn to make these beautiful coconut leaves baskets, decorating them with colorful flowers and more.
This beautiful Balinese lady was touchingly patient and she lovingly showed how its done. Both kids and parents can join in, learning some great new skills.
And this is just one activity from the full blown daily kids’ programme, which includes classes where they will learn all about the Balinese culture through language and arts.They will also make new friends and have lots of fun at the same time! Who says learning isn’t fun?
During my stay, I was constantly unconsciously reminded of where I was. Hints of the unique and rich Balinese culture are infused into details everywhere. Once, there were men dressed in traditional wear and playing the traditional gamelan instruments in the hallway, filling the resort with calming Balinese music.
Of course, there’s still so many more activities for you. You can go for a Bahasa Indonesia language class (you can practise with the loving resort staff, who are always happy to chat) or sand-castling building by the beach. Why not pick up the art of Balinese dance too?
After nightfall, sit around for a family cinema evening with free popcorn under the stars, and on same days, there’s even a bonfire on the beach with marshmallows and storytelling! Don’t they sound super cosy?
Photo Via Lorenzou_Guidotti-Kriskross2340
See the full weekly kids’ programme here.
13. When childhood is simple and fun: Kite Runner
Do you love flying kites? Relive those good old childhood days in the resort!
Invented as the ultimate family activity, the Kite Runner also fits perfectly into the Balinese traditions. Every year, usually in August when it is windy, kite festivals are held on the island, where locals compete with massive handmade kites – they are so big, you won’t believe your eyes!
As part of the Ritz Kits programme, parents and kids will each get a traditional bird-shaped Balinese kite. It is a challenge to get them up into the air, but once you get the hang of it, it is really exciting and fun! The trick is to lift them up and start running so it catches the wind beneath its wings and tail.
This little girl couldn’t resist the kite-flying fun! Each had their own kite and after a bit of practice and giggles, both birds were up in the air where they belong.