The Club Med holiday experience is legendary but while I’ve heard of it, I have not experienced it myself. As the planner who usually loves to decide what to do during holidays, it was a little unnerving to let someone do all the planning for me PLUS babysit my children and plan THEIR activities as well. But doesn’t it sound like paradise for parents? During a family holiday to Club Med Bali with our kids, we soon found out what being Club Med parents was like, and it was wonderful being on holiday…not too far away from the kids yet enjoying the peace sans kids.
Welcome Home to Club Med Bali
Just a quick flight away from Singapore, Club Med Bali is in the famed Nusa Dua region amidst other luxury resorts. This also means high levels of security and exclusive beach fronts.
We were welcomed by Merlin, the Singaporean (SG Pride!) Chief of Village (or General Manager) and her team of GOs (Gentle Organisers) with loud cheers and big smiles. This set the tone for the Club Med vibe as it is big on guests feeling at home and having a great time at Club Med. The phrase “Welcome home” will be used quite often. While it might sound counter-intuitive, it was to encourage all guests or “GMs” Gentle Members to let our hair down, be taken care of and enjoy the stay. After a brief introduction of the resort and a cool drink, we were given our magical digital bracelets which will unlock our rooms and also record additional purchases, if any.
Guests would appreciate the Balinese architecture of Club Med Bali with its rectangular hip roofs, statues of Hindu deities with red accents and earthy tones. While the resort has been around for three decades, rooms have been renovated and have a refreshing look combining modernity with Balinese inspired designs.
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We loved our Deluxe Terrace interconnecting rooms which were spacious, with a daybed for reading and a patio overlooking the lush green landscape.
For new guests, there are village tours to orientate you to the huge compounds at Club Med Bali. Otherwise, just approach any of the GOs if there are questions. Do anticipate the friendly GOs to ask if they can sit and dine with you, it is their duty to get to know their guests better and an opportunity to make new friends. Of course, you can always politely decline their intentions if you prefer some privacy.
Daily Activities & Schedules at Club Med Bali
There is a good variety of activities for both the adults and children. From seasports, land sports, cooking classes, massage classes, yoga by the beach – families are spoilt for choice. Club Med is highly family-friendly, hence many activities encourage family bonding through games such as soccer bumper or archery, trivia. There is definitely something for everyone.
To check schedules and see what activities are held daily, you can access all the information via “My Club Med” app. Using the app, you can check dresscodes according to the theme of the day to aid in the packing of your attire. You can also check the detailed schedule each day and get the family together for some fun, or plan your own fitness regimes. For mummies keen to learn sports and get fitter post-birth, Club Med Bali provides many opportunities to pick up a sport like golf, tennis, bocce ball even windsurfing. Best of all, most activities are all-inclusive. There is no need to worry about extra bills or equipment rental fees.
We were so excited to be able to go for the snorkeling trip out in the open sea! It was a good opportunity to spend one-on-one time with a child for families with multiples. We had mummy-and-son time during our peek into the sea together for the first time in the open sea. Other sea sports include kayaking, stand-up paddling, wind-surfing all with equipment provided.
Do note that sign-up timings happen twice a day, be sure to stand in line 10 minutes before sign-ups open because sea sports are hugely popular in Bali. Also, check minimum ages for each activity. Participants will need to do a swimming test in the pool before heading for the snorkeling trip.
The Amazing Family segments happen twice to thrice a day, guaranteeing some screen-free fun for the family. Giant twister and digital treasure hunt sounded extremely fun, it was a pity they were not conducted during the days of our stay.
The craft and cooking activities in Club Med Bali were all centred around learning about the local culture such as learning to make kites, bracelets, Canang Sari, local delicacies like chicken curry and kue dadar gulung.
Our family chose to attend the one on making kue dadar gulung, and it was a large turnout. Learning first-hand from Chef on how to make the green crepes and its delicious filling was such an eye-opening experience. Even my husband felt empowered to try it on his own. Amazing Family craft and cooking sessions require registration as there might be limited spots, so be sure to give Reception a call before the session.
Mini Club and Kids Club – Bye Bye Children and Hello to Freedom
Anyone else find it stressful holidaying with children? It is hardly a holiday usually but the Club Med experience changes all that. Its newly launched Spy Academy will get the little ones all excited about kids club with daily spy training missions which leads them up step closer to becoming the ultimate spy. Say goodbye to separation anxiety, and kids bugging you to take them to Spy Academy’s kids club daily. We had a “morning call” at 6 in the morning with one child bugging us to bring him to kids club because he loved it so much!
For children ages 4 right up till teens of 17 years old, trust the GOs to take very good care of them. Mini Club and Kids Club timings are from 8.30am to 4.45pm, and 6.30pm to 8.45pm. This leaves parents lots of me-time to relax, head to the bar for free-flow drinks or participate in some sports. Only parents can sign their kids in and out. This also ensures there are no unauthorized pick-ups.
Each day has a different theme for Spy Academy, children learn to observe, create, show courage, discretion and resilience through the many activities they complete. They also learn to work together with their teammates in team games to solve problems and win challenges. With guests coming from all over the world, it is a superb opportunity to make friends from different countries.
Also, I really appreciated the incorporation of nature walks to see the wildlife in the resort and my 5-year-old was clearly very excited to feed the resident squirrels as well as the monitor lizards (eeks!).
We were very impressed with the GOs tending to the kids’ daily needs and maintaining the level of energy from dusk till dawn. The Spy Academy themed kids club has a full day of activities, with the children choosing different sports to do according to their interests. Our boys tried the Flying Trapeze which was a superb way of nurturing confident spies.
They also tried their hand at sports like archery, tennis and soccer.
As Club Med Bali had the full range of facilities, there were many other indoor sports to try should it rain such as badminton, basketball and mini golf. The GOs were extremely encouraging and patient coaching the children, their attitude never ceases to amaze me though they have five times the number of children to care for compared to me. While one of our sons cried going on the ladder on the Flying Trapeze, the GOs managed to encourage him to continue to climb up and swing down amidst the protests.
On our last night at Club Med Bali, we were surprised with a dance performance by our little ones. This was merely after one dance lesson and rehearsal, we were so amazed that the enthusiasm of our GOs was so infectious every little performer enjoyed dancing in front of the crowd. They had costumes and make-up to boot! Parents are always so glad to see their child having balls of fun.
Club Med Bali’s Comprehensive Facilities, Pools and Beach
GMs or guests can enjoy many of Club Med Bali’s facilities like the tennis, basketball and badminton courts if bumming on one of the huge cabanas is not preferred. Otherwise, lazing with a good book on the deckchairs and tanning on the SWINGING sunbeds at the kid-free Zen pool will leave you feeling rejuvenated.
We love the number of sunbeds and giant cabanas sprinkled all around the green grounds of the resort, complete with curtains for some privacy. Whether it be people-watching or having a good conversation while chilling, the cabanas are also good photospots for the ‘gram.
Since we were a little bit more saavy with intertidal zones, we had a good time exploring the beach to see the little sea creatures. Indonesia is touted to be the epicenter of marine biodiversity and we knew its shores would be teeming with little sea creatures. However we didn’t have the right footwear and didn’t venture far beyond the seagrass, after spotting some sea stars and anemone.
Nightly Entertainment by the GOs
See the GOs in a very different light when night falls. Their operational duties give way to entertainer dancer and even acrobat roles! Every evening, the GOs will put up a dazzling performance for the entertainment of children and adults alike. The show we caught – “Replay” was all about video games which would be familiar to all the #nonmillenials.
The GOs play different characters of various games such as Lara Croft, Mario, Luigi, Gokan, Cyclops and as they dance and move the graphic on screen move just like a live video game. Throughout the whole show, the boys’ mouths were open in amazement. The “ultra cool” bar just got raised really high.
The entertainment did not just end there. The highlight of the night was the “Water Drums” performance at the bar where drummers in neon lit costumes drummed away with water drums, samba style along with high-energy music. The kids were even invited to get their faces faced with luminous paint. We were all blown away by how hard the partying gets. But alas, bedtime beckons for all of us!
International Buffet, Fine-dining, Bar options at Club Med Bali
Full-board at Club Med also means plenty of options. The international buffet menu at main restaurant, The Agung changes on a daily basis, with options including Indonesian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Italian, Indian and other gourmet mains all lovingly plated by the chefs at live stations. The quality of the food was surprisingly kept consistently sumptuous with plenty of salad options and even a gluten-free section. We enjoyed the Japanese, Indian and Indonesian live stations in particular while the children had Italian cuisine every single meal. It boggles me how pasta and pizza can be the staple of children, not just ninja turtles. Every portion is customisable, hence requests can be made at the live stations if portions requested are smaller or the omission of sauce is preferred.
In addition, the restaurant staff was always warm and attentive to our needs, refilling our glasses, bringing us utensils and so on. The service standards we experienced was superior to many other restaurants we have been to. Catch Merlin, the Chief of Village making milkshakes or frying mussels at The Agung or giving out chocolate coated marshmellows, making her honoured guests feel right at home.
Aside from The Agung, The Deck is a fine-dining concept that requires reservations, limited to one reservation per guest. For a different experience, families can check out the fancier concept with offers 5-course meals and kids’ meals. We still preferred The Agung after having dinner at The Deck though it was a much more exclusive option.
Another big plus for the Club Med experience was the free-flow of drinks at three different bars all day. While premium concoctions are at additional charges, the mocktails and cocktails were sufficient for the adults’ enjoyment.
The kids even got to make their own orders at the bar with special stairs for the mini connoisseurs. Choose from milkshakes, babyccinnos or fresh fruit juice!
Exceptional Service Standards of Staff at Club Med Bali
The team at Club Med Bali really enjoyed what they do and are determined to give guests a great time. On the first night, there was a party thrown for the local staff and we were treated to fireworks at night. It is telling of how well the staff are treated and this translates to a better guest experience. The smiles of the staff say it all, as they respond to every request. Balinese hospitality is indeed one of a kind.
An Awesome Family Time at Club Med Bali and Craving for More
Our first Club Med experience as a family was an awesome one! We had both family time and time for everyone to enjoy their chosen activities. We’d love to have more time to explore Bali more but that means another adventure for another time. It would be lovelier if the resort was a smoke-free one as we saw cigarettes strewn around on the grounds by inconsiderate guests. Nonetheless, Club Med Bali has the recipe for the perfect family vacation and making beautiful memories.