InterContinental Bali, Indonesia
Style: Five Star meets Balinese temple gardens
Scene: Beach-side at Jimbaran bay
Seen in the lobby: Club-wingers have a separate check in so they're not seen in the lobby at all
Dear TLTB, can you help me? My parents are easily bored and I have to find some way of entertaining them next time we go on holiday. They don't like video games or too much ice cream and all they want to do is go to sleep by the pool. Can you help me?
Yours in desperation, Daniel (aged 9 and ¾ )
It is not always easy pleasing everyone on a five-star family holiday. Children often want the company of other kids, parents crave luxury. InterContinental Bali Resort on the edge of the sand at Jimbaran Bay has the perfect solution. Check into Club InterContinental and you have the best of both worlds; private pampering for the adults and the run of the resort for the children. The Club is a hotel-within a hotel, with a lot of privileges attached. As we sit in the lounge during a very civilised check-in - no queuing at the desk for us- our hostess fills us in. "Club InterContinental guests have a private lounge/bar, a private pool, extra-large rooms, 24-hour butler service, complimentary access to the fitness centre, and preferential seating at every restaurant in the resort", she says without pausing for breath. But wait, there's more... "and there is also an exclusive 'Inspirational Lounge' for reading writing, watching DVDs or relaxing. Plus you have a choice of five complimentary breakfast menus; the club lounge and pool and the venues scattered around the resort that other people go to".
After a day or so we discover that the buzz word at The Club seems to be 'complimentary' . We can live with that. In fact there are so many complimentary experiences on offer for privileged Club InterCon guests we're finding it difficult to fit them all in. Should we have afternoon tea in the lounge - our plates piled high with jam scones , finger sandwiches and cake - or wait for lounge cocktails? Or we could have cocktails by the pool? Then again we really should make use of the Inspiration Space too. Decisions, decisions...
Check into Club InterContinental and you have the best of both worlds; private pampering for the adults and the run of the resort for the children...
Behind high walls the Club InterContinental pool has been designed exclusively as a private haven for clubbers; shady thatched cabanas, with over sized daybeds range around it and complimentary soft drinks (that word again) are on offer all day. A discreet and polite notice advises that 'the main pool with its shallow areas and water fountains is more suited to family needs'. Gently put, however the truth is that of an evening as parents sit around drinking their cocktails during happy hour (which are, you guessed it, complimentary), Club kids do take over the pool. They swim around as the sun sets and nobody minds at all. Of course if your child were the kind to dive bomb the drinkers their presence would not be welcomed. I am not quite certain what the charming staff would do about it in this instance but something I'm sure. The children seem particularly fond of the complimentary (here we go again..) pancakes on offer in the early evening; more chocolate sauce anyone?
A little note tells us that 'Due to the refined nature of the Club Lounge, guests are asked to dress respectfully at all times'. Well of course, we wouldn't dream of turning up in a batik sarong now would we? This is after all a private lounge and nothing instils a sense of refinement and privilege like a dress code.
All guests, not just the pampered clubbers, have access to a number of spa venues. Spa Uluwatu is in the main resort but I prefer the magic of the Villa Retreat where two and a half hours of extravagant pampering in a tropical garden villa has me so mellow and jelly-legged I have to call a buggie to get back to my room.
Food wise, this isn't a food snob's paradise but you are spoilt for choice from a pizza by the pool to a la carte. My top pick would be the teppenyaki. The entrance is as good as the food; twinkling lights and red painted walkways lead you to the inner sanctum of KO, the Japanese restaurant. Another day we leave the confines of the resort and step straight out on to Jimbaran beach for a local-style fish meal on wobbly tables at the edge of the ocean served by the Balinese warung owners.
Enough about the adults, what about the children? Well as a club kid your offspring have access to unlimited children's programmes at Planet Trekkers, the resort 's child care facility. This includes a whole range of fun things to do from fishing in the resort's lakes to mini basket ball competitions and puppet making. Outside of Planet T, older kids can have surf or scuba lessons and the whole family can rent the resort bikes and explore the local area. Best of all however is the huge grounds of the resort itself, laid out like a giant temple garden. Naga snakes curl around bridges, Hindu gods gush water and look down on a pool with mini water-polo hoops. Or there is the main pool with its swim-up pool bar and secluded cabanas. Children meet other children so easily that within a hour our son is off and playing with several new buddies. But we'll let him speak for himself -
Al's Top Five (aged 11)
1. Fishing in the resort's lakes was really cool, the fish were slow learners we hooked them every time.
2. I liked taking the resort bikes for a cycle to the fish markets but when we got there it smelt a bit. Our guide showed me huge tuna and a purple squid.
3. We could eat breakfast anywhere we liked -they had the best chocolate milkshake on the planet
4. My new friend Faraz and I beat our dads at water polo in the pool. Even though his dad cheated and dunked us.
5. Afternoon tea in the club lounge has so many cream cakes I thought I'd never eat dinner - but I did.
Hilary Doling 8/6/11
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