Late last year we decided we needed a proper family holiday. We’d gone through some pretty tough times in 2016 and worked out we hadn’t been a proper holiday since we arrived in Australia. By proper holiday I mean one that didn’t involve visiting family or showing family around WA.
So we hopped onto Scoopon and found an awesome deal for a holiday to Bali. Not just any holiday – an all inclusive holiday! These are pretty popular in the UK but almost impossible to find here in Australia (let me know if you know of any!), and not that common in Bali either. I’d never been that keen on visiting Asia in general, but after doing A LOT of research trying to find something that would be equally relaxing in Australia, that also didn’t cost the equivalent of 3 months of mortgage payments, we started looking further afield.
Bali seems to be the go to holiday location for most Australians and Western Australians especially. The lure of a cheap holiday in a tropical climate is appealing to many. While you can get pretty cheap accommodation and eat on the cheap in places like Kuta, we decided that we didn’t actually want to do very much on our holiday – it’s meant to be a holiday after all!
I’m one of those people that always wants to get out and explore when I go anywhere but when it came to this holiday we just wanted to chill by the pool. Which is what led us to the Melia Nusa Dua. Set in Nusa Dua, this gorgeous hotel was one of the first to be built in the area so has built up a reputation.
Our Scoopon deal included 7 nights accommodation, private airport transfers, all meals and drinks (including snacks between meals, room service and even the mini bar!), 4 massages at the on site spa, free kids club, free bike hire for 1 hour each day, free use of non-motorised watersport equipment (snorkelling, kayaking, paddleboarding etc) as well as use of their gym and tennis courts. We booked over the Easter school holidays and there was no issue getting a room as the hotel has over 400 rooms.
We flew with Air Asia which was just what you’d expect from a budget airline. We arrived pretty much on time, there’s no in flight entertainment and the food was awful (sandwiches so bad I couldn’t eat them and I’m not that fussy at all!).
As soon as we stepped off the plane the humidity smacks you in the face – it was so hot! We took almost an hour to get through passport control – that was fun. Pick a queue that’s moving – unlike us who picked the only queue out of 6 that didn’t move at all. Eventually we switched queues and were out in no time.
The taxi ride to the hotel was quick – around 20 minutes and you could tell the difference as soon as you enter Nusa Dua. Where the area around Denpasar is crazy busy and the streets are lined with shops and buildings which look fairly run down, Nusa Dua is green and lush, and the streets are lined with beautiful statues and stunning fountains in the middle of the intersections.
The Melia Nusa Dua has a grand driveway and entrance which takes your breath away. On arrival we were welcomed in the stunning open air lobby with a beautiful drink and a cold towel which was much needed after discovering the humidity!
Our room was a premium garden view room with a view over the lagoon pool. While the room was perfectly adequate, you can tell they are slightly older. The room was clean though with all white linen and towels so makes it feel crisp and fresh. They are doing some room renovations at the moment so I’m sure they will work their way through all the guest rooms.
Food Glorious Food
The hotel has several restaurants, most of which are included when you go all inclusive. We had breakfast most days at the El Patio restaurant, which is a 24/7 restaurant serving buffet breakfast and then later, table service lunch and dinner. You can however eat 24 hours a day here! The breakfast buffet is fantastic, as was every single meal we had across the restaurants. Anyone who complains about the food here needs their heads examined!
At breakfast you could choose from fruit, yoghurts, preserves, breads, pastries, pancakes, waffles, freshly cooked eggs and omelettes, Indonesian breakfast options, salads, Indian and Chinese options, cooked breakfast items like sausages, tomatoes and beans as well as continental breakfast items like cold meats and olives. It was ridiculously awesome. The only annoying thing was the delicious pastries at breakfast were always snapped up within minutes – they were amazing!
We always sat outside for breakfast and had a table by the ponds which were filled with koi and other small fish. It also attracted interesting birds and even one morning a water monitor lizard, who was all very cute until he started trying to come out the water towards us!
Most days we had lunch at the Sateria restaurant which is situated right next to the beach, with some tables on a deck overlooking the sea – it was magical (but very hot if not in the shade!). The food here was a mix of European style food and Asian options, along with salads, pizzas and the usual meats and seafood. We tried a range of dishes and they were all superb – hats off to the chefs at the Melia, the food really is top notch!
At the Sarteria beach bar, there is also an ice-cream cart which has different flavours each day. The vanilla was divine, and I tried a few others too – black rice and black forest – so yum!
In the evenings we alternated between these two restaurants as well as the Asian themed Lotus restaurant and the Japanese Sakura restaurant.
The Lotus restaurant puts on different cultural and traditional dancing each night which is lovely to watch during dinner. Sakura has a huge selection of sushi, sashimi and teppanyaki options.
The best thing about the restaurant set up at the Melia is that they have one kids menu, and that menu is available at every restaurant in the hotel. So that means no matter where you eat, the kids are well catered for – it’s total genius! As a mother to a fussy eater, this was my idea of heaven as I could eat sashimi and nasi goreng without having to worry about what the heck my son was going to have!
About The Hotel
We spent most mornings at the pool which was big and winding so you never felt like you were on top of people as it is well sectioned out. There was a daily list of activities on during the day and included things like water volleyball, aqua aerobics, yoga, pilates, cooking classes and much more.
The hotel provides you with towel cards which you can exchange for towels each day to use at the pool or beach. There were always plenty of sun loungers around the pool, but it was much harder to find free loungers on the beach during the day.
A few days into our holiday we decided to move to a lagoon access room, as we had debated at the time of booking the deal whether to get a more expensive lagoon access room or stick with the premium garden view room. Well, next time we’ll be booking the lagoon access room – it was amazing! Much bigger than our first room, it has a separate area with a desk and sofa bed, plus a huge bathroom with a bath and a walk in shower.
Best of all though was opening our doors onto our own private pool deck – it was stunning! The view was just gorgeous and it was a great way to keep cool without even having to leave your room.
We visited the spa several times as well, thanks to the inclusion of 4 massages with our Scoopon deal. The spa is first class and is up there with some of the finest ones I’ve visited (including ones at 5* hotels in Ireland and England).
The setting is total bliss, with calming treatment rooms with water features outdoors, and the beautiful garden area where you can sit and relax after your massage while drinking delicious tea and eating yummy healthy snacks.
After a couple of days my son was brave enough to check out the kids club, and after that we barely saw him between breakfast and dinner! The staff at the kids club were brilliant and he had an absolute blast.
They have a schedule of activities that include beach walking, crab hunting, soccer, pool games, beading, movie nights, beach party afternoons, doughnut making (and eating!) and so much more. Big shout out to Dani, Maria, Sasi, Finda and all the other ladies there – you guys were amazing!
Out & About
We did manage to venture out of the hotel a few times and one afternoon we walked to the island next to the hotel. It was so hot, so we didn’t get too far but it was nice to walk around and see the gorgeous views from the island.
We also used the free bike hire and went for a ride along the beachfront another afternoon and saw all the amazing looking hotels along the beachfront – some of them look absolutely spectacular!
A couple of times we walked over to Bali Collection which are some shops with souvenirs, clothes, massage places and heaps of restaurants. Food was much cheaper here than the hotel, as you would expect, but we didn’t try any as we were all inclusive. There is also a money changer here if you want to change money – and you can get a better rate than the hotel offers.
There are also lots of hawkers on the beach, so if haggling and getting a bargain is your thing, you can buy beautiful dresses, sarongs, bracelets and more from them directly. I paid $10 each for the dresses and sarongs I bought and they were much more expensive in Bali Collection. It’s also good to support them I think as they work hard to sell just a few items each day and it benefits the local economy directly.
Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our first Bali holiday and I think it’s safe to say it won’t be our last! We’d also definitely head back to the Melia as all the staff were so friendly and helpful – we’ve never experienced such amazing service anywhere in the world. Some of the ones who stood out for us were Ayu (trainee), Subakti, Sudarwita and Saurdana who all worked at Sarteria, and Komang who we always saw at the beach bean bag area in the evening for our pre-dinner cocktails while the kids toasted marshmallows!
Have you been to Bali? Where did you stay and would you recommend it? Share your Bali tips in the comments!