It is somewhat of an understatement to say that both Raffles and Sugarpuff love the water. Whether it’s in the sea, in a pool or falling from the sky, my little Pisceans certainly live up to their pesce astrological personas, which is a touch ironic given that I think astrology is such a crock. So much so that I think it’s far more likely someone accidentally dropped a little dolphin DNA into the embryonic cocktail shakers at Casa Conception because, not withstanding their lack of scales or gills, I swear the two of them are part fish.
So it seemed almost serendipitous that on a recent holiday at the Holiday Inn Baruna Bali with kids we should be staying in a resort named for Baruna, the Hindu God of the Sea. It is no surprise that my amphibious offspring developed a bit of a thing for the wet and wild deity, who is said to offer aquatic protection and providence to the island’s majority Hindu people.
At the Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali, the dripping deity certainly delivers on his watery promises.
As if providing a dazzling swimming pool and tranquil koi ponds isn’t enough, the beachfront location of Holiday Inn Baruna Bali, close to many of Bali’s best attractions, offers a backdrop of colourful, wooden fishing boats that have me wondering if Baruna might just be a divine show-off.
It is here that we spend our evenings when the beach comes alive as lovely locals and tourists gather to watch one of Bali’s fiery sunsets.
The Balinese people are every bit as friendly as they’re rumoured to be and the kids collect new friends like seashells.
The beachfront gatherings also bring a small army of hawkers spruiking everything from sarongs to snacks and massages.
Bali’s hawkers are nothing if not tenacious but it is polite to at least acknowledge them with a simple ‘‘no thank you’’ or tidak mau (don’t want). If you’re not interested in what they’re offering don’t engage further and don’t try to fob them of by saying you’ll come back later because they’ll be waiting.
As lovely as our evening strolls are, it is floating on the massive beanbags in the Holiday Inn Baruna Bali’s enormous lagoon style pool that swallows most of our time.
A shaded toddlers pool is an added bonus for Sugarpuff, as is the swim-up bar that Mr EatsWorld and I patronise each evening at happy hour!
We do manage to escape the pool’s watery depths for meals at the resort’s excellent restaurants.
Where any pretence of decorum is soon forgotten as my ravenous ringleted rascals dive face first into the lovely local cuisine, particularly smitted with the bowls of noodles, nasi goreng and crispy perkedel jagung (Indonesian corn fritters).
One great feature of the Holiday Inn Baruna Bali with kids is the cold stone kiosk in the resort Hub, where the kids take multiple breaks to gobble ice cream. Between scoops, we also discover a store that stocks snacks, beer and bottles of wine, which to our utter amazement are all sold at supermarket prices. Huzzah!
Given the Holiday Inn Baruna Bali’s generous bevvy pricing policy it seems the least we can do to imbibe each evening on the private terrace of our spacious studio room… after our little sea monsters fall asleep.
Speaking of rooms, our studio, which looks out onto the beautiful resort gardens, is big enough for even the fussiest of sea dwelling deities with a massive king-sized bed, king-size sofa bed and a separate kids area with bunk beds, its own television and, much to Raffles delight, an X-Box. On the terrace there’s even a sizeable day-bed which Sugarpuff covers daily in fallen frangipani blossoms.
And in keeping with our holiday’s watery theme, there’s also a colossal bathroom where family shower dance parties, complete with pumping music from Raffles iPod, become a daily occurrence.
Raffles and Sugarpuff do dry off long enough to visit the resort’s Tea Tree Day Spa where they relax and enjoy their first ever spa treatment.
An insanely ticklish Raffles spends most of his massage giggling and wriggling about like a loon, but Sugarpuff is so hooked that I foresee a life long addiction to nail polish following her ocean blue mani.
What with the awesome pool and beach, one could be forgiven for thinking a visit to a waterpark would be superfluous to requirements. But one obviously hasn’t spoken to my waterlogged weirdos. To appease the mighty Baruna, we’re off to sacrifice our children by chucking them down the slides at Waterbom. They take it extremely well.
So well in fact that what’s meant to be a morning of splashing and sliding our way down and around the waterslides and navigating the lazy river turns in to a very long day.
It proves near impossible to budge my kids, or Mr Eats World for that matter, as they have been sucked into the vortex of fun that is Waterbom’s kids water play zone.
It takes being forcibly removed by the staff at closing time for us to exit the facilities and return to the resort where, after giving Baruna a metaphysical high five, all three dive straight back into the loving embrace of the pool.