In collaboration with Luxury Escapes
Bali is one of those places that does resorts extremely well and, of the six I’ve now stayed in, I can’t fault a single one. But, though we’d been told by several extremely discerning friends that the Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua was the absolute best of the best, we planned on reserving judgement on our luxury escape until we’d seen it for ourselves.
It ended up taking about 30 seconds for the resort to prove our friends right. In fact, the kids are sold from the second they hop in the resort’s limo at the airport, stocked as it is with a plate of waiting macarons, just for them.
When we arrive, we are greeted like rock stars by a ferocious Balinese figure and the resort’s waiting staff in the hotel’s open-air lobby.
Once I spy its soaring ceiling and expansive carved wood panel depicting the Balinese Circle of Life, I too am as smitten as the kids. This place is ridiculously pretty.
Even more so when we are ushered out of the main reception past incredible artworks and installations to Club Millésime.
The stylish lounge boasts its own indoor and outdoor lounge areas and pool, where suite and villa guests can luxuriate in style, or in our case lack of.
We loll on the comfy lounges, the kids sipping on fruit drinks while I inhale a cheeky chilled rose as we are checked in.
Now, by the time we checked in to our adjoining rooms I admit that I am wearing wine goggles, but damned if these rooms aren’t sexy! Think dark timber finishes, a terrace with a swing overlooking the resort and the sparkling sea. Then there are the enormous bathrooms with standalone marble tubs and separate rain showers.
But the kids haven’t spotted those yet as they’re too distracted with the inexplicably pretty table load of treats that is here to greet us. There is a trio of freeform chocolate towers propping up cakes, more macarons and handmade chocolates, a platter of fresh strawberries and tropical fruits.
But there’s more, on the bed a tray awaits with a travel diary for the kids, an edible chocolate teddy bear, a cuddly one for a keepsake and the most adorable cupcake I’ve ever seen.
I tear them away from their haul to grab a meal downstairs at the incredible Kwee-Zeen buffet where Sugarpuff dives straight into the chocolate fountain, but not before calling our butler to organise a wee surprise.
When we return from feasting, two decadent bubble baths await the kids and they dive in, using the cleverly designed bath trays to prop up their towers of sweet treats, getting so sugared up in the process that sleeping is not even a remote option. But we’re on holidays, so what the heck.
The kids have twin beds in their room, while I have a glorious king-sized Sofitel signature MyBed all to myself. Well, that’s the plan. When we finally retire for the night it takes about 10 seconds for my farting, snuffling offspring to invade my heavenly bed and start shoving their toes into my nostrils. But the bed is so huge, I manage to find a comfortable kid-free corner to sleep.
Right now, Luxury Escapes have made it possible for you too to indulge in the elegance of a Luxury Room at more than 50% off the normal rate, with up to two kids staying free.
The following morning, we return to Kwee-Zeen, a buffet restaurant inspired by the street-side hawker markets of Asia, for what is quite possibly the best resort breakfast I have ever come across. There are quite literally rooms of food from noodle dishes, breakfast curries and freshly made masala dosa to an Indonesian breakfast selection and an egg station whipping up eggs every conceivable way imaginable.
But that’s just the start as there’s also a room laden with pastries, donuts and fresh breads, another with cold cuts and sushi and a station for pressing fresh designer juices.
Naturally, we stuff ourselves silly.
We repeat the gorging at lunch at Toya Beach Bar & Grill. There are kids’ menus available but the kids opt to dive into a delicious feast of Indonesian delights, Raffles attempting to break the world record for most Indonesian food consumed by a single nine-year old boy in one sitting.
Dinner at Cucina, an Italian Al Fresco continues the theme of over indulgence. Sugarpuff dines on pizza from the kids’ menu while Raffles and I devour a sublime squid ink pasta topped with seafood and some delightfully fluffy gnocchi spiked with truffles, only coming up for air to watch a mesmerising performance by Balinese dancers.
There’s also a Lobby Bar serving snack items where the kids liked to sit and watch the sun set and rise.
One of the best things about the dining establishments at the resort, is that each and every one of them has a kids area so you can dine at leisure while the kids play.
The Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort has two different spas. Vietura offers non-invasive aesthetic treatments, nutritional counselling and cosmetic dentistry while the The So Spa is an otherworldly oasis of soaring ceilings, mood lighting and trickling water that looks and feels like a temple. It is here, while Raffles heads back to the kids’ club to become one with an X-Box, that Sugarpuff and I enjoy a mother and daughter spa session.
She beams as the ping of a singing bowl signals the commencement of our simultaneous head to toe massages, both of us falling into a relaxed sleep under the expertise of our masseurs. By the time she has her toes filed, polished and bedazzled with glittery purple polish she reaches six-year old nirvana.
Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua knocks it out of the park for kids with some of the best cultural, creative and just plain fun activities and facilities for children I’ve come across in a resort. We make time to loll on the day beds on the golden beach, and splash about in the clean clear waters.
We head for the enormous landscaped lagoon pool that snakes off under humpbacked bridges from one end of the resort to the other.
The kids swim and play happily for hours, while I happily indulge in a few delicious lychee-infused gin cocktails at the swim up bar.
There’s also a family swimming pool complete with slides, splash pads and a man-made beach, but its lack of bar for mama renders our visit short lived.
Sofitel’s Cheeky Monkeys Kids’ Club turns my kids’ club hating offspring into raving fans with an incredible array of supervised daily activities. My wee dirt girl adores the organic gardening programme, aerating the earth, learning about the vegetables and herbs she collects, and picking watermelons straight from the vine.
They take their haul of freshly picked fruits and vegetables to Cucina to meet the lovely Isep, one of the Sofitel’s talented chefs who cook up cakes and pizza with kids during twice-weekly cooking lessons. On this occasion though, he teaches my kids how to whip up seafood we’d picked on an early morning trip to the fish markets at Jimbaran Bay.
He teaches them to chop and pound the ingredients into pastes before wrapping the fish in banana leaves and placing it into an oven. Raffles even helps prepare a delicious seafood infused noodle soup made from the river prawns, topping it with a handful of chilies for a little added fire. It is nothing short of sublime.
Sugarpuff and Raffles both get in touch with the local culture through dance lessons at the onsite temple, my little dancing queen learnt to (gracefully) shake her booty Balinese style.
The kids rock a fetching Balinese ensemble for an audience with Pak Mangku, the temple priest entrusted with the spiritual wellbeing of the staff and guests of the resort.
Pak Mangku graciously explains the five elements of the Balinese Hindu faith to my enthralled and appreciative kids before teaching them how to make offerings to Bali’s Hindu deities.They weave canang baskets from banana leaves then fill them with tiny treats, flowers and smoldering incense before silently making a wish and placing them on the altar of the temple.
It is moments of cultural immersion like these, combined with the incredible warmth of the staff, that prove to be the highlight of our stay and take our holiday to a level we’ve never experienced before in Bali.
Indeed, it proves so very hard to say goodbye to the people who have gone above and beyond to make our stay at the Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua so special, that instead the kids say “see you next time,” because they are resolute that we will be returning.
And I’m not arguing, I’ll be booking another Luxury Escape at Sofitel here.
Discolsure: BoyEatsWorld were guests of Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua. This post is sponsored by Luxury Escapes but all opinions remain our own.