When the kids are happy, the parents can relax writes Tamara McLean
When it comes to entertaining children, Bali hotels are world class.
Many of the island's resorts and villas cater specifically to parents wanting all the trappings that make holidaying with children a pleasure. Tasty kids menus, creative activities, easy transport, cheap nannies, enticing pools and recovery therapies for grown ups are all on offer at the best digs for families.
Last week Air New Zealand announced it will extend its Bali seasonal direct flights in 2018. They currently fly two to three times a week, with the season starting from the end of May until October, but next year they will increase that service, flying up to five times a week with the season beginning in April.
The 2018 Bali season is on sale now, so if you're thinking of a family holiday next year, these high-end resorts will please parents and children alike.
Karma Kandara, Uluwatu
Children love the beach and Karma Kandara has one of the prettiest on offer in all of Bali. This resort, perched on a cliff top in magical Uluwatu, provides a wonderland for children of all ages with its winding buggy pathways, monkey jungle and that stretch of glorious white sand. Guests ride the near-vertical cliff tram down to the beach to laze in the sun, dine at the cafe or try their hand at snorkelling and paddle-boarding. The resort prides itself on offering a vast array of themed activities to keep your stay exciting, while the two spas offer cute mother-daughter massages that come complete with ice-cream. Villas come in all sizes and are each kitted out with a kitchen for cooking, or get a chef to pop by to throw a Balinese feast on the barbie.
The guest list: Big families, beach lovers, those who want the benefits of both private villa and hip resort
Parental perks: Complimentary kids club, private pools with optional fencing, great activities such as beach cinema, games, in-room BBQ, family spa treatments and children under 12 eating for free when booking directly through resort.
Peppers Sentosa, Seminyak
Bang smack in the centre of oh-so-hip Seminyak, Peppers Sentosa is just a stone's throw from the uber cool bars and restaurants on Jalan Petitenget. You wouldn't know it, though. The resort is a calm oasis of 45 villas, ranging from one to five bedrooms, each with a pool and classic pavilion-style Balinese layout. Families love this resort for its happy blend of self-contained privacy (cook in your fully equipped gourmet kitchen) and socialising (dine out at celebrated Salt Tapas by Luke Mangan). Sentosa puts on a famed children's lunch three times a week throughout high season, allowing parents to chill by the pool while their darlings are entertained and educated.
The guest list:
Hip young families who want to be close to the cocktails of Seminyak, but also value peace and privacy. The resort can accommodate families of all sizes.
Private pools with safety fencing, easy in-room dining options, children's lunchtime activities, baby-sitting services available.
Four Seasons at Sayan, Ubud
Nestled along the edge of the Agung River and surrounded by lush tropical jungle, Four Seasons at Sayan is a remote and peaceful retreat for families wanting time out. The resort is a sight to behold, with its circular lotus pond, ultra-private villas and perfectly manicured gardens tended to by 250 full-time gardeners. The Four Seasons offers a free children's club, great kids' meals and fantastic family activities such as guided walks through the nearby village of Sayan and rice-planting lessons with a local farmer. A free 15-minute shuttle whips you into Ubud town, Bali's arts and culture hub, which is home to organic eateries, art galleries, yoga studios and craft shops. children will love the nearby Monkey Forest and Elephant Safari Park.
The guest list:
Families looking for a tranquil pace to rejuvenate, those who treasure their privacy.
Complimentary children's club, private plunge pools, transport by golf buggy, the resort organises family activities
Desa Seni, Canggu
Yogies with children can retreat to Desa Seni, an eco village resort offering a unique blend of home-grown food, rustic Indonesian living and some of the best yoga in Bali. This resort is a collection of authentic Javanese homes decorated with local antiques and set in carefully landscaped grounds. There's a salt water pool with a toddler splash area, Balinese dancing for children and three friendly lazy dogs to hang out with. Children will love roaming the gardens, discovering ancient artifacts and helping staff pick veges that make up 80 per cent of the fine fare served at the resort restaurant. Those aged seven and over can join the yoga classes. Desi Seni will satisfy those looking for an immersive and authentic cultural experience.
The guest list: Zen parents into yoga and alternative health, greenies keen on travelling with a light footprint.
Parental perks: Shallow children's pool, healthy kids' menu, Balinese dancing and yoga classes.
IF YOU GO
Getting there: Air New Zealand flies from Auckland to Denpasar.
Further information: See desaseni.com