The idyllic Indonesian island getaway can be made all the more intimate and special if you opt for a villa instead of a hotel or resort – but you have to choose the one that’s right for you. If you make the right choice, a kids holiday in Bali is like staying in a more luxurious home away from home. To get a sense of the types of pros and cons to look out for before you book, here are four private Balinese villas compared.
Villa Surga, Seminyak
This two-bedroom private villa with pool and small garden is perfect for one family with mum and dad sleeping downstairs and the kids upstairs. The rooms are spacious so if things all go awry, there is enough room for the children to bunk down on the floor.
The main drawcard is its extremely central location. It is a pram-friendly walk to Jalan Oberoi, the main drag in Seminyak for shops and cafes, and a five to 10 minute walk to Petitenget Beach and KU DE TA if the adults want sunset cocktails.
The Belgian owner, Robert, is a very hospitable and attentive host but there is minimal staff. This means more privacy and can help make the villa feel more like home, with the option for casual babysitting to be arranged as and when you need it.
Breakfasts and meals available but they are basic. But perhaps this isn’t really such an inconvenience as it is a very short stroll for coffee at Revolver Espresso or Cafe Bali (Jalan Laksmana Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia, Tel: +62 361 736 484) which is very kid-friendly and has great breakfasts.
Villa Mimpi by Villa Bugis, Seminyak
This is a peaceful little spot with 24-hour security and delicious daily breakfast. Massages can be arranged in the privacy of the villa and come highly recommended for parents while the kids are having a siesta or absorbed in a DVD.
This is a more spacious feeling property as the villa is spread over two buildings with the master and ensuite in the main building and two additional bedrooms just adjacent.
Because the location is so secluded down some very narrow back streets, this means you will need to go on foot to get to anywhere outside the villa. For instance, it is possible to walk to Bintang Supermarket but it is a long and hot walk home with your tonic water and beer.
Similarly, it is possible to get to the beach on foot, but it is a complicated route to do so.
The architectural design does also mean that the kids will be sleeping in a separate building. They need to walk directly past the pool to get to the main building so they must be old enough to be trusted around water and not be fearful of being on their own.
Villa Thilla, Seminyak
This very stylish villa has three bedrooms all with their own ensuites so everyone has a bit of personal space. The staff are noted for their excellent breakfast (the banana pancakes are particularly divine) and can also cater local dishes throughout the day on request. Alternatively, there is the ability to set up barbeque facilities so you can cook yourself.
The big bonus here is location. It is within walking distance of the Seminyak lifestyle precinct so allows for easy access to restaurants and shopping, with the option to retreat home to privacy whenever the mood takes you. Similarly, Petitenget Beach is only a short stroll away.
While there is a private pool, it’s doesn’t have a shallow area for younger children to play in (just a narrow ledge), so your kids need to be able to swim or be 100 percent supervised.
Still, this doesn’t seem to be a deterrent for the many regular devotees who visit annually (or more often) so you need to plan well in advance to get a booking.
Villa Double N, Canggu
The entire villa is completely enclosed and in the middle of nowhere (rice paddy fields abound) which means complete privacy. There is a large patch of flat grass perfect for playing games, a spa that doubles well as a kids’ pool and then the larger pool proper (complete with pool bar). There are four large bedrooms then a smaller kids room, so if children bunk in together it can comfortably fit two to three small families.
There is a very sweet cubby house on stilts that makes for a cute children’s hideaway too.
There are staff onsite to cook to order, although you will have to pre-order your groceries daily. Food prices are definitely more expatriate than local though, so it can get surprisingly pricey.
Being in the middle of nowhere means that you have to commute everywhere. The Seminyak shops are about 20 minutes' drive without any traffic while Canggu Beach is about 10 minutes’ walk.
While the rice paddies are picturesque, they are also someone’s livelihood, so to protect them from birds the farmers place cow bells round the fields during harvest. This seems quaint during the daytime but can be maddening at night, so you will need to negotiate with the farmers to get them dismantled after dark.
Balinese villas typically pride themselves on employing all the Zen qualities of Asian design. Keep in mind if you are travelling with extremely small children that this can include hazards such as:
· Water features and ponds through the property (and even inside buildings)
· Infinity pools without fencing [To find out where you can hire a temporary pool fence, see the suitcases&strollers story Bali Essentials.]
· Open air buildings without secure doors or enclosed rooms to prevent mosquitos (although typically these types of villas will come with mosquito nets over the beds)
There have recently been reports in the media about fraud associated with booking Balinese villas, so be sure to do your due diligence before you wire your money across or you may find yourself on the island without a bed.
It is not safe to drink the water in Indonesia. Only use bottled water for drinking and be wary of children drinking water in the shower or the bath.
To read more on other Balinese villas read the suitcases&strollers story here
To read more on what the different parts of Bali have to offer, read the suitcases&strollers story here