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Semaine Bali

From Bali to Brisbane: Family Travel

To the point

Continuation of our story about a family trip around the world in 2020. From Bali to Brisbane: our hotels, activities, and good plans.

End of stay in Bali

We were in Ubud last week. We went to Kuta, passing by Pantai Purnama beach to see the black sand glistening in the sun.

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We continued our journey to Sanur, a small seaside resort, more quiet than Kuta.

There are cafes, restaurants on a marked walkway along the beach and various stalls to sell you diving activities for example.

Some people were swimming in the middle of the boats, others basked in the sun. More of a stopover town overal… I wasn’t won over and was glad we weren’t staying there.

However the walk is pleasant and you can find good small restaurants or bars.

We enjoyed returning to Kuta / Seminyak on our last two nights in Bali.

It was the opportunity for us to have someone babysit the children one evening, in order to return to see the beach at low tide…

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… and put on virtual reality helmets! An original activity that was quite new and made us sweat a lot!

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The children also enjoyed themselves:

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In order to make photo reports and to present you a diversity of choices during a future trip to Bali, we stayed in many Marriott hotels of the island as well as a Best Western.

Our accommodations during our week in Bali

The Westin Resort & Spa Ubud, Bali

A very recent hotel, which opened its doors only a few weeks ago! The hotel is very beautiful and everything is done so that you have a view of the adjoining forest.

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The choice of materials and decorations is interesting, but you can feel that the employees are still trying to find their place. The hotel is trying to figure out where to position itself.

In fact, half of the rooms are available, the rest are still under construction.

Pros:

  • A beautiful pool.
  • A Kid’s Club with its own pool.
  • The vegan food was excellent (a western chef makes sure everything is perfect in both the pool bar and the main restaurant) and the cocktails were very good.
  • The suite we had was superb and perfect for a family, which can be difficult when choosing a hotel in Bali!
  • You can even take a walk in the forest in front of it and see some rice fields.

Cons:

  • The Chef was not the smiling at us throughout our stay, certainly because we were taking pictures, but I found it uncomfortable.
  • Employees sometimes got mixed up in the bills.
  • Our room was not soundproof enough, which can be disturbing at night because you can hear the road.

Hotel Sthala Ubud, Bali, Tribute Collection

A beautiful hotel, very authentic decoration and similiar to the Westin because of its “natural” decor.

Indeed, you will also have a view on the forest, however not as beautiful as the first one, but very quiet. It has 2 pools, one overlooking the forest and the other secluded at the front of the hotel.

The staff was attentive, more than kind to the children and the room was very comfortable.

You can walk from the hotel to the forest. A shuttle bus is available for you to visit Ubud and enjoy the different attractions of the island.

The swings in the restaurant bar were original even if not the most comfortable to eat on.

Finally, no Kid’s Club (which is usually a must to keep pir daugher happy!); however, once was meant to open in the next few months.

Fairfield by Marriott Bali Legian Hotel, Kuta

We really liked the Fairfield Bali Legian. We would have stayed one more night but the hotel was full the next day. Yet we did not feel like we were on top of each other.

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Pros:

  • A very nice swimming pool with waterfall and a paddling pool for the children.
  • A room that looked out directly onto the pool, without facing other rooms.
  • An intimate, quiet and restful hotel.
  • The cocktails from the pool bartender were very good.
  • The staff is attentive and adorable with the children.

Cons:

  • If I had to mention one, it would be that this hotel is not completely central.

The Stones Legion Bali Hotel, Kuta

We settled on The Stones, intrigued by what this hotel had to offer and being part of the Autograph Collection.

Pros:

  • A Kids Club is available and the hotel offers babysitters if desired for children under 4 and in the evenings.
  • The hotel has a very nice swimming pool with an area suitable for children. In the evening, a band was playing at the pool bar.
  • The hotel is very central as within a few minutes walk we were at Kuta beach and close to the big shopping center.
  • We had our own pool. However, in order to keep your privacy, you must close the curtain. The rooms on the upper floors had spa tubs.
  • We were leaving the next day at the end of the morning, we would have liked to enjoy it longer!

Cons:

  • I don’t really have one. I will say that the Kids Club didn’t seem to have as many games as the others visited. The children quickly asked to watch a movie.
  • Overall, the hotel is very beautiful, but I would have liked to see more details in connection with the stone, because of its name. I’m having trouble understanding the design thread of this hotel.
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My impression of Bali - Take it or leave it

Bali is a very beautiful island with its landscapes, its population and its culture, which attracts a lot of tourists.

Of course we did not visit everything and it would deserve another much longer trip to get a more precise idea.

But in my opinion, sincerely, Bali is over-idealized from a foreign perspective and I liked it for aspects other than what I would have thought.

I have seen much more beautiful beaches in South Africa, France or the United States for example. The rice fields are beautiful, but you can find them in other countries of South East Asia.

Bali has an air of Thailand or Vietnam with its unburied electric wires, its scooters even if there are no Tuk-Tuks.

So what did I like about this island? Its simplicity, its maze of temples, walls, statues or houses built from black volcanic stones, sometimes decorated with beautiful gilding.

Its inhabitants and their culture, mainly. They are good, friendly, altruistic, generous people who have much to teach us, dedicated to serving their deities, respecting each other.

An island with a beautiful and touching soul.

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The Balinese you meet will always ask you where you are from, how long you have been here, how long you are staying and if you are interested in a driver or a guide even if it is always with a smile and several times a day: it can be a bit annoying.

There is no shortage of activities, there is plenty to do on the island, even if some have become very (too) touristy and lead to heavy traffic. There are even tourist buses on some stretches, which I find absurd given the narrow streets. I can’t imagine what it must be like in the dry season!

In the rice fields, Alexandra asked me why empty bottles or cardboard containers of juice, plastic, etc. were found in the gutters. We found the same thing on some beaches. Pollution is unfortunately a problem in some places.

I hope that the island will be able to cope with this pollution and keep its soul in the face of tourism.

Finally the island offers a ton of hotels and the Marriott brand is well established.

If you are travelling as a family, in the south, we advise you to privilege the Renaissance Bali Uluwatu. It’s very recent. In Kuta our choice would be the Fairfield Bali Legian and on the Ubud side, the Element by Westin Bali Ubud.

For couples, The Laguna in the South (article to come), The Stones Legian Bali in Kuta and the Westin Resort & Spa in Ubud for its beautiful pool or the Sthala, Tribute Portfolio Hotel for its authenticity.

Flight Denpasar - Brisbane

We returned the car directly to the terminal at the drop-off point. Pretty handy! We accepted the services of a Balinese to help us with the luggage to the check-in counter.

The 5.5 hour flight was pretty good in Economy – and in the back of the plane – although I admit it was pretty noisy.

The hostess service was courteous but not overly so. We had to pay for access to movies on our screens, so we took out our iPads for the kids.

There was some anxiety from check-in to our arrival at the Brisbane hotel regarding the Coronavirus situation, so we were glad to get out of the area, many passengers were wearing masks like the person furtively captured in this photo:

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Brisbane

Four Points by Sheraton Brisbane Hotel

We only stayed there for the night but it’s an inexpensive hotel, clean and modern, very well located, perfect for a short stay!

Although the room was somewhat small, we had all the essentials.

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The Westin Brisbane Hotel

At the door of the Four Points! Indeed, a few meters separate them. The service was of a higher standard. The Westin Brisbane upgraded us to a very nice suite with a king bed.

Buildings were under construction on the opposite street but we were not disturbed, the soundproofing being very good.

However, once at the pool, it was a different story. It was very noisy.

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There were plenty of towels and deckchairs. The weather was good and I even got to play a good hour with a Connect 4 game with the kids!

Our status gave us access to the hotel’s lounge, which was open until 6pm with children. The starters and dishes served were delicious and well prepared, with fruit, yoghurt and cheese to round it all off.

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Visiting Brisbane

The city can be discovered in as little as 24 hours. We chose to take the free CityHopper river shuttle which serves several stops between the two banks.

A good way to get to the South Bank for example or to the city center via the North Quay, where we got off.

In Reddacliff Square there is a Casino Hotel in the old Treasury and the city’s public library.

We then saw the City Hall, and took Queen Street, the city’s pleasant shopping street.

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The botanical garden is also worth a visit for its floral arrangements and is equipped with a large park for children: Alexandra and Arthur loved to play there and to observe typical local birds, the Ibis!

Conclusion

We took the road for Noosa, located approximately 2h from Brisbane in order to breathe the good sea air and to admire superb beaches there… maybe we will see dolphins!

Do not hesitate if you have any questions about our itinerary. Have a great weekend!

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