Family-Friendly Club Med Bali Sets A Different Stage

8 January 2015

Our family could’t help feeling apprehensive as our taxi pulled into the driveway at Club Med Bali.

We had never tried an all-inclusive holiday before and originally saw Club Med as a party palace for young singles who overindulged in brightly coloured cocktails from breakfast until bedtime.

This was definitely not our scene. My husband and I aren’t big drinkers and are neither young nor single although we do have a lively six-year-old. As any parent will tell you, being young and having a young child is not the same thing.

However, our friends were Club Med converts and insisted the hedonistic party atmosphere is long gone, replaced by a sophisticated, family-friendly fun-in-the-sun vibe, and we hoped they were right.

Whether we would like the all-inclusive concept remained to be seen but one thing we were confident about was the kids' club.

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Our Six-Year-Old Joined The Circus

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Even in the early days of Club Med, the children’s program was legendary with a focus on building self-esteem, staying active and having fun. There is a small additional charge for little ones aged four months to three years to participate but older kids are treated to a full day (and night) of free activities.

 Preparing for take off (credit: Trevor Templeman)

On day two our usually timid son amazed us by flying through the air on the Club Med trapeze with the confidence of a child twice his age. He brought us his creations from the Clean Art Planet program which teaches children about recycling through art and joined Little Circus, a troupe of four- to six-year-olds who put on a performance with the help of professional acrobats a few nights later.

We arrived expecting a sweet yet amateur show put on solely for the benefit of the kids’ adoring parents. Instead we were treated to a standing-room-only production with shimmering costumes, gasp-inducing feature acts and kids’ circus routines played for laughs at the expense of the adult performers who seemed to be having just as much fun as their young protégés.

There was also an impressive array of free adult-focused activities such as archery, beach volleyball, water polo and golf lessons included in our holiday package. Our fears about being dragged off our deckchairs and roped into participating turn out to be unfounded yet the fun at Club Med Bali was contagious and we joined in despite ourselves.

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Cool Moves Man Brings The Ladies Running

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 It's show time (credit: Trevor Templeman)

Our favourite activity was the aqua aerobics with its infectious Europop soundtrack and handsome French instructor who bopped around the pool like he was at a Parisian nightclub. His rallying cry of ‘Now it is time for zee cooooooool moves’ brought ladies running from all corners of the resort and a smile to our faces.

Even if you prefer to sit things out with a refreshing pina colada these activities make for a great spectator sport.

One thing our friends did prepare us for was the accommodation, which they described as ‘nice but basic’. Our Deluxe Parkview room certainly couldn’t be called luxurious but it was spacious and light-filled with an attractive outdoor sitting area. Our decision to opt for one of the more affordable rooms is a good one as we spent most of our time by the various pools.


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One was shallow enough for youngsters while the other was for adults only with a Zen-like calm and pool attendants serving chilled water and refreshing juices. There were also plenty of other spots for couples or parents sans-children to enjoy a little peace.

We perch at the funky bar which looks rather like a spaceship that has landed on the beach, try out day beds draped with privacy curtains and curl up in curved beachside cabanas for two with cocktails and a stash of magazines. The only thing that gets us moving is the promise of dinner.

Dining is a focus at Club Med with an impressive array of international cuisines to choose from. Snacks and tapas are available at the Gourmet Bar, a relaxed drinking and dining area overlooking the sea.

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The Real Bali Is Never Far way

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Something more substantial can be found at the a-la-carte seafood restaurant or the buffet-style Agung restaurant which has four different eating areas, each with a different theme.

 The Melasti Festival is shared with children (credit: Trevor Templeman)

Most kids headed straight to the Umbrella Room with its vibrantly coloured Asian parasols hanging from the ceiling but we preferred the elegance of the white orchids, flickering candles and soft colours of the Orchid Room.

Our son settled into a comfortable routine of eating early so he could go and join his friends in the kids' club.

We opted for a later adults-only dinner then went to pick him up at around 9pm.

There is a lively nightlife at Club Med Bali but with an even more lively six-year-old sharing our room, we usually skipped this in favour of an early night.

 The original Club Med vibe can still be found (credit: Trevor Templeman)

Our days tended to start early so we went walking most mornings to stretch our legs and combat the effects of three delicious meals a day.

Club Med is located in a popular resort area but the real Bali is never far away. A sunrise stroll along the beach reveals fishermen bringing in their catch. In the late afternoon seaweed farmers tend their crops, people go beachcombing along the shoreline and Pura Geger (Geger Temple) attracts locals and visitors alike.

Authentic experiences are everywhere in and around Club Med and most of them are free.

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Cultural Festival Explained

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Along with attending Bahasa Indonesian language lessons and cooking classes at the resort we were encouraged to participate in Melasti, a joyful cultural celebration which takes place during our visit.

There was a note in our room explaining the history and significance of the festival with guidance on how to join the celebrations in a culturally appropriate way.

 The brightly coloured parade (credit: Trevor Templeman)

We watched the vibrantly coloured parade make its way along the beach accompanied by energetic gamelan music then practised our Bahasa with local children dressed in their ceremonial best.

Whether you’re after a culturally enriching experience or a laid-back beach holiday, having a great time at Club Med Bali as a family is child’s play.

Tiana Templeman

Tiana Templeman is a Brisbane-based freelance food and travel journalist who is often out-of-town but always on-line. She writes travel blogs, presents a weekly travel segment on Radio 4BC and contributes to numerous Australian and international media outlets. Find Tiana on Google+, Twitter (@TianaTempleman), Facebook, and Instagram (tianatempleman).