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Club Med Bali

Image credit: Cara Wagstaff

Club Med Nusa Dua

Fun for all the family

From Indonesian buffets to superhuman GOs, Cara Wagstaff unlocks a world of countless surprises at Club Med Bali.

I don’t think the staff of the recently renovated Club Med Bali Resort sleep – I mean, when could they possibly find the time? They anticipate the arrival of all guests, greeting them enthusiastically with song and dance, and can interact with anyone regardless of their age, culture or language. They possess an unending plethora of talents that sees them helping out with whatever activity might take your fancy.

They’re perennially extroverted, and each of their days begins by going about setting up each of the hotel’s (all-inclusive) activities. These are the legendary Club Med ‘GOs’ (aka Gentle Organisers)... and I’ve come to the conclusion that they must be superhuman.

After hectically navigating my way through Denpasar Airport (trying to avoid the thrum of bag boys offering graciously to carry my luggage... for an unsuspected fee) and out into the street that wraps me in unrelenting heat, my air-conditioned mini bus that whisks me off to my accommodation is like a godsend.

We arrive to an exuberant GO welcome, before being ushered into our four-trident home for the holiday... and I immediately relax.

Club Med Bali

Image credit: Cara Wagstaff

Image credit: Club Med Nusa Dua

Club Med Bali is set on 14 hectares of exotic gardens overlooking the Indian Ocean, and I enjoy settling into my room, which encompasses traditional Balinese design, warm wooden furniture, a soft double bed, plus all the modern comforts like air conditioning, television and Wi-Fi. Families also have the option of interconnecting rooms for additional space.

As the GOs busily go about their gentle organising, the first day passes in a blur as I acclimatise myself with the holiday mindset.

I spend hours sitting blissfully unaware in The Deck, a modern poolside lounge which combines floating decks and traditional Balinese architecture, just one of the resort’s multiple dining venues.

Video credit: Rod Gotfried

Activities in abundance
The next day is leisurely, but not in quite the same way. After finishing a late breakfast of café-quality espresso and almond croissants, there’s the daunting task of choosing what to do with the day… and I say ‘daunting’ as the choice here truly is overwhelming.

Those wanting to keep their feet dry can enjoy land-based activities like tennis, basketball, archery or even the trapeze at the resort’s circus. Those that are feeling even more adventurous have options that span everything from windsurfing and snorkelling to kayaking and beyond.

My inner acrobat decides to check out Club Med’s unique Flying Trapeze School. Overlooking the beach, the action is literally in full swing, with a group of children practising on the apparatus. I decide that I’m not quite up for the challenge, but enjoy watching as they practise on the mini trampoline, running up and landing in array of star jumps, pikes and other positions – not always gracefully, but always with a grin on their faces.

All their activity soon tires me out, and I seek refuge on one of the four-poster beds at the Zen Pool, the recently built adults-only pool that boasts spectacular ocean views. This area is heaven for parents who have lost their kids to the kids’ club for an hour or two, however, it’s not long before my stomach decides it is lunchtime.

Image credit: Club Med Nusa Dua

Dining with a difference
The Agung restaurant sees guests spoilt for choice with its international buffet ranging from traditional Indonesian cuisine to Chinese, Malaysian, Western and Korean foods, meaning they’ve got you covered no matter whether you want to stick to old favourites or try something new.

Young guests are particularly well catered for with dedicated kids’ food stations, a baby corner with baby food and a microwave to heat up milk, and fun trays marked with food groups that make it easy for families to ‘design’ their own nutritious meals for their fussy young eaters.

Meals are made all the more memorable by the fact that those ceaselessly outgoing GOs come and enjoy their meals with you, building not only a fun dining environment, but relationships that go far beyond “How can I help you today?” to see them become more like family.

Show time
After filling my belly, I grab a freshly made mojito from The Kintamani bar and settle in to watch the evening’s entertainment: an Out of Africa-themed show.

Each of the GOs we have seen hard at work (and play) all day, has now donned a new hat – that of the entertainer. They’ve transitioned into spectacular outfits portraying a range of African animals, and all the littlies I’d seen practising in the circus are now decked out in black, emulating little tigers.

The kids are clearly having a ball being the centre of attention. They run feverishly up to a trampoline and spring into their air, landing in a neat pike. As the show continues, acts garner increasingly loud bouts of applause from the audience... comprised of many a proud parent.

It was fantastic to see how much fun the GOs and children were having together, but I couldn’t help thinking, “When on earth did they find time to learn these routines?” The answer, I found, was in the Kids’ Club, which has time allocated for learning the ropes of this showy extravaganza.

Image credit: Cara Wagstaff

Image credit: Cara Wagstaff

Vines, rivers, mountains
After three days of relaxing around the resort’s pool, I book myself in for one of the hotel’s pre-organised day trips: whitewater rafting on the Ayung River. Driving past tranquil rice terraces, it takes just over an hour to reach our destination.

We are loaded into our raft and greeted by a smiling guide. As we paddle down the river, we journey past vine-hung gorges, waterfalls and jungle scenery. ‘The sillies’ soon get the better of us, and we decide to make a game of overtaking and splashing the other rafts. We are the first to reach the finish line, and are rewarded with a traditional Balinese buffet, overlooking surrounding rice patties.

Indeed, the fun of Club Med permeates far beyond the resort’s walls, so no matter whether you spend hours poolside or pack your days with far-flung adventures, it’s impossible to make a bad choice.

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