Bali Ha'i ... style

by Louise Sneddon

Sophistication, style and a sensational location… Club Med is busting all the stereotypes of the all-inclusive holiday experience, which upon our arrival was looking and feeling decidedly exclusive.

A secluded garden bungalow complete with a courtyard terrace, and encased in lush tropical vegetation for privacy proved to be the ultimate retreat to beat the kiwi winter blues and flagging energy levels at a time when Christmas all of sudden seemed a very long way away.

The challenge for the next ten days would be to enjoy a family holiday with toddler in tow and recharge our minds, bodies and souls – impossible some might say and it certainly would have been at home, but here at Club Med Bali, reinvention is the name of the game.

The resort itself underwent something of a reinvention last year with a total refurbishment programme and upgrading of accommodation and all public areas, including the very funky, very grown up central bar – an event in itself! The result is a resort sanctuary where you really can do as much or as little as you like, or a combination….

First up was to block book babysitter Lily, who in no time at all we dubbed ‘the Balinese baby whisperer’. Lily offered 6 hours of respite to us which meant we could also enjoy play time and activity times with our little Miss Emilie-Anne but without the worry of who could swim and who had to stay on shore. Lily also engaged Emilie-Anne in supervised Petit Club activities where toddler friendships from around the world were quickly forged and great fun was had by all.

The corporate-fatigued father immersed himself in double daily yoga classes, much of which were held in the tranquil garden retreats that are dotted throughout the vast oceanside space that Club Med Bali occupies. For Michael, yoga was to be the mother of reinvention and rehabilitation from a hectic year and the corporate rat race.

For me, daily body blitzes in the sublimely air conditioned high tech, high spec gym were just the tonic to balance the body and also make for guilt free dining.

With all day dining, snacking and bar service included in your very all inclusive rate, it is well worth planning ahead and availing yourself of some activity – the morning walk beachside along Nusa Dua is an incredible way to start the day and for the fitter and faster, there is a well groomed jogging track that stretches the couple of kilometres of the beach front – with Balinese net fishermen casting in the waters beyond and the gentle surf breaks, the serenity almost makes you forget you are exerting yourself, instead wrapping you in a wonderful halo of well being and just a little amount of self righteousness.

So, from the beach to the buffet, or rather international dining extravaganza. An afternoon cooking class with the executive chef left us under no illusions as to just how much effort and expertise goes into sating the appetites of his truly international clientele. Themed by country and menu, dining a la Club Med is an experience to behold. On site chefs cook live and serve up a range of exciting dishes that would otherwise require travelling the world to experience. Lite and healthy is also a viable option for those with resolutions of steel or who at least want to start out with good intentions.

If moving from the beach midday is simply too much to consider, the beachside bar provides ample refreshment and snacks throughout the day to fuel marathon reading episodes in the “oh so divine” cane cocoons that are strategically placed along the beachfront, to attract just the right balance of shade and sun. The seclusion of my cocoon also offers an excellent opportunity to plan my next landscaping project and ponder how many Buddha statues could be freighted back to New Zealand – all in all, rather exotic location meanderings of the mind which will no doubt giveway to the demands of home and work life upon our return to reality.

With our days dedicated entirely to spontaneous whims and wants, our evenings take on a far more structured affair, which revolves entirely around our babysitting schedule and how long we can spend at the poolside central bar which is a focal point of the resort, and why not, it is simply stunning and the light display is an event all in itself. The circular bar offers a great vantage point for everything that is going on and the day beds that are around the outside of the bar area are just plain decadent!

With cocktails and tasty little bar treats all included yoga, body blitzes and good intentions are all parked on the grass.

Club Med Bali is a symphony of sensory delights which reach a wonderful crescendo in the designated ‘quiet zone’ which also houses the spa retreat. Strictly quiet and adults only, this hideaway hosts a luxurious pool, shaded day beds complete with exotic flourishes of billowing muslin and the wafting essences of the spa which of course just make you want that massage even more than you though you ever needed…..bit like the newly styled, and truly stylish Club Bali really; and why not – reality is far too close for comfort so for now we are taking all the cocooning Club Med has to offer.