Holidays with kids isn’t always easy. Well it hasn’t been for my family – when our idea of a holiday and the kids idea of a holiday, don’t match up. But after our last family holiday to Bali, I think we’ve finally discovered the ultimate destination.
My childhood taking family holidays to Kuta Bali, and while it was great 30 years ago, over the last 20 years, I’ve watched as the destination became a party hub for schoolers, hens parties and footy trips. In my quest to avoid the mayhem in my slightly older age (I’m nearly 40… eek), I’ve sought out hotels and villas in Sanur, Seminyak, Ubud and Nusa Dua instead. Kuta was firmly off my list.
So when a Luxury Escapes package popped up at the Hard Rock Hotel in Kuta, I’d normally have scrolled right on by. But the photo of the insanely gorgeous pools made me stop dead in my tracks. And I’m so glad I did. I’ve just returned from having the most “family-friendly” holiday of my life, and if you have kids, you need to hear about it.
The Hard Rock Hotel is a place I’d normally stay clear from. I’m after a tranquil hotel, not a rock n’ roll hotel, filled with bands, karaoke and recording studio set ups. But what I didn’t realise is that, with such a huge hotel – you can pick and choose your experiences, and how you want to enjoy your time there. Tranquility is there for the taking.
We wanted our kids to learn how to swim, and I couldn’t go past the epic pool size. It’s the largest free-form pool in Bali in fact. We’ve stayed at lots of amazing hotels in the past, but none have held a candle to the pools at Hard Rock. The pool system (for lack of a better description) sprawls on and on and on, giving maximum poolside seating, and allowing everyone to be front row to their own little piece of waterfront paradise. If lounging under an umbrella isn’t enough for you, you can hire a cabana for the day, and choose from a range of hampers and drinks packages. Even the basic hamper with snacks and water is great – and the cabanas allow you to draw curtains for full privacy, or kick back and watch the world go by.
There’s a small beach next to the adults swim up bar, which offers up beach volleyball, just a sandy for the kids to make castles and dig, or the daily kids olympics (which ours hung out for every afternoon).
There’s a weekly foam party, inflatable balls you can hire time in (running on the water), or book the giant blow up rafts and donuts for the day.
There’s a kid’s swim up bar, which offers great milkshakes, ice cream, chuppa chupps, Pringles and more – but be careful. Once our kids realised they could charge things to the room, we had to keep an eye on what they were buying! Haha.
If you have teens, there’s a great teenage retreat area, which has a non-alcoholic bar, pool tables, a movie room, and much, much more. I only wish the places my parents took me as a teen had something so good.
The Hard Rock boasts 8 dining options, and Jamie’s Italian is adjoining the hotel, so if you’re after something with more of a local outlook, just wander next door and give it a shot. Overall the hotel food was probably its weakest point for us – but it wasn’t bad – it was just simple. Like good pub food.
Bali now has so many incredible places to eat, we just went for a walk when we wanted some variety or felt like eating a little healthier.
We’d recommend Maybe Tony, which was delicious, or Crumb and Coaster – both in Kuta. As well as being very Instagram worthy, those two cafes had food my kids would eat, low prices, and were very clean and fabulous. We went back to both a few times.
Back at the hotel, the kid’s club offered up a great variety of daily activities, but as much as we planned on letting the kids spend their days on kids club adventures, we found the pool area was so incredible, they didn’t want to leave. We let the kids swim all day, and we lounged poolside reading books, drinking cocktails at the swim up bar, or kicking back in the cabanas.
There’s a rock climbing wall, which you can access both through kid’s club, and separately through the hotel (so it’s for both adults and kids).
There’s also a massive stage inside the hotel, with a bar, where live bands play each night, and other entertainment is offered. We only popped in there a couple of times, but if you love music, it’s a great place to check out too. The kids can request songs and the band is more than obliging to play them.
On the topic of music, there’s also a recording studio, so if your family or kids, want to record their own song, you can do it. It’s all part of the Hard Rock vibe. You can also hire out guitars and experience a lot of other things – the list is just epic.
For the adults there’s the usual things including a great day spa, gym, restaurants and more, but honestly, we were just relaxed knowing the kids were entertained, and we could just kick back and relax.
Would we go back? Absolutely.
Note: This was not a paid review – we honestly just loved it and wanted to share our experience.