Planning a family reunion in Bali – with a toddler – during a busy holiday period seemed like a crazy idea, but Airbnb had the perfect villa for a relaxing stay in Seminyak. Want a $29 gift voucher with Airbnb? Read on...
One of the best things about life in The Little Red Dot is the amount of amazing family-friendly holiday destinations so close to Singapore. Want to go on a relaxing escape with the brood? You’ll never go wrong with Bali. We recently put together our wish list of fun family-friendly stays with Airbnb, so when HoneyKids team member Kate had a big family reunion in Bali to plan, she knew just where to look…
Pssst: Dreaming of your next family vacay? We’re giving away $29 vouchers with Airbnb if you book via this link!
Coming from the US, Bali once sounded incredibly exotic – a far-away, idyllic tropical paradise reserved for a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Fast-forward to life in Singapore, and it quickly (and happily) becomes an easily-accessible, almost frequent escape. With family coming to town for Christmas from across the globe, Bali was the perfect mix of tropical getaway and convenience for spending the holidays.
Within the large island of Bali, plenty of areas are remote and serene, but for a three-generational family trip with varying interests to cater to, the bustling and central neighbourhood of Seminyak was the perfect fit. It’s a short ride from the airport and has something for everyone – beaches, colourful local culture, and plenty of shopping and dining options!
There are loads of options in Bali when it comes to accommodation, but by far my favourite stays have been in rented villas – it’s also the best way to cater to a larger group. For the Christmas holidays this was the obvious choice for creating a home away from home to celebrate in!
I focused my search on Airbnb because the site made it easy to search for exactly what I wanted – at least three bedrooms with air conditioning, a pool and a super-convenient Seminyak location. As we were staying for nine nights, I wanted to make sure everyone had plenty of room to be comfortable, but didn’t want to break the bank. There were lots of tempting options but there was one that just seemed perfect. So when Kelly, our host, said it was available, we jumped on it and booked! Just like that, we were set to celebrate Christmas in Bali!
When we finally entered the private walled villa through unassuming hefty wooden doors, we were greeted with lush greenery, flowering frangipani trees and a lovely swimming pool lined by two huge wooden loungers. The house is a traditional Balinese two-story open-air property with three air-conditioned bedrooms (two downstairs, one up), two full baths and plenty of daybeds and seating throughout the house and the garden to allow a large group to fully spread out and relax.
The house is filled with bright, fun decor and lots of charming touches from the art to the fittings – it feels like a home more than a rental. The bedrooms were all well appointed with comfortable beds and sheets, storage, and adjustable lighting. The kitchen has everything you need: a blender for cocktails (hello, pina coladas!), martini shaker and glasses, microwave, French press for coffee, and a spacious dining table that seated eight comfortably (seven of us, and a roast pig for Christmas!). They even had a full-size Christmas tree with decorations – which gave us two because I had brought my own!
Kelly, our host, lives in Australia but her property is kept in very good hands. Ketut, the housekeeper, was a joy – inconspicuous but hard working so the place always felt tidy – making beds, washing dishes, laundering clothes, picking up groceries (at your cost) and she’s happy to cook breakfast at your request.
There’s also a main living area, with a big, comfy couch, TV and stereo facing the wonderful tree-lined garden complete with cabana and a sunny pool – my favourite part of the property! It was fantastic being able to relax in the pool or read a book in the garden within earshot of the baby napping.
The only critique I had is that being open-air, there’s plenty of exposure to nature – I’m fond of seeing geckos cheekily darting around but if you aren’t, be warned! We also kept mosquito coils running pretty regularly and kept the baby covered in spray as there were definitely mosquitos to keep at bay – this wasn’t an issue in the bedrooms but was in the un-airconditioned common areas.
Kelly’s gorgeous villa starts at $189 per night up to $248 per night during peak season. She can arrange cribs for babies (though we brought our own) as well as pool fencing if desired.
Without question, this villa is brilliantly located – our group could zip off to any number of super-close destinations. I consider this freedom a huge selling point for a family vacation as too much togetherness isn’t always a good thing. For instance:
- We were three minutes from a Circle K quickie mart selling essentials like milk and 10 minutes walk from the Bintang Supermarket selling everything (really everything – from food and mosquito coils to water toys and souvenirs).
- We were two minutes to Galaxy Sports Bar, which screened the American football games that just had to be seen.
- We were a 15-minute walk to Seminyak beach with wicked waves and plenty of restaurants, including La Plancha (one of our faves!). Known for feet-in-the-sand beanbag chairs and colourful umbrellas, their food is great, they serve a wonderful array of tropical cocktails and it’s a fantastic place to soak in a sunset.
- We were a five-minute walk to a Spa Bali outlet. The staff were lovely and the setting was clean, well-priced and offered every spa treatment you could want. (Four-hour spa package while Dad’s watching the baby? Don’t mind if I do!)
- We were close to great shopping: look out for Cat Sweet for leather shoes and Widi Shop for teak bowls and cutting boards. A bit further away was Popo Linen & Lighting for pillow covers and Mister Zimi and Bali Boat Shed for amazing dresses.
- Our neighbourhood was a winding nest of narrow, quiet alleys which was great for taking a quick morning run, while avoiding the normally chaotic roads and intense peak-season traffic.
- Our neighbours were a mix of local Balinese and tourist villas. One neighbour had a make-shift restaurant which opened a few nights a week and served authentic Balinese food, which we loved. We could walk down the street, place an order and it would be delivered to our door 15 minutes later so we could feast on local favourites from the comfort of our villa – amazing!
- We were also a 15 minute-walk from the Anantara Hotel which is beachfront and has a lovely and somewhat undiscovered rooftop Moonlite Kitchen and Bar that offers amazing sunset views but doesn’t have wild crowds.
HOW TO GET THERE:
A mere three-hour flight from Singapore, getting to Bali is easy. JetStar offered the best timing for our group but KLM, AirAsia, Tiger Air, and many other airlines offer options.
Bali properties can be hard to find the first time, so make sure you either have explicit instructions or ask if your accomodation can help you arrange transportation to the property. To accomodate our large group, we arranged a van pick-up for 200,000 Rupiah through our host, Kelly. Taxis at the airport notoriously try to overcharge visitors so if you do opt for a taxi, make sure you know in advance what the rate should be and agree to it before you set off.
SPECIAL AIRBNB OFFER FOR HONEYKIDS READERS!
As a special treat for HoneyKids readers, enjoy $29 off your first stay with Airbnb if you sign up via www.airbnb.com/honeycombers.
Want more gorgeous family-friendly stays in Asia from Airbnb? Check out some of our faves…