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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Sun Island Bali : Part 2 - Seminyak and Kuta



Following on from my previous post, I bring you our final two stops.


Our third stay was a place I've honestly wanted to try for many years - 

Sun Island Boutique Villas & Spa Seminyak.

I've never stayed in a villa, mostly because we usually travel with extended family, and they prefer hotels (also...they don't have kids, so the prospect of a kitchen, dining area, lounge etc. doesn't really factor in for them).

We were in a Two Bedroom Villa with a plunge pool.

I was still being shown the features of the villa by one of the incredibly nice staff, and the kids had already donned their bathers and jumped in the pool.



And that is pretty much where they stayed for the next couple of days.

We're lucky enough that our kids can all swim, and it wasn't a large pool.  So while they repeatedly practised diving to the bottom, #1Hubby was able to watch his beloved AFL football grand final in peace in the living room - where he could easily keep an eye on them thanks to the floor to ceiling glass bi-fold doors.

I was already out the door, hot footing it all of 3 minutes down the road to Bintang Supermarket.

I love Bintang Supermarket.  I always go there.

A couple of hours later, satisfied I'd left no aisle neglected, I was back at our villa, filling the fridge with cheese, wine, fresh fruit and veg for the kids.  Then I spent a good 30+ minutes swanning around, looking at all the appliances I had no intention of using, before calling room service and ordering dinner.

Kids still in the pool, obviously.

Can I just say, the food at Sun Island Boutique Villas & Spa Seminyak was the best I've had at any hotel in Bali.  It truly was up to the famous Seminyak foodie standards.  So much so that I was slightly alarmed when #1Hubby made some rather inappropriate noises for a dining table while scoffing his seafood pasta.  And I may have threatened to chop off a chubby little finger that made its way onto my plate in search of bacon from my Caesar salad, which I was protecting with one hand while scoffing a different pasta of my own.

On our second night at the hotel, #1Hubby and I celebrated our wedding anniversary.  We took a taxi to "Eat Street" in Seminyak, and tried out a bar and restaurant we'd never been to before.

Because Google informed me that they had fairy floss drinks and therefore there was no question that we simply had to try it out.

I was eloquently sipping a cocktail when the kids' non-alcohol mocktails arrived...





Not one to be outdone, or miss out on a good thing, I of course had to sample their adult version of a fairy floss cocktail....

It just screams class, doesn't it!

When it came time to grab a food menu, we were all kind of "myeh...it all looks good....but....how amazing was that dinner in the villa last night?!?!"

And so we went straight back to our villa and ordered room service.  Once again, our meals arrived and were laid out on our dining table, and once again, we had one of the best meals we've ever eaten in a hotel.

And once again we had to force the kids to get out of the pool and eat before their dinner went cold.  That said - bonus points for having a restaurant standard meal in your own private space, where the kids could be swimming and not annoying you at a restaurant table because they're borrrreeeddd.

I can't recommend Sun Island Boutique Villas & Spa Seminyak enough.  Whether you have a private pool villa or a standard villa and use the main pool - you'll love it.  The property really suits all travellers - 

Couples who want a private space of their own, away from other people.  You can enjoy the main pool for some company, or retreat to your own private pool and the space of your villa.

Families like us, travelling with kids - having that private area to relax, and the freedom for them to let loose in our own pool was invaluable.  We did use the main pool once, and it was nice when they wanted to swim around in a larger pool, and we could enjoy chatting with some other guests.


Villa upper deck - not to be outshone by the lower deck, has a large open area with a fantastic bale.
Complete with lights and fan. Because it's all about comfort.


The villas are very spacious, modern and well kitted out - especially if you love a large bathroom - from the outdoor rain shower, to the rest of the massive bathroom with separate indoor shower, toilet with 2 doors so you can access it from the living room as well as the bedroom, and huge double sink with lots of storage space.

Speaking of storage space - the wardrobes in both bedrooms were huge, with lots of shelves, cupboard and hanging space.  The kitchen, if you're less lazy than me and you are interested in cooking for you and yours (but why bother, the room service is amazing), has everything you need and lots of place to store your supplies.  I have to admit, I really did like that I could prepare my kids their daily school style "Crunch N Sip" snack of carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, capsicum, cucumber and the like (and appease my parental guilt about all the chips and nuggets that were being consumed at night).

The large fridge was a pure joy - lots of ice for my wine, and lots of wine in the fridge amongst #1Hubby's beer, and the kids' water...and Miss11's endless supply of soda water...because she's 11 now and she's fancy and soda water is how she rolls...

I can honestly say that I will definitely be staying here again.  On my own dime.  Totally worth it.


Our final stay was the newest addition to the group, Sun Island Hotel Kuta.

Another prime location, just a short walk down from Discovery Shopping Mall, (also the newer Lippo Mall in the opposite direction), plus everyones favourite Bali day out - Waterbom Park.

We often stay in Bali over Christmas and New Year, and the traffic at that time gets pretty horrific for about a 10 day period when Indonesians have their holidays.  I love me some Discovery Shopping Mall.  If I don't get there every couple of days, I start to panic that somebody will nab a bargain that I've somehow missed on my previous 287 visits.  It really pains me to either spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to get there, or forgo visiting for that 10 days of crazy traffic each December/January.  Never again - I'm going to book in at the Sun Island Hotel Kuta, and walk there.  Multiple times a day.  Because I can.  #1Hubby is less jazzed by the prospect of this, and has threatened to hide the credit card if I follow through on this plan for future Christmas / New Year trips.  Game on.

We stayed in a Family Suite, and were once again afforded a massive living room between our two rooms.  I blissfully set about unpacking and attempting to fill up all the space we had....and then it all turned bad...

Mstr7 (not me, just to be clear) had accidentally left his beloved companion, "Goggy" at the villas.

Hysteria ensued (a little bit me too, at this point).

#1Hubby sped off to Reception to ask if they could possibly call the villas and see if it was there.

Of course it was.

Before he could grab Mstr7 and jump in a taxi, the staff had organised with the villas for them to bring Goggy to us.

Yes.  A villa van and driver were going to drop everything to bring a stuffed toy to us, in peak hour traffic.

They wouldn't hear about us going there and getting it, or even letting us pay for a taxi to bring it over.

So while I busied myself with a glass of wine in my OUTDOOR GARDEN BATH, #1Hubby and Mstr7 waited for the VIP guest to arrive, with strict instructions for Mstr7 to thank them profusely when Goggy pulled into the driveway - strapped in to his own seat and all.

Seriously you guys...that's the level of care and service at Sun Island Bali.

Back to our hotel, and what I absolutely LOVED here was not just the proximity to shopping malls, but the pool.

Image Source - I do not have the photographic skillz to capture this image myself.
As it is, this is a large part of the pool, but not the whole thing.


Check out that bad boy!  Free form, large enough for everyone to enjoy without a kick in the ribs from your kid.  And the entire pool is the one depth - we could all stand, even the twins.  Again with the peace of mind that nobody would paddle over to a deeper area where they couldn't stand if they got in trouble.

Breakfast also deserves a mention - the restaurant area is massive, and there are different stations throughout.  It was one of the largest breakfast spreads I've seen in Bali.  Whether you were after Western dishes, eggs cooked to order, European style cold meats and salads, a huge range of bakery goods and fresh fruits, or Asian style soups, porridge, noodles and the like - it had everything.  You certainly didn't need to worry too much about lunch after making your way around all the food stations.





So, all up - Sun Island Bali - I would definitely go back.  Particularly to the Villas in Seminyak, as they were my personal favourite.  If it had the infinity pool of Sun Island Legian, and the prime shopping mall-friendly location of Sun Island Kuta....I would probably move in and never leave.


Each property is in a prime location, whether you're after close proximity to Seminyak's restaurants, Legian Road's bar and club scene, or Kuta's shopping malls.  There are styles of accommodation to suit those on a budget, couples seeking a private villa, or families after something with a little room to spread out and relax.

Rooms are modern, clean and comfortable.  Villas are full of space and all the mod con's you'd expect.

The staff are extremely friendly, helpful and accommodating.

As endorsed by this guy and his beloved Goggy.





Monday, October 31, 2016

Sun Island Bali : Part 1 - Legian and Kuta



I'll tell anyone who will listen (and even those who won't) how much I love Bali.  It's my favourite place in the world, and I'm fortunate enough to visit regularly.

You can imagine my completely understated reaction when offered the chance to review the Sun Island Bali group of hotels....

I mean, I played it cool, you guys.  I held my hand back from the keyboard for a whopping minute or two before banging out a "Oh that sounds nice...." response.

I had used that minute or two to phone my mother and be all "OMIGOD I'M GOING TO BALI AGAIN!"

She was all massive jealous eye roll (perceived over the phone) and "Don't you have children to look after?".  

And I was all petulant teenager style sigh and "THEY'RE INVITED!".

And then we were both all "Bahahaha....they (Sun Island Bali) have no idea what they're in for!"

Those of you following along on Facebook will have seen the daily updates, pics and posts about our trip.  No surprise that we loved every second of it.

I've saved the full details of our experience for these two posts.

Because we all know how I bang on about things, so at the risk of creating the world's longest blog post, I'm going to split it into two.


First up we stayed at Sun Island Hotel & Spa Legian.



Check out that infinity pool.

I spent quite a bit of our 3 days leaning over the infinity pool, watching Legian Road happen.  I love me some people watching, and that was the best spot in the house.  

And if you want a bit more sun and privacy, allow me to introduce the rooftop pool....



The rooftop pool was perfect for The Feral Threesome when they wanted to let loose and make a bit of noise, create a few waves, and generally annoy everyone around them - we had the entire pool to ourselves.  I LOVE that the whole rooftop pool was one depth, and all of the kids (and my vertically challenged self) could all stand.  It set the parental panic merchant's (#1Hubby) mind at ease, meaning I didn't have to watch him patrol the perimeter of the pool like he was rehearsing for a spot on Baywatch.

Location, Location, Location - if you love Legian then you'll love this hotel.  It's extremely well priced, the rooms are clean and have everything you need, and the bathrooms are modern (none of those luke warm, dripping showers like in some Bali hotels).  My tip - go for the Suite room if you can afford it.  It is huge.  Ample space for all your shopping, and a bathtub big enough for all 3 of my kids at once.


Next up, we had 3 days at White Rose Kuta Resort Villas & Spa.

White Rose Kuta pool water feature. Kept the kids entertained way more than you'd think
(like, read a whole book by the pool without interruption kind of entertained)

I was looking forward to this hotel.  I've known about it for many years, but wasn't aware it was part of the Sun Island Bali group.  My Aunt always stays here, and it's been on my list to try for quite a while.

That said, I was a bit wary of its location - tucked behind the Ground Zero memorial, opposite the legendary Poppies Lane 2....right in the heart of the 'nightclub strip' of Kuta / Legian.  Back in the day, I would've been all over that and straight in the club to bust a move on the D-floor to all the doof-doof music.  But being 27 (shut up) and a mother of 3 young kids, the potential noise and resident nightclub frequenters was playing on my mind as we drove the short distance down Legian Road from the first hotel.

We rounded the corner behind the memorial and I was really pleasantly surprised to see a short lane that led into a large hotel complex, set around a lot of greenery.

And zero noise.  At all.

You would have no clue you were literally behind one of the main corners and in the heart of the pub and club district.

In fact, it was so civilised we indulged in high tea!

Only had to smack a couple of hands that tried to steal the best desserts before I got to them.

We stayed in a Family Suite.  Normally, when we travel, we simply book interconnecting rooms.  This was our first experience in a Family Suite.

I LOVE A FAMILY SUITE.

All that extra room.  The benefit of having a living area to spread out in and / or separate fighting bratty children (who have already forgotten that they are fortunate enough to be included in this experience when they could just have easily been left at home....).

Three televisions were our salvation during our stay.  When the kids weren't in the pool, they were water logged, tired and whiney, arguing over TV programs.  #1Hubby and I just wanted to enjoy one of our THREE BALCONIES (I know, I'm just being a jerk and showing off now) with a glass of wine, and the ability to literally put all 3 kids in different rooms with a TV each until they fell asleep at night was a lifesaver.

We met a few families at the White Rose who were staying there for the 4th or 5th time.  I asked a couple why they kept returning to the hotel, and they loved the size of the property and the masses of lawn for the kids to run around, and the location - in the middle of everything, but you aren't bothered by it if you don't want to actually be in the middle of everything.  Also, those family suites.  All that room.  All those balconies.



Stay tuned for Part 2, including our first villa stay, and the best food we've had in a long time.  Also some wedding anniversary celebrations and fairy floss.

You know you want to read it if only for the fairy floss....


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Father's Day Gift Guide - How to nail it (you're welcome)


Father's Day is imminent.


In our family, we celebrate Mother's Day by Daddy taking the kids out and allowing yours truly some kid-free time.  It's the best way to reflect on the little darlings in their most positive light - when they're not there whining for food or justice over some perceived sleight from their siblings.

Father's Day is all about Dad spending quality time with his kids.  So, once again, Daddy takes the little darlings out in order to truly enjoy some memory making time with them.

Heh.

Let me break it down for you, how we roll in the Parental Parody family on the big day....


Early, crack of dawn, still dark outside

Kids have been instructed not to wake me up, because it is Daddy's special day.  Go jump on him and shower him with love / elbows in ribs / shouting in ears over who has a better spot on top of his formerly sleeping form.

Once sufficiently and permanently roused from his slumber, he will shhhh them so that I am not disturbed, even though we both know I'm pretending to be asleep.

Then they'll attempt to make him breakfast.

Within 3 minutes #1Hubby will sagely decide to take them to Macca's for the breakfast of cheapskate champions at under $5 a head.


The day

I'll have already helpfully organised some meaningful family activities for #1Hubby to do with the kids, including but definitely not limited to....

Gardening
Teach them, bond with them, plant some seeds and remove the weeds - it's a win/win for everyone!

Bored Board Games
Sadistically long ones.  Like Snakes and Ladders....just when you think the end is near, no, a bloody long snake sends you slithering back to the start...it is the game that keeps on keeping on.

The park
I am deathly allergic to the park, and of all the days of the year, it is a Dad's domain on Father's Day.  I went once on Father's Day (clearly very early in our parenting years), and I was the only mother there. Never again.

Home theatre / concert / interpretive dance
Kids love nothing more than putting on a show.  Again, I am deathly allergic, therefore I will probably plant the seed and suggest an epic 3 part show that they can stage for their father.  In the shed.  So that I can enjoy some reality TV in peace.


The evening

This is where I truly step up to the plate - I cook dinner.  Just like every night.

If I'm lucky, #1Hubby will be hankering for takeaway in lieu of a roast dinner.

If he's lucky, I won't have consumed a great deal of wine by that stage, and may even do him the supreme honour of going out to collect it for him.



The gift

What do I gift the man who gifted me the three little darlings that I very affectionately (and, often, accurately) refer to as "The Feral Threesome"?

What gift for the man who, upon investigation, discovered that he does, in fact, have a history of multiple births in his family, and is, therefore, responsible for the Twin Tornado?

Here are some of my top picks that I'm tossing up from stupid.com - don't let the name put you off, these bad boys are far from stupid....




Dead sexy.

Yours for the bargain price of $12.99 - amazingly, this is not completely sold out so close to Father's Day!

It screams practicality - I can't wait to go out with #1Hubby sporting this bad boy.  No longer will I have to carry around his keys, his sunglasses, his phone etc. etc. in my bag.




You guys, is this not the ultimate gift that very clearly portrays your sincere care and concern for the man in your life who is frequently claiming man flu / fever / possible contagion on account of the aforementioned flu and fever symptoms?

Cheapest medical equipment ever - at just $7.99 you could probably get one for each of the men in your life.





How have I not heard of this before?

This is probably more for me than him.

But who cares.  $6.99 is far cheaper than marital therapy and sleeping tablets, right?






All of the yes.

Look at that happy face?

Pretty sure this $4.99 bargain is ridiculously under-priced.


And if all of those winners fail to float his boat, the carton of wine that I just ordered online will be sure to do the trick.


Walkers Hill Shiraz - my new local WA find.  So good it will make up for all of my non-parenting on Father's Day



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