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Jimbaran Bay is the ideal destination for families seeking a relaxing Bali escape. For a start this area is less than 20 minutes drive from the airport, something that’s a great relief when you’ve come off a flight with kids. Jimbaran was once a simple fishing village but it has since evolved into a destination renowned for its luxury hotels. However, unlike some areas of Bali, this spot has retained much of its traditional charm. Our favourite Jimbaran hotel, and one that we keep returning to, is the InterContinental Bali as it is great for kids. My husband and I love the hotel’s romance factor while our son loved the kids club before he got too old to go along. Since we’ve stayed at the InterContinental Bali a few times now, we thought we would pass on some of our top tips for parents (and their kids).

Club InterContinental for families

While it might seem a bit strange recommending families book into upmarket Club Lounge accommodation, there are some very good reasons to at this hotel. For a start, it only costs around $60 extra per day to upgrade. Trust me, you are going to get your money back many times over during your stay, especially if you are travelling with kids. While the lavish lounge with fine linen napkins, sparkling chandeliers and equally sparkling service is ‘adults only’ during the complimentary evening cocktail hour, kids are welcome at any other time.

InterContinental Bali Club Lounge

If you want to enjoy the complimentary cocktail hour with your kids, simply head to any one of the other bars around the resort and show your Club InterContinental card to get refreshing complimentary cocktails (your kids can have some too, non-alcoholic of course!). Our top picks for kid friendly cocktail hour spots are the private Club Pool which serves complimentary nibbles including special kid friendly ones during the complimentary cocktail hour. Another great option is the Sunset Beach Bar & Grill where your child can join you on one of the large day beds and watch the sunset with a soft drink in hand or play in the sand beside you. If you would prefer to enjoy the cocktail hour as a couple, the kids can head off to the hotel’s kids club.

Cocktails and sandcastles at Sunset Beach Bar & Grill
Cocktails and sandcastles at Sunset Beach Bar & Grill
Private pool for InterContinental Club guests

Club InterContinental guests also get complimentary internet access, complimentary breakfast at the Club or one of the other resort breakfast venues, all day refreshments and afternoon tea. A fancy silver service afternoon tea like this isn’t something most parents could normally afford to take their kids to so it is a really lovely thing to share as a family on holiday. Even though it looks very fancy, your kids will be made to feel very welcome by the lovely staff.

Stylish high tea
Stylish high tea

Each Club room also comes with 24 hour butler service if you need help with excursions, airport transfers or special requests such as heating baby bottles. We didn’t use our butler much although he was very proactive, asking on our last morning if we had an airport transfer organised (these are also complimentary for Club InterContinental guests). Club InterContinental guests also get free access to Planet Trekkers, one of the best kids clubs we have come across during our travels. Our son will be too old for Planet Trekkers next time we return to the resort but he is already planning on dropping in to see his favourite ‘teachers’ just to say hello.

"Look Mum, she's still here!"
“Look Mum, she’s still here!”

Planet Trekkers tips

This isn’t one of those awful kids clubs where the children are allowed to play video games all day. One of our favourite things about Planet Trekkers is the daily program is always followed. This means even if there are only a few kids enrolled, your child still gets to do all of the cool things listed for that day. Along with activities such as Balinese dance lessons, kite flying, mask making and fish feeding children can also experience the ultimate thrill – releasing a turtle as part of the hotel’s Turtle Release Program.

InterContinental Bali Review
Turtle release program at the InterContinental Bali

Planet Trekkers includes lunch and dinner for children enrolled in the program which is great as it saves their parents having to buy it. Kids (or their parents) can choose from a menu that looks so good you’ll be wishing you could order something off it for yourself. Along with the usual children’s favourites such as spaghetti bolognaise there are also traditional Balinese options such as nasi goreng (fried rice) and our son’s favourite, chicken satays.

InterContinental Bali for kids

Accommodation is spread throughout this resort rather than being crammed around a central wing, there are multiple pools to play in and over 14 hectares of tropical landscaped gardens to explore. The main pool has day beds set out underneath huge shaded cabanas so parents have somewhere comfortable to relax while older kids play in the pool with their new found friends. It’s easy to find your own piece of paradise or somewhere for the kids to run around without bothering other guests. At the far end of the resort you’ll also find a playground and watersports hut where you can rent surfboards and boogie boards.

Family fun at the InterContinental Bali pool
Family fun at the pool
Playground with comfy loungers for parents
Playground with comfy loungers for parents
Watersports hut with gear for rent
Watersports hut with gear for rent

Jimbaran Bay things to do

Unlike some areas of Bali, Jimbaran Bay has retained much of its traditional village appeal. Nearby you will find the Jimbaran fish market as well as a fresh food market where locals go to choose the vegetables for their evening meal. If you would like your kids to try something yummy (and safe to eat) from one of the food stalls, buy a few lemper (sweet coconut rice wrapped in banana leaf) to share. Even though your children probably won’t come home with a souvenir, they will receive plenty of warm smiles from the stallholders and leave with a new understanding of life in Bali.

Offerings for sale at the Jimbaran fresh food markets
Offerings for sale at the Jimbaran fresh food markets

Bali culture with kids

Skip the notorious Bali traffic and the hassle of driving around for hours with tired kids and enjoy an evening cultural experience at the resort instead. You could see a talented gamelan orchestra or watch a traditional kecak dance accompanied by a delicious buffet dinner. InterContinental Bali also has a comprehensive activities program with music lessons using traditional Balinese instruments, fruit and flower arranging, cooking classes, Balinese ‘Bayu Suci’ indigenous fitness classes and more. Most of these activities are free for resort guests.

Everything is ready for the kecak dance and dinner buffet
Everything is ready for the kecak dance and dinner buffet

Disclosure: The writer stayed as a guest of InterContinental Bali Resort.

We’ve got plenty of hints and tips for travelling in Bali and also some great hotel and resort suggestions. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, we’ve reviewed the Ritz-Carlton Bali Resort, Peppers Seminyak Resort, Apurva Kempinski Bali, Bulgari Resort Bali, Aria Villas Ubud, Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort, The Mulia Bali, Merusaka Nusa Dua, Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort, Anantara Seminyak Bali, the InterContinental Bali for couples and those travelling with kids. We’ve compared the Singaraja and Club rooms at the InterContinental Bali and found the best luxury family hotels in Bali and the best honeymoon hotels in Bali.

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Dr Tiana Templeman is an award-winning food and travel journalist, travel author and media industry academic. She is the creator of The Travel Temple, writes for Australian and international media outlets and appears on radio talking about where to go, what to see and travel industry trends.