6 luxe days at the InterContinental Bali
We’ve travelled extensively around Asia and have sometimes found that what you see on the internet isn’t what you get in reality. But as we pull in at the InterContinental we’re amazed – the website photos don’t do it justice. The gates lift and we’re welcomed by beautiful fountains; statues of gods and mythical creatures are dotted through the lush gardens, complementing the stunning stone walls.
A gong sounds and half a dozen porters pop out to greet us and take our bags. They usher us to the check-in counter, where we’re presented with a refreshing drink while we wait. An upgrade means we’re staying in a Singaraja room complete with 24-hour concierge, DVD library, and 24-hour refreshments. Our porter guides us to our room, the resort getting more and more beautiful the further we walk. He opens the door and we enter our haven for the next six days.
King bed – check
Pool view – check
Ocean view – check
Balcony – check
Matching bathrobes to be total tourists – check
Unnecessary (but totally fabulous) beauty station – check
We wander around the hotel to check out everything it has to offer. There’s a small ‘out of bounds’ zone for Members only, complete with private pool, bar and restaurant – pretty awesome. Hot Tip: some of these deals include Club Room privileges and butler service – they’re perfect for when you want an out-of-this-world-relaxed vacay.
During our search we find tennis courts, private villas, a spa, beach volleyball court, outdoor playground, a kids’ club with fenced playground, the Rip Curl Surf School, a water sports kiosk, coconut kiosk (uh, DUH?!), restaurants, bars, and I think we count seven pools. The InterContinental Bali has it all!
We check out the daily activities board for inspiration on what to do first. From yoga to fish market tours, cooking classes to surf lessons, staying at the InterContinental means you literally don’t have to leave the hotel. Now, it’s key to note that as much as my milk chocolate skin loves the sun, Mr LML’s Irish heritage makes him redder than Rudolph’s nose (moan). However, his face lights up when he sees the undercover poolside cabana.
Complete with eight double beds, the cabana is situated over the pool and allows you to jump in and out till your heart’s content. The thatched roof also means that those with a tendency to burn are able to hang out poolside instead of trying to manoeuvre seating while avoiding the sun like R-Pats in Twilight. Top tip: Cabanas fill up quickly, so stake your claim early.
Several layers of sunscreen later, we paddle to the swim-up bar. Nothing beats a cocktail in a pool – nothing. If cocktails aren’t your thing, the bartenders are happy to make any drink a mocktail or you can get a fresh coconut from the coconut kiosk at the end of the pool.
For those who are more coordinated on a bike than I am (yes, how embarrassing, I know) there are bikes for rent so you can explore Jimbaran and the Jimbaran Fish Market. We opt for water sports instead, fulfilling Mr LML’s dream of SUPing – Stand-Up-Paddle boarding. The rental charges are similar to those in Australia, but the waters are friendlier and there’s less chance of sharks! SUPing is a first for both of us, so it’s literally a case of sink or swim. But FYI – don’t come to Jimbaran to surf. It’s bodyboarding waves only!
There are plenty more activities to choose from, and Mr LML surprises me by wanting to try yoga. A headstand later, we have serious success! As an ode to my volleyball days, I pick up a ball and try to have a few rallies with Mr LML. After ten unsuccessful minutes we realise that two players (one of whom can’t play very well) does not a volleyball rally make.
Now, I have to be completely honest with you – I don’t try hotel restaurants unless they have really good reviews. Often they are very standard with basic, overpriced options. But this is soooooo not the case at the InterContinental!
We opt for Bella Cucina, which is beautifully situated next to the pool, overlooking the ocean. At night the lighting and candles make it a romantic setting for even the most hardened emotional sceptic. Everything is ah-mazing. Bella Cucina also offers hands-on cooking classes throughout the week. A private class for the two of us – yes please!
The next morning, with breakfast being our favourite meal of the day, we’re spoilt for choice. A poolside beach setting or a garden view option with live Balinese music. From fresh juices made to your liking, to crepes with eight topping options, to delicious Nasi Goreng or just a plate full of bacon, I am 100% in love. “What about room service?” you ask. The menu offers a selection from every restaurant as well as a comprehensive Balinese, Chinese, and Western menu.
Having worked in gyms for four years, my pinnacle of judgement for any hotel is its gym facilities. Every morning I wake up, ready to run, lift and row off my guilt from dinner the night before. When I enter the InterContinental’s gym, I’m greeted by the hotel trainer, who makes sure I’m comfortable and that I have a towel and water. He keeps a close eye as he disinfects everything within an inch of its life – a clean, orderly gym is my kind of gym, and that’s exactly what this is. As he says goodbye and waves me out the door, he looks around and smiles at his centre, full of pride – and he has every right to. It’s one of the best hotel gyms I’ve seen.
That’s the thing about the InterContinental Bali. The staff are so beautifully happy and proud of what they do. Each nod as you pass, and if you’re lucky you’ll catch them laughing among themselves, high-fiving kids, and loving the fact they work in one of the most scenic places in the world. The service is second to none and I can honestly say we’ll be booking another trip as soon as we get a chance.
It was a tough time leaving your stunning pools, picturesque sunsets and lush gardens, but thank you, InterContinental Bali, for making our time in Jimbaran so relaxing and memorable.
And, hey – porcelain dolls take note! Beach holiday for the win – not one speck of sunburn on Mr LML!