Club Med – Bali’s lap of luxury

RELAX: Club Med's Zen Pool.

Club Med Bali sure knows how to deliver a fuss-free, all-inclusive vacation, a cross between the feel-good fizziness of Disneyland and the indulgence of a cruise ship.

The peppy staff, known as “GOs” operate all of the resorts activities, run the kids’ club, serve at the restaurants and bars and even perform in the nightly entertainment extravaganzas.

Club Med recruits their GOs from around the world and rotate them throughout their resorts every couple of years.

During my stay at Club Med Bali, the GOs derived from 33 countries, including one Kiwi. Before long, you’ll notice them greeting you by name and intuitively knowing your drink preference.

Since Club Med is all about all-inclusive, your food and beverages are already taken of, including fruit juices, beer, wine, spirits and cocktails. The only additional charges I came across were for premium beer brands and champagne.

Not dissimilar to an ocean cruise, the food just keeps on flowing, with unbelievably expansive buffet presentations, for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The globe-trotting gastronomy features quintessential Balinese food including nasi campur, a signature French “dish of the day,” Italian woodfired pizza and pastas, Japanese sushi and kimchee dishes, and a fabulous fresh salad bar and fruit bar.

The lavish buffet affair takes place at the magnificently furnished Augung Restaurant, while you can dine a la carte at The Deck, an experiential must for the gourmet seafood selections. In addition to the main dining services, tasty snacks and tapas are always available at the Kintamani Bar, a spectacular circular poolside structure, strobing like a UFO at night.

One night a clutch of Balinese food carts were wheeled out around the bar, sizzling away with grilled food on skewers. It’s those sorts of unexpected extra thrills, alongside the flawless guest service which makes Club Med Bali such a star performer.

With 393 rooms colourfully designed in traditional Balinese style, across five buildings, accommodation spans three categories – club, deluxe and suites, fresh from a major makeover. Balinese motifs of gold, wood, stone and soft red paintwork celebrate the sense of place.

Suites boast acres of space with a separate living area and super-sized bathtubs. All accommodations feature a lounge area and furnished terrace or balcony with day bed. The air-con is great if the weather gets steamy, you’ve got free wifi, a complimentary mini-bar, cable TV and a beautifully appointed bathroom with rain shower.

Like Nusa Dua itself, Club Med is a sprawling and manicured place, far removed from the hustle and chaos of Bali’s choked streets.

The lawns and gardens are impeccably maintained, bursting with tropical foliage, from the blaze of bougainvillea and birds of paradise to the fragrant radiance of the ginger plants.

My runaway Club Med highlight was the aptly-named Zen pool. This multi-tiered hideaway is an adults-only, quiet-zoned watery sanctuary.

A triumphant celebration of luxury tropical tranquillity, the tinkling water feature feeding into the sky-blue pool, wrapped in hanging day beds, was my kind of perfect. Order up a drink and soak up the serenity.

Club Med Bali lays its on thick with activity offerings. Families swoon over the smorgasbord of Kids’ Club activities, which are tailored to all junior guests, from babies to 17-year-olds. There’s kayak lessons, Balinese cooking classes, craft sessions, treasure hunts, pool games … all bases are covered.

For kids and adults alike, the on-site Trapeze School is an incredible spectacle, bringing your inner-circus fantasies to life. But the full-tilt entertainment extravagance climaxes every night around 9pm with Showtime.

The main pool and stage roll out a nightly production ranging from a Balinese cultural show and water ballet to an exuberant Wizard of Oz performance.

Spilling out on to sun-kissed Nusa Dua Beach, with loungers and day beds at your disposal, I loved watching the local fisherman haul in a fresh catch, at twilight, from a surging water channel that intersects with the deep ocean.

It’s also a dreamy spot to catch a sunrise, join a day-break yoga session or marvel over the locals’ ginormous kites.

Fringing the beach, a gorgeous public boardwalk shadows Nusa Dua’s coastline, weaving past all
of the area’s resort hotels and ending up at the fantastic shopping precinct, The Bali Collection.

As much as Nusa Dua is a gated community of holiday resorts, if you want to immerse yourself in the region’s riches, Club Med offers a wide platter of excursions you can book.

But with everything laid on, many guests, particularly families, seemed more than content to fly and flop for a week, during my visit to this ravishing Bali resort.