GRAND BALI VILLA (family-friendly accommodation)

Grand Bali Villa me + girls

I’m woken by the gentle chink of china, and a smell that makes my stomach growl.

Peeking around the curtain, I spot two smartly dressed staff members busying themselves in our al fresco dining area. By the time I’ve stumbled blearily outside, they’ve laid the table with plates of spicy rice (a popular local breakfast dish), toast and fresh melon.

‘Good morning,’ they smile, pressing their hands together and bowing forward slightly, in their traditional greeting. Then, as quietly as they appear, they retreat again, leaving us to enjoy our morning meal in the warm Balinese sun.

This personal service was just one of the things I loved about the Grand Bali Villa. Located in Legian, on the Indonesian island of Bali, just 15 minutes walk from the bustling beach front, there are a mixture of two and three-bedroom villas on site, six in total, each with its own private pool.

I’d discovered them online while researching for our trip to attend a family wedding. With a long-haul flight to get through, and a four and seven-year-old to keep entertained I really wanted some private space for where we could fully relax. I just didn’t fancy the idea of us all crammed into a regular hotel room, fighting over the sun loungers with the other guests.

A villa was the obvious choice, but we were on a modest budget, so it took a bit of searching before I discovered the family-friendly Grand Bali Villa.

Grand Bali Villa

We stayed for just under two weeks in August, and it cost us around £130 per night – that’s four people, in a three-bedroom private villa with a swimming pool, with breakfast served each morning, and a one-way airport transfer.

Before you think it sounds too good to be true, compromises were made. It’s important to remember that – outside the sequestered walls of the luxury resorts – much of the Balinese people live in poverty.

This was never more evident than when our taxi made its way along the potholed access road, to the villa entrance. To one side locals fished from a polluted river; on the other were ramshackle buildings and overgrown plots. It’s a jarring introduction to the Indonesian island, but as soon as we reached open-air reception of Grand Bali Villas we found a calm oasis in the dusty surrounds.

Bali reception double

Grand bali villa doors

The softly-spoken manager checked us in, and lead us to along a frangipani lined path to a set of worn wooden doors. Pushing them open we were pleasantly surprised to find our villa was also open air, with three separate enclosed bedrooms (each with an ensuite-style bath and shower room) surrounding an alfresco dining and kitchen area, and lounge.

Inside two of the rooms were king-sized four-poster beds, while the third contained twin beds, all romantically draped with mosquito nets. To one side was our own private swimming pool, complete with sun loungers.

The villa was charmingly imperfect – the bedrooms were lovely, but the bathrooms were basic and it was clear the entire site could do with a fresh coat of paint and some TLC. However, it was comfortable and spacious, and spotlessly clean. Given the choice between a pokey hotel room and a three-bedroom private villa with swimming pool for pretty much the same price, there was absolutely no contest.

And when you saw the basic conditions the locals lived in, it felt obscene to worry about a cracked tile, or a wobbly paving stone.

grand bali villa pool collage

Settling into island life was just so easy. After a day exploring the sights we’d return gratefully to our villa. The girls would leap straight into the pool, while OH and I would pop open an ice-cold beer and watch them splashing around, squealing with excitement.

The location of villas, a few blocks back from the Legian beachfront, made it just a bit too far to walk in each night with the girls. Instead we borrowed the Hungry House style-takeaway book they kept at reception (available to guests on request); front desk would place the order for us, and 45 minutes later dinner would literally be delivered to our table.

Once the girls were asleep, literally swallowed up by the king-sized bed, we’d settle on the sofas to watch a movie (there weren’t many English channels, but we came prepared with some dvds). It was quite surreal at first, having no walls, but we quickly got used to the balmy temperatures, the scurrying lizards, and the croaky tune of the night frogs, and then it just seemed so liberating. 

At some point each evening the villa staff would discreetly let themselves in to light the mosquito rings, and the pungent smell of citronella would mix with the sweet perfume of the frangipani.

I don’t know if it was all the swimming or the walking around, or the fact the beds were just so comfy, but we all slept like logs. I’d wake in the morning in the exact position I’d fallen asleep, the then-familiar sounds of the breakfast table being laid.

I had worried the girls would find the food too different from what they were used to, but Big Sis surprised us all by absolutely falling in love with with the delicious local spicy rice.

Grand Bali villa rice

We felt so at home after a week that it felt strange to pack up and leave our lovely villa behind; the girls were really sad to say goodbye to their beloved swimming pool, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to adjust to making my own breakfast again.

Was it the fanciest accommodation I’ve ever stayed in? No. Was it one of the most enjoyable places I’ve ever stayed in? Absolutely yes.

If you’re looking for five-star escapism, this isn’t for you, but if you’re looking for a clean, comfortable accommodation that gives you space, privacy, and a more authentic glimpse into Balinese life, then I’d definitely recommend Grand Bali Villa.

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WHERE: Grand Bali Villa, grandbalivilla.com, Jl. Khresna No. 88 Legian, Bali, 80361. This road isn’t well known to all taxi drivers, so print out a map to show them. It’s a 10 minute walk to a main road, with convenience stores, and 20 minutes to reach shopping streets.

WHAT: two and three-bedroom walled self-catering villas, each with dining/kitchen area and private swimming pool.

INCLUDES: breakfast each morning, daily housekeeping, 24-hour front desk, bottled water for teeth washing.

HANDY INFO: remember to stock up on bottled water, as you can’t drink the tap water in Bali (villas include bottled water to brush your teeth). If you fancy dining in, front desk can give you a book full of local restaurants who deliver, and will phone the order through for you. They can also order taxis and airport transfers. If you want some extra pampering, you can also book spa treatments to be carried out at your villa (additional cost).

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21 Comments

  1. This sounds like a very relaxing place to spend a holiday. Love your photos, and how happy does your little one look on the last pic? This reminds me of my trip to thailand many years back, and was shocked at how much poverty there is/was. BTW, a lovely write up 😉
    Mirka Moore @Kahanka @Fitness4Mamas recently posted…5 Tips for Choosing a Family PhotographerMy Profile

  2. Love the pic at the top and the one of big sis looking so happy – she obviously did like the rice! Sounds like a fabulously chilled out, recharging your batteries kind of break. We went to Thailand last October and also had a villa with a private pool – that is the best thing ever with kids. A literally spent all day in the pool while we chilled, ate, read and slept. Dreaming of another tropical break now… perhaps Bali next. Your post is making me want to go!
    Ebabee recently posted…A beautiful Djeco craft kit for a rainy dayMy Profile

  3. Looks so wonderful darling and your girls are too gorgeous. I need sun, reading this has been painful! x
    Honest Mum recently posted…Wonderful Women Interview with Blogger & Founder of Tots100 & Flea Enterprises, Sally WhittleMy Profile

  4. Oooh this sounds lovely, I remember seeing the poverty when I visited Egypt and was staying in a 5 star hotel. It felt wrong to have such luxury when others were living in such squalid conditions. I definitely prefer Villa style when travelling with children, it feels much more like a holiday!
    Sabina @MummyMatters recently posted…Share your best Freezie and you could win £50 Iceland Vouchers!My Profile

  5. oh my I am extremely jealous and you look like you had an amazing time the pictures are just amazing

    • Bali was amazing, but spending time together as a family was BY FAR the best part of the holiday! x

  6. What a pretty daughter you have! That place looks lovely! x

  7. Great find! It looks as though you had an amazing time xx

  8. What a beautiful daughter and I have always wanted to visit Bali it is such a beautiful place. Glad she enjoyed the spicy rice!
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  9. Oh wow that looks amazing!! I love how happy the kids look in the photos too 🙂

  10. I am so jealous. I need a holiday so badly.

  11. This looks like a lovely place to stay. Bet you had a whale of a time!

  12. Wow that looks like such an amazing place to have a holiday x
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  13. oh, you just made me want to go for holiday! Argh bring on summer! beautiful place, love the photos!

  14. This sounds and looks amazing! I could totally do with some sun right now, the weather in the UK has just been miserable for months. Got to get myself and the family booked up I think.
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  15. Wow, what a beautiful place – fantastic value too. I need sunshine so badly, I think sometimes all we will ever have is rain! Lovely photos. Kaz x
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  16. Ah that looks amazing! Lovely photos and looks like a beautiful place!
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  17. I loved all your photos from the trip on social media and this villa sounds dreamy. Bali is one of those fantasy holidays for me, like the Maldives, and really hope I can take the kids one day. I’m amazed at what good value it was. In terms of the stark contrasts of living conditions, dirty water etc we’re used to all that from Nigeria so guess it wouldn’t be too much for the babes to handle either!

  18. […] a bag for each child. On our previous long-haul journey to BALI we bought a pair of those pull-along cabin bags, but found they slowed us up and we ended up […]

  19. Oh, You are very good Mom and your kids are so happy to get you. They looks so pretty on those photo. And bali is the best place for spending some moment with family. And thank Your for your post.

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