Said to be one of the most family-friendly and convenient resorts in Bali, we were curious to see how Holiday Inn Baruna Bali stacked up against more expensive resorts in the area. So, Bali Kids Guide sent Steve, Renee and their 2 sons (9 & 11 years old) to the Holiday Inn Baruna in Tuban for a 2 night review of the resort. Here’s what they had to say about it:
The most striking thing about our stay at the Holiday Inn Baruna was that it was, bar none, the best service our family has ever had at a big hotel in Bali. The staff were friendly and genuine without being contrived, and not the least bit overbearing. They were accommodating to every one of our requests (some of them a little unusual), and seemed pleased to help us out of a genuine desire to be friendly. This is unusual for a big chain hotel in a highly touristed strip, where staff often seems to be suffering from major tourist fatigue.
The building itself is beautiful, if a little stereotypical of Bali circa 1980s. It has been well maintained, and many rooms have been updated, though it does show a little wear and tear here and there. Whatever issues exist are quick to be repaired though… we had a small issue with a flickering light in our room and the staff was on to fixing it immediately. The rooms were very large, with a pull out bed for kids and two large showers plus bathtub, so we felt as though we were in a small apartment.
The experience itself was full of all those little Balinese touches that families love: mango and rosella welcome drinks; towels folded into animal shapes; frangipani petals on the bed. The check-in process at the Holiday Inn Baruna was surprisingly painless compared to other experiences we’ve had in Bali. Quick, informative and friendly.
The atmosphere once inside was not the hustle and bustle of your typical package hotel in Bali. While there were plenty of activities to take part in, it did not feel crowded or noisy, nor were there plenty of drunken Moms and Dads in the pool (which has been a problem for us before).
At the moment there is a large crane overhanging the hotel because of a building project next door. Normally this would be a negative in the experience. However with children, it was actually kind of cool. Watching the cranes swing back and forth and talking about how large construction sites work was fascinating for my boys. The same is true of watching the airplanes come and go from the airport next door. It was great fun and surprisingly quiet. A small price to pay for rolling right off the plane and into luxury (the hotel is literally 5 mins from the airport) instead battling the traffic of Bali.
The dinner menu was diverse enough to accommodate everyone’s needs, if a little light on options for vegetarians and vegans. Prices were within reasonable range for upper end restaurants (between 10-20 USD a main dish, with some more expensive imports like Australian beef). The breakfast buffet had some cute options, with carts serving laksa and waffles as well as a dedicated ‘Kids Corner’ where they could get vegetables and fruit in animal shapes, as well as some sugary treats like sprinkled donuts. Truly healthy options here were a little thin, though, and there were no indicators of special foods for dietary restrictions like nut or gluten allergies although we didn’t ask. There was one fresh squeezed juice option a day to go with the boxed juices, which was a nice touch.
The grounds of the Holiday Inn Baruna are vast, with plenty of green space with lush grass to run around on, and very few safety concerns (stairs here and there, is all). There is one large pool with bar for adults and a kiddie pool about 60cm deep that is attached, but barricaded, for toddlers. Both pools have plenty of balls, sports nets and inflatable toys to keep everyone busy, and a rubberized surface on the pool stairs to prevent slipping. Pool bar staff are very happy to chat, or leave you on your own, as you need.
The beach in front of the hotel is gray sand, and as such, is probably not Bali’s best, but there is plenty of room to run and play and it is set back from the hotel so you don’t need to worry about a toddler getting away from you. One very cool aspect of the beach is that at sunset you will find mainly locals, all of whom seemed very friendly and open to meeting. So it’s not like the resorts where you feel completely in a bubble.
The world outside the Holiday Inn Baruna is busy, and action packed, as it is one of the most densely developed areas in Bali. The hotel is within walking distance of two major malls that have both Indonesian and western products, along with movie theatres, and access to Waterbom waterpark, which is a big plus if you are staying longer than a few days and would like to get out and about a bit. The excursion office within the hotel had someone on hand to help every time I checked.
The gym was small but fully equipped with cardio and universal weight machines. All were clean and fully functional. We worked out three times and enjoyed watching the big screen TV.
The kids club was one of the better ones I have seen, with a library, lots of board games and stuffed toys plus a pool table, and staff always on hand. They had plenty of activities scheduled though none of them really interested my kids much. Beware though, there are at least three places where kids can get onto video-games, so if you are looking for a screen free holiday this will be hard to avoid.
There was some confusion at the spa over the fact that because we had two boys, we didn’t exactly qualify for the father-son or mother-daughter package, which, together, constitutes the ‘Family’ package. Once we worked through that, though, we had one of the best spa experiences we have ever had in Bali. The staff was very graceful, and all the finer touches (the ginger drinks, the hot tub and rest time in the bale overlooking the sea afterward) were lovely. They even have a chocolate spa, which we will definitely try next time!
Round Up of Our Stay at Holiday Inn Baruna Bali
We had a lovely stay at the holiday Inn. Of all the hotels on the Tuban coast, this one felt very fresh and the staff made the stay fantastic. Overall, we would recommend it to anyone looking for a hassle free, value for money option in the heart of Kuta.