In the last weekend of my mum’s visit to Bali we decided to get away and see a bit of the island away from our usual Ubud hangouts. Reviewing the Novotel Nusa Dua was the perfect opportunity for a relaxing last weekend, so off we went, myself, my mum and the kids (Lola 8 & Marlow 3), leaving behind my husband this time for a relaxing weekend of his own at home.
We checked in on a Friday afternoon with the sun shining and a huge blue pool beckoning us in for a dip. Our room was a 2 bedroom suite, which we were all pretty pleased with. We really weren’t expecting such a massive living room and kitchen area or the balcony that ran the width of the room. The larger bedroom had a king bed and a large bathroom with a bath and glassed in shower and the smaller bedroom 2 single beds and a bathroom with shower just next door in the hallway. Both had flatscreen TVs, and large wardrobes and there was a safe in the larger bedroom that we easily fit 2 laptops in.
Take a Virtual Tour our Room:
I really liked the way the bedrooms were split by a hallway. It give both you and the kids a bit of privacy and independence (although in this case I was in with my son and my daughter slept in the smaller room with her grandmother).
There are lots of eco features that we loved like the a/c turns off if the balcony doors are open and the water is heated by harnessing the electricity from the a/c. However, the downside to this is that you have to run the water for up to 10 minutes for it to warm up. That’s a lot of wasted water in Bali where there is a ground water shortage.
The amenities were pretty good, with all the basics you need for showers and baths, but we did find there was never enough bottled water and no conditioner, which you definitely need after a day in the pool or sea. The resort also has 2 and 3 bedroom suites that have private swimming pools. Fabulous if you are a larger family or group traveling together.
The resort is made up of blocks surrounding lovely courtyards that run around 3 sides of the central courtyard/pool/restaurant area. We were lucky to have an inward facing room with a beautiful view over the gardens and pool, but on the other side there would just be a view of the smaller inner courtyard.
The pool is lovely with 2 levels and little islands that you can hang out around. There is plenty of shade and shallower areas for kids. There is also a kids paddling pool next to the kids club but it’s basically just for splashing in as there are no toys or play features.
The pool is surrounded with loungers and sun beds. Some are covered and some aren’t so you can choose how much sun you want to get. Behind the pool is the main restaurant and to the side the bar where you can also eat.
The Novotel is not a beachfront resort but runs a shuttle every 15 minutes to their beach club. The beach in Nusa Dua is definitely beautiful but unfortunately when we were there the tide was all the way in and the red flags were up so we couldn’t swim. We found that the beach club was also a little bare, with little to keep the kids entertained because the sand was so hot they couldn’t leave the shade of the umbrellas. We only stayed a few minutes and went back to the pool, but the late afternoon and evening are probably much more comfortable there.
There is also a shuttle to Bali Collection for shopping and eating and to Bali Golf Club, which is just next door. Like most resorts in Nusa Dua, there are few places to walk to, so if you want to go anywhere you need a shuttle or driver.
Eating and Drinking
There are 4 food and drink options at the Novotel; The Square Restaurant, Blue Bar and Pause Cafe and then 2.28 Beach Club close by. The first evening we just moved from our loungers at the pool, where we had been enjoying swimming and 2 for 1 happy hour drinks, to the bar as everyone was hungry before it was really dinner time. The menu had a little of everything and the prices weren’t too bad at all. We had some pretty enormous hamburgers for Rp80,000 and the kids had a good selection on the menu as well. Chicken nuggets (Rp60,000) were handmade and really tasty and the chicken and vegetable soup was delicious and only about Rp45,000!
Breakfast is a bit of a free-for-all. It’s a busy hotel with a lot of families so the buffet can get a bit overwhelming, but both days we chose a table by the pool where it was a bit quieter.
The selection was good and the kids loved the heart-shaped waffles, fruit, and endless bacon and sausages. There was also a good Asian selection. The one thing that was a bit strange to me was there was a great bread selection, but you were only allowed to toast basic ready-cut squares in the toaster.
The second night we planned to go to the themed bbq (Rp245,000 per person/kids 0-4 free & 5-12 half price), but ended up ordering room service because we were all so tired from such a big day. Kids had pasta and said it was delish. We also grabbed dessert from Pause Cafe where they make all their own cakes and pastries and you can grab a coffee. The strawberry tart was yum!
The first afternoon the kids were invited to join a cooking class held every Friday at 4pm. Marlow watched a bit but Lola was really excited and had a great time making sweet breads in the kitchen of Pause Cafe. They went in the kids club for a bit afterwards but it was a bit disorganized and they weren’t sure about it.
I was also a bit hesitant because there didn’t seem to be a solid registration and signing in and signing out process happening. There are 2 different levels (ages ranges) in the kids club but they don’t seem to separate them as far as I could see. I saw other parents also looking perplexed at the door, wondering how to sign their kids in. There are a lot of families there, nannies in and out and a number of staff, so it could get a bit hectic at times. The staff did seem great with the kids and knew everyone by name, I just wondered how easy it would be for a child to slip through the cracks.
One fabulous thing about the resort is the small playground behind the kids club. It was one of Marlow’s favorite things and he asked to play there again and again.
We booked in for spa treatments at In Balance Spa, and this was one of the highlights of our stay. My mum had a bamboo massage while I went with the kids for their Prince and Princess treatments. This included a foot bath, massage with chocolate oil, a chocolate body scrub and chocolate ice cream served while they were in a huge jacuzzi bubble bath!
I though Marlow wouldn’t stay still through the whole thing but he loved it! They felt truly spoiled and it was brilliant watching them enjoy it so much. You can also book kids in for hair braiding, nail treatments and other packages.
Our Summary of Novotel Nusa Dua
The Novotel Nusa Dua is a great family resort with lots of kids around to make friends with and plenty to keep everyone busy. The food was good and drinks were really cheap during happy hours. The rooms and pool area were really lovely and there was plenty of sun and shade. For families who prefer being poolside to the beach I would definitely recommend the Novotel Nusa Dua, but if a great beach location is a priority it would not be ideal.