Alicia and Jay have worked with me on several trips now, and they are always so much fun to collaborate with. They are adventurous and enthusiastic travelers who dive into a new destination with complete joy. But, I’ll admit, I was feeling a little bit of pressure with this most recent “escape”. A honeymoon is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get everything right, and I didn’t want to disappoint them! As you can see from Alicia’s feedback below, we hit this one out of the park 🙂
I will start off by saying that Bali is MAGICAL! I keep feeling like the adjectives I use can’t possibly do it justice, and also that the photos I took don’t do it justice. Balinese culture, art, people, scenery, landscape, food and general vibe are all just simply BEAUTIFUL. In Ubud, we saw some of the most impressive, beautiful, incredible art that I have EVER seen in my life (and I’ve been to the Uffizi and Louvre!) I was truly fascinated by everything we saw. In Seminyak, the beach and the sunsets were the most beautiful I have ever seen, and the shopping was also fabulous! The food in Bali was absolutely to die for – we didn’t have a bad meal, and we almost always ordered from their authentic/eastern offerings! Even their versions of some western dishes were better than what we have here haha! The people are the most kind we have ever encountered, and the level of service everywhere we went is unparalleled! Everyone we encountered was so pleasant and so happy to have us, and often so congratulatory and excited when we told them it was our honeymoon. They made us feel like there was never enough they could do for us! We left knowing that we will 100% return to both places some day, which isn’t something we often say because we tend to like to try new places. But Ubud and Seminyak are places we know we could go back to hundreds of times (I believe this is also what I said about Lake Como lol!)
Flights: So worth the long journey! Emirates is a great airline! The movies, TV shows and games they offered provided endless hours of entertainment. They had lots of new movies, which was perfect because there were many Oscar nominees I wanted to see! Our outbound flights truly did not feel as long as they were. We slept for a few hours on both, and spent our 6 hour layover in Dubai walking around Concourse A, then settled in at a bar where we had a few drinks, some food, and made some layover friends. On our way home, our first leg from Bali to Dubai wasn’t bad. During our layover in Dubai, we rented a room at the Dubai International Hotel, which is inside the secure area of Concourse B. This was the best thing we could have done, because based on the time at home and our attempt to readjust, we needed to sleep during the layover. The room was spacious and comfortable. We slept for a few hours and then showered, grabbed Starbucks (classic LOL) and hopped on our next flight. Because we slept and showered, it really broke up our flights nicely. Our 13 1/2 hour journey from Dubai to Boston was a long one, but of course totally worth it! We now know that having survived these very long flights we really won’t have a problem going anywhere in the world! We did say we would love some day to save up and get Business Class seats! When we landed at the airport in Denpasar, we got through customs and found our tour guide easily thanks to that great map you provided! It took us a while to get from the airport to the hotel because of traffic, but the ride was nice and there was a lot to look at long the way. We were also mesmerized by all of the scooters on the road throughout Bali. This is the most popular way the locals get around, and they weave in and out of traffic like maniacs lol!
Alila Ubud: Oh how we LOVED this hotel! It is the most peaceful and serene place, secluded, calm, private, and everyone speaks in low voices. It was full of relaxing honeymooners like us (most from the UK). We loved how small it was and loved seeing the familiar faces of the staff each day, who always remembered my drink order at dinner! (Jepun – a rose sparking wine made locally from Australian grapes!) As soon as we arrived, we were sat down in reception and given cool towels and a beverage. During check-in, we were offered a complimentary 3-course meal in the restaurant and 60 minute couple’s massage, which we promptly scheduled for the next day. It was like they read my mind – we planned to schedule massages because we felt like we needed them after the long journey! And free ones – even better! We stayed in room #201, which was the very first room right next to the restaurant. We loved that we didn’t have to walk far (after all the wedding excitement, this was our lazy time!), and we had the most beautiful view of the infinity pool and jungle from our balcony! The room itself was amazing! It had one of those canopy nets on the bed which the staff set up for us every night during turn down service. We didn’t however take the chance and sleep with the sliders open – between the bugs and the monkeys, we decided to play it safe! On our first night, we showered and had dinner at the hotel restaurant early (where we almost fell asleep at the table LOL) and then promptly went to bed. We got an amazing first night’s sleep and truly felt adjusted to the time change after that. I actually woke up our first morning and cried (which is rare for me!) because of how beautiful this place is. All of the wedding stress had finally melted away and all I could hear were birds chirping – just magical! We took leisure very seriously on this trip! With the exception of our excursion, we pretty much walked from our room to breakfast to the pool to our room to dinner at the hotel restaurant every day. We spent most of our days lounging by the incredible infinity pool overlooking the jungle, where afternoon tea at 3 was renamed “monkey happy hour” because the monkeys would come out and try to take any unattended food, and generally entertain us! Breakfast here was by far our favorite of the trip – it always started with a basket of fresh breads and pastries with 3 jams, and then we could order off the menu which changed each day (think amazing fruit, cereals, yogurts, juices, eggs, rice, noodles). And of course the coffee – AMAZING! By the pool we were served cocktails, buckets of Bintang (delicious local beer!) and amazing food! We ate dinner at Plantation, the hotel restaurant each night. We ordered from the a-la-carte menu, had our complimentary 3-course meal one night (and honeymoon sparking wine), then one night was a glorious buffet-style meal with Indonesian favorites and a dance performance, and our final night was sushi night! We both felt like this relaxation and lack of need to do anything but lounge around was exactly what we needed for our first 5 days! And by the way, our massages were phenomenal and the spa was beautiful! We love this hotel so much that it’s totally possible we will want stay here again when we return to Ubud some day!
Ubud Village Tour: We loved this tour! Our tour guide picked us up at the hotel, and it was just the two of us (for all of our tours) which was a nice surprise! We went to a Barong performance, the Goa Gahaj (Elephant Cave), an incredible Bedulu Temple in the middle of the jungle, toured museums, art galleries, saw beautiful wood carvings and a silver factory. We picked up some souvenirs and had lunch overlooking a rice field. I went on this trip assuming we wouldn’t be able to get that many great photos of the two of us because there wouldn’t be anyone to take them, but boy was I wrong! Our tour guide took so many amazing photos of us during our tours – this made us so happy!
We were sad to leave the Alila Ubud, but excited to see the beach! Once we checked out, our tour guide took us to the King’s Palace and then an incredible spot for lunch where we had our own private hut overlooking the rice fields. That killed enough time to check in to our hotel in Seminyak – the drive here was long because of traffic, but again lots to see along the way!
Alila Seminyak: A totally different (more modern and crowded) vibe than the Alila Ubud, but we loved it just as much! The beach was absolutely beautiful, and we spent most of our days lounging at the incredible adults-only infinity pool that overlooks the ocean. I would describe the color of the ocean in Bali as a cerulean – so beautiful and different than anything we’ve seen! Once again, upon arrival, we were sat down in reception and given cool towels and a beverage. Our room was booked in the Alila Seminyak Studios – a portion of the hotel that is separate from the main hotel area (where the restaurant, reception and pools are), and they golf cart you between reception and the studios. They offered us a honeymoon discount on a nightly rate to upgrade to an Ocean View Suite, which was located in the main hotel. Initially, we declined (the rate was reasonable, but why spend the extra money?) Then, we were whisked away on a golf cart to our room. Our room in the studios was nice, modern, and spacious, but it didn’t have any balcony, and the view from our room was the street and telephone wires. This simply didn’t sit right with me that this is what we would be looking at on our honeymoon for 6 nights (especially since this was our beach time!) Before Jay could finish protesting, we promptly hopped back on the golf cart, back to reception, and took them up on the honeymoon upgrade offer. (To which I said, happy birthday, Jay! Then we realized he had given his credit card at check-in LOL.) Before they confirmed the new room, they actually took us to show it to us which I thought was nice. It wasn’t ready just yet, so they quickly shuffled us outside so we wouldn’t miss the sunset, and said “have a drink, we will find you when the room is ready and your bags are in it!” They weren’t kidding about the sunset. Each night’s sunset was more beautiful than the previous, and we made it a point to watch it each night with a bottle of wine or champagne from our OCEAN VIEW BALCONY (thank you, Alicia). Jay now agrees that this was a great decision! The room was truly spectacular – huge, amazing balcony with a daybed, huge bathtub and shower room, (the size of our entire half bath at home), vanity, double sinks and big closet! We loved being right on the beach and waking up each morning and seeing the ocean. The breakfast here was also good – buffet style with endless options, and we could also order from the menu.
In Seminyak, we ate at the hotel restaurant, Seasalt, the first night. It was good (not our favorite), and they gave us a “happy honeymoon” dessert! We ate all of our other dinners around the town of Seminyak. Generally, we would hop on Google Maps during the day and find someplace within walking distance, read the reviews, then make a reservation. Taxis were plentiful, but we preferred to walk so we could see more! We went to La Lucciola (fabulous Italian cuisine with Asian influence right on the beach), Motel Mexicola (cool Mexican place that was loud, busy, and had amazing margaritas and food!), Mano Beach House, and Breeze at Samaya Seminyak. But our favorite by far was Batik. Located near Seminyak Square, Batik is Southeast Asian cuisine. We had an amazing meal here, and were enjoying the remainder of the bottle of champagne we ordered when all of a sudden “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran started playing really loudly and the staff were all running around. We had no idea what was going on, until they came to our table with a “happy honeymoon” dessert, dancing and clapping. Then, when we tried to blow out the candles, they turned out to be trick candles. So funny – they have such a great sense of humor! Then the owner came to our table and offered to take us on a tour of the restaurant, which was completely decorated with the Indonesian Batik pattern. He gave us a history of the Batik pattern and the process, and the different types seen in different parts of Indonesia. I loved every second of this, and the patterns are so beautiful! We of course came home with a Batik pillow for our bed!
The Wonderland of Bali Tour: We loved this tour as well! We saw the Tanah Lot Temple on the water, where there were many surfers! The monkey forest was so much fun – Jay made a new friend lol! We also saw Lake Bratan which was so beautiful. We traveled through the mountains and had lunch overlooking rice fields. After our tour guide dropped us back off at the hotel, we went out and did some shopping in Seminyak. We loved all of the small boutiques and as well as the open tents with beautiful handmade goods. We also stopped for gelato – there were so many gelato stands in Seminyak! We came back to a “Happy Birthday Jason” chocolate cake surrounded by rose petals set up in our room – so cute! I’ll bet you tipped them off about that – thank you! 🙂
Our only trip hiccup was that we thought our tour guide had said he would pick us up at 12:00 for our return flight on Sunday. (Our flight wasn’t until 7:50, so I did think this was a little early and kept trying to clarify with him, but in the end Jay and I both thought he said 12:00). We checked out, and when he didn’t arrive by 12:30, we had the front desk call the tour company at the local number you gave us. They were easy to reach, and it turns out our pickup was at 4:00. I think we just misunderstood due to the language barrier! The hotel let us access our luggage and we were directed to a changing area where we put our bathing suits on and laid by the pool for a few more hours – no complaints there!
Ann, you’ve done it again! This was a FABULOUS escape! It was the perfect honeymoon, and you chose the perfect tours and hotels for us! We love Bali so much. It is unlike any place we’ve ever been, and it will always hold a special place in our hearts as the beginning of our journey as Mr. and Mrs. Brodeur! We honestly cannot wait to return someday. We can’t thank you enough for putting this all together for us, and preparing us so well for the trip as always! You are the best! I love sharing these trip reports with you, and I hope this encourages more people to travel to Bali because it is truly a wonder that must be experienced in person!
Thank you again for everything! Until our next escape…