There’s a Bali for everyone…


So anyways, I made a comment on Facebook the other day that went something like this:

I love this resort, but what really peeves me is how people- especially large family groups- rush down before brekky to commandeer the prime possies then don’t bother coming down for hours. It’s 8.30am, most pool front chairs are taken & the pool has just 1 swimmer in it & 1 sunner (me).


I realised when I read back through some posts from last year and the year before and the year before that, that this is a complaint I’ve made each year…different large family group, same first world problem

Yet, I love…LOVE…this resort.

The responses surprised me, but didn’t surprise me. There were well meant suggestions as to what should happen, what happens at other resorts, where I should stay, why this is why I should stay only in villas or adults only retreats, etc.

I was ok- I was early and I had a spot by the pool. I was merely making an observation of one thing- the only thing- that seriously pisses me off about this hotel.

It made me think about what I look for in a resort:

  • A huge pool. Yes, size matters, and the Padma has the biggest and the best in the Legian business…in my humble opinion. It’s the sort of blue that has all my instagram photos hashtagged #nofilter. Tick.
  • Close to a beach- as close as possible. The Padma is so close you can hear the waves- and watch the surfers from your breakfast table at the SKAI Club. Tick.
  • Great food for when we can’t be faffed going out. Tick.
  • Close to everything. Down the street are tourist dive bars and hawkers and chaos and noise. But we like a little of that- and then like to come back to a refuge. Tick.
  • Quiet rooms. This is a tick for the garden chalets (where we stay) and a miss when it comes to the Barong-side rooms where all the families are placed.
  • Amazing breakfasts. The Padma has THE best breakfast of anywhere I’ve stayed. Tick.

The thing is, I don’t want to stay anywhere else, I don’t want someone to police the pool thing, I don’t want someone to escort me to an unencumbered pool chair- as lovely as that sounds- I can’t even bear a shop assistant asking ‘is everything all right in there?’ I just want people to have respect for each other and not commandeer entire rows of lounges.

The question of villas has come up before.

Personally, I think I’d like the privacy and the quiet, even though I dislike the idea of a butler, or staff…just for us. I feel uncomfortable about it… A villa would, however, be my husband’s worst nightmare. He likes a coffee shop he can go to after dinner to watch football when I refuse to have it on in the room. He likes having breakfast with other people around him. He likes people, he likes the noise of having other people around him.

This trip we went out to Sanur to see if we liked it out there. Yeah, it was nice, but it felt a little too quiet, a little removed- and there was no surf at all, a narrow beach, and no sunsets. The beachwalk was pleasant, though.

Everyone says that we “simply must stay in Seminyak- the shops are great, the food is good, and you don’t get hassled.” I’m not huge on shopping, but we went up  for lunch a couple of times- it’s where the best restaurants are. Sardine was amazing (I’ll write about it separately) and lunch at Potatohead was an experience- I think we raised the average age by around 10 years and the average weight by 20kgs. The food was good, the bodies in the pool young, beautiful and sunburned, and I was amused. It felt a little Bondi- not that that’s a bad thing…

Later that evening, sitting in the open air of the Rama Garden Hotel in Jalan Padma, flirting with waiters, singing along to music that was out before I was born, drinking Bintangs and eating watery chicken curry, hubby and I looked at each other and decided that this was exactly why we like staying where we do. No, it wasn’t the watery curry- we were relaxing, we were laughing and we were having fun.

Don’t get me wrong- I’m snobby enough to realise that I don’t like the bogan element that walks the streets of Legian and Kuta with bad tattoos, matching Bintang singlet and shorts,  a large Bintang in each hand as a roadie to see them to the next bar. But that’s not what it’s about- and, if truth be known, that’s an (admittedly loud) minority.

I’m also honest enough to admit that there’s a large part of me that’s way too comfortable in no make-up, cheap beach dresses, thongs and letting my hair go au naturel in all of it’s frizzy, dreadlocked glory. I quite simply don’t care, and I don’t care who sees me. I’m on holiday- I’m literally letting go.

Yes, sometimes it feels like we’re running the hawker gauntlet the minute we leave the resort, but that’s also become part of it for me- like the bars on the beach advertising bloody cold beer. It’s why, when we checked into the Padma the other day, we sighed and said, ‘it feels like coming home.’ Besides, we can always grab a taxi into Seminyak or Kerobokan when we tire of watery curries and want some food we can rave over and I can blog about.

The whole discussion made me realise that there’s a Bali for everyone, and sometimes more than one Bali for everyone- and that’s absolutely the way that it should be. My Bali is not yours- and yours is probably not mine…or it could be…

So yes, a private villa sounds great, an adults only retreat sounds civilised and blissfully quiet, but I’m happy here at the Padma- even with the lounge hogging Aussies.

Postscript: on our last day, hubby got up early and randomly scattered a dozen towels around the poolfront…including 4 where I usually sit. I felt guilty and took them back.

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT


Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

12 thoughts

  1. I’ve never had any desire to visit Bali, but I expect it’s because I have this perception of the touristy Bali you mention with lots of tanned young bogan Aussies around.

  2. A Bali for everyone – I love that. We have only been to Bali a couple of times and stayed in Nusa Dua which I prefer as its away from the “bogan element”. We are thinking of returning for the October school holidays the choices Sanur Paradise Suites, Dynasty (have read bogan) and Padma. Sounds like Padma could be a winner because the towel thing happens at every resort in every country.

    1. Thanks for dropping by. Ours is 17 now, but I have friends who swear by the Padma for kids…& yeah, the towel thing happens everywhere… Sigh…

  3. I’ve never been to Bali and for some reason it’s never been on my list of places to go, despite everyone I know who’s been loving it. I’m a Fiji girl, but that could have something to do with the fact that we went there on our honeymoon, so it’s where I want to take the girls. One day I’m sure we’ll end up in Bali, though. Everyone does and it does sound pretty good! And from your photos it looks pretty good too!

  4. This poolside problem is not exclusive to Bali and it isn’t exclusive to ‘large families’. People all over the world do it and it frustrates the shit out of me because more often than not I have been, done what I want to do and gone again before they have even reared their ugly heads from their rooms. Phew – vent over.

  5. I wonder why people do that? The towel thing? That just seems so incredibly rude to me!
    I think it’s great that you’ve found a home away from home, and why would you change that? You make me want to visit Bali again, and I haven’t had the desire for years!

Comments are closed.