This post is sponsored by the all-inclusive Bali hotel Grand Mirage Resort.
This is our first experience of an all-inclusive resort.
Will we enjoy not having to roam the streets with a child to find food and entertainment, but to have everything at our beck and call?
Relief floods me as we exit the Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali to discover our hotel driver is holding a plaque with my name.
Whilst I have been communicating with the PR department for a couple of months to arrange this trip, I suppose a part of me was nervous that something might go wrong.
But it is all good, our all-inclusive driver takes us in a private car the 15km across the new Mandara toll road to the Grand Mirage Resort in Benoa, Nusa Dua for 3 of our 5 day getaway.
We arrive at the all-inclusive Grand Mirage Resort that is decorated in a traditional Balinese theme. I head over to the reception desk while Steve and Lewis lean over the teak railing in the foyer to look at the waterfall that spills into a Koi pond on the next level down.
The Grand Mirage Resort staff immediately realise we are booked on an all-inclusive package, we are ushered to a separate room to sit down, given a cold towel, refreshing orange juice and checked in. We are provided with a welcome pack and have bracelets placed around our wrists, which advises all staff we are “all-inclusive” and ensures we never have to tell the staff not to charge.
Next we are escorted to our room on the 4th floor.
Grand Mirage Resort – Ocean View Suite Review
Not knowing which room to expect I am delighted to discover we have been given the Ocean View Suite.
I feet quite privileged stepping into this room. It has separate lounge area, an all-inclusive mini bar (beer, juice, soft drinks, nuts, and large bottles of water), a large cable TV that swivels – separating the lounge from the sleeping area that has 2 queen size beds.
This provides us with more than ample room for Lewis to spread out his toys and in the mornings he can turn the TV to face the lounge so as not to wake us up too early.
The bathroom is spacious with a large island bath. Total luxury!
Then there is a make-up corner, dressing room plus a separate toilet.
I check out the view from our balconies and see not only the ocean but across to the playground and pool.
But it is now past lunch time and we are hungry.
Grand Mirage Resort: Restaurants Review
The Grand Cafe`at the all-inclusive Grand Mirage Resort Bali
We head straight to the buffet which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Not being sure of exactly what food we are entitled to we opt for the buffet which has a nice selection of Asian dishes.
However it is the breakfast buffet that is the real star of The Grand Cafe` including juices, cereals, bakery yummies, pancakes, waffles, hot western and Asian dishes plus a separate egg station – a great move as the queue (that never really gets big anyway) did not intrude on the rest of the buffet.
The next day we discover that we can also order off an A La Carte menu and enjoy delicious burgers and mocktails. I am really loving the fact that we don’t have to navigate the heat and poorly maintained roads outside to find a meal or shop for extras.
In the afternoons we pop back for a bite of afternoon tea with little cakes and savouries to keep us going.
Jukung Grill at the all-inclusive Grand Mirage Resort Bali
In the evening we try out the beach-side restaurant Jukung Grill offering a selection of grilled seafood and meats. Whilst we nibble on wood fired Satay sticks we get to gaze across to the ocean before the sunsets behind us. Just remember the insect repellent before eating at the tables in the sand.
Coconuts Pool Bar at the all-inclusive Grand Mirage Resort Bali
If relaxing and looking at water whilst your eat and drink is for you, then poolside at Coconuts Pool Bar is the place.
We enjoy many a mocktail (though I could have had alcoholic – I’m just not that big a drinker) and a light lunch. We normally eat poolside on holiday as we can’t be bothered getting dressed and heading out in the heat to find a cheaper lunch. It was great to know there was no extra cost to have this lunch poolside.
Rama Stage Show and Dinner at the all-inclusive Grand Mirage Resort Bali
However if you are looking for more than just gazing at the beach or pool and want to be entertained then I would suggest the Rama Stage. There are 4 different shows a week at the Rama Stage we are going to watch the Fiesta Latina.
As the dinner show doesn’t start until 7pm we order room service for Lewis at 5pm. Another bonus of the all-inclusive: if the kids are hungry before you are ready to go out for dinner, room service is included!
At 7pm we are dressed up and escorted to our table near the front of the stage. We order cocktails (I discover the Mojito is the cocktail for me at this resort). Steve and I head to the Spanish flavoured buffet and load our plates with Paella Negra, Pinchitos, Empanada, and so much more. But I still have room for the delicious banana pancakes with chocolate sauce and ice-cream. Whilst we eat we are serenaded by a lovely singer who takes requests from the audience whatever their nationality.
Once the sun has gone down, all the stage lights are shining, the music increases in volume and the dances come out dressed as cowboys and girls. They strut their lean bodies across the stage and wiggle their almost bare bottoms from behind their cowboy chaps. The audience is entranced with the lively bawdy performance that continues on with costume changes and various dances.
At the end of the show they encourage as many as possible up onto the stage to join them for YMCA and Gangnam Style. Wow what an enjoyable dinner and show to have included and not to have to go out any further a field.
Grand Mirage Resort: All-Inclusive Activities Review
The other thing I am really enjoying in-house is the huge range of activities – no chance of getting bored here. There is a schedule on the wall leading out to the pool with each days activities so you can plan your stay. You may like to read my post Things to do at the Grand Mirage Bali showing you all the activities available.
Yoga at the all-inclusive Grand Mirage Resort Bali
Every morning at 9am yoga is on near the chapel. I collect a towel from the pool and make my way to the grass under the almond trees. It is so serene with the ocean as the back drop as I follow the instructor for 45 minutes of yoga poses. The session finishes with a few moments in Shavasana with the birds tweeting and butterflies fluttering above.
The Pool at the all-inclusive Grand Mirage Resort Bali
Next we off to the pool for a swim. Whilst there is a toddler pool, Lewis is now a little too old for this and wants to swim in the main pool. There is a small section that is 1.6m deep just a bit too deep for him. A few flotation noodles are around but you have to be quick to get one, as young and old want to use these due to the remainder of the large free form pool being almost 2m deep.
I have to say though Lewis loved diving down this end of the pool and if you got a noodle it was so relaxing floating in the warm water.
But it wasn’t all relaxation in the pool at the all-inclusive Grand Mirage Resort. Steve joined in a session of water aerobics which was followed by a very lively and popular game of water polo. Once they finished other guests were shooting goals in the basketball hoop.
Demonstrations at the all-inclusive Grand Mirage Resort Bali
If you think by mid-afternoon you were going to get restless there is no chance. We meander near the table tennis and oversized chess set in our bathers to watch a cooking demonstration one afternoon and fruit carving the following. There is something scheduled everyday.
By late afternoon if you still have energy to burn there is a beach volley ball game or you can hire some bikes.
Bike Hire at the all-inclusive Grand Mirage Resort Bali
Bike hire is available from 10am, however we felt it was too hot in the morning, by late afternoon when the sun starts to go down the beach front path is shaded by the hotels.
Cycling along here is a great way to check out the other hotels and realise that you are staying in one the premier hotels along this stretch of beach. Just be aware that you need to have them returned by 5pm when the kids club closes.
Kids Club at the all-inclusive Grand Mirage Resort Bali
Lewis really enjoys the craft sessions at kids clubs.
The day we are there Lewis and I learn some banana leaf weaving at Bamboo Kids Fun Club.
The staff is so patient showing us several times which way to make each fold to get the desired effect.
Whilst we are making our bounty of goodies a lone teenage girl joins in and a couple who had come to hire bikes stop to have a go. Don’t worry there is no concern about little ones being at risk as this particular day we are the only ones in the club.
Games Room at the all-inclusive Grand Mirage Resort Bali
The other thing Lewis really enjoys is the Cool Lounge games room.
We have several games of air hockey, pool and table tennis. So much fun that we come back the next day.
Balinese Costume at the all-inclusive Grand Mirage Resort Bali
Whilst I am in the games room I learn about the Balinese Costume activity for later in the afternoon.
I return back late on my own, Lewis and Steve would not join me. Make up is applied to my face to resemble a traditional Balinese girl, whilst the attendant is applying my make up she advises that you would wear this for a festive event such as a wedding. Then the attendants wrap me in brightly coloured cloths and pin flowers and a wig to my hair.
Whilst it was an enjoyable experience it would really have been fun if I had a daughter or a friend to join me. I could imagine much giggling taking place during the process.
Ocean Kayak at the Grand Mirage Resort Bali
But as I have a boy we usually stick to more robust activities which is why we choose to try ocean kayaking for the first time.
We go down to the beach at 11am and put on life jackets.
Lewis and Steve are helped onto one kayak and I am joined by an attendant on another. We paddle off and make our way around the first groin.
Waves from passing motor boats rock us as we gaze at the para-gliders and the dare devils on the flying fish. As each round of waves rocks us Lewis grows more agitated and begs to go back. We try to persevere and enjoy the outlook, however after another 10 minutes of complaining we relent and turn back.
I have to say as we are rounding the last groin – I hadn’t realised how far we had paddled in such a short time – my triceps are burning and I am glad to return to shore.
Grand Mirage Resort: Thalasso Bali Spa Review
The other thing we try for the first time as a family is a trip to the day spa, which is a rousing success in the Thalasso Bali Spa.
Lewis and I opt for Balinese massages. We are taken to a double spa room, feet washed and then lay on tables where are bodies are gently needed and relaxed.
Meanwhile Steve is in the Aqua-medic pool at the Thalasso Bali Spa within the Grand Mirage Resort having his body pummelled by jets of sea water that have been heated to 38C.
You can read my full review about our Family Fun at the Thalasso Bali Spa HERE
Grand Mirage Resort: Other Options
Stella from PR takes me on a tour of the resort which allows me to have a complete look around at the Thalasso Bali Spa. Cinnamon wafts out as we enter the cinnamon room that is lined with cinnamon sticks, the pregnancy room looks tranquil in blue and the water therapy room so calm.
Stella also shows me some more options in the 301 room hotel that was built in 1993. Since then there a have been various renovations with the most recent addition of the Family Deluxe Ocean View Room and Garden Room a great affordable option for families (with a super king and single bed).
Next Stella shows me the gym and more options available in the Cool Lounge: computers, reading material and a karaoke lounge.
The Verdict of the all-inclusive Grand Mirage Resort Bali
I have to say we thoroughly enjoy our stay at the all-inclusive Bali hotel the Grand Mirage Resort. We loved:
- The convenience and ease.
- We didn’t have to navigate the busy uneven streets looking for a restaurant.
- Never being bored.
- There was always something to do to keep us occupied.
- The relaxation.
- We weren’t pressured to participate in activities.
- Feeling Safe.
- We were never concerned about our physical safety in the resort.
- Knowing we are secure.
- We felt secure in the knowledge that a 5 star hotel would serve quality food and drinks.
- No work for me.
- Look I’m on holiday and I don’t want to be cleaning up and making snacks in a villa. I want to be pampered.
- All costs included.
- At the end of our stay there were no hidden or surprise costs it was all included in the initial price.
Have you been to an all-inclusive resort?
If not would you like to try one?
If you would like to read more stories or see more photos from our recent getaway to Bali go to Bali with Kids – All the travel stories.