Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali with Kids
Overlooking a strip of calm beach in Tuban, Kuta, Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali blends modern resort amenities with Balinese hospitality. This family-friendly resort is as beachfront as it gets, requiring only a handful of steps from your room to dip your toes in the Indian Ocean. It’s also conveniently located less than 10 minutes from Ngurah Rai International Airport—and only takes that long because of the winding roads and traffic—and within close walking distance to shopping and dining in Kuta. Despite being so close to such a busy area (and it is an extremely busy area), it’s protected from all the buzz and feels as though it’s many miles away.
The grounds themselves were meticulously maintained and some of the most well-groomed we’ve seen. There was an on-site spa (which we’ll be discussing below) and several on-site dining options (which we’ll also discuss below). There was a kids’ club, but we didn’t visit it.
Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali was an interesting resort to stay at as they offered the most familiar western foods and amenities of all the resorts we stayed at in Bali. If you’ve stayed at different Holiday Inn locations there are certain brand consistencies that become familiar, all of which this location featured.
We’d like to thank Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali for coordinating a birthday cake for Patrick as we were there during his birthday! I had asked about where I could possibly get one and they took the reins and organized it for me. Such a lovely touch!
Because of the child-friendly nature of our Junior Suite, we would recommend this resort for families with smaller children that require a close eye as well as those that prefer not to give their children as much freedom as some of the other resorts we stayed at provided. Between the standard Holiday Inn amenities and plentiful western familiarities, this resort would be our recommendation for families visiting Bali that feel unsure of traveling to more remote areas or a good stop upon arriving to recoup before heading north.
Water & Ice Note
We only used bottled water during our trip for drinking, brushing our teeth and washing our faces, which is a precaution recommended for American travelers. We only drank drinks with ice that was brought in (neat to see it being delivered) and not made with tap water as per American travel recommendations. We drank plenty of drinks with ice at Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali and didn’t have any issues, but that was just our experience.
If you’re gluten-free or have any food-related restrictions, let Holiday Inn know in advance as they cannot make special gluten-free dishes without advance notice.
Security at Holiday Inn was extremely tight with a security stop upon arrival (guards, car-check, gate, etc.), security around the perimeter by the beach, etc. It is quite typical at safe resorts and businesses to have your car inspected with vehicle inspection mirrors and a visual check inside and out before being allowed to enter (you will often be asked to open car doors and your rear hatch). Holiday Inn security did this at the front gate. This is done for your safety and the safety of other guests, it’s nothing to be concerned over. 😉
Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali at a Glance:
- 10 minutes or less from Ngurah Rai International Airport
- Within walking distance to shopping/dining in Kuta
- Beachfront in Tuban
- 193 guest rooms and suites
- non-smoking guest rooms equipped with flat screens, dvd players, in-room safes, mini fridges (which we love about Holiday Inn)
- on-site spa
- 2 on-site restaurants
- 1 café
- 1 poolside bar
- kids club
- HACCP Certified (food safety and product quality management)
- Valet Parking
Location of Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali
As we mentioned above, Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali was beachfront and within quick walking distance of Kuta’s busy shopping and dining hub. Despite being so close, it felt very removed from the busy-ness nearby as it was essentially on a small street surrounded by other hotels tucked away from the retail area filled with cars and foot traffic. It felt secluded and peaceful, especially in juxtaposition with the rest of tourist-loving Kuta. And when we say it was on the beach, it truly was on the beach. It took about 2 minutes for us to walk from our suite to the waterfront!
Layout at Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali
The layout at Holiday Inn was typical of most resorts we’ve been to where the lobby was elevated and in the center (below that was the Palms restaurant and Flavaz café). The rooms were to either side of the central lobby and stood around the perimeter of the pool and beautiful grounds—all somewhat facing out towards the ocean. Given the size of the resort, it was a tiny bit of a walk to get from the furthest restaurant—ENVY—to our room, which was on the other side, but not too bad even with a limp, sleeping 9 year old in Patrick’s arms one evening (Liam fell asleep in his dessert one night). We were adjacent to the spa, which was spread among several cute, hut-like buildings over a koi pond. Cabanas were scattered across the grounds for lounging and we saw many that were often open during the earlier and later parts of the day, though the ones by the pool were consistently taken.
Junior Suite Garden View at Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali
We spent our time at Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali in a Junior Suite with a garden view, which meant we were on the second level of the 2-level portion of our building and had a large private balcony that overlooked the grounds below–Garden Access rooms were located on the first level. We were super pleased to see that we not only had the large balcony to ourselves, but that we didn’t even share the staircase leading up to our balcony and room. It felt incredibly private!
Our suite was very interesting and completely open in design with the exception of the bathroom. Upon entering, you walked into the sitting area, which had a couple chairs, small table and a futon-like couch (which folded out into a large bed). A couple steps up (just 2 or 3) you walked into the slightly elevated master bedroom area (there was a partial see-through wall between the master and sitting area), which had a king bed, TV, mini fridge and a bench in an enclave in one wall. The bathroom was through a door from the master and had a large separate vanity, closest, two sinks, tub, standing shower and water closet (with a western style toilet).
We’d like to note, because this was of particular interest to our boys, that there was a knob in the water closet that actually enabled you to hear the audio on the TV while in the bathroom! Additionally, it had one of the western style toilets with a round button on top cut into two separate sections (one smaller, one larger). If you’ve never come across this style toilet, the smaller button is meant for urination, while the second is meant for BMs. Just a little heads up in case you have kiddos that don’t know how to use them! 😉
Overall, we found the suite was a reasonable size for our family, especially since we spent the majority of our time either out exploring Kuta or on the grounds and really only spent downtime in our suite, during which the kids were pretty tired.
Noise Transfer at Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali
We had a little bit of noise transference at night from a group of loud passersby, but nothing aside from that.
Master Bed at Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali
The master bed at Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali was slightly on the softer side, yet still extremely comfortable! There were two sets of pillows (one firm, one soft) provided and more could be requested. Overall, we slept well on the king.
Fold-Out Sofa Bed at Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali
The sofa bed was reasonably comfortable for the boys—no painful springs or super thin mattress issues. The bed did have to be made up each night, which we had to request the first night and was done automatically for us the second night. The boys were each given one pillow a piece, but more could be requested. We did request an extra blanket as the boys have very different sleeping habits (think one little burrito and one sprawler) and do best when they don’t have to share queen-size blankets. They slept well and fit fine as petite 9 and 11 year olds. I think larger children would be fine on it as long as their sleep habits didn’t get in the way (though that could certainly be said for most situations where siblings were forced to share).
Bathroom at Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali
The bathroom was in an “L” shape and we could fit all 4 of us to do various things at the same time. We love double sinks and resorts always get an extra point for that with us! It’s so much easier to have everyone brushing their teeth in two shifts instead of four. We didn’t use the tub for lack of time, but the shower was a decent size and the removable shower head head was super convenient.
Don’t forget about that knob in the bathroom if you have button-loving kiddos–like us. Our oldest discovered it within 5 minutes of us being in the suite and was amused by it the entire stay!
Balcony at Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali
As we mentioned above, the private balcony off of our suite was quite large! When we say large we mean large enough to have a big outdoor daybed on it with tons of room to spare. It felt very private and we honestly didn’t even know if we had neighbors to our left (our suite was on one end). We loved that the staircase leading up to our balcony was also ours alone, which made coming and going simpler and more pleasant. It’s always nice when you don’t have to herd active kiddos around other groups of people—especially on stairs!
Housekeeping at Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali
Housekeeping was good and consistent. The room was left tidy and toiletries were replenished daily. We did notice a set of tiny handprints on the acrylic wall between the slightly elevated master and sitting area below when we arrived, but everything else was spotless and clean.
Laundry Service at Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali
We had some laundry done during our stay as we were on the final leg of our trip and as we didn’t stay at a resort with self-serve laundry facilities (we usually do our laundry while traveling), we needed a few things washed for our trip home. There seemed to be a little bit of an issue with the laundry service the day we used it. We called down at 7 am to request pick-up. If laundry was picked up before a certain hour (I believe it was 8 am) it was returned the same day by mid-afternoon. If it was picked up after that it was returned the next day. As we were leaving the next day for the airport we wanted to make sure we got everything back that afternoon as we had to pack and get up early. We were told to leave our bag either hanging on our door outside or inside, so we did and headed off to breakfast. We came back 30 minutes after the deadline for laundry pickup and our laundry was still there, so we called down again. Whomever we spoke with didn’t seem to know that our laundry had already been scheduled to be picked up and we were told someone else would be sent. We confirmed that we’d still be able to get our laundry later that day given our tight schedule and we were told we would. Within 20 minutes our laundry was picked up and returned beautifully laundered (it smelled amazing) later that evening.
We would definitely use the service again despite the little mix-up with picking it up!
Tea Tree Oil Spa Family Treatment at Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali
We were given the opportunity to experience a family spa treatment at the Tea Tree Spa for all four of us! This was actually the first massage for everyone but me and I was super curious to see how everyone liked it—especially our sensory kiddos.
Our spa experience began when we walked over the wooden walkway and were met by a herd of koi, which the boys were immediately drawn to. Those koi knew people meant food! The boys fell absolutely head over heels for those fish and the sweet spa staff gave the boys food to feed them with.
We entered the main building and were given questionnaires (standard for a spa treatment from my experience) regarding health, preferences, etc. Patrick and I were given several options to choose from for the oil used during our massages (they use the gentlest one for kids) and then we broke up into two groups for our treatments. Patrick and Seamus went into one treatment room while Liam and I went into another.
We were given robes and disposable bottoms to change into (Liam was super amused and I heard Patrick and Seamus found them pretty funny) and then once we were done our masseuses entered. They asked us a couple questions and then we were given gentle foot soaks and rubs in a basin while sitting. From there we were lead to the massage tables and began.
Balinese love attention to detail when it comes to adding beauty to things, so it came as no surprise that directly below where our faces looked down from the massage tables they left beautiful bowls full of flowers. A much more pleasant view than the floor if you chose to leave your eyes open.
I had no idea how Liam would do during his massage. As with everything sensory, I assumed his response would be an extreme dislike or complete and total love. Thankfully, he absolutely loved it! In fact, he loved it so much that my 90 mph talker was completely silent and even momentarily fell asleep for the full hour we were massaged! He talked about his massage for the rest of the evening and has made a point of telling us he wants to go back again and again.
I’ve had quite a few massages over the years due to the arthritis in my upper back—it’s one of the only things that provides relief. This one was really good! We were told that the style of massage in Bali was a bit different and utilized the forearm, which it did. The masseuses also braced themselves on the table a bit more than massages I’ve experienced in the U.S., but they were so strong and really thoughtful about how they did everything. In fact, I’ve never had a foot massage like the one we received! My masseuse massaged parts of my toes I had no idea could hold so much tension. Clearly, after so much travel we really needed that!
I should note that I prefer a really deep massage and my masseuse was so incredibly strong despite being so little—I swear my best massages have been from tiny older women!
Patrick told me that he really enjoyed his massage and Seamus let me know that Patrick fell asleep for part of it and started snoring! I doubt it’s the first time they’ve seen that. 😉 Seamus enjoyed his massage a lot and wants another. I heard also heard that Seamus was so taken with those koi that he talked about them for almost the entire hour!
Our masseuses were super sweet and the two working on Liam and I thought he was the cutest, funniest thing! They were very gentle with the boys and clearly knew how to work on children vs. adults.
Our experience at Tea Tree Spa was nothing short of amazing! We’d definitely go back if we stayed with Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali again and we’d highly recommend families give it a try if your kiddos are up for it.
ENVY Restaurant at Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali
We were offered a 3-course dinner at ENVY, which was the resort’s casual dining option at Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali, so we ate there our first night. When we were seated and received the menu we were surprised to find that it was primarily a large assortment of western dishes! This was definitely a big change from other resorts we stayed at in Bali and will definitely appeal to those that miss home or have family members that are less adventurous with their food choices.
We were seated outside near a grassy area and while lighting was dime and dozy, it made it a little difficult to photograph our meal, so sorry in advance for the iPhone pictures below!
I wasn’t aware beforehand, but the restaurants at Holiday Inn were unable to accommodate special gluten-free alternatives without advance notice. As a result, I was only able to choose from the grilled portion of the menu as everything else either had wheat in it or shared preparation with wheat dishes. I ordered grilled chicken with vegetables and it was quite good! The grilled menu normally allowed you to choose from a wide variety of sauce options, but given my gluten-free requirements I was only able to choose from 2. Both were tasty, however.
Patrick and the boys ordered their food without restriction and enjoyed everything!
Wait staff at dinner were very accommodating and had coffee made at the café for us as we requested an iced cappuccino and iced latte.
Dessert was also very good and I was able to enjoy crème brulee (one of my favorite desserts!) while the boys enjoyed lava cake–Liam was actually so tired he fell asleep in his dessert, but got the same thing the next day and managed to stay awake for the whole thing. Patrick had a sundae, which he described as, “Awesome!”.
The next day we had an old friend of Patrick’s come visit us and so we decided to take him to ENVY due to our experience the night before. This time we ate earlier in the day (close to 5 pm) and found that while service was just as friendly, they were a bit less organized than they were later in the evening. We waited for a decent amount of time before someone began to take our orders and at first only the kids orders were taken before our waiter left the table the first time. We don’t mind the kids ordering first, but we waited a decent amount of time before we were able to finish ordering and then we had to order in 3 additional waves because nobody stayed to take our orders all at once. A few drinks we asked for during our meal were never brought as well. We’re not sure if service is always a bit more organized in the evening compared to the afternoon, given how varied our experience was between the two days. Should we return to Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali in the future we’ll definitely update on whether or not service was more consistent, but for now we’d like to think the second experience was an off afternoon and not necessarily the norm. Let us know if you visit what your experience was!
Palms Restaurant at Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali
The breakfast buffet, which was included with our stay, was very traditional for a western buffet with a few Asian dishes added in. There were stations for fruit, traditional breakfast foods (sausage, eggs, bacon, hash browns), cereal, several Asian dishes, pastries, salad, pancakes/waffles/crepes and juice/coffee. You could also order specific types of eggs to be made upon request–forms were left at your table so you could fill them out and then have them brought to you.
As with ENVY, gluten-free alternatives had to be requested in advance. The first morning they were able to make me gluten-free pancakes and waffles upon request, but told me they weren’t normally able to. I requested it for the next morning and upon arrival for breakfast let them know I was there since they delivered them directly to the table. Keep in mind that the wait for gluten-free alternatives was about 20-30 minutes on both days. It was nice that there were a handful of proteins in the regular buffet, however, as I had those to choose from as well. I’m not so sensitive that if there’s the slightest bit of contamination from a shared serving spoon that I can’t eat it, but you should definitely check to make sure you’re able to eat from the regular buffet if you have a gluten allergy.
We ate fruits and salads at Holiday Inn without any issues. We definitely felt more at ease given their HACCP certification!
Patrick and the boys tried just about everything at the breakfast buffet and enjoyed it. The breakfast buffet was fairly busy, but we didn’t find that it was so busy that there wasn’t a table available for us immediately upon arrival.
Overall, the breakfast buffet at Holiday Inn had a reasonable variety of foods to choose from including fruits, proteins and carbs.
The Beach at Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali
During our time in Bali we didn’t visit many beaches for a variety of reasons, but we were happy to see how close the beach was to our suite! We walked out there the first night we were there and climbed up the stone mounds at sunset. It was breathtaking! Patrick said that was the type of sunset he remembered growing up with as a kid. Definitely among the top sunsets I’ve ever seen and those stone mounds make for perfect boat and sunset watching. They’re also insanely picture-perfect!
The beach itself was cleaner than some we’d been to, but there was still a moderate amount of trash washed up in the waves. We were told the beach was maintained weekly. Unfortunately, the trash on the beach is not uncommon now in Bali and we saw it in Sanur as well, though this beach was less heavy with trash than Sanur Beach.
There were tons of coral everywhere and a handful of really neat shells worth poking through. If you’ve followed us for a while you know that one of our family’s hobbies is shelling, so we spent a good hour the first night just sifting through coral and shells before it got too dark out. I’ve been to a lot of beaches with coral, but never that much!
The beach didn’t seem to be a private beach as there were locals in boats, flying giant kites and playing soccer on the beach. It was really cool to watch these groups of young kids get these giant kites up in the air! Balinese are so good at kite flying and making. :)While the beach seemed to allow for at least some public access, there were security officers around the perimeter of the resort where it met the beach to make sure only guests wandered onto the grounds.
The sunsets, which are notoriously beautiful, made for some really pretty photo opportunities. I spent quite a long time out there with the boys both evenings we were there snapping pics while they explored along the water’s edge.
All in all, the beach offered a nice break from some of the other activities we enjoyed in Bali. While it was a bummer to see trash on the beach, it’s something that seemed to be a common problem at present–far worse at some of the other beaches we saw. Hopefully that will change in the future! We often take for granted how much money is put into manicuring the beaches in the U.S. and elsewhere, but it’s worth taking noting and working to help maintain by not littering on the beach.
Pool at Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali
The pool area was fairly large and had multiple sections including a small wading pool for little kids. There were lots of loungers around the pool, some cabanas and a poolside bar where they listed daily activities guests could particulate in such a egg painting and kit making. We didn’t take any pictures of the pool area as it was consistently full of sunbathing and swimming guests and we didn’t want to intrude! We try not to disturb other people when we photograph destinations.
Nearby there was a crafter selling wood carvings. His prices seemed on par with what we saw in many areas of Kuta (watch for our post on shopping in Bali) and he was welcoming and not at all confrontational. If you don’t want to leave the resort and want to purchase some handicrafts in a super low-stress environment we recommend checking him out! I don’t know if he was open to bartering as we didn’t purchase from him, but did stop and say hello.
Final Thoughts on Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali
We’re generally fans of Holiday Inn as they tend to be fairly consistent and offer great rates with more amenities than other comparably priced hotels and resorts. Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali is definitely a resort and not simply a hotel, offering many resort amenities common to Balinese resorts.
Though in a popular and densely visited area, Holiday Inn felt removed and peaceful by comparison, yet it was easy to get to other areas in Kuta (driving ourselves) from the resort. We did some shopping (we’ll be discussing shopping in Bali in a future post) and drove to some other areas of Bali from the resort and found it to be fairly easy to navigate. The only issue that Google Maps gave us getting there was when it mistakenly told us to get on the airport road that ran alongside the actual road that led to the Holiday Inn. If this happens to you turn around (you’ll likely have to pay a small fee at the airport toll) and get on the road on the other side of the bit fence!
Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali was somehow connected to the Holiday Inn Express next door, but we never passed through it, though it’s worth noting if you’re looking for something even more budget-friendly. On the topic of hotel rates, Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali was an incredibly affordable resort, especially with the current USD to Rupiah exchange rate. For all of the luxuries and amenities it offered, it was incredible value-wise for American travelers. We highly recommend checking it out if you want to enjoy a resort stay on a smaller budget while in Bali.
We were surprised to see how many western dishes were offered at the restaurants, but given the guests we saw while there it seemed to make sense. For those that want to visit Bali, but who are anxious after hearing about potential dangers regarding food and security, Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali was definitely the type of resort that could put anxious American travelers at ease with its familiar offerings and contained atmosphere. With the right research and care we believe travel to and through Bali can be done quite safely, but we understand if some travelers are more anxious than others, which is why it’s nice to have a recommendation such as this one.
The resort itself was incredibly clean and well-cared for and we ate at both restaurants (eating things on the do-not-eat list recommended for most American travelers) without issue. Given the resort’s HACCP certification we felt more at ease eating certain things like fresh fruits (ones we ourselves didn’t peel) and salad.
The Junior Suite we stayed in was a great size for a family of four and could work for a family with up to two teens in our opinions. We loved being so close to the beach and despite the bit of trash, it was worth visiting for the shells, coral and especially the sunsets!
There was so much shopping and dining near the resort. If you’re unfamiliar with Kuta, it is an absolute tourist hub! Kuta does have a fairly active night scene, but as a family we never went out at night as that isn’t our scene.
All in all, our stay at Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali was really pleasant and we’d stay there again if we stopped in Kuta!
Don’t forget to check back soon for our future posts on shopping, our opinions on different areas in Bali, travel tips and more!
Note: This stay was hosted by Holiday Inn. All opinions are our own based on our experience.