The life of a travel blogger is always full of new and exciting adventures. Lots of great experiences, new memories captured and delicious foods eaten. We can also forget to take a break, enjoy that view, sunset or dinner as we are too busy worrying about gathering content for our websites and social media. I am guilty of all the above, I work 24/7 on my own blog and take little time away. Adam and I made a promise to each other upon booking these travels to Bali, that we would put those phones away and just enjoy. It helped that the resort we were going too was a retreat that encouraged you to take a digital detox. Our minds were made up! Obviously bar the photo taking and checking in with my parents on what’s app, we would be social media free for the whole trip. A daunting prospect for me, who always has her phone in her hand and answers any query asap.
As with the majority of my long haul travels it nearly always includes a long drive to London or Manchester airport, this trip by chance included my birthday so we decided to plan in a nights stay before our upcoming journey to Bali. After a smooth drive down to Gatwick we arrived at our airport hotel, to say it was disappointing would be an understatement. We checked out as quick as we could and booked the nearby Crowne Plaza. To which we greatly enjoyed, with free use of the lounge during 5-7 pm for drinks and nibbles before we changed for dinner in the hotel’s Cube Restaurant. After a simply delicious meal and drinks with great service, we retired to bed for a good nights sleep ahead of our upcoming journey.
Breakfast was lovely and we had a wide selection to choose from, it was nice not to be in rush as usual and the whole Crowne Plaza experience was excellent!! We checked out late morning and headed to drop our car off, before checking in at Gatwick’s North Terminal with Qatar Airways. Which we just read had it had received an award for ‘Airline of the Year’. It was our first time flying with them and we were excited to experience our travels with the airline. With an airport lounge booked we flew through security and grabbed a few bits out of duty free. We arrived at the Club Aspire Lounge to a pleasant greeting and chose our spot in a quiet corner overlooking the runway. Just as we got settled we were asked if we would sample the new cocktail of the week, the strawberry mimosa, you don’t have to ask us twice… It was a fruity delight. Adam and I enjoyed the hot food on offer with several g and t’s. As you know Adam is a nervous flyer so he was making the most of it. We love to use a lounge before travels as it’s so relaxing and it takes the stress out of busy departure spaces. We feel very lucky to be gifted these experiences from Swissport, however in the past we have gladly paid as we think the entry cost of £20-25 pp is worth every penny. After enjoying a few hours in this spacious and modern lounge, we wandered to our gate for our first flight to Doha, we chatted to people there who were honeymooners off to the Maldives and boarded our plane.
Luckily our pre booked seats were at the front of the aircraft and it made it easy to get on and off the plane. The flight was just under 7 hours and we got an hours free wifi included. Our time was spent watching movies and eating, I love catching up with the latest films on the plane! We had had a slight delay on leaving Manchester airport, so we had a shorter connection time of about an hour in Doha, running shoes on we got straight through security and took a train over to our gate, it was a huge airport with lots going on. We boarded the Boeing 777 for our 9 hour flight into Bali, arriving at 6pm a little later than scheduled. We then had an hour and a half wait for our bags, emotions were running high around the carousel… As we pulled our bags off, we were met by our private transfer. With a three hour drive to Tembok ahead of us, we relaxed and chatted about the island.
Arriving at the Spa Village Resort Tembok at around 10pm, we were running on fumes, with a swift and friendly check in, we were shown to our room and the hotel kindly prepared us a light snack of sandwiches, fresh fruits and ginger tea. We had a quick look around outside to get our bearings, we were very excited for daylight as we could sense we had picked a prime spot. With a celebratory Bintang on the balcony, we toasted to a great holiday!
We woke early and spotted yoga on the lawn in front of us, we quickly dressed and went to take part. 6am on the north east coast of Bali is the place to be!! As we enjoyed the class taken by Nat, an experienced yoga instructor from Perth in Australia, the sun was rising in front of us. What a stunning start to the day. Yoga became part of our daily routine. Breakfast beckoned and we were in for a treat, fresh juices, fruits, Balinese dishes and more to choose from on the menu, we were spoilt for choice.
Within our a stay here, we were on the full board option of a la carte standard food. The resort was intimate with only 31 rooms, including 2 villas. Set in beautifully maintained gardens and a central lawn, with an infinity pool overlooking the volcanic black sand beach and ocean. No other words can describe it bar perfect! We spent our days relaxing by the pool, taking beach walks, enjoying activities within the resort, partaking in yoga and getting to know the other guests a little better. My favourite part of our stay here was the daily treatments which formed part of our package, from full body massages, body wraps, hair treatments and more, we certainly felt rejuvenated by the end of our stay. The main focus of the resort was to do with your wellbeing, from the food, to the treatments and the activities on offer. It was the first time in a long time we had had a trip like this and we just loved it. Feeling utterly recharged and relaxed, we couldn’t believe what we were getting for the price we had paid.
Whilst in Tembok we were keen to explore and see what was around us. So we planned a trip with the hotel to the nearby waterfall, Les Waterfall, which was a lot of fun indeed. A short drive from the resort in the local village we parked up nearby the market that was happening. We walked up to the waterfall about 10-15 minutes away, we were accompanied by our guide and another couple from Malaysia whom we got to know whilst walking together. As soon as the waterfall came into sight I gasped, it was stunning and I immediately wanted to get in. We downed our belongings and jumped straight in, it was wonderful. Freezing and fun, I struggled to catch my breath from the cold water and giggling with glee!! It was such a great experience, perfect in the humid Balinese heat too. We love waterfalls and look to chase them whenever we can. After a quick dry off and sit down with a drink, we wandered back down to the minibus and back to our hotel. I recommended it to all by the pool on our return and they in turn booked up to go and see it for themselves.
Another adventure that Adam was desperate to do whilst in Bali was to climb Mount Batur for sunrise, after talking to the hotel we were told it was a leisurely walk and booked our place for a couple of days time. The climb came and we were picked up at 2am by our driver, you can read all about our experience in Adam’s latest guest post, ‘My Mount Batur Climb‘. All I will say is it wasn’t a fun walk and I left it to Adam to hike the active volcano, after pulling out due to feeling it was well out of my reach unfortunately. It was the right decision!
Our favourite activity during our stay in Bali was definitely the traditional Balinese Jukong boat trip at sunset, it was utterly brilliant for many reasons. It was a first for us both and a really good experience, the sunset was stunning and we were welcomed into the waters by some delightful dolphins. I had that feeling of joy in my heart as we sailed along the coast looking back at the resort, seeing the backdrop of Mount Agung in the distance. It was picture perfect, I wanted to pinch myself and both of us couldn’t stop smiling. As we came back onto dry land we were full of excitement and extremely happy too. I want to thank the Spa Village Resort Tembok for gifting us this incredible opportunity and Kuoni for helping to arrange it for us. We are truly thankful! The north east coast of Bali has much to offer everyone that visits it, I know we will most definitely return as it is idyllic, very scenic, relaxing and utterly charming. It gives you a feeling of real Bali rather than the more touristy resorts in the south of the island, to which I visited many years ago with my family. If you are looking for a true experience then Tembok is for you and what awaits you is very special indeed.
Overall our stay was faultless, if I could give the resort 1000 out of 10 I would, it’s perfect in every way. We especially wanted to mention their staff, every member of staff at the Spa Village Resort Tembok was so friendly, attentive, caring and engaging. I loved this as I enjoy chatting with everyone, which I did. From the gardeners to the spa staff, to the restaurant and the managers of the hotel, all were exemplary. I felt a connection with all and they treat everyone that stay there the very same. The only way I can describe it is as if you were coming home, the welcoming feeling and happiness that you are visiting them and enjoying yourself. We wholeheartedly recommend this wonderful retreat to all, an experience and memories we will never forget. As we left our hearts were heavy, we didn’t want to leave and were given a small woven basket with an egg in it. This was to symbolise new beginnings, our journey had come to an end and what a journey it had been. We made our way back to the airport and flew back to the UK, reminiscing over our blissful Balinese trip.