Bali With the Family: Should you Choose a Resort or Villa?

  • All Ages

Bali, a mere hop from Australia, is an exceptional choice for a family-friendly vacation. Its perpetual warmth, welcoming hospitality, rich culture, extraordinary cuisine, and affordable luxury make it an ideal destination. As anyone who's travelled to Bali before will tell you, there's one essential question that looms when planning the perfect family holiday - should you choose a resort or villa in Bali?

For families, Bali presents two popular accommodation styles: resorts and villas. Each offers unique experiences, making it essential to research your options before making a reservation.

Bali With the Family: Should you Choose a Resort or Villa?

Bali resort vs villa
Will a Bali Resort or Villa Best Suit Your Family?

Bali Resorts

Bali offers family-friendly resorts that are second to none. In fact, they’re not just family-friendly - they are specifically designed for you and the kids! One of the best things about Bali resorts are that they offer you a complete family holiday experience, without having to walk outside the front entrance (if you don’t want to). Not to mention, so much of what Bali resorts have to offer is included in the up-front price, making it a budget-friendly option

Highlights of Staying in a Bali Resort

Bali resort vs villa
Bali Dynasty Resort, Kuta


  • Pool Party: Your kids love the water? Bali resorts have it all – water-play areas for the little kids, waterslides for the bigger kids and pools to suit everyone. You’ll need watering from the resort swim-up pool bar while you join in the fun!
  • Organised Fun: Bali resort kid’s clubs run all-day, everyday! Movie nights, chill-zones, art & craft, video games, sport’s activities – your kids will be well-supervised by trained resort staff, committed to keeping your kids entertained and giving you peace of mind (not to mention a break). 
  • Let the older kids roam a little – Bali resorts are generally very safe. You may give the ‘OK’ for your tweens and teens to hang by the pool while you have dinner, or giving them free reign of your resort room, while you have a dip! Does parenting get any better?!?
  • Food to suit every palette – The Balinese understand that while you may be travelling overseas, your family’s food preferences lie back at home. In Bali resorts, you’ll be able to try Indonesian favourites, such as Nasi Goreng, Gado-Gado and Ayam Goreng. But they also lay the western food on thick! Choose from pizza, pasta and steaks, and even scones with cream. The breakfast buffet needs its own blog – a stunning array of cold and hot dishes from all over the world. You and the kids could eat enough to get you through to dinner (I know – I’ve done it!). The breakfast buffet is usually included in your room cost. The lunch and dinner options on offer are extremely well-priced.
  • Parent pampering – An extra cost, yes, but visiting a Bali resort spa-centre or getting a massage by the resort pool, is an absolute must. Sibling rivalry, toddler tantrums and teenage angst are so much easier to tolerate when you’re getting a daily back and head massage for A$16 an hour!
  • Get your culture on – when you’re feeling rejuvenated and if you want to explore more of Bali, most resorts have tourist desks, from which you can book all sorts of once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Some of the most popular family-friendly activities include Breakfast with the Orangutans at Bali Zoo, and day trips to Ubud, including a visit to the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary.  

In preparation for our most recent trip to Bali, gave a huge thumbs up to the Bali Dynasty Resort, Kuta. We took their advice and enjoyed a seamless Bali family resort experience, including:

  • A short, 10-15 minute drive from Ngurah Rai International Airport– a life-saver after a long flight with kids.
  • In-house dining options which left us spoilt for choice, including Gracie Kelly’s Irish Pub, Golden Lotus Chinese Restaurant, Queen’s of India, Indian restaurant and Café Piazza. 
  • Walking distance to Kuta beach, local markets, and the hugely popular Waterbom waterpark .

I’ve sold you, right? 

Hang tight because Bali villas offer you and your family something different, but equally special.

Bali Villas

Bali Villa
The best of Bali Villa living


  • Keep-in or keep-out the noise – Bali villas are similar to free-standing homes back in Oz – they offer a spawling, private indoor and outdoor space, protecting you and your family from curious passers-by. Do you have toddlers or young children that live their best life at 150 decibels? Let them rage around your villa, without fear of ruining others’ holiday! Already escaped the toddler zone? Seclude yourselves from young families and (often hectic) Bali street traffic! Read a book by the pool or watch a family movie in the loungeroom in complete peace. 
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner, your way! -   Bali villas offer many different eating experiences. Want a continental breakfast made for you in your villa? Consider it done. If a holiday inspires you to engage your own culinary talents, you can shop for local produce and make meals you know your family will love. For something special, it’s easy and relatively inexpensive to organise a private chef who will prepare you an Indonesian or Western feast. Let your villa be the location for a unique family dinner party!
  • Ultimate relaxation without leaving your front door - Your Bali villa operators will recommend experienced, local masseurs who will come to you. Imagine getting a massage in the comfort of your own villa bedroom, then turning over to have a snooze while the masseur sees themselves out. It’s really as good as it sounds! Your teenagers can also experience their first massage, at a fraction of the price of treatments back at home. 
  • Worried that Bali villa-living will isolate you from a broader experience of the country and culture? The limited number of organised activities offered in villas may compel you to get your walking shoes on and explore your local town, or organise a driver to venture further. The best bit? After a day of sight-seeing, shopping and eating, your private pool is awaiting to soothe weary muscles and entertain the kids while you chill out.  
  • Bring along your own babysitters – Bali villas are the only way to go if you’re travelling with extended family or as a group of families. Why? Because Bali villas are often built as a group of side-by-side residences. This means, you get your own quarters, knowing the kids can jump into nanna and pa’s pool next-door whenever they like, and group-happy hour starts in your loungeroom at 5pm!
  • Privacy without the soaring price – while a Bali villa can be slightly more expensive than a resort room, villas offer more space, so you can accommodate more family members. This means you’re paying less per person – booyah!

Again, we gave a red-hot-go to find the perfect Bali family villa. They did not disappoint. The Wina Villa in Canguu offered the very best of both worlds:

  • A 12-villa residence, with its own reception. This meant there was 24/7 help to arrange drivers, get our clothes cleaned (trust me – in steamy Bali, you NEED this service) and ask for extra pool towels.
  • A location everyone will envy. Situated in the heart of trendy Canguu, we were a short walk to family-friendly cafes that rival any Aussie city eatery, but much cheaper. You can’t leave without trying Milk and Madu (doubt you’ll find better corn fritters in Bali than your local back at home? think again!) and Milu by Nook (the kids can have the pasta while you try the spicy quinoa and avocado rice paper rolls – OMG!). If the Bali villa pool is not quite cutting it, take your active kids to Finn’s Recreation Club, literally across the road, for Strike Bowling, Bounce Trampoline and Splash Water Park. 

Bali Resorts and Villas both sound great. Which one should we choose?

Bali with family
Bali Resorts and Villas both sound great. Which one should we choose?


You loved the sound of column A and column B. Now you wonder if you’ll get FOMO if you choose one or the other.  

Is it a relief that I suggest you do both?!? We did, and it was one of the best family trips of our lives.  

In hindsight, it was an absolute stellar move on our part to do the resort first. Any reservations the kids had about international travel (are we there yeeeeeeet?!?) was immediately replaced with utter-joy at essentially living in an all-day fun park. I was happy the kids were happy and enjoyed the parent treats along the way.

By the time we hit the villa, the kids were ready to feel like the kings and queens of their own domain and make the villa pool their own. They also seemed happier to tag along on more adult-activities,  having had their own needs met first.

Four days of resort-living, followed by four days of villa-living, and we were ready to head home – feeling refreshed and indulged, with wonderful memories and a yearning to return soon! 

*Please note: ellaslist explorer Amanda Whitbread contributed this article and it is not sponsored or affiliated with any brands or locations mentioned. 

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