Private pool paradise with kids at the Santai

The white sands and surfers of Jimbaran beach
The white sands and surfers of Jimbaran beach

Hi, friends! A lot of readers have asked for lodging recommendations with kids in Bali…see below for our recent experience at The Santai Umalas. This exclusive boutique hotel has just 11 private pool villas, sleek constructions of modern design.With a private poolload of toys and spacious living area you will lay claim to your own luxurious piece of the Island of the Gods.

There is no shortage of hotels on Bali, and it can be hard to choose the right one. I used to live on the island. In the decade since I have left it seems new properties have popped up on every beach and padi field. We did a lot of research to make sure we chose the right place, including scouring our favorite hotel sites, starting with Tablet, and venturing into TripAdvisor and other blogs.  We contacted the management of our short list of places and asked them what sort of baby-friendly amenities they offered.

Whew…enough. Just pick a place, right? Well, when traveling with a baby, the choice of the right place to stay becomes even more important as you will spend a lot of time in the “room.” And we wanted to get the right hotel for our short stay, and I want to pass on a choice spot for you, dear readers.

When traveling with a baby, the hotel can be just as important as the destination.  

We chose the Santai for its tropical modern design, pool villas, and amenities for baby. The Santai’s convenient location helped too, as it is less than 45 minutes from Ngurah Rai International Airport and a short drive from Canggu Beach and the villas of Seminyak, for which the hotel provides a free shuttle. The island temple of Tanah Lot is only 20 minutes away.

Aerial view of The Santai. Photo courtesy Lifestyle Retreats
Aerial view of The Santai. Photo courtesy Lifestyle Retreats

Let’s get to the villa already…upon entering the carved Balinese double doors, you step into a private walkway leading up to the main entrance.

balinese double doors (1 of 1)
Double walls surround the villa to ensure privacy

The first thing to great us was a 15 meter long pool. The rain–unseasonable for the dry season–did not detract us from jumping in almost immediately after we arrived.

The Santai Umalas private pool villa

Baby enjoys the pool…

Enjoying the pool
Enjoying the pool

The staff had pre-positioned a box full of toys in our room, which we could use in and out of the water.

Box o'toys
Box o’toys

For the après-swim bath we had special bath amenities for baby, along with her own poolside bath.

Poolside bath

We could swim from the pool up to our open-air shower…


After our dip we ordered room service to our al fresco dining room. We chose the Asian BBQ featuring Indonesian, Japanese and Malaysian dishes. The kitchen is fully stocked with utensils and serveware, should you want to prepare your own food.

meal opt (1 of 1)
Asian BBQ served in our al fresco dining room
Laksa soup
Laksa soup
Mie goreng, my favorite
Mie goreng


Asian BBQ (2 of 7)
Kankung, my favorite tropical vegetable
Gindara with Balinese squid
Gindara with Balinese squid

You can also have the chef cook the items poolside in your villa.

Baby received some off-menu specialties. Right after we checked in the head chef, Gede, visited our villa to ask about baby’s food. He had planned on our visit and suggested pumpkin and potato puree. He grilled gindara, a local whitefish for baby, so that she could enjoy some of the local flavors.

For exercise, you can swim laps in the pool.

The hotel  also provides an in-room yoga mat.

Yoga mat provided for you and baby
Yoga mat provided for you and baby

At any time, you can snag one of the bikes next to the lobby to brave Bali’s roadways to the beach.

bikes optimized (1 of 1)
The Santai offers bikes for free use

For older kids, the Santai offers a number of complimentary activities to keep kids entertained, including free classes on Balinese dance, Indonesian cooking and towel art.



And there is always poolside lounging…

Poolside at The Santai
Poolside at The Santai

The adults ordered in-room massages. Putuh, our masseuse, had great technique and used firm pressure.

massage (1 of 1)
Putuh providing an in villa massage

A lot of places can have a super-luxe feeling yet feel uninviting. With its warm tropical modern design, The Santai manages to feel spacious yet cozy.

There exists a delicate balance of a beautifully designed vacation villa with the feeling of relaxing in your own home.

I have a confession to make: we didn’t leave the property during our stay. We enjoyed 72 hours of bliss in residence.

Lifestyleretreats, parent of The Santai, has a number of other child-friendly properties on the island, including The Menjangan on Bali’s north coast, which offers horseback riding and world class snorkeling.  


To reserve: Visit the The Santai’s website.

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