Bali has really captured a special spot in our hearts. Our love affair with this beautiful Indonesian island started back in February 2006 with John’s romantic proposal in Ubud under a dark evening sky blanketed in stars. We took my parents to Candidasa in 2012, and we found ourselves on our third trip to Nusa Dua, Bali in April 2014.
Our vacation started in Nusa Dua for an all-inclusive two-night stay at The Grand Mirage Resort & Thalasso Bali. All-inclusive vacations aren’t typically our travel style, but during the weeks leading up to our departure for Bali, we were both getting more and more excited about kicking back for a few days to be pampered. The friendly and helpful staff at The Grand Mirage went out of their way to ensure we fell into holiday mode quickly and easily.
The All Inclusive Comforts of Home
We were given a deluxe ocean view room on the fourth floor with a balcony and a great view of the ocean. Our room was fairly basic, but we had everything we needed. The bed was big and comfy, and our room was well stocked. After checking in, we kicked back on the balcony for 30 minutes to enjoy a cold Bintang and a short rest.
Then we toured around the resort to get to know it better. With four restaurants, a large swimming pool with a swim up bar, a gorgeous stretch of white sand beach, and 301 rooms and suites on site, The Grand Mirage isn’t exactly what you’d call small, but it wasn’t one of those giant mega resorts that you need a golf cart to get around in. It was the perfect size for us, and we were able to explore most of it while we were there.
The resort is charming and well taken care of, but it’s also 20 years old. It’s not sleek and modern, but it doesn’t fail to deliver fun and good, old-fashioned resort style living.
A nice welcome.
Enjoying the room to its fullest!
The view from the balcony.
Spa It Up, Visit the Pool Bar, or Hit the Gym or Rec Room
There’s no shortage of things to do on the resort property.
On our first day, we hit the pool for an afternoon swim and enjoyed some cocktails at the swim up bar. As you can see from our photos, the pool is gorgeous and it was really clean. We got plenty of use out of it, and we enjoyed the pool bar while we were there. Those beers were going down ice-cold. No complaints from this Canadian!
At 5:30pm, we headed over to Thalasso Spa for a couples massage. The spa at The Grand Mirage is simply gorgeous. Every room is tastefully decorated and well thought out. I could see that the staff was also proud of their spa. Thalasso, by the way, means sea, and it is commonly used to describe the medical use of seawater as a form of therapy.
Our massage was terrific out of this world. Whatever tension we were still holding on to after we arrived at the spa simply melted away. It was the best massage we had on our trip.
Here’s the outdoor hydrotherapy room.
If you’re still looking for things to do after you’ve taken in the pool and the spa, you could head for the rec room. Families can gather here in the evenings to play pool and air hockey. There’s also a mini movie theater, a Play Station and a Wii. There’s a full-sized karaoke room next to it. There’s even a nice little gym room overlooking the garden.
The resort also offers babysitting services for children over three. The Grand Mirage is definitely family-friendly, but we also met plenty of couples while we were there, and we thought it was really nice as a couples resort as well.
Fun Activities for Everyone
All inclusive guests enjoy a range of free classes from water aerobics and yoga to carving vegetables while bed and breakfast guests can simply pay for an upgrade.
Since it was included in our plan, John and I dropped by the basket weaving techniques class the next afternoon. It’s more of a kid activity, but we appreciated the experience nonetheless. We soon found ourselves busily cutting young coconut leaves and weaving them together. We enjoyed basket weaving so much, we stayed on for the fruit and vegetable carving class that followed.
How can you pass up the opportunity to a rose out of a tomato?
If you’ve been to Bali, you probably know that water sports and Nusa Dua are practically synonymous. There are beach volleyball nets, non-motorized water sports, and motorized water sports on offer at Tanjung Benoa Beach, where the Grand Mirage Resort is located.
If you’re on the all-inclusive plan, you can do one non-motorized water sport each day. We opted for the catamaran sailing as we’ve already been sea kayaking and snorkeling together many times. Non-inclusive guests can pay an additional fee to participate in any of the beach activities, which include paragliding, jet skiing, sea walking, and flying fish rides.
We loved our catamaran experience, although we were sad it was over so quickly. We would’ve happily paid to stay out for another hour. The only thing we disliked about the experience was the water traffic. There should be an for motorized sports and an area for non-motorized sports. It was a bit nerve racking to have high-speed boats flying past us all the time. The catamaran heads straight out to sea while the boats are running perpendicular to the beach, so we had to ‘cross traffic’ carefully while out on the water.
Try Local Balinese Dishes, Enjoy some BBQ or Indulge in The Grand Mirage’s International Buffets
There are several restaurants on the property and a large selection of foods to choose from. We liked the Grand Buffet breakfast the best. They had a great selection of breakfast foods on each morning, and our food was always served fresh and hot.
We also enjoyed Jukung Grill. This al-fresco restaurant sits on a green lawn overlooking the beach. It’s shaded by a number of trees, and it’s beautiful day or night. The calamari was nice, and they serve up a mean club sandwich too.
We didn’t get an opportunity to try La Cascata, the Italian restaurant, nor did we didn’t get a chance to eat at Chopsticks, the Chinese restaurant. The menu at Chopsticks looked fantastic and a number of other guests told us the food was great.
On our first night, we booked the European Buffet, and I’m sorry to say that we weren’t overly impressed with it. We didn’t think that what was on offer was worth the price for a guest that wasn’t on the all-inclusive plan. The next night we saw Devdan Show, so we missed dinner altogether and ended up ordering room service later that evening.
We also had the opportunity to take in Devdan Show at Bali, Nusa Dua Theater.
This is an exciting performance filled with acrobatics and talented dancers. The story was based around two children discovering the treasures of Indonesia, featuring special dances from countries such as Bali, Sumatra, Java, Borneo, and Papua New Guinea.
The high flying act was the favorite part of the show for me!
How Does The Grand Mirage Measure Up As An All Inclusive Resort?
The Grand Mirage Resort & Thalasso Spa isn’t like a mega all-inclusive resort that you’d find in Mexico or the Dominican Republic. Those resorts are set far back from main roads, and they’re designed to keep guests on the property.
In contrast, The Grand Mirage is in a fairly busy area in Nusa Dua. It’s surrounded by other resorts, shops, and restaurants and it’s easy to walk off the grounds and wander around a little bit. That’s always a nice option to have, and we took the opportunity to take a couple of walks, but we really had no reason to leave. Everything we could’ve wanted was on the resort property. I also really liked the fact that every single person we met in the employ of The Grand Mirage had a big smile and a warm greeting for us. It seemed like everywhere we went, people were happy to see us.
We thought the Bed & Breakfast option was a great deal. Being able to upgrade for any service at any time is an interesting concept. You get a base package deal, and then you can add on pretty much anything that’s available at the resort.
On the other hand, having everything included in the all-inclusive deal was pretty nice. The price lists confused us at first. Even though we were told it was all-inclusive, it was our first time seeing price lists for activities at an all-inclusive resort. We kept thinking we were going to get billed for something. We also had to sign for a lot of things, even though we had gold all-inclusive bracelets on.
With that said, seeing those price lists everywhere convinces me that going all-inclusive at The Grand Mirage is a good choice. They have a great selection of things to see and do, and it’s good value for your money. It’s the perfect place to bring your kids, and it’s big enough that if you’re a couple seeking romance, you’ll surely be able to find it. While we were there, we spoke with a number of guests who were enjoying their vacation at The Grand Mirage. We spoke to a couple on their honeymoon, a couple that were expecting their first child in four months, and a family of four, and they all had great things to say about their experience at The Grand Mirage. Not that we expected anything less!
Thank you to the staff at The Grand Mirage Resort & Thalasso Bali for making us feel so at home. While this review was written in exchange for a two-night all-inclusive stay at The Grand Mirage, all thoughts and opinions are my own.