June 13, 2024

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Inside the new breed of resort kids clubs: Travel Weekly

3 min read

In modern parenting terms, my kids — ages 2 and 5 — can best be described as “stage-five clingers.”

The term, co-opted from “Wedding Crashers,” refers to those kids, like mine, who become a mess of tears and tantrums at the mere mention of a drop-off at a kids club when we travel.

Turns out, however, the problem wasn’t my kids, but kids clubs in general. 

This was a discovery I made very recently, during a hosted stay at the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay. The resort is as family-friendly as they come, and it has a lengthy list of kid-friendly amenities.

But its Umah Rare Kids Club is the cherry on top. 

Walking through the club’s stately gates, one is greeted by a spacious garden area with soft artificial turf underfoot and a small, shallow wading pool-slash-fountain off to one side. At another end is the garden’s “slide pavilion,” a jungle gym-like structure crafted with bamboo and other natural materials. 

A small wading pool/fountain for kids to cool off in at the Umah Rare Kids Club at the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay. (Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay)

A small wading pool/fountain for kids to cool off in at the Umah Rare Kids Club at the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay. (Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay)

Indoors, the club marries a modern, boho-chic aesthetic with more traditional Balinese-inspired design elements. The expansive space — made to feel even larger by its vaulted ceiling — is flooded with natural light, while its white walls, wood accents and earthy-hued murals create a relaxing vibe. 

And then there were the toys. Countless toys, books and games lined the walls and shelves, and, notably, nary a piece of plastic, nor any type of screen, could be seen. (The Umah Rare Kids Club does in fact have a screen, but it’s hidden from view in a smaller, upstairs loft area.) 

The bright and airy interior of the Umah Rare Kids Club. (Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay)

The bright and airy interior of the Umah Rare Kids Club. (Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay)

From appearance alone, it’s clear that this kids club is anything but ordinary. 

On the day after arriving at the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay, my family and I decided to check out Umah Rare — or “house of children” — for the first time. It didn’t take long for us to realize that even my extra-clingy kids would be unable to resist its charm, thanks in part to the incredible warmth of the club’s staff, who, within minutes, had worked their magic and had my son fully absorbed in a game of Chutes and Ladders. 

Our visit also happened to align with that day’s yoga session, led by a yoga instructor from the spa. To my surprise, my kids eagerly took to their mats, following the instructor as she moved from cat cow to downward dog to child’s pose. 

The even bigger surprise came the next day, when both children put up very little fight when we dropped them off at the club before taking off for several hours for dinner. (My daughter, too young to be dropped off at Umah Rare unattended, was put in the care of a babysitter.)

For my husband and I, who had never successfully handed off both children to strangers and enjoyed a kid-free meal while traveling, this small win felt like a triumph of epic proportions.

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