I’ve never stayed at a vacation club. How was I ever going to keep the kids amused? I discovered a vacation club isn’t too different from a resort from the guests’ perspective. However the villas in this case provided loads more space – exactly what our family needed.
We were about to leave Bali after two fabulous months and when Anantara asked if we’d like to visit their vacation club in Seminyak we thought it would be a great way to finish our time on the island of the gods. Nestled in a quiet part of Seminyak down a long driveway, it felt like we were beautifully secluded the whole time.
What Is A Vacation Club?
If you are like us and had no idea then hopefully I will be able to shed much-needed light on the terminology. Each villa at a vacation club is independently owned but the vacation club takes care of renting out the villas to guests on a short-term basis (just like a hotel), and maintains the complex facilities. So from a guest’s perspective you wouldn’t notice much difference between a hotel/resort and a vacation club.
There are 18 Balinese-style villas in Anantara’s vacation club consisting of one, two or three bedrooms, each with a private pool and courtyard. It really felt like a home away from home, and an ideal base if you wanted to explore the island or just relax by the swimming pool. Take a look through our villa:
The Vacation Club Complex
The complex was delightfully easy to navigate with an outdoor bar/restaurant and swimming pool. The library located adjacent to the lobby was filled with toys and books for the kids, but also provided a quite spot for a relaxing read. Friendly staff were always available at the reception desk and able to answer any questions. And to make your holiday more comfortable there was also a free on-site laundry, which we really liked. If you relish working up a sweat during your time off (or the tropical weather isn’t sweat-inducing enough), a fully equipped gym was available.
During our stay there were various activities to choose from. One morning Josh and the kids took a guided tour to a nearby Balinese temple with the head of the food and beverage department. He gently shared about the religious aspect of Balinese life and provided a local’s perspective as they walked around the temple complex.
That same afternoon the kids were entertained with a well-planned treasure hunt around the vacation club complex in which the final prize was a packet of lollies (candy). The kids loved it!
The restaurant on the grounds served a delicious breakfast with choices of a set menu or ala carte.
But by far our favourite part of staying at Anantara was the diverse dinner options.
On our first night we enjoyed a classic Jimbaran seafood BBQ that you would usually only find on Jimbaran Beach, but we had the pleasure of enjoying it by the main swimming pool while the kids splashed and alternated between eating and swimming.
On our second night at Anantara Vacation Club we were delighted to attend a Balinese Cooking Class with head chef, Dadi. He has over 13 years experience as a professional chef and really knows his stuff.
Simultaneously our kids had their own chef lead them in a cookie making and decorating class. Now they play a lot of cooking games, but real life cooking is just so good for kids!
With Chef Dadi’s help we prepared and cooked several local Balinese dishes:
The famous Sate Lilit Ayam – Balinese chicken satay.
Pepes Ikan Kakap – Grilled red snapper wrapped in banana leaf.
Be Siap Metunu Mesi Kesuna Cekuh – Grilled chicken with garlic and lesser galangal.
And my perpetual favourite, Pisang Goreng – Fried bananas with coconut and palm sugar.
After we had made a decent amount of progress on the dishes, an assistant chef helped finished it off. If time allowed I would have preferred preparing the whole meal from scratch to see how it all comes together. But we did manage to fit a lot of cooking into a relatively short amount of time and I loved every minute. We were provided with a set of recipes so we could re-create the magic in our kitchen.
Pisang Goreng is a particular favourite of mine so I’m going to share with you Chef Dadi’s personal recipe so you can enjoy it at home too:
Fried banana with coconut and palm sugar
2/3 cup Rice flour
1/3 cup Flour
2/3 cup Water
1 pinch Salt
8 Firm Bananas or large bananas sliced
Oil for frying
- Combine both types of flour, water and salt in a deep mixing bowl. Whisk until batter is smooth and slightly thick, almost like pancake batter.
- Dust banana evenly with rice flour
- Coat banana in batter generously.
- Heat a generous amount of oil in a heavy saucepan to 120°C (248°F). Coconut oil adds more flavour and dimension in my opinion.
- Add bananas at this low heat and fry very slowly at a rising temperature until golden brown and crispy. This process will take approximately 2 minutes.
- Drain well.
- Dust bananas with a mix of cinnamon powder, icing sugar and coconut.
- Serve with coconut cream, ice cream and palm syrup (or honey/maple syrup if palm syrup isn’t available).
Let me know if you make them, and share your photos on our Facebook page.
For Chef Dadi’s cooking experience alone, I would return to Anantara Vacation Club Bali Seminyak. But for a delicious (and relaxing) family-friendly break in Seminyak, this vacation club has all the essential ingredients. Or if you’re just looking for the tastiest fried bananas in Seminyak, this is a smart place to start.