Canggu & Penny Lane (Bali) – 19th August 2022

Carrying on from my last post, Nathan and I hitched a ride after our food tasting with our Wedding Planner to our next accommodation in Canggu. (For those not familiar with Bali, Canggu is a resort village on the south coast of Bali. (About a 50 min drive North of Seminyak) It’s full of colourful beachfront bars, surf ready waves and wholefood cafes. The Canggu area hasn’t been on the tourist map for long, but it’s quickly becoming a popular spot for travelers looking for something different from Seminyak.)

We were booked to stay one night at Canggu Hyper Suites, a little hotel set amongst the green rice fields in Canggu. Check-in was easy, however they gave us the room right next to the kitchen. Not really a big deal as it was quiet but I can imagine I would have hated it if guests were up talking and drinking all night as the kitchen was literally right outside our room.
Our room also had no towels so I had to try and find someone to get some but was given Beach Towels instead as the towels were still in the wash – I think…

Thankfully for the wedding I had my dress sorted (just needed to buy a veil) – Nathan however still hadn’t found a suit. Before we arrived in Bali, I made an appointment at Michelle Ann Bridal House in Seminyak who sorts out suits and wedding dresses – hoping they would be able to custom make a suit for Nathan. They had great reviews online, but I found the whole experience with them pretty disappointing. They didn’t really ‘Take Charge’ of the appointment. They gave Nathan a few suit jackets to try on over his sports singlet which were either too small or too big. (Which is totally fine, I don’t expect something to fit him right away but you’d think they would take some measurements or something at least.) Also not even giving him a white shirt to put on was a bit annoying as we couldn’t really envision what colour suited him against a white collared shirt. Most of the appointment, the three girls in the shop just stood there on their phones. I wasn’t sure if they were looking for other suits they had in stock or just messaging people as they literally didn’t explain anything they were doing.

In the end, we left without buying or ordering anything as we didn’t find anything we were after. I also had a hair appointment to attend at The Shampoo Lounge about a 8 minute drive away. (And so it begun – my first blow-wave of my holiday haha!) You’ll find I end up getting my hair done at least 4x in the space of one week! Hehehehe.

When I got to The Shampoo Lounge in Seminyak, the receptionist couldn’t find my booking. Which got me panicked as we had organized a photoshoot the next morning and I wanted my hair to be nice! Luckily she ended up finding it and one of the hairdressers took me to the basin to get my hair washed. I couldn’t tell you what products or brands they used as they literally didn’t tell me haha! The Shampoo Lounge has a MASSIVE treatment menu. They do everything from hair to massages and nails at a great price (Eg, my Blow Wave cost me AUD$35). I found the service to be good and my hair was lovely afterwards, however the salon in Seminyak was a little run down. They did say they’re due for a renovation at the end of the year which I’m sure will make the whole place ‘feel’ nicer and more relaxing. Nathan also got a haircut while I was getting my hair done and it looked good!

With our hair all done, we took a Gojek car back to our accommodation. Another Bali recommendation, download the GOJEK app. It is the absolute best thing to use to get around Bali. It’s the Indonesian version of Uber, however they use Scooters as well as cars. They also do services such as food delivery, package delivery etc… but unless you live in Bali you’ll really only use it for transportation. You need a Credit Card to sign up but it’s seriously the cheapest thing ever! I worked out that between Nathan and I, we took 51 Gojek rides during our week in Bali and it cost us a total of AUD$136.14. Also saves you from having to pay in cash as it all comes off your card.
When we got to Canggu Hyper Suites, we had towels – yay!
We then got ready to head out for dinner at Penny Lane (one of the many restaurants I researched before I came to Bali). It’s in a good area with lots of boutique shops around. When we turned up, I wished our hotel was closer as this area seemed more lively than where we were staying.
Penny Lane is full of photo opportunities, which is probably why every Instagram Influencer goes here. The restaurant does Lunch and Dinner and serves mainly western food like Burgers, Salads, Loaded Fries and Schnitzels. You definitely pay more ‘Western’ prices (eg, a Chicken Parmi is $10 and a burger is $11) but it’s still cheaper than back home! We had to wait about half an hour for a table as it was really busy but the service was fast and the food and drinks were tasty.

Nathan ordered a Lord Of The Rings Burger (Beef, Cheese, Onion Rings, Bacon) with a side of Portuguese Chicken Strips and I ordered Pablo Escobar Fries (fries loaded with nacho chips, cheese, sour cream, salsa and beef) as well as some mac’n’cheese balls and Gaucomole with Turkish Bread. Let’s just say, we ate ALOT this trip.

With our belly’s full, we left Penny Lane to go and find a massage somewhere. But not without stopping across the road for a few pats of two good boys. The bar we walked past on the way to Penny Lane earlier that evening had two adorable dogs. One Golden Retriever (our dream dog) and a Husky. *Cries* so cute!! I wish I could upload a picture but I only have a video and WordPress only allows me to upload pictures unless I pay $100 to upgrade my plan to include videos. HAHA!

I did however get a picture of my legs as I got a massage which I’m sure is much more interesting than a cute golden dog….

While I got Reflexology for $7 (SO CHEAP) Nathan went and got a 60 minute massage for AUD$12. This was at Edelweis Spa Canggu two stores down from Penny Lane. Nathan said it wasn’t his favorite massage in the world but it wasn’t bad either. I mainly enjoyed my Reflexology as the pressure was good (and you can’t complain because of the price) however the guy who was doing it laughed at my feet coz I had a small piece of hard dry skin on the side of my foot 😦 If this was Australia I would have probably said something for being so rude as him and his friend kept making gagging sounds and giggling but I couldn’t really be bothered and they seemed young and kind of immature so I just left it. Ah well! I’m pretty sure I’ve had worse from Nathan calling me flipper feet as I am ‘above average’ size for a standard girls foot. (Size 9 if you must know)

After our massages, we headed back to our hotel where we had showers and hopped into bed. Wait, I take that back. Nathan had a shower and I did not. The water was cold!! I don’t know if they turn the hot water off at a certain time but there definitely was no running hot water at 11pm. I’m a baby and need my showers to be hot so I waited until the morning.

Next Post: Shopping & Heading to Ubud

Birthday in Bali – 18th August 2022

I think I start off every post with “wow I haven’t written a blog post in SUCH a long time” then mentally promise myself that I’m going to update this blog more often… which as you can see from when I last posted – it never happens 🫣

Well I actually have some life updates so thought I’d jump back on here and write some more memories down.

Nathan and I moved back to New Zealand from Canada in 2020 🇨🇦 (not willingly though – our Working Visa’s expired so we had to leave) The plan was to head back to the homeland to attend Nathan’s sister’s wedding and then move to the United Kingdom for another Working Holiday Visa. Then shock horror – a world pandemic happened and we couldn’t go anywhere (along with pretty much the rest of the world) We decided we should probably buy a house in New Zealand so we had some type of asset but the house market went crazy and we couldn’t buy anything. We had approval from the bank and everything but we literally couldn’t buy because we were competing against hundreds of other people with the same idea. We gave up on the house idea and our next plan was to move to Aussie, so in March 2021 we moved across the ditch and settled in Perth, Australia. The western part of Australia…. Where everyone from the East Coast claims is “boring and remote with nothing to do”. Don’t believe what you hear though, Western Australia has THE most beautiful beaches I’ve seen in my life. Not to mention the job opportunities are great, housing is more affordable and it’s only like $200-$300 to fly return to Bali, Indonesia 🇮🇩 when there’s a sale on.

Which leads me to the reason I started writing again. I’m in Bali!! I booked this trip last year when Jetstar was having a sale and I knew I’d be itching to get out of the country once Covid wasn’t a massive thing anymore. The perfect excuse was “my birthday is in August and Nathan can’t say no to me for my birthday” so I went ahead and booked the flights hehe 😉 THEN Nathan asked me to be his future wifey over Easter by getting down on one knee and proposing to me with the most gorgeous ring. 💍 We’ve always said we would get married in Bali so my birthday trip turned into a Birthday/Wedding planning trip as we’re getting married here in October! 😃

Day One

We arrived into Bali around 8pm on Thursday evening. I considered paying for Bali Fast Track before we left Australia but decided not to. Bali Fast Track is where you organise assistance through the airport and they fast track you through. (Around AUD$50-70 per person) Thankfully it wasn’t needed anyways as we got through immigration and baggage claim within 30 minutes!!

As we were about to take off (literally on the Tarmac at Perth Airport) , I had quickly Whatsapped a driver to meet us at the airport and they were there waiting for us on arrival to drive us to Canggu. I recommend organising a driver to pick you up before you arrive. Just makes it easier and less to organise once you get to Bali. If you don’t have a driver, no worries there’s lots of taxis and things waiting at the airport to take you to your accommodation. I just couldn’t be bothered negotiating pricing etc..

Perth City

The drive to Bali Beach Glamping took about 45 minutes – 1 hour. This was the first place we were staying and it was a complimentary night as our wedding venue is next door and owned by The same people. Was kind of a “thanks for booking your wedding with us, you can stay for free at our Glamping tent accommodation” kind of thing. We didn’t get to see our wedding venue inside as it was currently occupied by another wedding but I wasn’t bothered as it means when we get married in October it will be a nice surprise. ☺️☺️

Our tent for the night

As we got to Bali Beach Glamping so late, we nearly missed out on getting anything to eat as the kitchen stopped making food at 10pm and we arrived at 9:52pm 😂😂 Nathan was so hungry and so was I. All I’d had to eat all day was every expensive fries from Perth Airport and half a very average Jam Donut.

Lunch at the airport – so expensive 🥲

After quickly having a Quesadilla and some spring rolls from the restaurant, we headed off to bed to spend the first night in our tent 🏕

I’d rate the Glamping experience a 7/10. The bed was super comfortable and it was nice and relaxing when it rained that night as I love the sound of rain on a tent. I just didn’t like how the toilet was literally in the same room but separated by a wall. Thankfully I’m very comfortable with Nathan so I don’t care if one of us needs to use the bathroom 😂but I can imagine some people might feel a little awkward. Also the lighting in the bathroom wasn’t the best for make-up application 💅

Day Two

In the morning we headed to the restaurant for breakfast (a small buffet), went for a walk along the beach in the rain then explored the resort a little bit. They had some nice photo spots which we took advantage of!

We had some time to kill so sat by the pool for an hour or so before we met with our wedding planner Helmi. She had organised for us to meet with our stylists to choose colours and decor for the wedding. I think we covered most things for the big day so I feel a little better now that most things have been chosen. (It was getting a little stressful knowing what was happening trying to plan a wedding from Australia)

After that was done, we met with the catering team to have a sit down tasting of all the food we’d chosen for our wedding. I was nervous at first, for some reason I thought the food was going to be mediocre. Especially as I’d included a sticky toffee date pudding that wasn’t even on their menu but they were specially making for us. However, they exceeded my expectations and the food was so good!! 🤤🤤

A sneak preview of the starters

After all our food, we checked-out then caught a ride with our wedding planner to our next accommodation in Canggu called Canggu Hype Suites. About 30 minutes away. However I might write about the rest of the day in my next post before this one gets too long 🫠🫠 if you got this far, thanks for reading! I purely write this blog now for my own personal memories so if you follow along, I’m always flattered 😂

Hotel Review – Grand Palladium Costa Mujeres Resort and Spa (Cancun)

20190411_1627026400770651798209787.jpgI stayed at the Grand Palladium Costa Mujeres Resort & Spa in April 2019 for one of my Travel Agent “Work Trips”
These work trips entail us flying to some beautiful beachy destination and checking out a ton of resorts so we in turn can sell them to potential clients. The Grand Palladium was chosen as our home resort (as in, the resort we stay at for the whole week while we check out other resorts during the day) so I really got to experience everything the resort had to offer.

20190410_2310047858946746647533418.jpgThe Grand Palladium Costa Mujeres is great for couples and families looking for a bigger resort with nice large pools and lots of options for places to eat.
They’re located in the gated community of Playa Mujeres (about a 30 minute drive away from Cancun Airport) so you’re not quite in the downtown Cancun Hotel/Party zone which is perfect if you’re wanting something a bit more secluded and you’re not too fussed on leaving your resort. Outside the resort, there’s not too much within walking distance apart from other hotels and a golf-course so it’s definitely a lot quieter than other parts of Cancun.

As the resort is quite big, they have electric buggies to take you to and from your room. I tended to walk everywhere as sometimes you had to wait a few minutes for a buggy to arrive and I couldn’t be bothered waiting. Everywhere is pretty flat anyways so if you’re in a wheelchair you shouldn’t have any problems. You may just need a push to get up and over some of the bridges. Speaking of the bridges, they have this man-made canal around the whole resort where you can catch a taxi boat to and from other parts of the resort which I thought was pretty cool! It took me until the very last day to finally catch one of the boats though as I was always out all day and one was never around when I was walking by.

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Rooms

We stayed in a Junior Suite, however there are also Loft Suites, Ambassador Suites, Swim-Up Suites and Family Suites. The spaces are modern and chic with warm woods and stylish furniture. Some rooms have a whirlpool tub whereas the Swim-Up Suites have direct access to the pool. As it’s quite a newer resort, you can enjoy all the mod-cons like flat-screen TV’s, iPhone docks, nespresso machines, Wi-Fi and fully stocked minibars. I loved the deep soaking tub we had which I’ve read are pretty standard throughout all the rooms. There’s also a separate walk in shower with a glass wall over-looking the bedroom (otherwise you can close a sliding door if you’d like some privacy)

*Junior Suite 

*Junior Suite – Swim – Up

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*Ambassador Suite

*Balcony of the Ambassador Suite

*Family Suite

*Family Selection Loft Suite

Spanning two floors, The Loft Suites have extra touches like wet bars, more seating space and an exclusive hot tub on the terrace. Ambassador Suites have separate living rooms, while Family Selection suites have extras like private check-in & check-out, a personalized minibar, a welcome kit for each child, a pillow menu for the adults and children, an exclusive zone on the beach and preferential reservations at all restaurants with breakfast, lunch and dinner à la carte.

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*The Family Section Pool Area

Things To Do
There’s a ton of things to do suited to everyone of all ages!
If you’ve got kids, there’s a great kid’s program with three different kid’s clubs (Baby Club, Mini Club and Junior Club) with lots of organised activities and areas like a painting room,  a room for video game consoles and an outdoor playground with trampoline.
Next to the main pool, there is also the children’s area with hammocks for parents and fun water playgrounds for the little ones. 

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If you’re a beach person, the resort has a lovely stretch of beach that is reached via wooden walkways. My friend and I had a walk along the beach when we were there however it was very very windy so we didn’t actually go in the water. I’m more of a pool person anyways so I enjoyed floating around in one of the three large pools the Palladium had.

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Grand Palladium Costa Mujeres Resort & Spa - Piscina
Pool Area*

The hotel’s Zentropia Spa and Wellness center is massive at 4740 m2 and is dedicated to relaxation and well-being. The spa is shared with the neighboring TRS Coral Hotel but it never feels over-crowded. One thing I enjoyed was the hydrotherapy circuit, with a beautiful indoor/outdoor pool as well as hot tubs, saunas, steam baths, an ice cabin, and sensation showers – but access incurs a fee (unless guests have purchased spa treatments or are Palladium Travel Club members) If you’re after a massage or to get your nails done, they also have these services available.

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I’m quite the gym bunny myself (too bad my body doesn’t like to show that ;)) but there’s a large fitness center on-site equipped with state-of-the-art machines, plus you have the

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Rafa Nadal tennis center which is built up of eight illuminated clay tennis courts and a selection of classes, training, and tennis camps for kids and adults. I’d describe it like a Museum combined with a Tennis Centre as they also have a shop, and an exhibit of Nadal’s objects and garments. The court rental is free for guests however you have to book 24 hours in advance. They also offer individual premium training through private classes which go from 3- 6 days and cost around $100 a day. Or you can benefit from group programs, of no more than four players, with similar ages and levels to improve your tennis skills.20190411_0918414996720020239346404.jpg

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A major point of difference compared to other resorts in the area is their very own CHIC Cabaret & Restaurant. The show’s are on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights and are a combination of acrobatics, dancing, singing and choreography matched to a legendary soundtrack of classic 50’s rock all the way up to present day pop, with a touch of Latin rhythm. The show goes from 8:15pm-11pm and then turns into a nightclub afterwards until 1am. We got to enjoy this show for free, however there is a charge even if you’re staying at the resort. Totally worth it though! You get a 3-course meal included along with all the entertainment and drinks.  (Suitable for vegan and vegetarians, you just need to let them know which menu fits your lifestyle during the time of reservation.

Food

With 10 restaurants, 19 bars and their All-Inclusive Package you’re not going to go hungry here! I ate pretty much everywhere but at the Japanese Restaurant because it was closed. One night we even ate at the French Restaurant and then headed to the Thai restaurant afterwards so there’s definitely no restrictions on how much you can eat.

Bar options are impressive here. You won’t get budget watered down liquor and you don’t need to walk far for a drink. They have a pool bar (including a swim-up bar), a sports bar, and a beach club, plus there’s a coffee shop and a juice bar at the spa.

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Nice little welcome platter in our room

Final Thoughts
I loved the food options and the cabaret show was awesome! Having so many choices for dinner – I was totally in my element. In regards to the rooms, ours was always tidied daily and all the rooms I saw were beautifully laid out and up-to-date with the latest technology. The spa was a pure haven for relaxation and even though I didn’t get a treatment done, a friend got a massage and said it was lovely. All the staff were very pleasant that we talked to and nothing was too much trouble!
On the downside, I personally found the resort to be a little too big. I didn’t tend to want to go to the beach because I felt like the walk was a little too far, even having to meet up for dinner at night with the rest of the group, I just knew it was going to be a bit of a walk which isn’t ideal when you have heels on. The resort does however cater to this and they provide the golf buggies to take you everywhere. It’s just the waiting for them that I can’t be bothered doing haha!
If I could recommend any improvements, it would be for them to design a cocktail menu. I do like to drink when I’m on holiday (especially at an all-inclusive) however I am one of those people that are always stumped with what to order when it comes to ordering a drink! I like to look at a menu and choose a drink or just work my way through all the combinations to find my favorite one. When there’s no menu, I end up ordering the most basic cocktail because I can’t think of anything on the spot.
Another thing that was a slight bother were the restaurants weren’t open every night (may have been due to the time of year we went) so we missed out on a couple as they weren’t open.
If you’re after a large family-friendly resort or you’re a couple looking to flop, drop and relax- The Grand Palladium Costa Mujeres is for you! Even if you’re thinking of having a destination wedding, they have lots of space and even a church for you to get married in. This place would be perfect for groups as there’s so many rooms and so much space.

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*Pictures have been copied from the Grand Palladium Costa Mujeres Website and are my own personal pictures.