People like to say that Lombok is what Bali was like decades ago. To take it a step further, the island’s Hotel Tugu makes guests feel like they are seeing what the area must have been like a century ago.
The antique-filled hotel is set on a private beach. Now, lots of hotels in Southeast Asia claim they are on a private beach but what they really mean is that they have a stretch of sand behind their resort beside many other resorts.
At Tugu, guests say the private beach is actually private — there is no other hotel within sight. The only non-guests that reviewers say they saw on the beach were local fishermen who catches much of the seafood — namely octopus and clams — that are served at the resort.
Tugu — which has a much more expensive sister property by the same name in Bali’s trendy Canggu — is on Sire Beach, a white-sand stretch on Lombok’s northwest coast.
It’s made up of 37 rooms and each one looks completely different from the next. The experience of staying in the rooms, filled with local heirlooms, has been likened to staying in an art gallery.
If guests want to do more than just chill while at the resort, it offers cooking classes, courses on traditional medicine, and rents out a dragon-shaped naga boat that can be used to explore places like the Gili Islands, which are 15 minutes away. It’s located next to an 18-hole golf course.
A favorite for honeymooners, visitors like the romantic feel of the property, with a private dinner by the lotus pond or atop the temple-shaped spa earning particularly high marks.
The Hening Swarga Spa is designed to look like a giant open-air temple with nooks lit by oil lamps facing the Indian Ocean.
The ability to eat anywhere on the property is one of Tugu’s special offerings. The “dine anywhere” option means you can have your food served anywhere — from your room to any of the common areas to the pools, garden, or beach.
The resort itself is inspired by myths and stories about Indonesian Hindu gods. Alternately described as “rustic,” “quirky” and “over the top,” this resort isn’t a place for minimalists. Both inside and outside, there are statues, art, and little design elements everywhere.
The family-owned Tugu was founded by Anhar Setjadibrata, an antique collector who hoped to show Indonesia’s soul and romantic side through his resorts. He did all the design work himself as a passion project inspired by the dreamy landscapes and atmosphere of the country’s past and to introduce guests to ideas about the myths and legends of the country. They claim that every piece they own has a story.
While guests can choose from rooms inspired by the Ampenan area of Lombok which was settled by the Chinese, the Indian Mahabharata era, or Indonesia’s Dutch colonial period, all are guaranteed to be extravagant, somewhat spiritual, and slightly kitschy. The rooms have open-air bathrooms, air conditioning, and large pools. But, if you’re planning to get work done here, some say with wifi is not particularly strong.
However, the complimentary 15-minute massages and afternoon high teas probably make up for it.
Hotel Tugu Lombok
Sire Beach,Tanjung Lombok, Indonesia
Rooms from IDR4 million (US$270)