Let me tell you about a luxurious hotel, nestled away at the top of a jungly island with beautiful beaches. A hotel dotted with the owners’ antiques, aside beautiful pools and endless grassy lawns by the sea. Where the food is exquisite and the staff are simply amazing. Moreover, despite the romantic setting (a friend of mine got engaged there), you feel welcomed as a family traveller by the warm and helpful staff. Meet Indonesia’s Hotel Tugu Lombok.
Lombok is an Indonesian island, located to the east of Bali. You may have heard of it in the news as earthquakes rocked the place in 2018 causing death and mass destruction. I always feel it’s important to visit these places to spend our tourist $$. When I was researching where to stay, I had originally intended to book a family friendly favourite, The Oberoi. I discovered the property suffered damage from the earthquake and will re-open in June. This led to me to find the Tugu Lombok which is located close by. We visited in early April for 3 nights and I would return in a heartbeat.
How do I get to Lombok?
From Singapore, we flew with Silk Air to Lombok (two hours). There are a 169 countries who receive visa free entry, including the UK.
The journey takes about 90 minutes from Lombok Airport to the hotel. We had transfers included in our package. The drive is beautiful, you’ll catch glimpses of jungle, town, village and beach.
Booking The Hotel Tugu Lombok
I originally opted for a Svarga villa with an extra rollaway bed. The package included a welcome massage, daily high tea, breakfast and return airport transfers. On arrival, we were upgraded to a beautiful 2 bedroom villa which was enormous.
The hotel is located on the white sand Sire Beach and is a 15 minutes boat ride across to the Gili islands. You are greeted warmly by the staff who were amazing and greeted us by name at every opportunity. Tugu hotels’ founder & designer the owner of the biggest collection of fine Indonesian antiquities in Indonesia.The place is beautifully landscaped in keeping with its Indonesian surrounds. There are little waterfalls and pools, antiques planted about the place and each one of the buildings has a huge amount of character. I’m not sure of the hotel occupancy during our stay but at times it felt like we were the only guests there!
The two bed villas are housed individual buildings, surrounded by lush tropical trees. Each has its own terrace, two semi-outdoor baths with garden, round tubs and oversized rain showers. There is also a lounge area and several desks.
My kids favourite part were the enormous beds, draped with colourful mosquito nets. ‘It’s a princess bed!’ Miss Mayhem exclaimed and for once, they actually looked forward to going to bed on holiday.
There are two pools. A long lap pool and then a beautiful family pool next to the main restaurant. Even the decor of the pool chairs and bedside tables is glorious, I got a lot of home decorating inspiration during my stay!
The beach is pristine with white powder sand. That said, you must be careful of sea urchins the sea immediately in front of the property. The water sports desk will give you water shoes to wear so that you can wade comfortably through the water and not worry about stomping on a spiny prick. I must say this did put the fear into Jetlag & Mayhem and it took a while for me to coax them in to the water and convince them they’d be fine when wearing the shoes.
Whilst we were there in April, the water was very calm and a lovely warm temperature.
They say you can dining anywhere you wish. On the beach? No problem. In your gardens surrounded by the antiques? Sure. The tone for the day is set at breakfast, when you all received personalised leaves inscribed with your name, wishing you a good day. The menu is the same for all the main dining options and there is a separate kids menu. I have never experienced such amazing healthy options in a hotel before. Acai bowls, fresh smoothies, everything is delicious. We ate most of our meals in the main restaurant, aside for one night in the elaborate Gedong Gandrung. It’s like dining in a piece of art!
Every afternoon there’s a complimentary afternoon tea, served either in the restaurant or on the beach. Nothing beats sampling Indonesian sweets and a cup of tea whilst lazing in the sand.
Our room rate included a free massage for two. We took it in turns to escape child duty and enjoy the open-air Hening Svarga Temple spa. The massage was excellent, one of the best I’ve experienced in a hotel.
Tugu Lombok offers a wide variety of activities from visiting a local school to a boat trip to the neighbouring Gili islands. This is a major selling point of the property, access to world class snorkelling and scuba diving. We did a half day boat trip, taking in two of the three Gili Islands. The snorkelling was some of the best I’ve ever done and our hearts all skipped a beat when we swam alongside the turtles.
We also took kayaks and SUPs out, if only to burn off the afternoon tea! At any point you can help yourself to the badminton rackets and start up a game on the lawn. Or they’ll kindly set out the table tennis table (and even play you if you’re short on opposition).
Mount Rinjani is a 3726 meter high volcano on Lombok and is a highlight for many people who are visiting Indonesia. The top can be reached by foot in 2 or 3 days. Not very suitable for kids, right? That’s not entirely true. There are many day-trips on and around Mount Rinjani that you can easily do with the family. You can visit the waterfalls of Senaru, go up to the Crater Rim (a 2-day trip) or go for a real adventure and trek to Pergasingan Hill, which is very close to Mount Rinjani, but fairly easy to do. Bookatrekking.com lists hiking trips all over the world like the Inca Trails in Peru, has offers to climb Kilimanjaro, but also offers several hiking options for families on Lombok.
Hotel Tugu Lombok is magical. It has made me want to go and explore the other Tugus, from Bali to East Java. How wonderful that the owner used design of the properties to share the romantic stories and legends of ancient kingdoms of Indonesia. I was inspired by the whole place and wish I’d nicked half the soft furnishings!