Words and images by Gayle Dickson
Some will venture to Bali for the nightlife and buzz. I went in search of peace, tranquility and relaxation.
I headed a short drive north of the fast-paced Kuta and Seminyak to the region of Canggu where I discovered Hotel Tugu Bali and all the serenity I’d dreamed of.
From arrival to departure, I felt at home. This was luxury in true island mode. Met with the customary welcoming drink and cool towel, my bags were whisked off to my villa whilst I completed the check-in process, before being offered the opportunity to freshen up before afternoon tea
was served in the lobby.
My Dedari suite was tucked behind a high wall offering a private garden as well as my very own plunge pool surrounded by lush planting and fish swimming idly in the pond. Spacious by any standard, an imposing antique four-poster bed took centre stage, with comfortable sofa, reading chair, dining table and television stand dotted around the perimeter. From the bed, one could awaken and
look through the floor-to-ceiling windows directly over the plunge pool.
Every desire had been considered and provided – robes, slippers, exquisite lemongrass soaps and other amenities, bottled water, a fully stocked mini bar and air conditioning.
There’s an extensive DVD and CD collection as well as a library, wine cellar, a boutique offering the most incredible antiquities and more modern, yet still traditional, handicrafts. Their onsite dining would easily compete on the world stage.
Ablutions aren’t something I usually spend much time discussing, but at Tugu Bali, I feel I have to. The bathroom is open air, yet completely private. There’s a massive bath surrounded by candles – once filled, one can repose in the flower-scattered waters and watch those fish gracefully dancing. There was even a private massage bed, just in case I was too engrossed in my seclusion to head to the spa!
However, the Waroeng Djamoe Spa is well worth a visit, or perhaps you’d prefer your massage under the shade of a thatched roof on the verdant lawn with the sound of the Indian Ocean soothing away your big city niggles. There are a number of spa venues offering different treatments, whether you’re keen on a 60-minute massage or a day of pampering.
Wandering around the property on beautifully cobbled paths made of local stone, there was a sense of stepping back in time. Dotted throughout the accommodations, lobby and gardens are collectors’ items that range from guardian statues and ornate gates and doors, through to
the furnishings, huge urns, and hand-beaten baths and basins. Most of the pieces are of museum quality, saved from plunder by an owner who believes that his incredible collection needs to be shared and appreciated by all, not kept in a stuffy museum.
The food was exceptional from breakfast to dinner. There’s a policy here of eat what you like, when you like, and no surcharge for room service. Where your heart leads is where one dines, day and night. The menu is entitled “101 Dining Temptations” and, while I didn’t count, I am sure
there are more! Order from the extensive selection and it will be served in the garden, at the beach, in a private dining pavilion for two above the lotus pond, or within one of the distinctive dining areas that each depict an era or lifestyle experience rich in Balinese, Javanese and Chinese culture.
If you’re keen to take in some of the surrounding countryside or further afield, just ask! From full day discovery tours of temples and sacred sites, or volcanoes, or nearby Ubud, to a night on the town, bike tour, or horseback riding, there’s something for everyone. You can even design
your very own tour. The hotel also offers a range of classes that include Balinese dancing, cooking or creating herbal drinks, surfing and stand up paddle.
Anhar Setjadibrata is described as the quintessential 20th century renaissance man. Not only a hotel owner, but also a physician, lawyer and collector of a priceless collection of the finest Indonesian art and artifacts which are in use and on display throughout the Tugu properties.
In fact, Tugu Malang is the only hotel in Indonesia to have won a national award for architectural excellence. Anhar’s daughters, Lucienne and Annette, have inherited their father’s passion, opening four flagship restaurants and bars in Jakarta. Lucienne has also been responsible for Hotel Tugu Lombok, which reviewers are raving over.
Tugu Hotels is definitely one to add to your bucket list, whether you’re headed to Bali, Jakarta, Lombol, Malang or Blitar. Having experienced one, I personally can’t wait to head back and discover the rest!
Gayle flew to Bali direct with the assistance of Air New Zealand. Air New Zealand offers seasonal non-stop flights to Bali from Auckland over the June – October period, with connections from across the New Zealand domestic network.
Visit ➜ www.airnewzealand.co.nz to book your Bali experience