I’ve been to some pretty amazing places in the world, but there’s not many that I’d say I’d be keen to go back to (simply because there are so many more places that I haven’t been). However, Indonesia is definitely a country that I would re-visit in a heart bit. From the minute we touched down to the moment we had to say goodbye, every bit of our trip was utterly unforgettable.
I was in Indonesia to review two luxury hotels for Perfect Wedding, through Hayes & Jarvis. The hotel team from the Laguna Bali were awaiting our arrival at the airport and we were greeted with a gift of matching floral garlands. After so many hours of travelling this was just what I need to revive my mood.
Our first stop was the amazing five-star Laguna Bali – a lovely resort situated right upon Nusa Dua beach with interconnecting lagoon pools that are perfect for cooling off from the midday sun. Our lovely suite had a balcony with steps down into one of the pools which was pretty luxurious. I also really liked the beach cabanas here and because you can get a therapist to come and give you a massage right there on the golden sands. Now that is the life of luxury!
I distinctly remember dinner one night where we both tried oysters for the first time. It’s safe to say we both don’t like oysters, but it was so nice for our first tasting of them to be in such a magical place where they were freshly picked from glistening ocean that we were sat overlooking.
Don’t be fooled, Bali’s not just about the beach. There’s so much culture to soak up and so many sights to see, we were keen to head out and explore. Our amazing tour guides from Destination Services took us out for the day and the first stop was the bustling town of Ubud in the heart of Bali. This is the perfect place to try out your haggling skills at the markets – I picked up so many bargains!
Next, we visited the Monkey Forest which lived up to its great reputation – so many cute (but very mischievous) monkeys. One of them did use my arm as a springboard to fight with his pal, but all in all we had a lovely time. We ended our day at Tanah Lot temple watching the sun set – it was so special.
The second half of our trip was spent on the island of Gili Meno, which is the smallest and quietest of the three Gili Islands (head to Gili T if you’re after a party). We flew to Lombok and then caught a boat across to the island. I kind of wish we would have stayed for a night or two in Lombok as it looked so beautiful as we were cruising through.
Our home for the next few days was the Mahamaya Boutique Resort. What this boutique hotel lacks in size, it makes up for in charm. The attentive staff came straight out to the boat as we arrived and carried our very heavy suitcases to dry land (on their heads!),
The island itself is pretty basic – the only transport is horse and cart so there are no real roads. After unpacking our bags, we embarked on a mission to get to the other side of the island where we were promised golden sands (as the beach by our hotel was more coraly/pebbly).
On our romantic stroll through the middle of the island I became closely acquainted with the island wildlife – a wall of spiders webs with a not-so-welcomed friend in every one. I absolutely freaked out and it took me a while to pluck up the courage to proceed. Eventually we made it and that idyllic beach was worth every panicking minute. By now it was a good 30°C so we plunged straight into the turquoise waters. Absolute bliss.
So one half of our stay was all about indulgent luxury and the other half was more of a authentic island experience and I have to say, despite the eight-legged friends, I actually fell in love with the pared-back simplicity of Gili Meno. Take me back!