It’s the barefoot simplicity of this handcrafted, family-run eco-lodge – set on the remote Robinson Crusoe island of Gili Asahan, in the Lombok Strait – that makes for such a serene beach escape. There’s a private yoga shala and cuisine inspired by Indonesia and Italy.
Gili Asahan Eco Lodge, a little slice of heaven in South Lombok’s Gili archipelago, is the perfect place for nature lovers, sea enthusiasts, and foodies alike. The Eco Lodge is the perfect holiday destination for anyone seeking a tranquil place to step away from the stresses of daily life. Enjoy a sojourn just steps away from gardens of brightly coloured corals and fishes, submerged by clear waters, enclosed by soft white sand beaches, and nestled in lush tropical jungles.
All of the buildings’ designs and functions are inspired by love and respect for nature, using mainly sustainable and repurposed materials to create a simple, rustic, yet romantic atmosphere, bringing you closer to nature without renouncing creature comforts; simplicity doesn’t mean sacrifice.
European managers Luciano and Jana help guests plan snorkelling in crystal clear reefs, arrange boat trips, diving, hiking or massages. Supporting them is a team of ever-smiling locals that make up for any lack in speed with genuine warmth. The sunset views from the hilltop yoga studio are a highlight; although there’s no regular teacher in place, it’s well worth the five-minute hike for your own private practice, workout or meditation. Note that there is no pool.
Traditional thatched roof bales, positioned a tad too snugly, offer the most authentic experience, with bamboo blinds instead of walls. Some have private bathrooms, while other bales share facilities. For a step-up in privacy and comfort, the bungalows have al fresco bathrooms complete with daybeds and jungle showers, as well as private terraces for lounging in double crimson hammocks. Expect no televisions, air-conditioning or iPod docks here; background music and ventilation comes courtesy of the whispering tide and sea breeze. The rustic style is balanced by comfy double beds dressed in crisp cotton sheets.
Recipes from the Neapolitan owner’s grandmother have been passed down, resulting in a menu that prioritises locally sourced ingredients and dishes which are either Italian or Indonesian. Home-made seafood ravioli tops the array of pasta dishes, while lighter options include grilled squid and an aubergine lasagne, alongside Indonesian specialities such as nasi campur. Come cocktail hour, it’s all about the Campari apéritifs. For breakfast, flit between pancakes or eggs, accompanied by tropical fruit, homemade focaccia, pineapple jam and Lombok coffee.
If Bali is billed as a beach paradise, most first-time visitors can find themselves woefully underwhelmed; mainland beaches can often be busy and plastic-strewn. Instead, slip two hours from Bali’s west coast by speedboat to the ‘Secret Gilis’, an under-the-radar archipelago that crests Lombok’s Northern shore (they’re the first stop en route to popular Gili Meno, Gili Trawagan and Gili Air). From here, chug 30 minutes by wooden boat before ending on pristine white sands. It is a five-minute walk along the shore to the property, with the local Hindu village providing colour and character.
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