Hotel Tugu Bali is one of the hotels under management of Tugu Hotels group, the same company that manages 4 Tugu Hotels (Malang, Blitar, Bali, and Lombok), and magnificent restaurants such as Tugu Kunstkring Paleis, Dapur Babah Elite, Lara Djonggrang, Shanghai Blue 1920, and Samarra (all in Jakarta); and the latest establishment, Ji in Hotel Tugu Bali complex.
Last May, we got the opportunity to experience 3D2N stay at Hotel Tugu Bali and we couldn’t be happier when the invitation came. Although I am not a big fan of antiques like Mr. K, I am always excited to see what Tugu Family offers, like the ones they showcase in all their hotels and restaurants. Everything about their places IS valuable, in term of history and stories, and that’s why visiting their places feels like a tour to museum or even better -because we can actually touch them, or even dine in those places!
As quoted from the website, Tugu, in Indonesian language, means ‘monument’. Tugu Hotels are privately owned and designed collection of luxury art hotels born out of one man’s love and passion for Indonesia’s romantic history. Tugu Hotels’ founder, Anhar Setjadibrata, once upon a time a medical student-turned-lawyer, and now the owner of the biggest collection of fine Indonesian art and cultural antiquities in Indonesia, designed these beautiful boutique museum hotels to house his antiques and to share with the world the romantic stories and legends of ancient kingdoms of Indonesia.
Hotel Tugu Bali is located in Canggu area, the south-west of Bali, which is undeniably the best place for this kind of hotel. The Canggu area is beautiful with sense of elegance, chic yet untouched, giving a charming surrounding to the mysterious-looking hotel. If you have ever been in any Tugu Hotels’ hotel/restaurant, you probably know what I mean. Their places always have this mysterious, almost creepy ambiance that comes from the total décor and histories behind each items. Do I make you curious? Find out by yourselves!
The first thing we noticed upon entering the lobby area is this gigantic Garuda statue on a Balinese dancing stage, surrounded by curtains of red and white. Stunned for a while, I admit I was surprised beyond words to see such a beauty. The wooden Garuda statue is carved from 120 years old tree, according to this website, and it is really enough to make a GREAT first impression to your guests when you have such an amazing statue in your hotel lobby.
The lobby is connected to many dining areas, in fact, Hotel Tugu Bali has this great service to all guests, where we can dine wherever we want. In the beginning, I was like, okay, when the staff told me that, but later on, this facility worked like magic anytime we want to eat (more on that later). With 6 dining venues all over the hotel, you’ll wonder where to eat next. Like, seriously. XD Whether you feel like eating a la Balinese Royalty from 19th century in Bale Puputan, or sipping your favorite drink and enjoying the sunset at the glamorous Calon Arang Bar, or probably trying the Chinese Imperial Dining held at Bale Sutra, a deep red dining room reconstructed from private 1706 Kang XI Chinese temple in Java, there are so many options to explore!
Hotel Tugu Bali only has 22 suites in the complex, categorized in 5 types: Puri La Mayeur, Walter Spies Pavilion, Kampong Suite, Rejang Suite, and Dedari Suite. Initially, we were checked-in for Rejang Suite, but since I wanted a private pool in my suite, I asked for a change so we moved to Dedari Suite. Furthermore, Rejang Suites -although looks so much more beautiful than Dedari Suite (IMHO) are all located upstairs and it was quite scary to climb up the narrow stairs. Note that the Rejang Suite is way so beautiful especially the bathroom with gigantic sunken bath tub, maybe we should go back there again someday and stay in Rejang Suite, hee.
Dedari Suite, our home for 2 nights, was awesome. Located downstairs, it has a front door like a private bungalow/villa, with a narrow pathway surrounded by lush garden and fish ponds, leading to the room entrance.
The bedroom is very spacious with large canopy bed and white curtains, making the whole rooms look romantically beautiful. I was a little worried that the room would have this typical old furniture smell, but thank God, there wasn’t. The bed is large and very comfortable, especially the smooth sheet that turned cold when the aircon is turned on.
With glass windows by one side, the daylight access is so good and brighten the room during the day, showing the pool outside. The pool itself is not big but enough for us. Although I must say that the pool was a little dirty and the tile doesn’t help to reflect nice water color, to keep things short, yes I took a dip but not for long because I was secretly feeling uncomfortable.
Bathroom is semi open air, connecting to the fish pond outside, but worry not, there is no way to get in from the pond. XD Although I usually prefer bathroom with hand shower, this rain shower here is so good I can’t even complain. I also love the huge sunken bath tub that probably can fit up to 5 children, LOL. During the day, it felt amazing to take shower or enjoy a bath, but when it gets dark, I felt a bit scared to be in the bathroom because the garden area is so dark and who knows what will come up from the darkness when we are taking shower, right? Thinking about that kinda scares the hell out of me now. :X
Not only the tub, there is also a bed for private spa purpose, if you want. However, it’s advisable to do the spa treatments in the spa rooms to gain the full experience because the spa menu (and rooms) are curated wonderfully to suit each treatments. Keep reading to find more!
Although Hotel Tugu Bali only has 22 guest suites, the area is quite huge and connected to Canggu beach. What I like about this hotel so much is the environment when you step inside the hotel. From outside, it looks like typical Tugu Hotels establishments, with dark and mystical ambiance, but going further inside, it’s all open space with so many greens and sunlight.
From the lobby to our suite, we saw this traditional hut with shelves full of jars, which is actually meant as Javanese-style kitchen, where the guests can enjoy learning one or two things about jamu or Indonesian traditional herbal drinks. We wanted to join this activity too, but no staff available at that moment and we didn’t get to try it last time.
The main swimming pool is so beautiful beyond words, the color is dark blue and the water is very crisp and clear. Surrounded by lush garden (but not too much), it is simply a heaven to relax. From this area, we can go right away to Beach Front Garden.
In the Beach Front Garden, we can see a spacious garden with some “beds” complete with flowing red curtains. Prior to our arrival here, we were offered to experience this activity called “Aphrodisiac Picnic in Bed”, an intimate dining experience set under the moonlight, started as the sunset goes down. It would have been awesome to be able to actually experience it, while in the end, we didn’t try it because it wasn’t included in our schedule. :X
Well, remember when I told you earlier about the concept of “eating wherever you want”? Hotel Tugu Bali takes this concept seriously and executes it very well, too. For example, for the breakfast of first day, we requested to have it in the small gazebo located between our suite and the beautiful Puri La Mayeur suite, the biggest suite in Hotel Tugu Bali surrounded by lotus pond. The gazebo is very small, and only has a table and 2 chairs, but it was perfect place to have breakfast. On the appointed time, 2 female staffs came and brought us the breakfast we ordered earlier by phone, and the experience was divine!
Since the breakfast menu has both set and a la carte, we opted for the set menu to refill our energies. I chose Sarapan Kampong (IDR 150,000) which is basically a traditional Indonesian set consists of fruits (sliced or juiced), one Indonesian dish for main course: I chose Nasi Buk Madura, a rice platter from Madura, served with young jackfruit curry, tender marinated beef, Javanese fried chicken, soybean croquette, coconut cracker, and Maduranese green sambal relish, sprinkled with grated coconut on top. For the dessert, it offers Bubur Ketan Hitam (black glutinous rice dessert), and selection of coffee and tea.
Although my choice was good, I would definitely recommend the Tugu Plus set (IDR 200,000), which consists of fruits (sliced or juiced), choice of cereals like muesli, cornflakes etc, homemade Tugu yoghurt, bakery basket, two eggs with choices of bacon, ham, sausage, OR banana pancake, french toast, waffle, and selection of coffee and tea.
You know, when it comes to food selection, I and Mr. K are such an opposite because he is more into Western food while I am totally Indonesian. And since he opted for this set in the first day, he couldn’t finish them all because even the bakery basket is so overloaded it was almost impossible to finish everything alone. But I must say everything in this set was delicious, especially the breads!
Another highlight during our stay in Hotel Tugu Bali is the spa experience, where we got to try their famous Mantra Massage, a 90 minutes Eastern Spirituality massage (IDR 795,000++/person), which uses virgin coconut oil that is warmed with a selection of herbal natural roots and spices. The oil then is massaged in a circular motion to the whole body, while the treatment also incorporates Eastern mantras, soft incantations that infiltrate into the spirit and believed by many to improve well being through the unconscious mind.
The Mantra Massage is usually performed at the specific spa room called Kamar Mantra, but too bad during our visit, there was a renovation going on nearby the room and to avoid noises, we experienced the Mantra Massage in another spa room called Kamar Molek Seger Waras. The treatment was fantastic, started by floral foot bath, and the relaxing massage, we felt asleep since the first 5 minutes. Honestly though, I had tried so many spa treatments in my life, but it’s safe to say this one is among the very best of my experiences. Special thanks to Ibu Widya & Ibu Nengah for the awesome 90 minutes!
Next to try is the High Tea, which is set up in the lobby verandah every afternoon from 4.30PM until 6PM. Since we were too lazy to go anywhere, we requested to have our High Tea in our room. Inspired by traditional markets in Indonesia, the set consists of many Jajanan Pasar, offering selection of local delicacies from all over Indonesia. The selection changes daily, so even if you stay longer there, you can always try many kinds of traditional Indonesian delicacies.
Staying at Hotel Tugu Bali really refreshed our bodies and souls, and there is nothing we can say except that we really enjoyed every moments we had there. It wasn’t just staying at a hotel, but we couldn’t help feeling grateful to be able to experience a stay in a place full of arts, culture, and history. It was an unfortunate thing that we didn’t get the hotel tour at all until the day we had to leave, because we believe if the tour was given, we could learn more about the things we see around the hotel and understand more about each items. Last but not least, an antique lover or not, we are sure staying at Hotel Tugu Bali will give you something new. That’s why we recommend it. Ciao!
** This review is written based on our stays on 29-31 May 2016.
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