I just got back from almost three weeks in Bali. I will try to post some other reviews here but this one is my top priority.
After staying at a number of similarly priced lodgings -- mostly hotels, one villa -- all over Bali (in Ubud, Jimbaron, Nusa Lemobogan, Seminyak, Jimbaron, Legian), I have to say that the Hotel Tugu in Bali stands out for me as truly exemplary (and genuinely fabulous) in three critical respects:
1. The property is gorgeous. The buildings are lavish and richly and fancifully decorated -- but with no wrong notes, with great integrity and in (what to me seems to be) an authentic Balinese style. You enter a long wooden open air hallway to a gorgeous high-roofed lobby filled with antiques (get a tour of them!). The lobby must be thirty-forty feet high, held up by massive teak posts, with a thatched roof and dominated by an enormous Garueda statue and a low set performing arts stage. The lobby is intensely and (in the evening) darkly romantic -- in no way simply a place for coming and going. It is also is filled with actually usable chairs and tables and is a place you where you could spend hours just soaking up the atmosphere. (I did. You can take your meals anywhere on the hotel grounds you like. I liked the little tables in the lobby, which give you a wonderful view of the lobby itself and are set up against large wooden windows (often open) that overlook the pool and gardens and the ocean beyond. Folks you see staying at the hotel (not a lot, though, of course, I was there in February during the low season) seem kinda hip (and the few I met were indeed uniformly hip, even a bit glamorous). The rooms are the best I had in Bali -- beautiful textiles and furnishings, a lovely and very comfortable four post bed, a gorgeous private plunge pool, and a spectacular bath, the tub, shower and sink of which are partly outside, opening to a wonderful koi pond and a private, gated bit of garden.
2. The location. This part of the West coast is rapidly developing, with too much traffic and many new condos and villas coming on line. But it is less congested than better known beaches further south (Legian, Seminyak and Kuta). And inside the grounds of Hotel Tugu you will not notice any of the congestion and development elsewhere in Canggu. And you may not need to venture far into any of the rapidly developing surroundings. This is one of the few places I visited during three weeks in Bali where I was very happy to (largely) stay put. The massage on site is terrific -- as good as any I have had anywhere, expensive by "street price" standards in Bali, but a bargain compared to home (the US), and probably compared to other similar hotels in Bali. There is a world class surf break just fifty meters away from a gate by the pool (with rental boards and an easier beginner / intermediate break only a few minutes further walk south). South along the beach takes you (I am told) to a major temple, and beyond that to the beaches and hotels in Kerobokan and Seminyak. A short stroll north up the beach shows you an uglier side of Canggu (a terrible new sea wall and huge condo complex under construction, both invisible from Tugu) but you can probably soon forget all that as very quickly you get to a lovely sea-side temple and to a handful of places to eat, shop and drink along the water in Echo Beach. And if you do venture even further away from Hotel Tugu, there are close by -- by taxi or hotel driver-- lots of terrific places for shopping and spa services in nearby Kerobokan and Seminyak. (Careful about traffic at rush hours.) I liked the shops on Jl Tangkuban Perah -- what Lonely Planet calls the "street of amazement" -- near the Kerbokan jail; try "Andy Brothers" for figurines, baskets, textiles and other things from Borneo, and try "Umba Art" (no 235) for sculpture, carvings and other things from Samba.
3. The service. I saved the best for last. Many places in Bali have friendly, helpful and responsive service. But Hotel Tugu (in my experience) is stellar, even by Bali's high standards. In the spa, the restaurant (great food!, lots of interesting looking special meals/events you can order) and among the hotel's managers and staff I felt truly welcomed. My massage therapist (a Balinese dancer since she was three) was great -- as were the people who helped at meals. Uchi at the front desk and my driver on my last day were especially helpful and kind (repeatedly contacting my airline for me as I navigated a trip to the US consulate, to Indonesian immigration and through a three and a half hour traffic jam that almost caused me to miss my flight home.) I cannot say enough good things about these folks!!! Even if the location and grounds were not wonderful (though they are), the Hotel Tugu staff alone makes me anxious to come back -- and eager to try the three other Tugu hotels (in Lombok, Blitar and Malang).
Go!! You won't regret it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Nestled on a beautiful pristine sunset beach Hotel Tugu Bali is almost an experience too surreally beautiful to be true. Built upon a passion for the romantic art, history and culture of Bali, a vast collection of Indonesian antiques adorned the hotel, blending pure tropical luxury with an out-of-the-ordinary ambience. 30 Minutes from the airport, 15 minutes from Seminyak, Tanah Lot Temple and one of Southeast Asia's best golf courses. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Tugu Bali Hotel
- Tugu Bali Canggu
- Hotel Tugu Bali Canggu