Have just returned after 10 days lolling, snorkelling, reading and sipping at The Reef. What a location! As wide travellers, I think this is one of the best locations we have vacationed at, having such wonderful snorkelling at your immediate doorstep is an incomparable treat. The island being tiny, it is a holiday, not a travel destination, but it is a wonderful place to loll and relax.
The lumbungs are very comfortable, airy and well set out. The appointments are thoughtful, and the ample storage made it easy to unpack and settle in. Hot (most of the time) fresh water showers from water shipped to the island daily were appreciated, as was the brilliant local staff who were happy to accommodate all requests efficiently and with a smile.
The restaurant food was consistently good (if a little boring after awhile, however there are plenty of others nearby to explore - some with brilliant, cheap local food) and the staff were happy to bring your food and drinks to your lumbung to eat on your verandah if you didn't feel like putting in your ear plugs to dine in the restaurant - the choice, and volume of music was often unbearable! After 10 days, we were so, so sick of the doof doof music! It may sound minor, but the lumbungs being thatched have no sound proofing, when the volume was up it was impossible to escape that mind-numbing beat, and we felt sorry for anyone staying closer to the restaurant. On one occasion, I asked the Aussie management to turn it down - she simply declined, saying that it was happy hour, and why didn't we join them? Mind you - there was no one there, and the music seemed to be for their own benefit! They seem to not notice that there clientele aren't back packers, and they are most certainly not paying back packer prices! The music was a common complaint amoungst guests, and not in keeping with the atmosphere of the place. It was a relief when the Aussie management had days off, and the music (and the volume) reverted to something more sedate.
Although the lumbungs themselves are comfortable, they offer no privacy and are quite close together. From the verandahs, each conversation is audible, and when you retreat upstairs, you can hear every word spoken from the lumbung next door if they are upstairs at the same time - really annoying, and you feel as though you are intruding on each other's privacy.
The Reef offers airport pick up, but make sure that you confirm details again and again unless you want to be left stranded as we were at Denpasar with the driver waiting for us at Lombok. We spent frustrating hours and a wasted day trying to find out what was going on, plus the cost of accommodation in Bali. When we finally arrived at Gili Meno under our own steam, no-one amoungst the disjointed management wanted to take any responsibility (even though I had the email which clearly gives the flight number, and another which states Denpasar) and we barely got an apology, let alone any compensation or the refund of the night's pre-paid accommodation.The situation was complicated by the fact that we had booked through Agoda, and initial contact re airport pickup was made through them. Before we left home, I had repeatedly tried to contact The Reef to confirm pick-up, however the phone number listed by Agoda is incorrect. Agoda finally prompted management to make email contact with me, which they did and an airport pick-up was arranged. Agoda also provided another phone contact, which was never answered - including while we were stranded at the airport! The whole situation was handled unprofessionally and each member of The Reef management merely blamed the other. To add insult to injury, when we finally arrived, the flippant Aussie check-in woman who greeted us seemed not to have noticed that we had been missing - and they only have 10 bungalows! It seemed that every issue was met with the standard response of "we still settling in".
Hopefully Chakra will get these management issues sorted out soon, as it truly is a beautiful location on a wonderfully laid back island.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Karma Reef at Gili Meno offers an unforgettable vacation experience. Everyone should experience life on a tropical island at least once in their lifetime - where there is nothing to do but eat, drink, sleep, read, walk, swim, snorkel and relax. No hassles, no motor cars, no telephone (except in an emergency) and far from the tourist hordes. Throw in endless stretches of white sandy beaches, one of the world's most beautiful coral reefs, and magnificent sunrises and sunsets, and you have "paradise." If this sounds like a holiday that appeals to you then the Royal Reef Resort on Gili Meno is the place to go. Just getting there is a memorable holiday experience in itself. Located northwest of the Indonesian island of Lombok, Gili Meno is reached by sea or air from Jakarta or Bali. On arrival at Mataram airport in Lombok the choice is yours as to whether you want to take the drive along the spectacular coastline, or to go up and over the mountain through the monkey forest, then back down to Bangsal harbour for the 30 minute boat crossing to the sandy white beaches of Gili Meno. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Karma Reef Gili Meno, Gili Islands