Guest post by Sarah Manglesdorf
Why You’ll Love Gili Eco Villas
Gili Eco Villas is located on the northern tip of Gili Trawangan, the busiest (and most raucous) of the three Gili islands. Its location is great for families as you’re positioned well away from the backpacker party scene than can get a bit bonkers during peak season. We visited in June and enjoyed the low season rates and relatively few other visitors.
As there are only seven villas, it’s a really peaceful and relaxing place to be. There’s great diving nearby if you’re a scuba enthusiast otherwise there’s little to haul yourself off your sun lounger for save for swimming and snorkelling. That said, we did hire a boat for the day and spotted dozens of turtles off Gili Meno. The layout of the property is well suited for families as the kids are free and safe to roam about while you sit on your veranda nursing a Bintang beer or two.
What I also really liked about the property is that they make a concerted effort to educate visitors on sustainable tourism. All their water has to be shipped across from Lombok, for example, so they do make guests aware of their environmental footprint. Most of the staff that looked after us were lovely and the manager in particular was great. We would definitely go back!
Why The Kids Will Love Gili Eco Villas
We had a really easy beach holiday at Gili Eco Villas with our three children aged 6, 4 and 2-years. My kids spent most of their days swimming and finding hermit crabs on the beach, which seemed to provide hours of entertainment.
The beaches on Gili Trawangan aren’t as picturesque as others in Indonesia; rising water temperatures and dynamite fishing have sadly decimated a lot of the coral. Our holiday became something of an environmental lesson for the kids, as we were able to show the impact of man on nature. Likewise, when we went snorkelling (you can hire snorkel gear nearby), we saw lots of sea turtles which was amazing but we also saw a lot of plastic bags floating in the water.
The property has bicycles for hire and we borrowed these until the kids threw them on the ground in protest at having to cycle on the soft sand! Other activities included a trip to the small turtle hatchery on the island and rides in the local cidomos (horse and carts) that my kids loved.
Gili Eco Villas Details
Gili Eco Villas is a complex of seven villas built upon a hectare of majestic land. It is the first eco-friendly villa on the island that is doing its utmost to preserve the island’s beauty and future. The seven villas (there are plans underway to build more) are built using recycled teak wood. The villas are divided into 1, 2 and 3 bedroom villas with AC.
Each bedroom features a canopied queen-sized bed, is furnished with reading lamps, a desk and chair, comes with a walk in wardrobe and air-conditioning. Each bathroom features a fun, fresh water open-air shower, natural stone walls, a glass washbasin, and a toilet. Bathroom amenities such as towels, soap, and toilet paper are provided. It’s worth remembering that all water has to be brought over from Lombok so keep your showers short!
The living area is furnished with rattan sofas and plush cushions. The dining area features a teak table that can comfortably sit up to 6 people. Kitchens in each villa come equipped with a modern gas stove, refrigerator, a basic range of utensils and tableware.
We took a 2-bedroom villa for our family of 5 and it worked perfectly for us. Villas 1 and 2 are toward the front of the property while villas 4 – 7 are positioned closer together further away from the pool. Villa 3 is the only villa that doesn’t have a pitched roof. The 3-bedroom villas (numbers 5,6 and 7) feature one bedroom downstairs and two bedrooms upstairs connected through a shared ensuite.
Best for Families: The best villas for families are numbers 1 and 2. We had villa 2 and it was great as it’s closest to the pool so you can sit on your deck and watch the kids swim at the same time. Baby cots can be provided free of charge subject to availability.
Extra beds are available for children under 12 years old at US$ 25 net per night including breakfast. Baby cots are free of charge and subject to availability. If you need these facilities, please request upon your booking. Babysitting can be arranged although it’s very informal.
The restaurant is open daily from 7am – 11pm and serves a range of Asian and Western food. The food was good when we visited although the menu here – and elsewhere – did get a little tiring (although my daughter was able to tell the difference between curries!).
Breakfast is included in the rates and is served wherever you like; we enjoyed ours on the beach at Gili Escobar, the hotel bar. Breakfast included eggs, pancakes, Lombok Kopi (coffee) and tea, fabulous fruit juices, nasi goreng and curry and rice.
The villas come equipped with a kitchen with basic equipment (one pot, one pan etc.). A shop nearby sells basics such as rice and milk and there’s a larger shop further inland.
For Kids: My six-year-old daughter ate curry and rice three times a day during our stay but for those kids who aren’t prepared to eat like the locals then pasta, sandwiches, steamed veggies, fish and chips and more are all available at the restaurant. The staff were very accommodating when we stayed.
Activities for Parents: Swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, local arts market, massages, manicures and facials (we visited the very good eXQisit Beach Bar for treatments, you can even have your feet nibbled by fish) and boat rides in a traditional bangka, we went with Denzel (who works at another hotel) who was excellent.
Activities for Kids: Swimming pool and sea, hunting for hermit crabs along the beach, boat rides, snorkelling, island tour by cidomo, horse riding (although the horses we saw looked skinny and quite flighty and we saw no riding helmets), visits to local NGOs that look after the welfare of the island’s horses, hair-braiding, sandcastle building and the TV ‘box’ that kept our kids entertained for hours.
AC, babysitting, common rooms, cots, doctors & hospitals (the health centre is 30 min away by cidomo), extra beds, inter-connecting rooms, kids’ swimming pool, laundry service, swimming pool, travel desk & excursions, wheelchair access, WiFi.
When to go:
The Gili islands are at their quietest during the months of February – April and November. These months traditionally coincide with the rainy season, which can see flooding and muddy roads making travel around the island difficult. Mid season generally falls in May, June and October and is an excellent time to visit – good weather and few crowds. High season is January, July, August, September and December when the island goes into full party mode – best avoided with little people.
Location & Travel:
Gili Eco Villas is located on the northern tip of Gili Trawangan Island. Gili Trawangan can be reached via either Lombok or Bali airports. From Lombok International it’s a 1.5 hr car ride to the boat ferry and from here a short boat ride across. The hotel will meet you at the boat dock and transport you to Gili Eco Villas via cidomo (horse and cart).