On an island nation that is world renowned for its exotic luxury and unparalleled hospitality, there is one name that all other hotels hold deference to: Tugu. The Indonesian word for monument, Tugu is also the namesake for a small collection of museum quality hotels and restaurants started by proprietor Anhar Setjadibrata that span throughout some of the most beautiful destinations that Indonesia has to offer.
The Tugu Bali weaves beauty, cultural identity, deep history and breathtaking richness into an experience that rewards the guest with an opportunity to not only idle in luxury but to participate in stories of legend and romantic narratives that have been kept alive since the 1940’s.
Upon arriving at the Tugu Bali (via the hotel’s vintage Mercedes), you will be hushed into awe by the magnificence of your grand entrance into a virtual temple of priceless Balinese and Javanese artifacts and design. The labyrinth of a property incorporates the aromatics of ginger and lemongrass in moats that blossom with lotus flowers. The cathedral-like lobby will stop you in your tracks. A giant Gunita (over 25 feet and 10 tons) carved from a single, 120 year old tree looms front and center, holding court upon the many antiquities and treasures of the Indonesian cultural legacy. You will be hard pressed not to linger over all the artifacts in the main lobby and the adjoining spaces that pay homage to tea, cuisine, relaxation, and history.
Lingering on the sandy edges of the Indian Ocean, the Tugu Bali’s accommodation magnificence crescendos in a manor floating on a natural lotus pond. The pavilion was built in homage to a romance between the Belgian painter Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur de Merprès, who made Bali his home in 1932, and the model of his paintings, the famous, beautiful Legong dancer Ni Polok. Some of the suite’s furnishings are originals of Le Mayeur, inherited from Ni Polok, and the rest were crafted by a blind carver, nearly a relic himself, who used to be employed by the couple back in the 1940’s. There is a large, red-canopied-living room, a romantic bedroom, a semi-outdoor bath, a long balcony, a plunge pool and a sundeck for two.
Bridges splay out over the glittering pools, connecting the manor Puri Le Mayeur is connected to the rest of the property, as well as an intimate dining hut for two. The small gazebo floats alone above the lotus pond, only lit by torches and candles where you can watch the crimson sunsets over the Indian Ocean while listening to the surf break on Canggu beach. No two rooms are exactly alike; however, all have exotic luxuries such as oversized beds with scattered fresh petals at nights, silvered sunken baths, private plunge pools, spa area, homemade natural amenities and much more.
Should you choose to stray into the undiscovered, let the path less traveled by lead you to Lombok, where the white-sand beaches are yours for discovery and the roads weave around staggering hills that sweep from the sea up into lush, deep green jungles. Lombok, also the name for one of the spiciest of the Indonesian peppers, feels like a secret kept only for you and the Tugu Lombok is your ultimate reward for unlocking it.
Set down a long, dirt road that winds through the jungle, you arrive to a massive property that spans a length of a quietly lapping half-moon bay, and tucks you into a world of exoitc luxury. Like all the Tugus, the property incorporates Indonesian relics and legend that sweep across with a grandeur that mesmerizes.
Each day, Tugu guests are treated to a traditional Indonesian “High Tea” of local delicacies that will treat you to a delicious introduction to the sweets and savories of the culture. The ceremonial snack includes the choice of a myriad of teas, but we recommend trying the local coffee, which you order by region, each reflecting the personality of the Indonesian Island it hails from (“Coffee Bali” is smooth and rich, while “Coffee Lombok” is strong and intense).
An added thrill of the daily ritual is that guests may choose to have their tea brought to them anywhere on the property: canopy bed on the beach; floating pavilion; hidden garden; poolside; or even your private room. It serves as a great excuse to explore and indulge in the intricate beauty that awaits discovery within every Tugu.
– Jeffery Owens and Ava Fedorov