My adventure in Bali lasted just ten days so I was constantly on the move, eager to see as much of the island as possible. Most of the hotels I stayed in on my journey were luxury resorts or villas but my accommodation in Canggu was completely different. Staying at Tugu Hotel felt more like renting a private room in a museum full of Indonesian treasures. There were curiosities round every corner – just waiting to have their stories told.
The hotel was founded by an antiquarian who now owns the biggest collection of fine Indonesian art and cultural antiquities in Indonesia. Today, his artefacts are housed exclusively in his beautiful boutique hotels so that his guests can see them. It’s a well kept secret and, if I’m honest, I would quite like to keep it that way so let’s just keep this one between you and me!
The hotel was built on a secluded spot on the shoreline of Batu Bolong but in the past ten years surfers and backpackers have started to travel to the beaches of Canggu in search of adventure. It’s not quite made its way on to the mainstream tourism map but it’s rapidly expanding so each week there’s a new beach bar or smoothie shack opening. If you want to stay somewhere vibrant then Canggu is definitely the place for you. You can read more about my favourite hangouts in this hipster’s haven in my blog post here.
After exploring Canggu I returned to the hotel to have a productive afternoon. The waves crashing against the sandy shoreline and the quirky character of the city had given me lots of inspiration so I simply had to sit down and put pen to paper. The delicious iced coffee, reliable internet and comfy furniture by the pool made it my dream office space. I could have spent days sitting in that tropical paradise tapping away at my keyboard and sipping iced coffee in my bikini. If I ever plan on writing a book I will be booking a stay at Tugu!
Whether I was relaxing or working someone was always nearby to offer me more coffee, a cold towel or some food . I refuelled with poached eggs which were served with potatoes, chorizo and all the spices that Indonesian cooking is so well known for. After an afternoon of writing it was time to shower in the outdoor bathroom and walk to the nearby beach bars for a drink – margaritas anyone?
Despite the comfy four poster bed jet lag got the bed of me and I woke up early at Tugu. To pass the time I wandered through the hotel searching for antiques then dreaming up romantic stories that might be hidden behind them. Each suite is separated by winding stone paths overgrown with lush tropical foliage so it was easy to get lost on the hunt for artefacts.
The service was just as authentically Balinese as the hotel’s art collection. Everyone was friendly, polite but not too great at English. I would, however, say that this was a fair compromise for the traditional experience you get at Tugu. Other resorts I have visited on my trip to Bali had staff with exceptional English but they lacked the charm that you can only get from a boutique hotel.
If you want to stay somewhere modern and luxurious then maybe Tugu isn’t for you. It doesn’t have the ‘polished’ feel that a western hotel chain might do but its ‘rough around the edges’ atmosphere and curiosities round every corner certainly charmed me.
Each morning we could have breakfast wherever we wanted, whenever we wanted it. We had the choice of eating at our villa, the restaurant, the poolside or the beach front lawn. With such spectacular sea views in Canggu we picked up a menu and walked to the beach. Looking out on to the Indian Ocean from an 18th century antique day-bed was dreamlike!
The Tugu set breakfast was served with a fresh fruit platter, pastries, muesli, yoghurt, banana pancakes, juice and coffee. It was an absolute feast and certainly got us ready for a day of adventure. On our last night we went to this same spot to watch the sunset – the crimson Canggu sky was unforgettable!
Staying at Tugu fulfilled the art-lover in me as everything about the hotel brought to life the soul and culture of Indonesia’s yesteryears. If you want to stay somewhere authentic in the hipster’s paradise that is Canggu then I can’t recommend Tugu highly enough. However, I must warn you – you won’t want to leave! You can browse the accomodation and book a room here: www.tuguhotels.com/hotels/bali