May 26, 2024

Travel In Bali

Travel & Tour Tips

New island resort offers nature with a luxe twist

New island resort offers nature with a luxe twist

Visitors to the Indonesian island of Lombok in the 1970s were mostly dedicated surfers, attracted by the delights of its unspoiled coast and distinct culture.

In the 1980s, other tourists began arriving for low-cost, low-key holidays. Since then, resorts and associated hospitality ventures have gradually multiplied.

Still, Lombok generally has remained remarkably less developed than its neighbouring island, Bali, which lies a mere 90-minute fast ferry away (the slow can take up to six hours), with only Gili Trawangan in the Lombok-satellite Gili archipelago offering anything like the party scenes of Bali.

But the Indonesian government has clocked the 4739-square-kilometre island’s potential, building, for a start, a new airport (2011) and more recently, the controversial Mandalika International Street Circuit and surrounding resort area. The UN accused the development of human rights violations, allegations the Indonesian government has denied. The first MotoGP Race was held on the track last year and is on again in October 2023.

Lombok, population 3.9 million is perceived by tourism authorities as having a visitor accommodation dearth with the Indonesian government aiming to remedy that as soon as possible.

But meanwhile it’s still very much possible to experience old Lombok, even if it’s with a luxe twist.

And Guling Bay isn’t far from touristy Kuta Lombok but miles away in terms of experience. It’s an as-yet little developed spot that puts a twinkle in a surfer’s eye for its reef breaks.

Less than two kilometres from here well-travelled Hong Kong-born sisters Valia and Claire Gontard have created Somewhere Lombok, a luxurious yet nature-focused resort with a restaurant, spa, gorgeous infinity pool and 20 villas, each with their own mini-plunge pool.

“Our Indonesian roots brought us back to Lombok to create a place that combines our passion for design, authentic experiences, and travel,” the sisters told Design Hotels, the accommodation collective of which Somewhere is a member.

“Our grandpa was born and raised on the island and is the reason we discovered Lombok in the first place. We completely fell in love with this island and its people and are so thrilled to be able to honour him by starting our first project together, here, in his home.”

In collaboration with a collective of Hong Kong-based designers, SW Design, Eight Partnership, Studio Amal and Balinese environmental engineering consultancy, Mantra, the sisters conceived a property with sustainability as a priority.

Key features include high-thermal-performance building materials, natural ventilation and reflective building finishes. There are also onsite facilities for composting and harvesting rainwater as well as greywater recycling, important on an island where the freshwater supply is stressed.

That gives guests some peace of mind to relish the surfing – or the fishing, hiking, rafting, paragliding, kite surfing, and mountain biking the area invites. Though they can always just kick back and enjoy the views. See designhotels.com