I’ve just come back from a perfect 3 weeks of holidaying in the Indonesian islands of Bali and Lombok. I’m back with a bucketful of very happy memories, a lot of foodie inspiration, and a strong tan! Lombok is still a pretty much tourist-free Island. It’s east of Bali and
Lombok is still a pretty much tourist-free Island. It’s east of Bali and west of Sumbawa, and is famous for its beautiful mount Rinjani, scenic valleys, stunning rice paddies, white sandy beaches, waterfalls and its surf-scene. Incredibly picturesque and still relatively untouched by the masses which makes it wonderfully affordable and also the perfect time to visit, before it’s spoiled by tourism.
We stayed at the beautiful boutique hotel, Qunci villas in the north west of Lombok, on the beach in Mangsit. These spectacular villas bring together art, comfort, style and culture. If visiting Lombok, this is undoubtedly the must-stay place to stay in the north of the island. The staff are friendly, villa’s roomy, spa excellent, and the 3 main huge infinity pools, surrounded by green Indonesian stones are a pristine viewing platform to rest and rejuvenate with views of the Bali sea.
The rooms are filled with flowers and have gorgeous terraces to sit out on, and the bathrooms are exceptional, outdoors but sheltered so you have the ability to have your power shower under a sky full of stars. The lack of pollution means there appear to be more stars than sky. Each room has its own artwork that was collected and commissioned by the owner, from different Indonesian islands and across the world. There are even works by Hennie Meyer. From the Qing reception to the Qamboja spa, the entire place has an artsy ambience which really sets this hotel apart; there’s even an art corridor linking together each part of the hotel!
Breakfast is a wonderful affair, which I got particularly excited over! With around 10 different options from an a la carte menu, I much prefer this to buffets where you inevitably take too much and not everything tastes so fresh and ends up wasted. At Qunci we tried the French viennoiserie: pastries, baguettes, and buttery croissants with homemade local jams made of pineapple, papaya
and even snake fruit. Gorgeous fresh juices; watermelon, papaya, lime and orange amongst many. My favourites were the Mexican: huevos rancheros on crispy tortilla style flatbreads with punchy spices. We also tried the Indonesian: classic nasi goreng, fried rice with egg and Indonesian spices, as well as the health kicker: muesli, fresh fruit and yoghurt, washed down with a fresh fruit juice.
All pretty wonderful. We rotated between dining on our private terrace and each of the two hotel restaurants, Quali and Quah. I only wish I had more pictures to share with you but truly mesmorised by the place I was so relaxed I forgot to take photos (terrible blogger behaviour, I know!) These were both gorgeous outdoor restaurants, one specialising in Asian food and the other Mediterranean. Beautifully landscaped with tables built out of single blocks of tamarind wood, makes for a pretty great dining environment.
The people at Qunci are just lovely – whether it be from making a juice concoction up for us, helping us find missing reading glasses or booking out-of-the-norm excursions, they were consistently reliable and professional but more than they just went the extra mile in every way. When noticing our mosquito bites they bought over local red flower oil to provide relief, they were even kind enough to make takeaway wicker baskets for us to picnic from – a great relief to tuck into when we were spending the day seeing monkeys, driving through hilly valleys and swimming in cooling waterfalls, especially as we had arrived during Ramadan when the locals were fasting.
Lombok is well worth a trip to – see the endless rice paddies and tobacco farms, the beautiful waterfalls, beaches, friendly people and the azure waters of Lombok and the Gili Islands; you won’t regret it.
Qunci Villas: Jalan Raya Mangsit, Senggigi, Lombok – www.quncivillas.com