If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen that I have recently been away in Indonesia. We spent most of the trip exploring beautiful Bali but also managed to squeeze in a few days on the Gili Islands, which are a collection of three small islands found just off the coast of Lombok. I have got lots of posts planned about different aspects of the trip but first up is a review of the Gili Islands hotel we stayed at during our time on Gili Air, Slow Gili Air.
On the map
The island of Gili Air is tiny – as in you could walk around the whole thing in about an hour and a half – so nothing is very far from anywhere but Slow Gili Air, is based closer to the east side of the island. This is the slightly quieter side but is also where you can see the best sunsets! Slow can be found about 250m from the beach down a dusty track called Shady Lane.
Designed to reflect the chilled and tranquil feel of the island itself, Slow Gili Air is the perfect place to get a real sense of island life. Slow isn’t just in the name – but also forms the whole concept of the villas which are designed to encourage people to slow down and take some time out from the constant hustle and bustle of modern day life. Earthy timbers, bamboo walls and soft white linens create a setting which brings you back to nature whilst still allowing you to enjoy a little luxury.
Slow Gili Air is home to 10 villas, some two bedroom and some one bedroom, all of which are built with their own private swimming pool. As well as this, each villa has it’s own kitchenette, terrace and coconut garden along with an outdoor bathroom. This was one of my personal highlights – there is something amazing about having a hot shower in the great outdoors!
A huge, and very comfy, bed complete with a beautiful white canopy is the centre piece of the rooms and beach towels and wicker hats adorn the open plan wooden shelves to finish off the laid back island vibe.
Wine and Dine
One thing you can’t miss at Slow is the breakfast. Each day you can choose from a selection of super tasty dishes including The English, The Australian or The Gili Special which covers everything from full english to fruit pancakes with a generous helping of Nutella. Every morning this is brought to you in the villa at whatever time you choose along with their juice of the day (the mixed juice was delicious!) and a fresh cafetiere of coffee.
Later in the day they have a small but sufficient selection of snacks and main options that you can order and a selective cocktail list is also available. One thing to remember however, is that as they are a small boutique resort they haven’t got the resources of a big hotel so it’s best to plan in advance if you know you will be hungry as it can take a little while (order 3 cocktails at a time – that kind of thinking).
If you really don’t fancy moving all day there is also the option for the team to come and cook your own BBQ in your villa’s garden.
When you get to Slow Gili Air the team will give you their own annotated map of the island, with lots of hints and tips of where to go and highlighted places that they recommend including restaurants, bars and yoga studios. This is SO useful – we basically used it as our bible during our time on the island so make sure you pack that with you when you venture out. You can also hire bikes from the resort for just 70,000 IDR (roughly £4) for 24 hours – which is a great way to get around the main parts of the island.
Slow Gili Air also partner with Gili Travel Agency who offer a whole host of fun things to do during your time on The Gilis so be sure to take advantage of some of the activities they have on offer. Our favourite was their private snorkel tour with local guide Madi. I am planning to do a separate post on that later on, but you can check out some of my Instagram pictures from our morning with Madi here.
To complete their offering of ultimate relaxation, Slow Gili Air also have their onsite Slow Spa which offers a range of treatments including massages, facials and even beauty treatments. Steve and I tried out the Signature Slow Massage which was amazing – so good that Steve went back for another a couple of hours later! Although the massages are more expensive than others you can find on the island, the beautiful setting of the spa, the extra touches such as the welcome and leaving drinks and the personal service make it worth the cost and it is still super cheap compared to a western massage – working out at roughly £18 for an hour.
Slow Gili Air is the perfect place to chill out and enjoy your own little bit of island bliss whilst still taking advantage of the things to do and see that Gili Air has to offer. The laid back vibe is also reflected in the team there who have a great balance of being on hand when you need them without intruding on your break. If you are looking for somewhere to really experience a taste of Gili life, this Gili Island hotel has it all.
£££: From £170 RRP per night
Address: Shady Lane, Gili Air, Lombok
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*I received a complimentary stay in exchange for a review, however all opinions are my own.