The bumpy dirt lane to Hotel Tugu Lombok winds past emerald fields with cows and stands of palm trees.
Doubt bubbles up…
Does this unassuming entrance really lead to a luxury Lombok hotel with private pools? Possibly the best hotel in Lombok?
Spoiler alert! Main contents of this Hotel Tugu Lombok review
Hotel Tugu Lombok – Beautiful art and antiques
A temple whisperer? – About the Tugu Hotels creator
Tugu Lombok rooms and suites – Many boast private pools
Sire Beach Lombok – It’s one of the best beaches in Lombok!
Among the best places to stay in Lombok – See other reviews
Booking details – Freebies, rates, etc.
We eventually reach a striking colonial house surrounded by lily ponds.
It’s the resort’s reception.
Once rented to a Chinese family in Sumatra in the 19th century, it’s a priceless hardwood house.
We’re told it was moved – lock, stock and barrel – to the Indonesian island of Lombok to serve as the reception for Hotel Tugu Lombok.
Hotel Tugu Lombok: Unique. Remarkable. Romantic…
Indeed, the whole hotel, made up of an array of eclectic structures, turns out to be amazing.
Take the honeymoon villa.
Designed like an ancient local temple, it has a flower-shaped pool and private rooftop for dining by moonlight.
Inside, the bedroom features delicate Chinese embroideries and antiques from the Indonesian islands of Madura and Bali.
Decorating the walls are old Javanese prints detailing the adventures of Indonesian kings from the 11th to 14th centuries.
And in the hotel garden, there’s a 200-year old Chinese temple.
Saved from the 1894 Dutch attack on Lombok’s inhabitants and richly ornamented with Ching dynasty and Hindu carvings, this temple is now used for weddings.
As we quickly discover, Tugu Lombok’s buildings are filled with invaluable Indonesian art pieces.
Hotel Tugu Lombok ends up being one of the most remarkable and romantic hotels we’ve ever stayed in.
The private pools?
They’re simply icing on an already delectable resort.
A “temple whisperer”?
Tugu Lombok is the creation of Anhar Setjadibrata, a modern-day Renaissance man.
You could perhaps even call him a “temple whisperer.”
As a poor young medical student traveling through Indonesia, Anhar was saddened to see so many ancient shrines and local artifacts being recklessly tossed aside by his countrymen, to be replaced by pedestrian new things of convenience.
He started rescuing hundreds of stone Buddhas, wood carvings, shadow puppets, traditional musical instruments and paintings, historic photographs and even temples.
Over the years, he amassed a museum-worthy collection.
Then in 1989 – after reinventing himself first as a lawyer and later as a hotelier – he built Tugu Malang to showcase his treasures.
That was his first luxury boutique museum hotel – on Java.
Three other Tugu hotels on east Java, Bali and Lombok followed.
His Lombok hotel, with 37 individually decorated suites and villas strung along sugar-white Sire Beach, may just be his masterpiece.
Where is Sire Beach, Lombok, and the hotel?
Google Maps to the rescue here…
Tugu Hotel Lombok rooms and suites
To check in, we cross a wooden bridge over lotus ponds with splashing fountains and are then invited to plop down on beanbag cushions overlooking an infinity pool.
We’re given cold lemongrass scented facecloths and sign papers while sipping ginger-and-lemongrass juice.
And then it’s off to our room.
Bhagavat Gita Suites:
We’re booked into one of the beachfront villas called Bhagavat Gita suites.
A little garden outside our front door has a koi pond and tinkling fountain.
The villa itself features polished stone floors, a super-high ceiling (perhaps 20 feet high?), antique mahogany furniture and an enormous, ornately carved wood mirror.
We doubt other Lombok luxury hotels have magnificent four-poster beds like the one in our suite.
It’s almost the biggest bed we’ve ever slept in – so high off the floor that we have to use a wooden step to climb up on the bed.
Scarlet hibiscus blossoms are tucked into towels and sprinkled about lamps and on the bed.
We love all the other little personal touches too – candles, oil lamps, ear plugs, packets of mosquito cream (which we really don’t need), slippers and cotton robes, and plant leaves inscribed in silver with sweet welcome messages.
And what do we discover when opening the white French doors of our bedroom?
A private pool and canopied daybed, with views toward a huge swath of manicured lawn and beautiful Sire Beach beyond.
The big villas:
Want to really splurge?
The two most extravagant villas are Sang Hyang Nirvana and San Hyang Djiwo, at over 6,000 square feet in total size.
They feature larger private pools, a jacuzzi, spacious sundeck and a private garden where you can host functions (pre-wedding cocktail party?).
There are several other room types too at Tugu Lombok, some of which don’t have private pools.
Sire Beach: One of the best Lombok beaches
Okay, put your Ray-Bans on and let’s talk more about that beach.
Travelers are lured to Lombok by its beaches (and beautiful boutique hotels).
Tugu Lombok is spread out along Sire Beach – one of the best beaches in Lombok.
Sire Beach is also one of the prettiest beaches in the world that we’ve visited!
The beach is virtually private.
The only other non-guests we see are a handful of vacationers from neighboring, ultra-luxurious mega mansions.
On this pearl-white sandy beach, with lounge chairs and umbrellas spaced far apart, we can truly decompress in peace and tranquility.
Dining at the Tugu Lombok hotel
Our Hotel Tugu Lombok review would be incomplete without some comment on the food, right?
Every morning, we’re greeted with a palm leaf on which has been written in silver: “Dear Mr. and Mrs. Mucalov, enjoy your breakfast.”
And we do!
The thick yogurt with fruit is literally the best we’ve had anywhere!
For our coffee, we get addicted to the Java mocha – rich and creamy – made with real chocolate.
We don’t need to eat again until afternoon tea, served between 4:00 and 6:00 pm.
Tiny wooden chairs are set out on the lawn, making us feel the joy of being a child again.
There, we sample an array of savory onion tarts, mini chocolate cakes and Indonesian coconut jelly desserts to go with our tea or iced coffee.
One night, we dine on Sire Beach with our toes in the sand.
Tea candles, placed in a circle around our table and chairs, shed soft candlelight to make things just that more romantic.
The Indonesian food is delicious.
Best Lombok hotel?
Just so you know, we’re not the only ones gushing over this Lombok hotel with private pools.
It’s also garnered other rave reviews.
The hotel is a 2020 TripAdvisor “Travelers’ Choice” property. (And it was a “Top 25 winner” in 2018 in the “Most Popular Luxury Hotels in Indonesia” category.)
It’s also been rated one of the “world’s very best luxury hotels and resorts” by Forbes Traveler, listed among “haute spots” by Harpers Bazaar and called “one of the most impressive art hotels” by Millionaire Living.
Monuments that keep the past alive
Still, it’s the artistic design and architecture – and all those incredible antiques – that are the real “wow” feature at Hotel Tugu Lombok.
“Tugu” means “monument.”
As monuments to Indonesia’s rich cultural heritage, the Tugu Lombok and its sister Tugu hotels keep the past alive.
And they help ensure that the country’s precious treasures are no longer just cast aside and forgotten.
Booking details: If you stay at Tugu Hotel Lombok
A 30-minute complimentary welcome massage is included in your stay.
The breezy spa in a century-old temple is lovely – with a lava rock stone floor, gauzy red curtains and large wooden bowls of scarlet hibiscus.
You can borrow reef shoes for swimming (to protect your feet from corals at the edge of Sire Beach).
Nice! Rates include complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea each day, tropical fruits, a welcome drink and WiFi.
If you like modern high-tech hotels, with fancy lighting and big TVs, this Lombok luxury resort may not be right for you.
Hotel Tugu Lombok
Visiting Bali too?
There are many special things to do in Bali.
And there’s a Hotel Tugu Bali in Canggu, which we’ve also stayed at – and can also recommend highly!
Fancy a sailing trip on a luxurious Indonesia phinisi? Read about the Alila Purnama – sailing, diving and oh my, Komodo dragons!
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Photo credits: 8, 9, 11, 16, 19 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase | Remaining photos Tugu Lombok Hotel
We were invited to stay at this luxury Lombok hotel as media guests for review purposes. But we always keep the right to write what we like. (See more of our hotel reviews.)
About the authors
Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George Mucalov are the publishers of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents. See About.
Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, luxury hotel reviews, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, cruise reviews, insanely useful travel tips and more!
Ratna Djoko Pramono
Saturday 9th of June 2018
Such informative yet wonderfully arranged writing - truly well deserving of the award it won.
As a grateful and satisfied reader I would like to extend my gratitude to both of you for the favor you have done for the tourism industry of Indonesia and for Tugu hotel with your sincerely wonderful works and reviews.
Best Regards, Ratna Djoko Pramono
Janice and George
Saturday 9th of June 2018
Thank you -- we're blushing :-). It's always nice to hear from readers that they like our stories... Thank you again.
Wednesday 4th of November 2015
This would have made a lovely add on to my Bali trip recently, it looks spectacular - gorgeous honeymoon villa and I'm impressed with how white the sand is.
Sunday 1st of November 2015
I actually visited the Hotel TUGU in Malang, East Java, Indonesia - city where I lived for a year. They are all beautiful!
I'm so sad I missed the one in Lombok though. It looks incredible, like a living museum. Will have to take my honey there we go back to Indonesia!
Monday 2nd of November 2015
I stayed at Tugu Hotel in Lombok two years ago. It is truly unique with Asian artworks literally everywhere. The food, service and location were exceptional. It is also only a 25 minute boat trip to Gili islands which was great for snorkeling, lunching and being where the action is if you need a change from the serenity at Tugu. The Indonesian cooking lessons and meal after was a great experience. I would definitely go again. One caveat - I did not see any kids during my visit but I'm sure they would be welcome and enjoy the experience..
Irene S. Levine
Sunday 1st of November 2015
This looks like the kind of hotel that you could stay at for a month! So serene and lovely~
Friday 30th of October 2015
I wish I'd done noble things like rescuing religious artefacts when I was a med student ? but joking aside, this hotel looks absolutely blissful. I wish I'd had enough time on my trip to Bali to also travel to Lombok but I know exactly where I want to stay if I make it there and that honeymoon suite makes me want to go on a honeymoon all over again - it's so chic and natural whilst still seeming so romantic! You must have had such a wonderful stay there.
Janice and George
Friday 30th of October 2015
Tugu Lombok is absolutely one of our favorite hotels in the world! We could return in a heartbeat. The owner's daughter (now grown-up and a lovely young woman) has inherited her father's love of Indonesian antiques, and we spent some time with her in Tugu Bali, learning a little about her father and the history of the Tugu hotels - inspirational!