Hotel Tugu is a tranquil and luxurious beachfront property in the ancient village of Canggu, Bali. Adjacent to paddy fields and a short distance from the sacred Batu Balong Temple. Hotel Tugu is the perfect base to explore the local area from, however I must say once you arrive in its lush surroundings there is a fair chance you may never want to leave.
The hotels founder Mr Anhar Setjadibrata is a quintessential 20th Century renaissance man whose passion for Indonesian art & history is evident throughout the hotel. As the owner of one of Bali’s largest collections of fine Indonesian art, hotel guests are fortunate to view an exclusive collection of historic Javanese & Balinese artworks, antiques and significant south east Asian cultural artifacts. Effectively the hotel is an art museum, beautiful pieces are majestically presented onsite, most notably in the Bale Agung (lobby), the Wantilan Agung (grand ceremonial house), in the custom themed suites and also the onsite gallery.
Faultless! Reception staff were well presented, professional and of course friendly. Check-in was a breeze, I had very few requests during my stay since everything was prearranged accordingly and catered for before my arrival. Everybody was exceedingly warm, polite and knowledgeable from the restaurant waiters, to the spa therapists right though to the private airport transfer driver. I really liked the way the staff were instantaneously available to meet any of your needs without being intrusive, in fact it seemed as though they would only appear as required, as if on a pre-meditated cue. A stay at Hotel Tugu is in essence a private affair, although the grounds are large, guest capacity is relatively small hence you can easily not pass another person for hours. The staff here inherently acknowledge this and act accordingly. 5 star service indeed.
There are are a total of 21 suites and villas. The Dedari Suites (ground floor) all have a private plunge pool & open air bathroom while the Rejang Suites (second floor) feature a private spa with a unique sunken tub and engaging ocean views. All suites have a traditional and yet luxury feel. The beds are divinely comfortable, the mini bars provide ample choice (I enjoyed the local Monggo chocolate in personal record speed) and authentic exotic artwork adorns the walls. Each suite is private and quiet. Ideal for those wanting to unwind and escape, they definitely appeal to couples (did I mention romance already) however a solo traveler would be exceedingly impressed with the rooms overall design and vibe too. The hotel strives to be eco-friendly by implementing sustainable practices where possible, which garners them a green tick from me.
The Puri Le Mayer villa is a standout place of true decadence. Inviting and intricate in detail, it is affectionately known as the honeymoon suite. The villa is dedicated to the passionate love story between Belgian painter Adrien-Jean Le Mayer and his Indonesian model/muse the famous Legong dancer Ni Polok. It features a large red canopied living room, semi-outdoor bath, private balcony, plunge pool and a sensual bedroom complete with a king size bed fit for romance of the royal kind. A small bridge connects the villa to an intimate dining setting lit only by candlelight and torches. With breathtaking views of the oceans waves and floating above a native lotus pond this villa really is magic.
My personal favourite place of rest is the Walter Spies Pavilion, dedicated to legendary artist Walter Spies who lived in Indonesia bewteen 1924-1927. Here you will find a myriad of the artists personal memorabilia including his old camera, handwritten letters, and of course his paintings. In contrast with the passionate Puri Le Mayer villa the Walter Spies Pavilion is romantically subtle and characterized by the art deco era of central Java. With a private garden, dining area, outdoor bath and private plunge pool it truly is a slice of paradise in the heart of Canggu.
JI At Bale Sutra 1706 is an onsite restaurant & bar. The contemporary Japanese/Chinese fusion cuisine is a commendable example of fine dining in a casual and yet classy atmosphere. It also hosts a rooftop bar with ocean views and specialized sake bar. There is an extensive choice of fine wine available (usually so hard to find in south-east Asia) and the cocktails are next level goodness.
Interesting to note is that you can enter JI at Bale Sutra 1706 via 3 separate entrances.
- The Gate of Heaven – a very low gate, one has to bend down while entering to show respect to the gods.
- The Gate of Hell – a 4 metre tall door with a pair of mythological guards.
- The Gate of Love – here you are fronted by the 18th Century statue of the Gooddess of love and Mercy ‘Dewi Gwan Yin’.
In addition to the above you can also dine in the Bale Ajung (lobby). In the middle of this room is a gob smacking 45 metre high Garuda statue carved from a 120 year old tree trunk hence the ceilings are exceptionally high. Massive wooden pillars are topped with giant boma carvings – a mythical creature said to protect the village from bad spirits. It is a grand room in every sense of the word. The ocean view restaurant here boasts a 150 seating capacity and features all manner of menus including Javanese, Seafood, Balinese and Gourmet Continental.
The evening I visited I was treated to a traditional banquet dinner and the Barong Dance Story show. One of the oldest dances in Bali it effectively narrates the battle between good and evil. A classic example of the Balinese acting out mythology via dance & as a result history and myth are blended on stage before your eyes in a bold flourish of costumes and high energy performance. Not to be missed!
Hotel Tugu at Canggu has several spa venues to select from. There are outdoor garden settings available in an alfresco treatment hut. An etheral spa treatment room where you can escape the everyday and attain body bliss at the hands of some truly gifted therapists and in-room options are available too.
The spa menu offers a broad range of treatments originating from select cultural backgrounds such as Javanese, Hindu, Japanese and Balinese. Different cultures have different therapeutic practices for both body and mind, by choosing a treatment aligned with your needs you will invariably open yourself up to another realm of holistic healing. What’s not to like?
At Hotel Tugu you can definitely enjoy a world class wellness experience. I can personally verify this as I was fortunate enough to have the signature Kama Mantra treatment conducted by a mature Hindu priestess no less. Right on sunset I was guided into a room of, well, text book serenity. I am told the treatment is inspired by Hindu mantras – a multi faceted expression of enlightened awareness achieved through a verbal meditation an incantation. It was seriously a transcendental experience to have warmed aromatherapy oils poured and then expertly blended into my skin.
The priestess held perfect pressure and poise and though I had no idea what the Hindu mantras she softly chanted were – apparently my body understood. I left feeling light as a feather, listening to the waves rolls in, blissfully unaware that soon I too would find romantic pleasure at Hotel Tugu. But that’s another story.
What really puts this hotel into my ‘most memorable’ category is its ability to deliver an authentic Indonesian experience, steeped in traditional culture whilst maintaining the highest degree of luxury. Nowadays that’s something that most modern hotels on the beautiful island of Bali lack. Hotel Tugu’s calming surroundings provide an incredibly peaceful atmosphere and I stand by my claim that it is one of Bali’s most romantic hotels. The building itself and the expansive yet intimate grounds naturally emanate a purposeful sense of romance. It was here I found a somewhat tangible soulful experience. An experience I didn’t know I was truly seeking until I was immersed in it and one that will stay with me long since my return. Hotel Tugu claims to be the Art, Soul and Romance of Indonesia and I for one wholeheartedly agree.
KEY ATTRACTIONS & ACTIVITIES:
- A heavenly wedding venue – planners available to create a flawless western or traditional wedding in either a casual or formal setting.
- Traditional cooking classes.
- World class surfing beach at your doorstep.
- Close proximity to an abundance of hip venues such as Betelnut Cafe, The Shady Shack, Deus Cafe and Finn’s beach club.
- Wellness activities including; yoga, craniosacral healing, reiki and tai-chi.
For further information including rates and availability please contact the hotel direct. Note: Tugu Hotels have several other properties, restaurants and exotic spas in prime locations including Lombok, East Java and Jakarta.
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