3-bedroom Villas in Lombok, Indonesia

Lombok, Bali’s beautiful next-door neighbour, rarely receives the attention she deserves. Although there are only 35km of sea between these two islands, the physical and cultural distinctions are considerable. Towering mountains, mighty waterfalls, pristine white-sand beaches, magnificent coral reefs, pearl encrusted shores, a unique Sasak culture and tranquillity are among Lombok’s many charms.

In general, Lombok entices the more adventurous travellers who have, perhaps, already explored Bali and are hungry to journey further afield. The island is also a haven for those in search of peace and quiet. A visit to Lombok is an opportunity to explore a natural paradise, trek the Rinjani National Park, enjoy some fantastic diving and snorkelling, surf some of the best waves in Indonesia, and encounter a traditional, rural way of life exposing a fascinating integration of Muslim and Hindu cultures. Visitors are welcomed at the splendid Sasak festivals and Hindu ceremonies, and the island produces some remarkable handicrafts. In the tiny villages artisans can be seen at work creating textiles, baskets and pots.

Predictions in the early ‘90s that Lombok was following fast on the heels of Bali in terms of tourism were never actually realised. Likewise it is a misconception to view Lombok as the Bali of 20 years ago, comparisons are inevitable but contrasts are marked and the two islands differ in almost every respect.

The beaches in Lombok are beautiful. The roller-coaster road hugs the dramatic coastline around cool coconut groves, sweeping bays and towering headlands. Although there are a few luxury hotels and villas in the area north of Senggigi, huge expanses of Lombok’s shores are totally undeveloped with just a few small villages dotted inland. Many of the beaches are festooned with candy-coloured jukung. These traditional canoe-shaped fishing vessels are crafted from a single hollowed out tree trunk, with bamboo outriggers and a distinctive prow decorated and shaped like a marlin’s head. Some of the island’s most spectacular coastal scenery can be found on the southern shores. Windswept sandy beaches and picturesque bays are separated by headlands and awesome rocky outcrops. The glorious crescent-shaped beaches of Lombok’s Kuta (often confused with Bali’s Kuta) and Tanjung Aan are famous for their surf breaks, and when the tide is out, the bays turn into shallow pools of turquoise water.

In October 2011, Lombok's long awaited Bandara International Airport opened near the township of Praya, about 40km south of Lombok's capital, Mataram, and approximately a two-hour drive from the north-west of the island, which is home to most of Lombok's luxury private villas. Although this new airport currently (Jan 2013) only offers international flights from Singapore (Silkair) and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Air Asia), regular connecting flights from Bali's Denpasar Airport take only 25 minutes.

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The Anandita

The Anandita

Indonesia » Lombok » Northwest Lombok » Tanjung

Anandita is exactly what a ‘destination villa’ should be.  It was lovely to be surrounded by calm seas, very comfortable lodgings and a team of staff who really know what they are doing.  Everything is laid on and we really had no desire go out, feeling so relaxed and content that all we did was swim, eat and sleep in the sun, with a little bit of volleyball and billiards thrown in for good measure.  The beach is ultra safe making it a great place for children to paddle and play; we felt that families would love this place given the choice of activities, and the room layout and bed configuration.  That said, the rooms would work equally well for four couples.

Something that really impressed us was the way the staff stopped what they were doing when we invited them to make up the numbers for a game of volleyball. It is rare to find a villa where the owner has encouraged his staff to go the extra mile to please guests in this way.  To quote from the visitors’ book, “The staff are truly the heart of Anandita”.  The kitchen produces some fine meals, with the emphasis on fresh fish and local produce - but remember that (if you wish to order from the suggestion menu) you need to give a bit of notice when ordering your meals or making your grocery list as the villa is a long way from the nearest shops.  An easy alternative is to opt for the all inclusive meal package offered at the villa which includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea.

Nothing changes very much in Lombok, so when we returned to Villa Anandita for our three-year-update we were delighted to find that everything was very much as it had been, including most of the staff who remembered us from our first visit.  Gusti the manager/activities manager delighted us with his energy and enthusiasm, taking us out for a long bicycle ride across the golf course and along rough tracks through the fields to the traditional market at Tanjung.  Since our last visit, the complement of bicycles has gone up to 13 and the owners have added a spa pavilion with two massage beds (professional therapists will come to the villa to deliver soothing treatments).  We were also pleased to find that the villa now has a WiFi internet connection, so it doesn’t feel quite so detached from the world.  The property has been well maintained but the beach bordering the garden has suffered from a bit of erosion so it has got narrower, but it is still beautiful to look at and you only have to walk a short distance to reach a wider section of sand.  Oh yes, there’s a new international airport in Lombok now, which is further away from the villa, so the journey is longer but you’ll see some gorgeous rural countryside en route.

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From $820 Special 3br Rate

Bedrooms 4

Sleeps 6

Rating 8.6
Guest Rating 8.8

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Selong Selo - 1C Villa Capri (3BR)

Selong Selo - 1C Villa Capri (3BR)

Indonesia » Lombok » South Lombok » Selong Belanak

Absolutely stunning living spaces greeted us as we stepped into our three-bedroom villa at Selong Selo. We looked around in awe, at the high ceilings, large windows and elegant interiors. The villa was everything we had ever dreamed of, and then some more.

The best part about the three-bedroom villa at Selong Selo is a sense of space. The rooms are all spread out across levels, so all of us had our privacy and found our own favourite spots to retreat to when we craved some me-time.

But the lavish living room beckoned us and we often found ourselves congregating in the stylishly appointed room, with sliding glass doors leading to the deck and the pool. The infinity pool was a rare luxury, and one that we enjoyed thoroughly. It made for some dramatic Instagram-worthy pictures too. Evenings would invariably be spent lounging around on the deck, cocktail in hand, waiting for the sun to set and the sky to become awash with violet hues.

Though there is a barbecue facility on the deck, we chose to cook some small snacks and instant meals in the well-equipped kitchen. This was not often though, as meals were usually enjoyed at Aura, Selong Selo’s restaurant set in a wonderful open pavilion.

Selong Belanak Beach was an absolute delight as we had a few surfing enthusiasts in our group. The waves are tame, and perfect for beginners. You can also take lessons or hire equipment on the beach. The estate’s shuttle service made it convenient for us to visit the beach and get a glimpse of local village life on the way.

A stay here was just what the soul needed - some much required down-time and a chance to slow down and catch up with friends. Of course, being surrounded by luxury was a much-loved plus too!
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