5-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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Selong Selo - 10E Villa Samsara (5BR)

Selong Selo - 10E Villa Samsara (5BR)

Indonesia » Lombok » South Lombok » Selong Belanak

The moment we walked into the villa, we were awestruck by the palatial interiors and the unbelievable views through the glass doors. The sunken sofa seating in the middle of the living room was a favourite spot where our group would converge any time of the day, when we weren’t busy playing billiards or working out in the gym, that is.

The rooms are all spectacular, spacious and well appointed. We took the master bedroom which had an enviable outdoor jacuzzi, reached via stone steps. With the sea laid out in front, and a flute of champagne in one hand, this was a picture-perfect moment that I will always remember.

Mornings gathered around the breakfast bar as we took turns cooking for the group, afternoons spent chatting in the air conditioned comfort of the living room, and evenings on the outdoor deck, either in the pool or lounging around it, summed up our entire holiday.

What we loved most was the secluded location of Selong Selo. Perched above Selong Belanak Beach, we were treated to the best views, which you could not even get if you were on the beach itself.

Meals were usually enjoyed at Aura Lounge and Bar, the in-house restaurant of the estate. However, we often cooked breakfast for ourselves (the butler helped arrange for whatever ingredients we required) or light snacks to go with our evening beverages. We even did a wonderful barbecue on the deck one night, wherein a chef expertly cooked a delicious meal for us.

This villa is perfect for large groups or as a venue for retreats and offsites. The terrace on top has stunning views of the valley and the hills, perhaps the best vantage point in the entire estate.
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