Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by mumunmumun on 18 June 2015 • Destination
No, I’m not announcing anything soon. I just thought getting married in Lombok would be a lovely idea. Lombok has a multitude of beautiful places for a perfect wedding setting. While having a complimentary visit to the Tugu Hotel, which Vira says is the best accommodation the Tugu Group has and I agree, I would have to also vouch the place as a great place for a wedding indeed. Everything you need to tie the knot is within one compound; there’s no need to be anywhere else. In terms of getting hitched, being romantically exiled would be perfect because all you need is your significant other. Putting aside the Valentine’s Hallmark card caption, let me elaborate why Tugu Hotel would be a perfect place for getting married in Lombok.
Gedong Gandrung is a hall within the Tugu Lombok complex. It’s an impressive high ceiling establishment with decorations no less than extravagant. They sure know how to be consistent, don’t they?
It’s inspired by the love story of Rama and Sinta, from the Sanskrit epic poem, Ramayana. Naturally, this would be the suitable indoor wedding venue at Tugu Hotel Lombok, especially to those that would want a one of a kind wedding.
The interior is unique being open space and airy. The air isn’t particularly hot during the day and I’m guessing this was due to the green lush surroundings. High statues of Rama and Sinta align throughout the venue, reminding of love everywhere you look. Naturally, they have the look of love on their faces, captured during their most tender times. Looking up, the ceiling is a celebration and tribute of the Garuda Jatayu, the heroic bird from the same epic story. The venue is nothing like a chandelier ballroom establishment, but more of an ethnic dim lit room for a calm romantic event. This venue is unique and partially quirky in a good way.
The venue was a little too new for my likings towards the Tugu Group. One thing that I did like and looked authentic was the gate made into a backdrop. I know Pak Anhar has a thing for gates. Having said that, it actually could be a good thing as I know most Indonesians are spooked by Tugu properties because of their old artifacts. The new décor was compensated by the elaborate size of things, such as the huge spheres suspended outside of the walls. It’s a great option for an intimate wedding considering the property is secluded, the guest could stay in their beautiful boudoirs, spacious green surroundings, and accessible clean beach to swim in. More of that, on Vira’s review here.
That allegedly old backdrop did lead me to somewhere exciting. Beside the Gedong Gandrung, part of the building was a lounge. While it was predictably filled with an eclectic antique looking couches and furniture, it was the ceiling that got my attention. Parts of the lounge was the remains of a Lombok Palace, once owned by the last Lombok king Raja Gde Karang Asem. A picture of him is displayed at the main entrance of the lounge, which is kinda weird but definitely Tugu signature, respecting a once important man.
The remaining parts, I could see, were beautifully made. Hand carved, no doubt, and old as I could imagine. I struggled to imagine its authentic form as there was too little of it. The whole property was red giving that sexy red light, perfect for a lounge feel. I guess, this is where the after party happens. I would definitely list that for a wedding here.
On a different occasion, I recall the honor of sitting beside Anhar Setjadibrata and listening to some of the most fascinating stories from his life. Amongst them was his mission to preserve, or perhaps re-live, the history of Lombok itself. He explains that the traces of Chinese descendants are unclear and in his effort to be restored, as many of the Indonesia’s artifact. During this precious session, I could see the fire in his eyes, passionate to do history justice.
Although I hadn’t had the chance to explore the traces that have been found by the Tugu Group, their founding of possibly the oldest Barong ensemble to date enchanted me. Found in 1984, this barong is definitely older than 120 years old. It’s aged and different looking to the usual ones I’ve seen before. It seems like it has less Chinese-barong attributes and more Balinese. Personally, there’s something both loving and mystical about it. It was once loved, worn, and possibly highly valued at a time considering barong shows would have been a luxury, to then be found amongst ruins almost scraped away and forgotten. There’s a reason why it’s found and salvaged amongst all the other barongs that would have existed. For that reason, I stared in the eye hoping it would tell me what that reason was.
I might have been more delusional around Gedong Gandrung and the oldest barong. The past life of each antiquity does that to me, as each Tugu property does. Now I’ve found another reason to love Tugu a little more. And with that love, it would occur to me to consider Gedong Gandrung as a venue should I be getting married in Lombok. What’s not to love? The quarters are a walk away and tucked in the sleepy parts of Lombok, a beach with clean water to swim in is just in front of you, also history is present around me while I’m making my own. Add to that, you can have the wedding organized by the hotel. Now that sounds like a great plan.
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