Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by viravira on 1 December 2014 • Destination
Romantic is the first word that comes to my mind when I think of Hotel Tugu Bali. It may be due to the fact that I got to spend one night there with Diyan, sort of felt like reminiscing our honeymoon trip in Malang’s Tugu hotel. It may also because of the warm leafy garden throughout the hotel, the dinner under the stars, and everything in its presence that shows appreciation toward arts and beauty.
Our stay at Hotel Tugu Bali was complimentary (except the dinner), but the opinions are my own. Here are the highlights of our stay:
Diyan and I were pooped after a few hours drive from Ubud to Canggu in the midst of a hot day. Coming from a highland to a resort by the beach, we couldn’t be happier when seeing a small private pool out in our own backyard! After exploring the whole hotel, we finally had time to plunge in the pool at night, with our favorite cold beverages ready on the pool edge. There’s really no more relaxing and romantic way to spend time before bed than that. Well, except maybe a soothing back massage.
The bedroom was as pleasing as the plunge pool. It was spacious, equipped with mostly wooden furniture, soft comfy bed and fresh tropical fruits. A flat TV is provided but we barely even noticed it since there were too many other details in the suite too interesting to observe.
The bathroom was incredible. It’s got a bathtub and rain shower, equipped with cold and hot water. Next to the bathtub was a fishpond that connected the bathroom and the front yard of the suite, with a wall separating the two areas that doesn’t go all the way to the end. Am I making any sense with these amateur architectural explanations? The only downside was that the semi open-aired bathroom let mosquito in, but that’s nothing a coil mosquito repellent or “obat nyamuk” couldn’t handle.
We had a great night sleep on that soft and large bed. With a suite like this, it was a torture having to wake up early for the cooking class the next morning. Having said that, I really enjoyed the cooking class and you can read the story here.
Kaki Lima translates to ‘Five Feet’, which refers to the five ‘feet’ of a street food cart that usually stays on sidewalks and set up stools for the customers, sometimes with tables and tents. Hotel Tugu Bali adopted this concept and enhanced it into a beautiful outdoor restaurant.
Kaki Lima also accepts non-hotel guests that can enter through its main entrance. Colorful lanterns, a vast lesehan area welcomed us upon arriving through the back door. (lesehan is where you sit on the mat and eat from the short tables.)
Our food came in a reasonable waiting time. The menu is a combination of Mediterranian, western, and a lot of BBQ. Diyan and I had delicious steaks and fries. Diyan was just a little hungry because he had quite some snacks earlier in the afternoon at the High Tea, so a junior portion was enough. The total order cost us about IDR250,000 including beverages.
On some tables, families were having meals with their kids. Some kids were running around on the lawn, two little girls danced to the live acoustic music. Stray dogs came to tables, hoping for some meat and bones. Diyan and I felt uncomfortable because we’re not used to having dogs around, let alone with its nose on our table. A waitress helped getting the dog away nicely but it kept coming back, sometimes with a buddy. Then a little Australian girl from the next table came and invited it to play but the dog stayed put. So we ended up chatting with her while she was petting the patient dog.
When the food was gone, so were the dog and the girl, leaving us digesting and resting our heads on the pillows, enjoying the romantic ambiance while staring at Canggu’s starry sky with the waves sound. It was super lovely and relaxing. I almost wished we spent the night there until I remembered about the plunge pool in our suite.
I found out later from my friend Sefin, who’s been there for a quick snack, that the minimum order for non Hotel Tugu Bali’s guests to sit at the lesehan is IDR 350,000 per person, but non for the chair area.Kakilima By The Sea Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong, Canggu Beach, Bali Ph: +62 361 4731 706 Weekdays 12pm-10pm, Weekend 11am-10pm
The main lobby of Hotel Tugu Bali is called Wantilan Agung, a semi open-aired construction inspired by the village hall of Bayung Gede, northeast to Canggu. According to Ari, the staff that guided us around for a tour, ‘wantilan’ is a Balinese term for town hall, which can be used as a place for meeting, prayers, megibung (a big dinner on certain occassions), even for cock fights.
Like wantilan with its many functions, Wantilan Agung serves also many functions. Aside to the lobby and reception area, it is the restaurant where you can opt to have your meals anytime. Upon my visit, there was a huge group of outside guests having their pre-booked lunch at the long tables of Wantilan Agung. A Balinese dancer welcomed them with a traditional dance on the center stage, with a giant statue of Garuda as the attention-stealing background.
This statue was found accidentally by Pak Anhar, the owner of Tugu group, lying down almost covered by grass, in the backyard of an artist’s house in Tegalalang, Bali. This ironwood statue was made in 1930’s as a request from a Madura royal, but remains unfinished when they realized it was too big to be shipped. It’s said that the statue was carved out of a huge tree trunk, except the unfinished wings and tail that was made of separated wood. How come I’ve never tripped on something that spectacular??
Pak Anhar’s love for history, art and romance has turned his properties much like museum and gallery. On our 2-hour tour around Hotel Tugu Bali, which was open in 1997, we saw too many historical stuff to tell here. But here are some highlights:
A set of small stone containers called Cupu Manik, inspired by the Ramayana story, displayed in a glass box. Young Pak Anhar was hired to guide a foreign tourist who was looking for cupu manik somewhere in Bali, that made him realize the value of antiques, and that we are supposed to be the ones caring for our own national heritage, not letting them being taken to other countries. Later he found and acquired the similar cupu manik in Java, which it became the ‘seed’ of Tugu Malang Hotel, the first of his hotel and restaurant chains.
A long table with red cloth and 20 chairs were in the center of this crimson-walled restaurant. It’s a reconstruction of a temple from Kang Xi dynasty in the 18th century. The real temple was about to be demolished when Pak Anhar had most of the building saved and rebuilt here as a dining room.
Walter Spies was the man responsible for the creation of Kecak Dance (click here for the complete story). Pak Anhar must’ve decided that this man, who had taken a huge part in making Balinese culture internationally known, deserved at least a villa in Hotel Tugu Bali that’s built resembling much on his home in Yogyakarta. Walter Spies Pavilion is one of the most luxurious units in the whole hotel. Some of the furniture was in fact Spies’, like the dresser, bedside table and headboard that was actually a door! Now, that is creative and ‘green’!
The bathroom is semi open with garden. The big round bathtub (or is it a Jacuzzi?) is located half floor down from the side entrance, symbolizing the river Spies used to go down to take baths. Talk about dramatic!
There are a lot more about Hotel Tugu Bali that I’ve wanted to write so bad, but then I’d be losing sleep for weeks just to describe everything I saw and heard about the hotel because it’s just so packed with stories!
All in all, I found Hotel Tugu Bali like this really big leafy garden with bedrooms and restaurants. Make sure you have much time to spend at the hotel to really enjoy the beauty and captivating stories behind almost every knick knack displayed, not to mention taking their creative classes, spa, have some tours arranged and many more!
For more info, do check out their official website.HOTEL TUGU BALI Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong, Canggu Beach, Bali-Indonesia Tel. +62 361 4731 701 • +62 8123 6778 361 • +62 8180 5307 164 email@example.com