“We had a two week holiday from work mid January 2017 and despite it being the rainy season decided to book 10 days on Gili Air – mainly because we got such great rates on flights from London to KL with Malaysian Airways. We stayed in KL for a night and then took budget airline Air Asia (highly recommended also!!) out to Indonesia.

We’d been to Bali before but not ventured out to the Gilis. We flew from KL to Lombok and had a private taxi transfer from the airport to the ‘port’ (the journey in a taxi is about an hour and half). We then had a private speed boat take us to the port on Gili Air, which took about 10 mins. Then it’s a ride in a cidone (horse and trap) to Slow Villas. So all in all a trip with lots of modes of transport but we thoroughly enjoyed all of it. Glad for the stop over in KL though. We did the same on the way back and not only do you need this for the flight times but we did appreciate the rest and we’re generally people who are pretty comfortable with long haul.

So, on to Slow Villas... it’s a beautiful setting and the architecture/layout/design has been done perfectly. It’s perfect tranquil yet everywhere on Gili Air is within walking distance. The nearest beach was about a 10 minute walk and then there are three beach bars/restaurants immediately on from there.

Lots of people cycle and there are bikes to hire from reception. To be honest through we only used them once and were more than happy to walk everywhere – it compensated for the holiday (over) eating!! We love exploring and heading off for a wander around the island was all part of the experience.

It’s a fabulous island with loads of cool places to eat and drink. The villa and our garden was lovely. We were in villa 3. We would often spend the morning in the pool and sunbathing in our private garden and then headed off to the beach for to find somewhere new for lunch. Our favourite food wise was the Italian Dolce Mare (we went twice) but the best for lunch on the beach and cocktails at sunset was Island View Beach Bar and Bungalows, which is the closest to Slow.

Breakfast at Slow is wonderful, just how the pictures show it to be. I fell in love with their dragon fruit juices (go to Pachamama for their legendary dragon fruit and peanut butter smoothie!) and muesli with yogurt. Avocados weren’t always available which was a tiny downer as their Aussie breakfast with toast and avocado was yummy but hey you’re on holiday on a tiny island in Indonesia and you have a day of sun and sand ahead of you, nothing is really a big problem! Don’t expect a proper cooked English breakfast but their cooked tomato mix, like a ratatouille is delicious. We also had the Indonesian BBQ one evening. My word this was absolutely delicious. So much food between us and just stunning. Seriously worth staying in one evening for.

The staff at Slow are all really kind and respectful. Some have brilliant English, others not so but unless your Indonesian is up to scratch then a level of patience shouldn’t be too much of a hardship. It’s so true that a smile goes a long way.

We also went to the Slow Spa which has been done so nicely, it’s tranquil and beautifully designed. We didn’t visit any of the others on the island but it’s easy to tell just by looking from the outside that Slow Spa is the most professional and up to the standards you’d expect at home.

The room had everything we needed. We loved the outdoor bathroom. And as for that ‘rainy’ season – it didn’t bother us at all. Yes it did rain and there were two or three days that we didn’t sunbathe but we went off exploring and sitting in some really cool bars drinking green tea, exotic fruit juices and smoothies and watching the world go by.
The sun is very intense so a few days respite was valuable. We still had lots of days joining nothing but laying on the beach and came back with a brilliant suntan! Plus there’s nothing like watching a tropical storm roll in whilst you’re on the beach with a Bintag in hand. We actually preferred that to the sunsets sometimes. Amazing sunsets here are just so common place!!!!

We booked a snorkelling trip through Slow – just the two of us and two boatmen/guides. We saw turtles off Gili Meno and Gili T within minutes of jumping in the water. We’ve been lucky enough to see turtles before but never this many or this easily. The snorkelling trip was the highlight of our time. We had lunch on Gili Meno and had another two snorkelling stops on the way back. The sunken boat and metal structures off Meno (not sure exactly what it was) was the BEST snorkelling I’ve ever done in terms of seeing tropical fish. It was like a fish super highway. I could have stayed in the water there for hours and hours.

So in summary Slow Villas is without a doubt the best accommodation on Gili Air. We’re not backpackers and wanted some luxury. It’s in a great, quiet location but still easy to get everywhere (really – no where is far on Gili Air). The staff and management are really helpful. There is so much choice in terms of eating out and at different budgets that you never get bored and there are lots of people to meet when you’re out and about. We loved every moment. Terima kasih Julie, Kara and Martin.

Stayed January 2017, traveled as a couple”

instagram youtube linkedin blog tiktok

Travel Asia with Secret Retreats

Secret Retreats is a curated community of independent boutique hotel, villas, yachts and river boats keen to share their Asian Homes with travelers, sustainably and responsibly. Conservation of the environment, culture and traditions of Asia is of paramount importance to all in Secret Retreats. A community of like-minded hospitality professionals, we offer our guests authentic travel experiences that go beyond typical offerings to unveil the essence of Asia. Supporting the Asia based hoteliers and hospitality professionals and providing incredible holidays in Asia and tailor-made Asia travel itineraries direct to public ad travel agents.
Get inspired and make savings!
By booking direct with Secret Retreats and enjoy peace of mind from our full on the ground support. Contact our concierge and plan then book your Asia holiday now!