The Gili Beach Houses

Gili Meno, Gili Islands, Indonesia
Book from GBP Book from £315 per night

The Gili Beach Houses

Gili Meno, Gili Islands, Indonesia

Two dreamy back-to-nature beach houses (each sleeping 8) set on a tiny Indonesian island, a boat-trip away from bustling Bali

Two dreamy back-to-nature beach houses (each sleeping 8) set on a tiny Indonesian island, a boat-trip away from bustling Bali

The ferry port is little more than a row of shacks and a simple wooden jetty, but our first impressions of this tiny tropical island were all about the dazzling light and vivid colours; bright paintwork, bougainvillea tumbling onto white sand, a lagoon-blue sea. A teardrop of coral beaches and coconut palms washed by the crystal-clear waters of the Lombok Strait, Gili Meno doesn’t quite qualify as a desert island, but the smallest of the three Gilis is home to fewer than 500 people. Only two kilometres long and half as wide, there is no traffic, no paved roads; bicycles and horse-drawn carts are the only means of transport (you can walk coast to coast in less than 20 minutes).

The dream begins with two houses, Bamboo and Stone, both set in a huge sandy garden right on the water’s edge. Each house has four bedrooms, open-plan living spaces, a grown-up kitchen, a fresh-water pool and ocean views. There are daybeds on verandahs, sunbeds on the beach, beautifully tiled floors in gorgeous bathrooms, sofas piled with bright cushions, rugs and pretty antique furniture – but the luxuries here are all about nature and the outdoor life: bikes, birds, hammocks, sunsets, sea breezes and starry skies. A world away from Bali’s tourist hotspots, this so-called honeymoon island is heaven for escapists.

Highs

  • The gardens are made for relaxation: sunbeds, shade, an inviting blue pool, the beach on the doorstep... bliss
  • Your small team of friendly staff take the art of housekeeping to another level – arranging everything from breakfast and bike hire to massages and boat trips and always with a bright smile
  • The island’s lagoons are excellent for snorkelling and scuba diving (turtles swim in the shallows and there's a dive centre nearby)
  • For larger groups of friends or family, it’s possible to rent both houses (sleeping 16 in total) – and they are right next door to each other

Lows

  • Secluded, yes, but not entirely private; a walkway passes by and the eye-catching nature of the houses tends to draw attention
  • The island is remote and unsophisticated, so expect occasional power outages; there is a back-up generator on site for such eventualities
  • Whether by sea or air (via Lombok), the Gili islands are quite a trek, and boat services are occasionally delayed or disrupted by rough weather during the wet season

Best time to go

For warm, settled weather, May to August are the best months to visit Bali. Temperatures begin to climb in October and reach a high in November. December begins a typically tropical rainy season which continues until March (possibly the best time to visit if you prefer a quieter island experience). Boat access to the island can occasionally be delayed or disrupted in the rainy season.

Our top tips

Hire a bike and explore the island – it won’t take long (a circuit of Gili Meno’s beaches takes less than 2 hours even on foot) and there are no cars to pollute the air or impede your route. The traditional mode of transport on the islands is horse-drawn carts or Cidomos; charming, yes, but the horses are not always well treated, although welfare has improved in recent years under the guidance of the charitable Gili Eco Trust.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Great Outdoors
Romantic
  • Beach Houses
  • 2 houses (for 4-8)
  • Breakfast + dinner on request
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • Beach Nearby
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Car not necessary
  • Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • WiFi
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Bicycles Available
Room: Crusoe

Rooms

We stayed in the magical Stone House – more like a small village than a house, with a collection of low buildings set in tropical gardens, shaded by palms and scented oleander. Two of the four bedrooms are housed in charming thatched bungalows; the other two are in the main house; one of them (our favourite) on an upper level with steps up to its ocean-view terrace and a bathroom lined with polished walls of coloured cement.

The Bamboo House is right next door (a gate connects the two village-size houses); the more rustic of the two (think rough-luxe beach house), it’s built mostly of rattan, bamboo, timber and alang alang thatch and offers three double bedrooms, two of which share a semi-outdoor shower room with twin basins. A fourth is housed in a one-bed garden bungalow with its own beautiful bathroom.

Both houses offer instant access to the beach (just step outside), floaty mosquito nets on canopy beds, semi-outdoor spaces, soft earthy colours and artful arrangements of antique furniture, Balinese textiles, shells and Indonesian crafts. Every room, every bathroom is a one off – all lovely (nobody is going to fight over who has which room).

Features include:

  • Fan
  • In room treatments available
  • Mosquito net
  • Safe box
  • WiFi

Eating

The freshly-cooked dinners, prepared by the staff on request, were a highlight of our stay here. After discussing menus in the mornings, we dined on chicken-satay skewers, grilled whole fish (usually snapper) cooked Indonesian style, coconut-and-vegetable curries (big on sweet potato), salads and rice followed by fruity desserts or delicious home-made banana cake. Seafood barbecues can also be arranged with a day’s notice. Or you can self-cater in your spacious family kitchen; ask the staff to shop for you or check out the island’s local mini markets.

Breakfast is included and served whenever you like: expect granola, yoghurt, fresh fruit platters and juices, eggs, pancakes, bread and pretty oleander-flower table decorations. The friendly villa staff will also stock the fridge with drinking water.

Eating out? Even here, on this tiny island, there is a good choice of restaurants, cafés and family-run warungs (rustic, feet-in-the-sand kind of places offering everything from pizzas and prawn curries to nasi goreng served with cocktails, chilled Bintang beers and sunsets). Book a table on the beach at Seri (almost next door) for chilled wine and hot beef rendang.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Chef on request
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • In house cook
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating: Robinson
Activity:

Activities

  • Relax: The best thing about Gili Meno is that there is almost nothing to do other than enjoy the natural surroundings. Make the most of the peace, the birdsong and the gentle lap of the ocean
  • Go underwater: Head into the shallow reef, with mask and fins, and discover turtles, corals and shimmering tropical fish more or less on your doorstep. The Gili islands offer world-class scuba diving, too
  • Birdwatching: Check out the Gili Meno Bird Park which houses over 200 species of Asian and Australian birds, from tropical flamingos, cockatoos and eagles to parakeets, peacocks and pelicans
  • Turtle conservation: the Gili islands are a rare habitat for Green and Hawksbill turtles and, just south of Gilo Meno beach, the Gili Meno Turtle Sanctuary helps preserve the lives of babies before releasing them into the wild
  • Book a massage: a local therapist can visit the beach houses by appointment (the massages are excellent and very affordable)
  • Island hopping: Meno’s livelier neighbours, Trawangan and Air, are reachable via regular ferry boats

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Scuba diving
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Wildlife

Kids

These are magical places for children who can splash around in the pool, build sand castles in the garden, paddle in the shallows of the lagoon and live out a story-book fantasy along the lines of Treasure Island. Gili Meno island is car-free.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Although there are no single beds, there is plenty of space for families across the four bedrooms in each house – and cots can be provided for babies or toddlers.

Cots Available

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots
  • High chairs

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Families Should Know:

The pools are unfenced but there is a fence around each house and garden

Distances:

  • Airport: 90 minutes + ferry (Lombok)
  • Hospital: 20 minutes (via speedboat)
  • Shops: 2 minutes
Kid Friendly: Robinson

Location

The Gili Beach Houses are on the west coast of Gili Meno island, close to the beach where the ferry boats come in from Bali or Lombok. The smallest of the three Gilis, Gili Meno island sits between its bigger sisters, Gili Air and Gili Trawangan, just off the coast of Lombok, around 95kms from mainland Bali.

By Air:
Although Lombok International Airport is closer, Bali's Denpasar Airport is better served by international flights. You can also fly to Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, then travel overland or take a connecting flight to Denpasar or Lombok.

From the Airport
Transfers are available from Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport to Padang Bai on the island’s east coast, where you can board a ferry to Gili Meno (around 2 hours). The alternative is to fly from Denpasar to Lombok and get an airport taxi to the Bangsal harbour and take a ferry to Gili Meno from there. Staff will collect guests from the harbour.

Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.

Airports:

  • Lombok International Airport 60.0 km LOP
  • Lombok International Airport 0.0 km DPS

Other:

  • Beach 0.1 km
  • Shops 0.1 km
  • Restaurant 0.1 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

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Rates for The Gili Beach Houses

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