The Gili Beach Houses

Gili Meno, Gili Islands, Indonesia
Book from Book from £328 per night

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

They call it the honeymoon island: a teardrop of white 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 no more than 500 people. 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).

On the island’s west coast, 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 kitchen, a fresh-water pool and ocean views. There are daybeds on verandahs, poolside dining pavilions, sofas piled with bright cushions, rugs and pretty antique furniture, but the luxuries here are all about nature and the outdoor life: bikes, barbecues, a fire pit, al fresco showers, hammocks, sunsets, sea breezes and starry skies. A world away from Bali’s tourist hotspots, this is heaven for escapists.

Highs

  • The gardens are made for relaxation: sunbeds, 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 to massages and boat trips
  • The island’s shallow lagoons are excellent for snorkelling and scuba diving (there is a dive centre nearby)
  • For larger groups of friends or family, it’s possible to rent both houses (sleeping 16 in total)

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

Grab 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
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Bicycles Available
Room: Crusoe

Rooms

Though similar in style – with a rough-luxe, beach-hut look – these two self-contained houses have subtle differences.

The Bamboo House is single-storey and built mostly of rattan, bamboo, timber and thatch. In the main pavilion there are 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 bathroom.

The Stone House’s construction is a little more substantial with solid walls of coloured cement, plus wood, rattan and bamboo screen, and thatched roofs. One of its four ensuite bedrooms is on an upper level (with a balcony); two are tucked away in separate garden bungalows.

Expect ocean views, warm saltwater showers (water is in short supply on these remote islands), floaty mosquito nets on canopy beds, Balinese textiles, soft earthy colours and pretty-painted furniture. Most rooms are air conditioned.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Fan
  • Hammock
  • Mosquito net
  • Safe box
  • Swimming pool
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfast is included and is served daily by your friendly villa staff. Expect granola, yoghurt, fresh fruit platters and juices, eggs and bread. They will also stock the fridge with drinking water, and cook dinner on request – and we hear very positive reviews about the quality of the food: curries, chicken satay, salads and seafood barbecues, fresh fish cooked Indonesian style and served with rice, plus desserts and home-made cake. Or you can self-cater in your fully equipped kitchen; there are some traditional markets a 10-minute walk away.

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).

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
  • Island hopping: neighbouring Gilis, 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.

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
  • Ngurah Rai Bali International (Denpasar) 0.0 km DPS

Other:

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

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