Perhaps the most bucket list trip ever, Chira explores three different Balinese destinations. Part 1 led her to Eden in Seminyak. The adventures continue, as she heads deeper into Bali. Next stop, Tugu Hotel, Canggu…
This is how I would like to arrive in all hotels from now on: luggage swiftly taken, a welcome drink in hand – and then, a Balinese blessing. We stand in front of the concierge to have water placed on heads and hands, we rub our hands together and then rub them over our head again. Rice is then placed on our foreheads and neck. It’s a good start.
Then to our room. Each room at the Tugu Hotel has been individually designed and are largely traditional in style, with lots of wood and some colour too. They include art and antiques from across Asia – the dark wood four-poster beds are magic. Actually, the hotel has its own art gallery, home to works from around the archipelago as well as jewellery from local makers.
There are three restaurants at Tugu Hotel. One is an award-winning Japanese and Asian fusion restaurant, another houses a period temple from 1706.
A good touch is that you can order breakfast wherever and whenever you would like – no setting an alarm to make it down to the buffet. But, we choose to take ours on the roof terrace, where we’re impressed to find straws are made from glass – the whole hotel is thoroughly eco aware.
Afternoon tea is served by the pool – do fill your plates with Balinese desserts. And the cocktails later are particularly delicious: strawberry colada and a mango, basil and ginger margherita are the winners. For an extra special experience, you can book a bed (like, an epic four-poster) for a picnic on the beach – dessert is enjoyed blindfolded.
What to do
The beach is very nearby, and there are fittingly, lots of surf shops. You should definitely go surfing – it’s £3 for two hour’s hire of a board and a free rash shirt to borrow. My board then made for a useful sun bed to zonk out on.
At local restaurant Roti Canai Street Kitchen, we tried some delicious and authentic Indonesian cuisine, which is impressive considering there are so many ex pats in the area.
One night at the hotel, there is a cultural evening celebrating Balinese dance. It tells the story of Calon Arang,a 12th century folklore, using traditional Balinese instruments and Barong costumes. The hotel also runs regular cooking classes, showcasing local specialities.
The manager at the hotel arranged a special massage for us. “Pijitan” Mantra is an Eastern Spirituality Massage that lasted for 90 minutes. It used virgin coconut oil, warmed with natural roots and spices, massaged in a circular motion across my whole body. It also incorporated Eastern mantras, which supposedly help improve your mental state through the unconscious mind, and works to open chakras. All I can tell you is my skin felt blissfully soft and I even fell asleep for a few minutes. We then received another blessing by the shrine.
In an area that caters very much to a Western culture, this hotel was a total retreat. It offered deep-rooted traditional Balinese culture and was restorative and wonderful.
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Charlotte is a London girl through and through. She sweats through spin and puffs through Pilates to justify trying the latest restaurants and devouring copious amounts of sweet potato fries, burrata and bread – preferably on holiday. Her favourite destinations include Italy, the Maldives and anywhere where the sun’s shining and there’s a strong breakfast buffet. She’s obsessed with walking, visiting farmers’ markets and reading. She’s also learning to cook. Wish her (and her husband) luck.