In Lombok, many focus on getting a beach-hopping escape and how to get the most out of a short visit.
But if you are looking for a more quiet, intimate vacation with the added bonus of fantastic collections of artwork rich in interesting history, then look no further than the Hotel Tugu Lombok.
Some two-hours drive from Lombok International Airport in Praya, Central Lombok, the hotel is home to an array of masterpieces, from huge statues like a grinning Shiva under large trees near the main swimming pool, to the hotel's spa, dubbed Hening Swarga Spa, which is built to resemble a Majapahit-era temple.
Because owner Anhar Setjadibrata is an art collector, Hotel Tugu Lombok, as well as other properties he owns, is full of soul in every corner.
Guests can choose from an array of different types of bungalows, villas and suites, namely the Kampong Lombok Bungalows, Kampong Ampenan Bungalows, Aloon-aloon Rama Sinta Villas, Aloon-aloon Garden Villas, Bhagavat Gita Oceanfront Suites, Puri Dadap Merah Villas, Sang Hyang Nirvana and Sang Hyang Jagatnata. Each has its own unique characteristics.
The recently built Gedong Gandrung restaurant is arguably the most eye-catching place at the property. In old Indonesian language, gedong means "hall", and gandrung means "strong, passionate romantic love". Also utilized as a wedding hall, the design of Gedong Gandrung was inspired by the work of famous architect Gusti Gedong (1850-1894) and renowned painter I Gusti Nyoman Lempad (1862-1978).
Highlights include 17 tall doors decorating the hall. For thousands of years, the number 17, which later became the day in August 1945 when Indonesian finally won independence, has been thought sacred.
At the centre of the building, statues of Garuda Jatayu can also be found decorating a giant Ramayana-inspired chandelier, dancing and basking in the light of true love. Garuda Jatayu is the king of birds in the Ramayana epic. He dies in his battle against the giant Rahwana while trying to save Dewi Sinta, who had been kidnapped by Rahwana. With loyalty and courage, gaining his strength from the thought of Rama's love for Sinta, Jatayu fought Rahwana until the end of his life.
The white sand Sire Beach on the northern coast of Lombok is another attraction for guests visiting the place. A unique experience of eating breakfast while taking in the mesmerizing sunrise over Mount Rinjani on a traditional wooden dragon-head boat called Naga Mesem can be arranged by the hotel.
During the breakfast, cruising the sea while marveling at the red sky as the sunrise appeared behind the majestic mountain, all troubles seem to fade away.
Hotel Tugu Lombok also gives a nod to the region's local history by recreating the old city of Ampenan Lombok, using statues as inscriptions. The statues show Peranakan culture as a mix between the Chinese settlers and the local natives of Lombok in the late 19th century.
Those longing to explore Lombok's natural spots and local culture can sign up for dancing class, visits to waterfalls, a traditional medicine class, a cooking class, bike tours or horseback riding, among other activities.