After a year and a half away we arrived back in Canggu already knowing what to expect, as we had spent a month in this hipster surf town last year. Though to our surprise we saw how quickly neat new cafes, restaurants and hotels had emerged and the more Western feel this town has adopted in the short amount of time we were gone. Canggu is quickly developing into a trendy tourist hot spot in Bali and as much as we love it, we notice that many tourists who come here for a holiday may not experience authentic Bali. And this is EXACTLY why you should stay at Hotel Tugu Bali…
…Hotel Tugu Bali has successfully captured the authentic beauty of Bali’s culture and history and turned it into an ultra luxurious paradise.
Honestly, this place is out of this world. Not only was Hotel Tugu Bali the very first hotel in Canggu, it’s a museum that along with it’s sister hotels, holds the biggest collection of fine Indonesian art and cultural antiques in the country. Literally anywhere you look you’ll see the most authentic pieces displayed throughout the beautiful estate. You don’t just stay in a 5 Star luxury, you experience the true art, soul and romance of Indonesia without even having to leave the hotel. And that’s what makes Hotel Tugu Bali really special.
When you arrive at Hotel Tugu Bali you walk down the candle lit wooden walkway into the resort where you are greeted with a welcome drink of your choice. You are also given a traditional Balinese flower gift with fresh frangipani flowers picked that day (my favourite!)
We ordered delicious coffees that were brought out from the cafe next to reception and we sipped on them while getting comfortable on the couches in the open spaced lobby.
Tip: Every Thursday night there is traditional Balinese Dance show on this stage that anyone is welcome to experience, regardless of whether you’re a guest at the hotel or not.
We were a little bit too excited to get here so we arrived a few hours before check-in time. Nonetheless we had things to do. The staff will look after your luggage as a massouse takes you to The Spa for a complimentary 15 minute welcome massage. If you’re up for it, there are many different spiritual healings or ancient spa treatments you can pamper yourself with that don’t exist in modern Indonesia anymore, some lasting up to 8 hours for full rejuvenation on those Muskoka Chairs.
You can get a tour of the hotel to learn about the romantic stories and ancient legends behind all the antiques, themed decor and artful design of the building, including the historic significance of the dining areas. You’ll have the opportunity to indulge in the exquisite Art Gallery and see some of the antiques that are up for sale in the Gift Shop.
Then at your own leisure explore the areas surrounding the Lotus Pond, or simply chuck on a bikini and enjoy the Main Pool area.
Now comes the most exciting part, walking through the lush tropical gardens to your hotel room for the very first time…you’ve seen the photos but don’t truly know what to expect and as you open the door you’re crossing your fingers hoping for the best!
And the best it was, in fact our home for the next 3 nights absolutely exceeded our expectations. We stayed in the Dedari Suite and it was like the suite of our dreams that we didn’t even know we had until it was presented right in front of us.
As you walk through the front gate you see fish swimming around in the pond outside your room, then you walk along the path to your front door.
You open it up and discover that big slice of luxury you’ve been craving for way too long.
You’ll sleep on most comfortable king size bed ever, draped with nets fit for royalty and covered in fresh frangipani flowers that you can smell as you walk in. A very romantic atmosphere. My rest on that bed has been so comfortable that once back home I could’t resist but compare mattresses in a box with the one at the hotel, and understood that both were really good.
You notice the dressing table, the TV, the mini bar and then…outside the back door is your very own private pool!
We thought this was the end until we walked into our huge bathroom and saw the bath filled with fresh flowers and surrounded by incense and candles. Next to windows that open out and look over the trickling fountain of your private pond. Heaven.
Hotel Tugu Bali has 5 different stunning styles of Villas, Suites & Bungalows. Each is uniquely designed by the owner and blended together with antiques from all over Asia to capture the vibrant Indonesian spirit. You won’t get this anywhere else outside of Tugu Hotels.
There is also immaculate attention to every detail. Whether it’s the design of the funky bath robes or little signs on the glass water bottles that share how much plastic gets eliminated by using them. The staff were also very lovely and provided next level service. Everything was so well thought out, from delivering fresh fruit and flowers to our room each morning to lighting mosquito coils in our bathroom each night.
You feel so special when you stay at Hotel Tugu Bali…which is exactly what you need when you’re here to treat yourself to the luxury that you deserve. We were very impressed with how those little things make such a difference to the overall experience.
Food & Dining
Before we even get in to the dining areas at Hotel Tugu Bali, let’s mention our absolute favourite thing about staying here. The fact that you can order your breakfast wherever you want and whenever your heart desires!
That means even if you sleep in until 1pm you don’t miss out and can have your meal delivered to wherever you are. Breakfast in bed? Breakfast in your private pool? Or breakfast in any random area within the estate. Let’s elaborate…
There are many areas around the resort with couches and tables designed for you sit back and relax in, but if you feel like it just let the staff know that you want to dine there. There are dining areas in the lobby that are also part of Tugu Bali Restaurant, tables and chairs near the lotus pond, couches around the main pool and there’s even part of the museum that has a real life King & Queen’s dining table inside where you can eat at if you wish.
Our favourite place though was a private little area upstairs from the main pool that had just one sun cabana and ocean views.
Besides having your breakfast anywhere you please, Hotel Tugu Bali offer guest’s of the hotel complimentary high tea every single day at 4.30pm. You can order either a mug of coffee or pot of tea and choose from a selection of sweet & savoury Balinese snacks. The same rules apply with the high tea, so you can have it delivered to wherever you want in the hotel.
Apart from these areas around the estate that are exclusive to hotel guests, you can also choose to enjoy your breakfast or high tea at the Ji Restaurant that’s a part of Hotel Tugu Bali even if you’re not ordering off their menu.
The Ji Dining Experience
Ji Restaurant is typically Japanese though has a deep sense of merging cultures together, which is expressed through the restaurant’s diverse interior design and their universal menu. Ji Restaurant has three levels, all with different antique decor that are aesthetically pleasing in their own way and align with Hotel Tugu’s cultural and historic theme. The bottom level is the Ji at Bale Sutra, which is designed to blend between old Chinese and old Balinese cultures and features an antique family temple that has been used for generations.
The second and third levels are the Ji Terrace by the Sea which blend the heart of Indonesia, Japan, India and Thailand and offer a more modern interpretation of ancient Asian cultures. You can also taste this coming of cultures in the fusion of Japanese & Asian inspired dishes. We particularly enjoyed level 3 because of the ocean views and more lively ambiance, especially in the evening when the DJ plays groovy deep house tunes.
When it comes to the food you know you’re in good hands with Ji Restaurant’s team of Japanese & Asian-trained chefs led by Chef Colin Buchan (previously chef of Gordon Ramsay restaurants in London). If you don’t like Japanese food, no worries as the chef’s have intentionally created dishes for everyone to make sure no-one has to miss out. Though if you love Japanese food as much as we do you are definitely in for a treat. We had a date night at Ji Restaurant where we ate off the Japanese menu and “Ji what an experience!”
Three courses of mouthwatering sushi came out from the kitchen one by one, followed by indulging desserts. The chefs most certainly got a 10/10 from us for presentation. Along with dinner we were served cocktails that take a similar inspiration as the food with Asian flavours and infusions. The absolute favourite was the “Coco Sexo” and is definitely a must try. You don’t have to be a guest of Hotel Tugu Bali to have the privilege of dining at Ji Restaurant, and we highly recommend you do on your next trip to Canggu. We loved it so much that we even came back the following day for lunch.
Hotel Tugu Bali also host activities within the resort that include Balinese cooking classes, a herbal drink class or morning yoga, as well as the Thursday night Balinese Dance shows in the lobby area. But if you want to go out and explore Bali the staff will help with organising tours and excursions to make your holiday as stress-free as possible. For all our tips check out our detailed Guide to Things To Do In Canggu and also our Guide to Cafes & Restaurants in Canggu for all our food recommendations in the area.
Overall, our personal experience at Hotel Tugu Bali was very authentic and memorable. We try to be as honest as possible when reviewing brands by including things they could improve on, and on this occasion the ONLY thing we can think of is that the wifi connection in our suite could have been stronger. But did that really matter? Nah. Hotel Tugu Bali has got to be the most unique hotel experience we’ve ever had and we’d definitely stay here again!
Have you stayed at Hotel Tugu Bali before? Tell us about your experience in a comment below…
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