When I booked my flight to Bali the next thing I looked up was how to get to the Gili Islands. For me, a visit to these lush green and turquoise specs in the ocean was non-negotiable. If I’m going all that way (19 hours, one lost suitcase, one broken ‘entertainment’ TV screen – thanks Emirates – and endless screams from tired babies sharing our flight) then you may as well try and explore as much as you can.
With time not being on our side it was a choice between the largest – Gili Trawangan, the smallest – Gili Meno or the one in the middle – Gili Air. This is the one we opted for hoping it would be just right (in the style of Goldilocks).
There are plenty of villas, guesthouses and rustic homestays dotted around the tiny island but for me there was only one place to check out. Based away from the ‘noise’, I use that term loosely as it was nothing like the busyness of Seminyak, of the harbour was SLOW Gili Air. I’d seen this place recommended online and knew I wanted to experience it for myself.
Comprising of just 10 private pool villas you are guaranteed to get the VIP treatment here. The luxury Balinese style villas are thanks to three Belgium friends who came to the island and fell in love with the place (I’m sure Gili Air has stolen many a heart) and decided to create a peaceful retreat full of modern conveniences.
During the two nights we stayed here I could tell that real thought had gone into the design and features of the villa. The light and airy bedroom had so many lovely touches such as an in-villa mobile phone to easily contact reception, a set of head torches for wandering around at night as it gets SO dark, free mosquito repellent and helpful advice on where to eat and what to do whilst you were tucked away in this idyllic spot.
The bathroom deserves a mention of its own with a stunning outdoor shower, a wash basin made out of natural materials that I lusted over and free hand-made toiletries.
Breakfast comes included and was not to be missed. I’ve stayed at a few places where they may as well not bother offering a free breakfast as you forlornly stare at a shrivelled pastry or wilted ham and sweating cheese selection.
SLOW had the most important meal of the day totally sorted. I’d never seen so much fresh, colourful food. Served in your villa, at the time of your choosing, the table soon filled up with freshly squeezed tropical juice, fruit salad, cooked breakfast, plump pastries and artisan breads as if we were having a morning banquet, which I guess we were.
After exploring the island (more on this in in a post later this week) and returning drenched in sweat, I have never experienced humidity like I did here, it was only right that we cooled off in that private pool overlooking our private lush coconut garden.
I tried – and spectacularly failed – to recreate the hair flick shot that some top bloggers have down to a T. Poolside modelling is certainly not for everyone!
Drying off (which in this heat took about a millisecond) I managed to book in for my first Balinese massage at the onsite spa which was a total pampering treat. Getting a massage is one of those things that I never think of to book back home but if I lived over here I would be lying half naked on that bed Every. Single. Day.
Not that I imagine you’d have many knots or stresses living here. It was pretty much as close to paradise as you can get.
Thanks to SLOW for hosting our stay. You can find more details here about what they offer, including yoga retreats. All opinions are, as always, 100% my own.