A luxury pioneer on the shores of chic surf spot Canggu Beach in south-west Bali, vibrant Hotel Tugu Bali's romantic mood is enhanced by the owner’s world-class collection of museum-quality Indonesian antiquities. Seductive thatched suites are dotted among lush gardens and lotus ponds by the Indian Ocean, alongside a rich mix of elegantly ethnic restaurants.
Twenty-two, including 19 suites, two one-bedroom villas and one two-bedroom villa.
Noon; check in from noon too. When the resort is not full, management will accommodate early arrivals and late departures.
Double rooms from £255.26 (IDR4,550,000), including tax at 21 per cent.
Rates exclude breakfast, but include a welcome drink and massage, flowers, tropical fruit and mineral water in-room, and daily high tea at sunset with local delicacies.
The hotel boutique is well known around the island as a destination for serious antique shoppers. Consider bypassing shops around Seminyak and Ubud to take advantage of the Tugu owner’s keen eye and fair pricing.
No check-ins or check-outs are allowed on 25 March, 2020, when Bali observes Nyepi Day (Day of Silence). Bali’s airport also closes for the day.
At the hotel
Free WiFI throughout, spa, library with books, CDs and DVDs, gardens. In rooms: flatscreen TV, DVD/CD player, minibar, complimentary bottled water, own-label eco-friendly toiletries, English-language newspaper.
Our favourite rooms
Dedari Suites are best for beachcombers who can roll out of their four-poster and past the roomy plunge pool straight onto the sand. Spa junkies may prefer the upstairs wood- panelled Rejang Suites under the traditional Balinese thatched roof because of their ensuite massage treatment tables and sunken round bath for two. Couples who want more room for romance should consider the 2,100 square foot red-themed Puri Le Mayeur villa, dedicated to the love story between the Belgian painter Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur de Merprès and local Legong dancer Ni Polok, or the Walter Spies Pavilion filled with the Dutch artist’s own memorabilia in art deco surroundings.
The charming beachfront palm-fringed pool offers sun and shade in equal measure to guests lounging on padded chaises.
Even if you’re a novice, consider packing a pair of board shorts to try riding some waves. Sturdy shoes (plus some good mosquito spray) are also handy for exploring the splashy surrounding paddy fields.
Rates include private airport transfers, a welcome drink and massage, flowers, tropical fruit and mineral water in-room, and daily high tea at sunset with local delicacies. Smoking rooms are available.
Baby cots are provided for free but must be requested in advance; extra beds for older children can be added for around £29. Hotel Tugu Bali offers a children’s’ menu of Western and Asian options.
Hotel Tugu Bali minimizes its impact on its stunning coastal environment by recycling avidly, including reusing water where appropriate. It spearheads regular beach clean-ups and supports the local community with English classes.
Nothing beats dining on the beach but gourmands should also set aside a night to try the 12-course rijstaffel rice platter on Bale Puputan’s enormous marble-top dining table.
Guests run the gamut here from Asian honeymooners in matching Polo jerseys to Versace-clad Europeans but most dress beach-casual by day, covering up with smarter attire to dine at night.
Tugu Bali boasts five restaurants but guests are equally encouraged to take their meals in numerous romantic nooks around the verdant grounds or dine privately in their chambers. Bale Sutra is a 300-year-old Chinese temple reconstructed on- site where guests dine on Chinese Peranakan specialities in a flirtatious crimson dining room. The artwork inside the ornately carved Bale Puputan commemorates 19th-century Balinese heroes and the eatery is renowned around Bali for its multi-course Grand Rijstaffel dinner. The chef at the more relaxed open-air Waroeng Tugu learned to cook classics such as nasi goreng from her grandmother, and shares her secret family recipes with guests. Wantilan Agung attracts diners who prefer Western fare, served under a dramatic pitched roof. Sunset Beach is the go-to spot for Tugu’s full moon barbecues known for their signature grilled snapper with caramelized fennel and vegetables.
You’ll find the Keraton Bar inside the high-ceilinged Wantilan Agung Ballroom, making it a convenient after-dark spot to rev up or wind down. Expect lounge music of the Buddha Bar variety but no DJ and a generous drinks list that spans the signature Canggu Romantic (made with vodka, lime juice with a splash of ginger ale) and the Guavatini (a magic mix of vodka, guava and lime juice topped off with liquid sugar).
The restaurants are open until 11pm, as is the bar.
Available non-stop. Wake up to tropical fruit, European coffee or Balinese jamu herbal remedies. There's something deliciously decadent about gorging in your room on Bali’s famous spiced duck bebek betutu, 12 hours in the roasting.
Hotel Tugu Bali is located on Canggu Beach on Bali’s south-west coast, surrounded by fertile paddy fields yet only 20 minutes north by car from Seminyak’s hip boutiques and non-stop nightlife.
Fly into Ngurah Rai International Airport, just south of capital Denpasar; you can buy a visa on arrival, which costs US$25 for 30 days and is payable in cash. Lines can be long and painfully slow at peak arrival hours such as mornings and late at night, so make sure your iPod, Blackberry or book is easily accessible for the duration. Call our Smith24 team to organise and book your flights.
Hotel Tugu Bali is a 45-minute drive from the airport and private car transfers cost IDR243,000 each way. Travellers planning to explore beyond the resort, our Smith24 team of travel experts can arrange a set of wheels for you to pick up at the airport; but be warned Bali’s traffic can be terrifying and the roads aren’t always smooth sailing particularly as you drive further up the coast from Canggu and into Bali’s interior. Fortunately, you can hire well-maintained cars with excellent drivers for as little as US$30 a day. They know Bali well and will take you wherever you want, then happily wait while you swim at the beach, enjoy a meal or go shopping.
Helicopter transfers from Bali's airport to the hotel can be arranged at additional cost.
Worth getting out of bed for
Long walks on Canggu Beach are romantic any time of day and surfers will rave about the breaks. Even the uncoordinated will get a kick out of the hotel's Balinese dance classes, particularly the Barong who represents good versus evil. Tugu’s much loved female chef Ibu Soelastri leads budding cooks into the local fish and vegetable market, then through her family’s recipes. Ride gentle horses along the beach or make even less effort by hopping aboard the vintage horse drawn carriage that can be arranged for romantic sunset rides on the sand and into the paddies. Try all six spa pavilions, as each works best for a different type of restorative treatment. Fitness fans can take advantage of nearby treks and private Yogalates sessions, a hybrid yoga and Pilates work-out, while those seeking to build spiritual strength will find Tugu’s environment ripe for meditative contemplation. The owners of Hotel Tugu Bali share their Balinese and Indonesian heritage with guests not only through their extensive on-site art collection but also through the many unique activities which bring you into personal contact with local traditions. Private tours to Bali’s royal palaces can be arranged as well as trips to explore little visited museum gems such as the Subak Museum, focusing on Balinese traditional life, and the Manusa Yadnya, full of local ritual adornments. Five different types of Balinese dance classes are also on offer as well as lessons in Balinese cooking and herbal drink preparation.
Plants hang from the ceilings, vibrantly-coloured posters adorn the walls and a classic car is parked in the centre of Attarine in Berawa – the younger sister-restaurant of the hugley popular Potato Head Beach Club futher along the coast. The kitchen is headed by chef Jacob Burrell (previously of Big Sur and The Post Ranch Inn in California), who's whipping up a feast of fresh local fare; the menu includes many a mouth-watering dish, such as slow-cooked duck, pan-roasted fish fillets and wagyu beef short ribs.
Monsieur Spoon is a family-run French bakery/café serving a tempting range of handmade pastries and cakes, artisan breads and anitpasti platters. Take a seat inside or out – with floor-to-ceiling windows you can enjoy the Balinese sun while sipping a coffee or fresh fruit juice, wherever you choose. One of the best spots for breakfast in Berawa, Milk & Madu's menu is full of yummy snacks, so tasty, you won't realise how healthy they are. Stop by for a colourful-cup of coffee or a juicy smoothie with a crispy salad, brioche burger, or flatbread pizza.
Have a cocktail on the coast at Finn's Beach Club. This popular beach-front bar serves up a wide variety of drinks from wines and beers to ciders, smoothies and super juices. Try one of their signature cocktails, such as the Chénola (made with light rum, peach licqeur, passion friut and lime juice), before heading to one of their waterfront restaurants for dinner.
Descending into the darkened lobby of the Hotel Tugu Bali, the sounds of traditional Balinese gongs floating in the air, we are welcomed by the most unlikely of figures: a giant, two-storey wooden statue of a beaked eagle, wings outstretched.
As our eyes focus, we quickly realise that the dramatic work – a rendering of the Hindu divinity Garuda – is merely the centrepiece of a hotel devoted to paying homage to Balinese art and sculpture. Neatly crafted teak furniture, a staple of Bali, hints at the quality of the decor in this small, quiet property: scattered everywhere are wooden display cases full of artifacts, each selected from the personal art collection of Tugu’s owner Anhar Setjadibrata.
Threaded with winding stone pathways, the hotel gardens lead from one arty nook to the next, a library packed with antiques opening up into a candle-lit shrine full of statuettes, followed by an ornate dining room lined with black-and-white photographs of ancient Bali. Taking an exploratory tour of the grounds, discovering one exhibit after another, we can’t help but wonder: have we accidentally stumbled into a quirky museum?
We get our answer as soon as we reach our Dedari Suite, nestled behind a wooden door at the end of one of the pathways. Far from feeling like part of an untouchable display, the room, painted bright green with a jungle-enclosed plunge pool outside, inspires us to kick off our shoes and fling ourselves down on the massive canopy bed, which is enveloped in white flowing curtains. ‘Can we bottle this moment?’ my new husband asks, a refrain I would hear several times on our honeymoon over the next few days.
Unexpectedly, our bathing area – because it is not, in truth, anything as mundane as a bathroom – provides several such memorable tableaux. Built partly outdoors, a stone bath tub sits next to large wooden windows that swing open over the private courtyard. A day-bed, thoughtfully arranged next to the bath, along with incense and candles, gives us a perfect excuse to spend hours lying about in plush towels. The hotel’s shampoo, conditioner, bath foam and gels, set out in small, black ceramic pots, add another earthy touch.
‘Ask and ye shall receive,’ has clearly been conveyed to the Tugu’s staff as the hotel’s credo. Request an 11am couple’s massage at 10.30am, and you will not only get one, but you will also be fetched from your room at precisely that hour and led to an outdoor canopy, the sound of crashing waves in the background.
Ask about a dinner reservation in a nearby town – the fashionable Ku De Ta in Seminyak, in our case, a 20-minute drive to the south – and you will get in at your desired time and have a car waiting to take you. The hotel offers a long list of other activities, including a cooking class that starts with a dawn trip to the food market. And it was clear from our passing inquiries that more or less any request, be it about sightseeing or laundry, would be met with an enthusiastic offer, by at least three staff members, to satisfy our desires.
Two soundtracks play on a continuous loop throughout the Tugu: traditional Balinese music; and running water, pouring from fountains in the cold-water swimming pools. After a long day dodging motorbikes on the streets outside, the quiet spa noises were soothing, virtually rocking us to sleep just after dinner each night.
Still, this hotel may not be for everyone. It is slightly more rustic than advertised, in keeping with the surfer sensibility that dominates the Canggu beach area on the south-western shore of Bali. Getting to the beachfront itself requires a short walk across a field; once there, guests are encouraged to recline on a four-poster wooden bed that has been tucked into the sand, or on a handful of lounge chairs.
Some of the best features of Tugu, however, are not within the property walls but just beyond. An easy stroll down the shore leads to an enclave known as Echo Beach, a wonderfully rugged surf spot with low-key bars, restaurants and an inexpensive (but divine) nail salon and massage parlour. Closer to the hotel, just a few steps from the entrance, sits a delightful organic restaurant named Om. Open-air, with bamboo furniture and thatched roofing – and, of course, free WiFi – Om offers a view of the ocean that is, unfortunately, harder to come by at Tugu itself. And the food is a nice respite from some of the heavier Indonesian fare at the hotel.
But what Tugu lacks in subtlety, it more than makes up for in attentiveness. Our first encounter with the hotel's spectacular service had been at Denpasar airport, where, emerging in a jet-lagged daze, we were greeted by a grinning man who ferried us past the long queue for Customs and into a waiting SUV. From that moment forward, every member of staff recognised us on sight. Curious about the origin of a particular statue? Someone will write out an explanation for you. Want to watch a movie? The staff will offer you a library of hundreds of international and Indonesian DVDs.
Feel like sitting in the lobby, gazing up at a winged Hindu divinity, drinking tea? No problem, and would you like us to light some candles for you as well? Because that, really, is the point of this place: to sit and do nothing and let the Balinese spirit sink in.
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Hotel Tugu Bali’s Guestbook below.
Arriving at the Hotel Tugu in Canggu was a joy for the senses which surprised and delighted. Our wonderful experience of Hotel Tugu commenced with a respectful Balinese 'welcoming ceremony' for individual guests which instantly made you feel special, valued and, importantly, aware of how important Balinese tradition is to the hotel culture. This was so refreshing in a world of travel 'sameness' where local culture is often overlooked. The Hotel Tugu is traditional Balinese style, tastefully decorated with antiques, rich textiles and sculptures to orientate the visitor with the hotel's rich history and traditions. We stayed in a gorgeous villa – the Puri Le Mayeur – which was spacious, luxurious and tastefully decorated with antiques, curios and interesting historical photographs and art work. We enjoyed our very own private pool. However, the most notable feature about this wonderful hotel were the staff, who at all times were helpful, warm and attentive. We could not have wished for more! The food served at the hotel was delicious, generous and beautifully presented. The hotel is well positioned to enjoy the beach if the pool is not for you. The biggest problem we faced was forcing ourselves to leave. Hotel Tugu is special.
Don't expect absolute silence at night as the nearby beach bars have loud music playing until early hours of the morning. Ear plugs are provided but if you're sensitive to night noise then perhaps this is not the hotel for you.
Stayed on 22 Jun 2019
This hotel is the only one we stayed at in Bali that really represented Balinese architecture. Our villa was absolutely breathtaking.
Stayed on 16 Jun 2019
This hotel was a great retreat with excellent service. We loved that it was right next to the beautiful beach and that we could eat breakfast at any time and anywhere in the many quaint nooks in the hotel. Our room was spacious and luxurious. Food was great – don't miss dining at Ji – and the staff was very accommodating. We also really enjoyed our relaxing welcome massages. Would love to stay here again.