Gili Trawangan was a late edition to my ASEAN Explorer trip – I wanted to some peace & quiet on the beach after lots of wildlife, adventure and city time at the beginning of my trip. And the Vamana Resort at the North Eastern tip of Gili T fit the bill: a small, independent boutique resort with only 16 rooms, with pool and restaurant, right on its own part of white-sand beach and close to the center of Gili T!
Location: Gili Trawangan is “off the beaten path” compared to Bali or Lombok, but it does have a bit of a party reputation and there are a number of restaurants and bars along the beach road near the pier. I wanted to be close enough to walk there from the boat and to dinner or drinks, but I didn’t want to be disturbed by any noise. The Vamana Resort is in the perfect spot: close enough to go for dinner and drinks and far enough to relax away from “the crowds” or what goes for crowds on a remote island like Gili T! It’s also right on the beach, with the restaurant looking out over the ocean with Gili Meno in the background and its own loungers! The rooms are in the back of the property, past the pool, in two buildings facing each other across a narrow walk way.
Service: The service was friendly, competent and quick. The front desk had me checked in and on my way in minutes. When the safe in my room was locked, an engineer had it open and batteries replaced within minutes – quicker than I’ve had it in some 5-star chain hotels! Housekeeping had the rooms made up thoroughly and early – I appreciate being able to relax in my clean, air-conditioned room after some time in the sun! Despite some poor reviews on TripAdvisor, the restaurant staff was equally fast and friendly – no, this isn’t McDonald’s, so relax, enjoy the beautiful view and your food will be ready shortly!
Room: The room is certainly a strong point. It’s large and beautifully decorated with white walls, dark woods and a red bed headboard! The bathroom has an open area with the sink, a shower stall on the right and a toilet stall on the left, giving you privacy as well as the option to get ready in parallel if you travel as a couple. There are a small (no laptop) safe, a flat TV as well as tea/coffee facilities. The closet is small, but then you are on a beach and don’t need much… The bed has a good mattress, but only a thin sheet and no comforter, making it difficult to stay comfortable with the air conditioner turned on during the night. There was only one large towel (no hand towel or wash cloth) and basic bathroom amenities. The Wifi is one of the issues – it was weak and unreliable in the room throughout my stay, so I headed to the lobby for a better reception. This is a remote island and there were a number of power outages (the hotel generator kicked in quickly) and water in the shower stopped once for a few minutes (crucially, while I had shampoo in my hair!), but I always had hot water. These things happen in remote places, even at nicer hotels, so I wouldn’t hold that against the Vamana.
Amenities/Restaurant: The Vamana Resort has its own, small pool with a few loungers around it. While I prefer to hang out on the beach, it is nice to have for a cool dip after spending the day on the beach. The restaurant has seating in the lobby area as well as in an outdoor, roofed lounge right on the beach. I had breakfast two days right on the beach, with a beautiful view and the ocean breeze in my face. The breakfast was made-to-order of a menu and it was good in quality as well as size – better than any of the buffet breakfasts I had in Lombok or Bali on this trip!
Overall, I’d stay at the Vamana Resort again and recommend it! It is in a great spot with some of the nicest beach on Gili T. Most of the hotels have no beach at all or very limited access and you’ll have to stay at the much more expensive hotels on the Southern end to get a similar beach. Add the beautiful rooms and a cool pool and there is not much more I’d ask for. The tricky wifi isn’t helpful, if you are trying to get some work done, and some of the amenities need some adjustment to fit with the overall upscale feel of the resort, but those are small niggles when you are in paradise and pay so little for it…