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Our independant hotel review of boutique eco resort, Kaleydo Villas on Gili Trawangan, Indonesia
It was the woodwork that sold me – or maybe the interior design and modern touches that made the villa look like home. Either way, I knew from the look and feel of the website, that this was going to be a special kind of stay, and though the pricing topped out our normal budget for accommodation, a splurge for 4 nights of our honeymoon seemed worthwhile to really unwind.
At least, that’s what we tell ourselves, right?
Kaleydo Villas on Gili Trawangan are gorgeous, the perfect millenial style accommodation offering insta-worthy pools, picture perfect meals and a range of accommodation options to suit partners, friends, families and groups travelling together.
If I’m honest, the efforts of sustainability are what really convinced me to book this place.
They have used recycled wood to construct the villas, don’t serve any plastic or waste materials with their food and drinks and unlike most accommodation in Indonesia, consciously avoid providing excess water bottles and plastics for guests. Solar panels are utilised for energy and rainwater for showers – without losing valuable water pressure that this curly-haired girl needs!
So staying here was a combination of our preference for sustainable travel alternatives, honeymoon fantasy and the predicted need for our own quiet space to recover from the madness of our wedding.
It was even better than I imagined.
Kaleydo Villas have a variety of rooming options depending on your budget and number of people travelling. They vary in privacy from the Deluxe Suites with your own balconies overlooking the long communal pool, to private family villas, master villas and premier villas with pool & spa that are removed from the main area of the accommodation.
We booked our honeymoon Master Villa with pool & spa very early in advance and scored a great deal on booking.com to bring the price down by about 30%.
The room was honestly even better in person than what I’d predicted from the pictures and reviews.
Like most of the finer things in life, it all came down to the accumulative small details. So we loved the obvious perks, like our own pool with spa functionality, but we adored the white easy chair that was custom made locally for lounging beside the pool.
The space itself was a huge benefit, giving us a feeling of having our own mini-apartment on Gili T, but the tiny details of custom-made artwork and unique bedside lamps were what endeared the room to us, making it feel like home.
We slept like babies on the extra tall and comfy king size beds (once we’d found the right balance between air con off and being able to breathe in the humidity), but it was the detail of daily tea delivery that we came to look forward to, with just a small snack on the side in the late afternoon to tide you over to dinner. After a long day exploring the island, the welcome back drink and snack
After a long day exploring the island, the welcome back drink and snack was appreciated.
It was a hundred small things in the room themselves that really made it feel like a luxurious home away from home, and by the end of our stay I really, really didn’t want to leave!
The only thing I would have liked a bit more of was natural light in the room itself – as the villas are made from recycled wood with high roofs there wasn’t wide space or amount of natural light coming through. That said, I suspect this was a conscious decision, as too much natural light would undoubtedly roast the temperature in the room and cause more energy use with the air con, so I believe it was a considered decision.
I also loved how they cleverly used one-direction glass on the sliding doors of your room, so if you were standing inside the villa you could see out clearly, but whoever was outside couldn’t see in. This was a lovely little added touch of a privacy (especially for those moments when you’re running around accidentally half-naked between outfits, and a friendly staff member comes in to deliver tea!)
The private villa was spacious, relaxing and having a pool to ourselves and lounging area beside it was absolutely blissful. We spent almost entire days relaxing here and didn’t feel the littlest bit guilty.
Kalyedo Villas came with a lot of additional perks, over and above the room itself. We enjoyed the complimentary pickup from the central Gili Trawangan harbour, the complimentary access to bikes that we could use to explore the island, complimentary scuba gear was an absolute must (and made us feel more confident that we weren’t getting ripped off!) and all the included afternoon teas and snacks were delicious.
Every single staff member we met and spoke to was (like most Indonesians) friendly, chatty and welcoming, interested in what we were up to and happy to help with any questions.
Stefan and I have a habit of bailing up hotel staff, taxi drivers, cafe owners and street food vendors to chat about local life as much as possible when we travel (I’m sure they think we’re annoying….or nuts) and all the guys at Kaleydo Villas were so giving and generous with their knowledge and storytelling that we felt like part of the crew before we left!
The owners were also very helpful in helping us arrange our onward travel to Sanur by fastboat (I get crazy seasickness so we wanted to make the pain as short-lived as possible) and by booking through the hotel, we ensured we didn’t get ripped off and had an easy onward transfer.
Aside from all of this – it was just really lovely. We never left without a friendly wave or hello from the team and everytime we ordered meals (some with ridiculous requests, like fruit salad with no pineapple) they were extremely accommodating.
Overall, the service was impeccable, friendly and with a genuine touch – not just people going through the motions of ‘good customer service’. We found out after a few days that Kaleydo Villas is one of the few accommodations on Bali that gives 5-day workweeks to staff instead of the normal 6, which to me says they care about their team as much as their guests…always a good sign.
Because we were being excessively lazy and loved hanging out in our villa so much, we ended up eating in the Villa quite a few times. You can get meals delivered straight to your room, and each room – even the entry level priced ones – has a small balcony and dinner table setup for romantic or family meals.
The menu has enough options for you to flip between local and international dishes (depending on the what your digestive system is up to handle at this stage in the holiday!) and the delivery was always relatively swift.
We enjoyed breakfast at the hotel each morning, delivered straight to our lounge area and with plenty of healthy options so you didn’t start the day feeling bloated.
And yes, even the coffee was good – and that’s coming from a bonafide coffee snob!
There are some great restaurants in the surrounding area though so you can pick and choose when to be lazy and stay in your villa, and when to go exploring.
Uff, I’ll be honest, the first day we arrived I thought I had completely screwed up by choosing to stay on Gili Trawangan instead of Gili Meno.
Gili Trawangan is known as the ‘party island’ of the 3 Gilli Islands – Gili Air is meant to be the ‘honeymooners’ island and Gili Meno is supposedly a mix of both, with restaurants and quiet stretches of pristine beach.
One of the main reasons I chose Gili Trawangan was the accommodation at Kaleydo Villas.
There were no equivalent options in our price range, that met our requirements of honeymoon-ish, eco-conscious, boutique and relaxing with proximity to the beach and plenty of inclusions on Gili Air or Gili Meno. So a large part of why we ended up on Gili Trawangan was because of the Kaleydo Villas.
The location of the Villas, however, is a few blocks back from the ‘main drag’ of Gili Trawangan.
On our first day when we went exploring Gili Trawangan, I was kind of gutted to see backpacker partiers spaced out on mushrooms, huge trashy dance bars and clubs and a lot of hustling for tourists to come into restaurants on the main street.
Basically, imagine a weird combination of Khao San road in Bangkok, Palma de Mallorca and any other trashy party town you’ve seen filled with drunken college students or ‘too cool’ long-term backpackers who are ‘just trying to find my truth, man’. *Queue eye roll from the rest of us.*
(Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been that traveller in my early twenties, I respect the need for everyone to have their blowout ‘find themselves’ travel adventure, but for our honeymoon, it wasn’t exactly the vibe we were going for!)
Luckily, after that first disappointing stroll down to Turtle Beach and into the main harbour, which was overrun with loud bars, clubs and restaurants, we were able to go further afield the next day and discover the idyllic parts of the island that still exist on the South and West coasts.
Once we had our complimentary bikes from Kaleydo Villas, and our bearings, we were able to find our own little stretches of paradise on the island and our experience greatly improved.
So in terms of location – Kaleydo Villas is central to the main drag, and you can easily access other quieter areas of the island if you wish.
It was about a 15-minute cycle to our favourite hangout area on the north west of the island, right by Le Pirate Beach Club. To get to the southernmost tip of the island would be about a 30-45 minute cycle, depending on how leisurely you take things.
There are also some excellent restaurants close to the accommodation. The nearby Thai Garden had mouth-watering curries and great drink specials, it takes barely 5 minutes walk from the villas, Pituq Cafe was equally close, filled with digital-nomad-wannabe-types and hipsters, but serving delicious acai bowls and top quality coffee, so worth checking out.
Oh, and one more thing about the location, that I didn’t notice but Stefan certainly did and was awoken by it daily.
There is a mosque quite close by to Kaleydo Villas, meaning you can hear the call to prayer clearly at all hours of the early morning and late night. They do provide earplugs in the rooms and if you are a regular to heavy sleeper you won’t notice (I barely did) but if you or your partner sleeps lightly it is something to take into consideration. (Stefan has also been known to wake up from a roosters cry so it really depends on your level of sleep I think!).
We couldn’t have asked for a more friendly, relaxing haven for our honeymoon. All the little personal touches and well thought out details of this accommodation exceeded our expectations.
If you are looking for a unique stay in Gili Trawangan and don’t want to join the backpacker hordes, you can book your stay at Kaleydo Villas by clicking here.
By staying here you’ll also be supporting sustainable travel practices, locally owned businesses aaaaaannnd be able to indulge your insta-queen fantasies in this gorgeous setting.
Hope you get the chance to enjoy it as much as we did!
- Location: On the western side of Gili Trawangan, two blocks back from the main street, click here to view
- Price: Check up to date pricing for your dates and book on Booking.com by clicking here
- Star Rating: I would give this a pure 5 star rating for our overall experience, inclusions and quality, absolutely loved it! Stefan would give it a 4.5 star for the noise issues nearby 😉
- Suitable For: Couples, friends, honeymooners, families. A solo traveller might find it a bit awkward to be honest, even though the public pool area looks chatty and fun, you tend to stay close to your rooms, so wouldn’t recommend if you are looking to meet fellow travellers!