Mother Theresa had a vision she had a destiny it was given to her at a very young age. She knew her mission and pursued it at all costs she was a martyr and she died a martyr for all that she served to the people she loved. At Hotel Tugu Bali the founder, Anhar Setjadibrata is what I call the martyr of Indonesia regarding the preservation of Antiques. At a very young age his destiny was to value, seek and have a vision for Indonesia’s history. The preservation of antiques that no one else wanted, valued or cared for. It all began with the founder falling love with a particular item, once he found it the journey began of collecting some of the best artifacts of Indonesian history. At Hotel Tugu, the stay is all about exploring the times of ancient kingdoms and thousand-year-old legends, blending a private collection of hundreds of priceless antiques and artworks.
The Story – Cupu Manik
Tugu, in Indonesian language, means ‘monument’. Tugu Hotels are small privately owned and designed collection of luxury art hotels born out of one man’s love and passion for Indonesia’s romantic history. Tugu Hotels’ founder, Anhar Setjadibrata, once upon a time a medical student-turned-lawyer, and now the owner of the biggest collection of fine Indonesian art and cultural antiquities in Indonesia, designed these beautiful boutique museum hotels to house his antiques and to share with the world the romantic stories and legends of ancient kingdoms of Indonesia.
When I walked in I instantly knew without even reading about Tugu Hotels, what my mission was. This article is to inspire you that when in Bali, if you’re a lover of history, antiques and have a passion for preservation of materials, then this is the hotel you need to stay in. Every object through out this hotel, has been bought and sort after to use even if it was not for its original purpose. So when I was lying on the lounge beds near the pool. I discovered they were actually boxes used for storing rice. I spent most of my time, soul searching for all that this hotel had to offer. It is what I call an open museum, in where you can explore and be inspired to recreate your own piece of paradise. I have been travelling for over 25 years and have visited Indonesia many times. This has to be one of the most fascinating hotels I have stayed in. For me humanity, can leave many legacies behind and it is so inspirational to be able to learn a culture that was very open to other cultures. This hotel is a fusion of Indonesian, colonial inspired architecture and Chinese history.
Garuda – Reception Area
When entering the hotel, an unexpected darkness overrides your stay. There before me was a huge eagle inspired carving made of out of wood. It certainly gave me a clear message that this animal could not be ignored. I loved the story and once again illustrating the tenacity of the owner, who’s mission no matter what the cost throughout time was to save objects that would result in becoming obsolete In this case the object was called a Garuda bird, this was a project that over time the original client decided he no longer wanted to fund and became obsolete. It was carved out of wood and is a dominate statue at the very heart of the reception area. Thank goodness for Tugu Hotels, they decided to save it. So when you enter the reception area the below images show how grand the reception area, is in a very dark atmosphere.
When I walked in I was reminded of the colonial history. This guest room is a great example where fusion inspired cultures can integrate to form some unique settings for the furniture. Take the time to explore this throughout the hotel. After a few hours, I looked up and I looked down. I got at knee level too, because the more I chilled, the more I saw many cultures intertwined here all in the name of art, architecture and antiques. The intricate objects both large and small here were just pure art at its best.
Romantic Tales One Room At A Time
Hotel Tugu Bali recounts the most romantic tales, folklores, and legends of Indonesia one room at a time. Each room is individually created by the owner, displaying his immaculate attention to detail reconstructed to provide a perfect marriage of colour, texture and atmosphere. No matter where you are staying within the hotel, each room and location captured a vibrant spirit and a passion for the art, soul and romance of Indonesia. From the outside it already got me excited as it was pleasing to the eye.
What on earth was the interior design going to look like? What history, will I be sleeping in and what was my soul purpose for being allowed to experience once again fusions of different cultures coming together. On entering, this dark atmosphere was another example of design and a stunning and dramatic blend of vast eclectic collections of antiques from all over Asia. A design where modern art meets history, but some how it works. One that I can touch, feel, smell and I can sleep in. I am a lover of everything history, it is the reason why I have chosen to live in Europe for twenty years. For me what I have believed in for many years, was that preservation of history was one thing, but to experience it first hand was another.
Located on the upper floors of this charming Javanese house, this suite boasted a timber interior, rich deep colors, a carved four-poster bed, and luxurious bathrooms hand-crafted by local artisans. There were so many seating areas in this Javanese house I had plenty of choices to sit and experience the suite and also the stunning surrounding views. Take and make the time to do this as it was all about the soul searching that I came out here for. This place reaffirmed my definition of affordable luxury that anyone can experience. Love the key concept, very quirky.
Bed Of Luxury
Just to be able to sleep in this bed and reflect on all the wood cravings was fantastic. I grew up in a family full of carpenters and my father cut many trees for others to use for their own creation. Regrettably I never retained a piece of wood cut by my fathers own hands. However I have the utmost respect and a passion for those people that can create amazing objects and furniture out of wood. The bed was very comfortable to sleep on and I loved the hidden messages left at night on your bed by the cleaning staff. A personal reminder of inspirational messages you can sleep and dream about. I loved just lying on the end and really appreciating every tiny aspect of man made creation. Just taking in this gorgeous Javanese house.
Bathroom & Sink
The suites featured a private spa area with a unique sunken bathtub. I am a big lover of infusing metals within buildings. In this case the sinks and that gorgeous bespoke bath were a pure example of this. The taps were so cute too. It all worked within this dark space, combing a shiny silver inspired round sunken bath tub along with granite. It proved the keen eye and a creative talent that went into the design. The location of the bathtub where you can shut it off from the bedroom was brilliantly thought out. The sliding doors, were a real treat to use and allowed me at anytime to create the space I wanted to. The bath tub was unique and so was the intricate object that stored my towels and bath soaps. It gave me that spa & wellness feeling that Indonesia so understands. Another example of this is, was the day bed thoughtfully arranged next to the bath. It was a great idea and through out the evening was a perfect place to just reflect on my travels.
The water pressure was excellent and I was able to enjoy my bath at 5 am which was fantastic. The many quaint wood paneled windows boasted breathtaking views over rice paddy fields and sea views. I opened it for fresh air and to listen to that great ocean, it just completed my whole bath experience. Once again I made sure I looked up and I looked down to appreciate every bit of architecture. I also worked in this area which was great as you could shut it off from the other parts of the room and allowed me to just take in the surroundings.
Tugi hotels was perfect for learning the art of Indonesian gardens and how one can showcase it to the highest level. The beauty in staying here was I asked to have my food and beverages to be sent to me anywhere I liked through out these magnificent gardens. I am a huge lover of martial arts and Asian films and this setting reminded me of Japanese action movies, with a touch of class. So make sure you choose different places to eat and drink during your stay. This was a very unique experience and it can only be appreciated in an environment such as this.
The history of Tugu Hotels is what made this stay my best here in Indonesia. I admire people like Anhar Setjadibrata who from a very young age understood the importance of interior and exterior design. His background did not stop him to go out and create a world of luxury and wealth. It was his story, that made me value and appreciate this hotel. Unlike other hotels, there was so much time, heart ache, sweat and tears to get it to a level where it is today. For me, Tugu Hotels is the very core essence of Bali itself, a love story between one man and art. This is a heroic example of, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Every moment I stayed here, it inspired me to continue my journey no matter what the cost. To listen to that still, quiet voice that leads you to pursue your God given mission, no matter what challenges lie ahead. When choosing to stay here please take the time to explore every aspect this hotel has to offer. Sit, eat, reflect, digest and enjoy Indonesians history in a beautiful unique setting. During my stay here, I never left the hotel. Through out the different parts of the day and night I took the time to explore another man’s vision. The photography was taken by me, capturing my view, my perspective my experience.
- Room reviewed: Rejang Suite (75m2) – standard rate €349
- Website: www.tuguhotels.com/hotels/bali/
- Address: Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong,, Pantai Canggu, Canggu, Bali 80361, Indonesia
- Phone: +62 361 4731701