Finding accommodation in Gili Trawangan during high season was trickier than I expected. We were traveling with friends with older kids so needed a number of rooms, and wanted to stay somewhere wallet-friendly. That ruled out many of the new and trendy villas and hotels on the island. We also wanted to be right on the beach, so narrowed our choice to Alam Gili.
The chalets are set in the garden, just across the road from the beach. They all have a spacious patio, and the room was big enough for an extra bed. Mosquito nets and AC are both pretty necessary in these parts.
The hotel is only accessible by boat during high tide, so if yo arrive or depart during low tide or take the public ferry from the jetty you will need to take a cidomo or walk to the other side of the island. Same goes for snorkeling trips: had we known it’s a sweaty 15 minute walk with complaining kids we would have rented bicycles for the day.
The swimming pool is cute with bean bags, but it is in the shade and rather cold. The beach right in front of the hotel is rocky and reef shoes are definitely needed to get in. The snorkeling is pretty good – apparently one of the best sports on the island – and turtles are regularly spotted. Even young kids can snorkel right off the beach, given they have shoes.
The beach itself is suffering from erosion and sandy beaches suitable for proper sandcastle building are located a bit further. The meals are served by the beach, in the shade of the trees. Kids looked forward to the their pancakes every morning, and a complimentary afternoon tea/coffee with a slice of cake is served every day.
I would definitely recommend staying on this quiet side of the island with kids – there are enough eating places within walking distance but you get to stay away from the maddening crowds and bars of the main stretch. Just rent bikes with a cushioned back seat and you can shuffle up and down the coast.
For 60 USD++ in the middle of the busiest period we were pretty happy with the hotel. However, it is getting old, the chalets are a bit musty and we had some issues with the AC. Nevertheless it was great value given that the room prices in Gili T are significantly higher than elsewhere in Indonesia.
If I was going back, I would consider staying at Gili Eco Villas next door with a beautiful beach front setting, The Trawangan Resort for the sandy beach in front of the hotel or Wilson’s Resort with airy and light rooms and a nice restaurant.