As a surfer family, heaven on earth for us would be a place that has empty beaches, accessible waves for all levels, nice preserved corals at swimming distance from the beach, opportunity for encounters with local people and, of course, scenic views in a kampung style setting.
We discovered Lombok and the Ekas bay area three years ago just by luck and I must say it has pretty much all of the above, and we have returned several times since.
Lombok is only a 3-hour direct flight from Kuala Lumpur. Ekas bay is another 1,5 hour drive from the airport. The last 3 km before you reach your destination are on a gravel road but fortunately, the driver organized by the hotel knows all the potholes. It is exactly when you start wondering: “Um, where am I taking my family?”
At the end of the road is the Heaven on the planet hotel – HOT. Only when you enter the lobby you discover that the hotel overlooks the bay and the main peak of the Rinjani volcano. It is on the top of the cliff, maybe 40 meters above the sea level and the view is truly astonishing. It is exactly when you realize: “Hey, it is heaven on earth!”
By the time I had soaked in the view, my kids were already in the infinity pool with their welcome drinks.
Rooms at HOT
The resort is a family run business and is composed of several Indonesian style villas. All guests are on an inclusive package. It covers all your meals, a massage every second day, laundry, and a use of all their equipment: a wide choice of boards, mountain bikes and a free boat to the main surf peaks and coral garden. You only pay for your beers!
We usually stay at the Jati villa. Its called Jati as it is made of teak with a grass roof. This villa has one large master bedroom with en suite bathroom, and a separate living room, which can also be used as another bedroom. It comfortably accommodates 4-5 people so is perfect for our family of four. We love the front deck that runs the entire length of the villa and offers pretty views over the bay.
The villa does not have AC, only fans. It has not been an issue for us, as the general climate on the island is cooler than in Kuala Lumpur and the local design keeps the villas well ventilated. I know that some of the villas have AC if you feel you really need it.
Water is a scarce resource on this part of the island. So do not expect long warm showers or a bath at the resort. This is the only slightly negative about this place I can think of, but it is a part of sustainable travel.
Food at HOT
As I am French, I have to give you some insights on the food! Don’t worry, you will not eat frogs or smelly cheeses here! Instead, you will have a wide choice of local and international food. I have tested pretty much everything and sincerely, it is really really good and healthy. I especially like the salt and pepper calamaris as a starter followed by the “heaven’s fish”. I must also confess that I usually also go for a dessert … or two. The package is “all you can eat” so just enjoy!
Their yoga shala is incredible with panoramic views and a breeze from the ocean. There are daily classes on offer. The flat roof of the yoga centre has been landscaped to a perfect place for an evening contemplation under the southern sky or taking beautiful photos of the surroundings.
Surfing and other activities at Ekas Bay
The main surf peak is right in front of the hotel and at paddling distance (well, to be perfectly honest, I always take the boat, there is enough paddling out there in the water!). It is an easy wave breaking right and left depending on the swell direction and size. The inside part is very suitable for beginners and I often take my kids there with a paddle board or a canoe.
There are a few hikes around. My kids’ favorite is what they call the “lost resort” hike. It takes you to an old abandoned resort, which used to be part of the HOT planet. To go there, you will have to walk 2-3 kilometers through fields of green beans. The site is in ruins but safe and populated by monkeys. It opens on a very nice beach and offers a view of the second surf peak of the bay called “Outside”. This place is ideal for creating stories about pirates and letting your imagination drive you to lost treasures.
Many of the staff members at HOT come from the village nearby the hotel. They are absolutely nice, professional and dedicated. During the low season they work in the fields as farmers. The work at the hotel is hard but not as hard – if you see what I mean.
They have always been really great with our kids. They sing during the live concert organized every Sunday evening or beat you at ping-pong if you have enough strength left after your daily surf. They are a big family and will make you feel part of it!
Last but not least, prices start around RM 500 day/pp, half price for kids – not cheap for Lombok and Indonesia in general. But if you add up all the services included in the package plus the fact that you are right on the spot for some of the greatest Lombok surfing, with absolutely no car transfers needed as is the case for other places, I think it is worth it!
Don’t take my word for it, check the Tripadvisor reviews here. Also check out our posts on Gili Trawangan or Gili Meno – and if you are looking for just chilling by the pool, our review of Qunci Villas. We’ve also covered diving with kids – read more here.