Pristine beyond words, Lombok is literally a piece of paradise and the resorts here amplify the experience with their stunning settings and incomparable hospitality.
Words: R. Rajendra
Sudamala is the title of a poem found in the Hindu epic Mahabharatha, and means ‘He who cleanses and purifies’. The name couldn’t have been more apt for my weekend accommodation as even a two day-stay at Sudamala Suites & Villas in Senggigi left me feeling so rejuvenated, half the office noticed my unusually cheery disposition upon returning to work from Lombok.
It being my first trip to Lombok, the notion of a brand new destination got me greatly excited. Perhaps that was the reason why I was gobsmacked at the green that was greener than emerald and the blue that was bluer than the sky as my ride criss-crossed paddies, valleys, hills and little settlements on the way from the new airport in Praya to the beach stretch in Senggigi where the resort was located, some 50kms away.
My arrival at Sudamala was welcomed by a sudden greying of the sky, much to my dismay. “What’s the point of a beach resort when you can’t go to the beach,” I muttered as I was led into the grounds. Almost immediately, I fell in love with what greeted me. The Mandalika Courtyard is the first common space that greets guests, flanked by the Garden View Suites, the Anjani and Suranadi Villas, and the Mango Tree Spa. With only the sound of water babbling as it cascaded down the fountains, walls and steps of the garden, walking through this space calmed me and shut out the woes and worries of the outside world before leading me to yet another portal that took me deeper into the resort.
Sudamala Suites & Villas is a very well conceptualised and laid-out resort. Each area I passed through led me into yet another space that was more exciting than the first. If the Mandalika Courtyard was an oasis of calm with a surprisingly mature garden (the resort only opened in June 2013), the inner section of the resort opened up to a stunning vista that was an artful amalgamation of a beautiful garden surrounded by traditional lumbung-style suites, an infinity pool that seemed to merge with the ocean, and majestic Mt Agung in Bali on the horizon. So beautiful was the view that my FB friends insisted it was a painting after seeing my postings!
Although the crashing waves, like a sexy siren, called me out to play in their virginal waters, the rain on the first day limited my outdoor excursions. Instead, I took comfort in my Ocean View suite listening to the raindrops fall off the grass-thatched roof. The suite’s large sliding glass doors offered uninterrupted views of the pool and the ocean, streaked only by the burnished rust of the pool umbrellas. Luxuriously appointed with modern amenities that included super comfortable pillows and quality bath products, the highlight was the outdoor shower. Surrounded by lush vegetation and pebbled borders, water poured out of a bamboo spout, creating a tropical paradise for you to shower in private with only the sky and the occasional bird above you. At night, bathing in this outdoor shower elevates the experience to sublime levels of sensuality – preferably with a partner.
As the resort only houses 28 suites and seven villas, guests receive specialised attention that’s warm, but never intrusive. I was pretty amazed at how well-informed the staff at the resort were on all matters pertaining to Lombok. Putu, a very pretty waiting staff at the Olah Olah Restaurant explained the cultural and lingual differences between Lombok and Bali – she being from Bali and her husband a local. Two different drivers who transported me to and from the airport explained all the attractions of the island – where to go, as well as what to do and buy. They offered a basic introduction to Sasak culture and would have even explained the geological formation of the island had we not arrived at our destination!
Additionally, a short note left by my bed each night regaled me with local folklore and legends – all very nice touches that truly drew me into the local culture.
In the evenings, dinner at Olah Olah Restaurant offered a pleasant experience, trying out local favourites like Taliwang Chicken (spiced grilled chook) while being serenaded by the ever-present music of the crashing waves, with twinkling lights reflecting off the pool. The deal clincher for me, however, was certainly the sun downers at the Beach Deck where I sipped lychee and mango martinis while watching the sun bid adieu for the day, lighting up the sky in brilliant hues of pinks and purples, and blanketing the Lombok Strait in gold.
Lombok was a new destination for me, but Sudamala expressed so much of the local culture, language, hospitality and warmth, it not only restored tranquillity in my harried life, but made me feel as if I already knew the island so well.
SUDAMALA SUITES & VILLAS
Address: Jl Raya Mangsit, Senggigi Lombok, Indonesia