A property christened svarga, the Sanskrit word for heaven, certainly invites comparison to all things paradisiacal. Fortunately, far from being simply the lofty ambitions of its owner, Svarga Resort Lombok does have an ethereal quality about it. A collection of 25 villas nestled against a hill slope along the main tourist stretch of Senggigi, the resort is flanked by coconut groves and is a haven for those seeking a quiet retreat on their island holiday.
Words: Chitra Santhinathan
Designed as a sanctuary for the soul and senses by its architect-owner, the resort is inspired by the island environment it calls home. The hotel lobby is crowned by a shell-inspired cupola while gerabah (clay pots) stacked in rows not only showcase traditional pottery, but also function as clever partitions.
Done up entirely in neutral tones of white, beige and sandy browns, the resort is the perfect antidote for jaded travellers who’ve been there and done that.
Units, with the roomiest villas at the top, are located on garden terraces on either side of a central stairway that winds its way up the hill. For now, the site’s naturally hilly contours necessitates a lot of stair-climbing; an elevator will be installed soon, but the panoramic vistas of the ocean beyond the coconut groves, as well as the peaks of Mt Kerandangan from the resort’s Agra viewing deck are all well worth the exercise.
Four room categories are available, but some of the larger units are more villa than room, especially considering their size and amenities. The ‘standard’ room, Mavwa, measures 35-square metres and includes an open-air shower, while the double-storey Varda Suite offers two bedrooms, a private plunge pool and deck, kitchenette and dining room. My own room, the Adna, was a spacious duplex unit with a living room and garden on the bottom floor and an en-suite bedroom upstairs. I loved the open-air attached bath most of all as it allowed me to have a leisurely soak at night while star gazing.
A theme of less-is-more echoes throughout the property with furniture kept to the minimum. I found the clutter-free environment to be quite calming and also practical as one was not constantly bumping into bulky furniture. Billed as a ‘fresh and healthy’ resort, Svarga encourages guests to take a step back from their busy lives and enjoy life’s simple pleasures. There is not a drop of alcohol to be had at this resort (which isn’t entirely a bad thing) and its sole restaurant Salza Resto offers fresh and nutritious meals. Situated almost at the top of the hill (which helps one work up an appetite and work out after the meal), the restaurant, which borders the resort’s infi nity pool, is a cosy nook with views to die for, especially at sunset. Some may scoff in disdain at the idea of healthy meals while on vacation, but I lapped up the chef’s creations with relish.
While not extensive, the menu at the restaurant includes Western and Asian flavours with a selection of local specialties such as ayam taliwang (spicy grilled chicken) and udang pindang kenari (grilled king prawn in an almond-based sauce). A selection of soups, very healthy salads and main courses, which included pan-fried wild-caught salmon and beef rendang (spiced meat) round off the list. Desserts include a range of house-made ice-cream and sorbets and popular Indonesian sweets like black rice pudding and talam ubi ungu (steamed sweet potato cake).
For a person who loves a good beer buzz, I did not find the lack of alcohol a problem. In fact, I thought it was a wonderful excuse to sample delicious blends of fresh juices like Frosty Rinjani (a mix of watermelon, mint and lime) and Coconut Groove (coconut milk, lime and pineapple) for a change. And, I’m sure my body was glad for it too.
Salza Resto also served up the best hotel breakfasts I’ve had thus far. Instead of the traditional buffet spread, breakfast sets ranging from traditional Indonesian to Mediterranean are available here. I sampled the guilt-free Healthy Breakfast set that included Bircher muesli, banana pancakes, and lots of fresh fruit and yoghurt. The Go West Breakfast came with a generous bread basket, croissants, two poached eggs and sausages, while the Indonesian breakfast set of nasi goreng kampong (kampong-style fried rice) came with a fried egg sunny-side-up. Delicious! All breakfast sets are served with a generous helping of fruit.
After all that stair-climbing, I thought a trip to the resort’s Hagia Spa a well-earned reward. At Hagia, I surrendered to the expert ministrations of my masseuse who soothed my sore muscles with a ‘herbal stamp massage’. My masseuse heated pouches filled with a blend of herbs and spices and placed them on specifi c points of my body for minutes at a time, and followed this with a gentle massage using a traditional Sasak technique. The end result? I awoke feeling refreshed and ready to take on a tour of nearby attractions, among them the rocky outcrops of Pura Batu Bolong and Malimbu Hill, from which the Gili Islands are visible. The beach may not be at your doorstep at Svarga, but who needs that when you can have heaven instead?
SVARGA RESORT LOMBOK
Address: Jalan Raya Senggigi, Kerandangan, Desa Senggigi Kec. Batulayar, West Lombok 83355 Indonesia