After visiting Bali on so many occasions, we wanted to try its sister island of Lombok. Qunci Villas is located in a resort area close to the Gili islands and it looked perfect for our stay.
It felt like we were checking into a retreat more than a resort. We were miles away from any hussle and bussle of Indo streets, and the constant gentle lap of the waves and coconut trees towering above lulled us into a complete state of bliss. Attentive staff made us feel at home with a welcome drink and then we were shown to our villa. Once we had discovered the three infinity pools, lined across the waterfront surrounded by sunbeds and cabanas, we knew this was going to be an indulgent holiday of poolside food and cocktails with intermittent cool swims. Five glorious sunsets were enjoyed during happy hour each evening and on a clear day, we could see Mount Agung across the sea in Bali peaking above the clouds.
We indulged in this serenity, but if you needed some excitement you could take a surf lesson or grab some goggles and a snorkel and go for an underwater adventure. For us though it was swim, relax, drink, eat – repeat.
Did someone mention an Italian chef?
The in-house chef is from Milan and boy did he treat us! Qunci Villas have a couple of restaurants with different styles of cuisine. Chef is kept pretty busy with his team. The first night we tried Quah which had an Italian menu. We managed to snag a waterfront table but these seem to reserve quickly throughout the day, so don’t forget to reserve these tables in the morning while you’re lounging at the pool or having breakfast. What a feast Quah was. Pasta with a creamy mushroom sauce and truffles plus a seafood linguine were our first picks. We topped it off with a chocolate dessert that was so good we ordered it again a few nights later. Truly the best chocolate dessert we’ve had!
Even the pool menu had an Italian touch – we recommend the bruschetta and fish burger. Delicious.
Breakfast was included and it was a sit-down affair rather than your normal buffet. There is something for everyone, Italian, Mexican, Aussie, Indian breakfasts which all come with fresh fruit and coffee. Here’s a tip for coffee lovers, the lovely staff walk around with coffee pots but are happy to make you an espresso if you ask – the coffee was great.
There are plenty of places to eat just outside the resort, one of these is Nuf’ Said Warung. Turn right at the beach and walk up about 200m to find a simple feet-in-sand seafood warung with great BBQ seafood and the best vegetable curry. It’s also a perfect place to watch the sun go down. Dinner will set you back around $20 for a couple including beers, Bintangs of course.
Senggigi shops are a short taxi drive or a longer walk. There are many dining options to choose from there, although we didn’t leave Qunci for food other than the beach warung next door.
Beachfront, you can almost touch the waves at breakfast or dinner and the sunset is something special. It’s about 1.5 hours by car from the airport, and 30 minutes from the Wharf. We flew over on Garuda – a short and pleasant 30-minute flight, and the taxi from the airport to Qunci Villas was interesting and easy, despite being 1.5 hours. The other option to get there is to get a fast boat from Bali, normally departing at Senur. It’s a 3.5-hour boat trip.
What to do?
We were fairly isolated at Qunci (which is part of it’s beauty), but we wanted to explore a little so we grabbed a scooter for 65,000 Rupiah a day (AUD$6.50) and hit the open road north. The reception staff at Qunci organized this for us and had the bikes delivered within 15 minutes. The roads are not crazy busy like Bali and there are plenty of beaches and lookouts to explore. See monkeys on the side of the road, plus goats, chickens, cows, it’s rural life and very natural.
We also took a day trip with a private driver to Senaru waterfall. This place has been made famous by Instagrammers around the world so we had to get that special shot. We didn’t realize but it took a few hours of travelling to get to the start point of the trail. When we arrived we were allocated a personal guide to take us to the falls. The smaller of the two falls took an easy 25 minutes of soft trekking to reach, and whilst impressive we were eager to get to the main falls and “that” Instagram photo. The next part of the trek was slightly harder going (30 mins), crossing slippery streams and climbing over rocks, but we made it – and so did half of Lombok! People everywhere, it was crazy. Kirsten took off to the falls base while Mark stood in amusement watching the entertainment of photos being organised.
There is always a silver lining if you look for it. While trekking we followed an aqueduct which ran adjacent to the path. It was constructed to bring water from the waterfall down the mountain to the village. We got to one point on the way back to where it goes into the mountain and our guide said: “do you want to go back via the shortcut?” We thought he was joking but in the end, we jumped in and waded through the flowing water along the channel into the darkness of the mountain.
You could also do a day trip to the Gili Islands or choose to add a stay on the Gilis after Lombok. We stayed 4 nights on Gili Air. We took a fast boat for 550,000 Rupia from the port of Bangsal. It is about a 25 min taxi ride and only takes 7 minutes to get across. You can easily explore this island in a day and get some snorkelling in. There are also slower boats from right in front of the resort where you can negotiate a price with a couple of vendors that quietly walk by with a smile on their face each day.
If you’re after a laid back relaxing holiday, this is it. After 5 days we were very chilled and wound down. Staff were excellent and we became very familiar with them. Their willingness to help make our stay as good as possible was brilliant. Our aircon was not blowing cold air when we arrived and within 10 minutes of calling reception, they had the aircon crew down to our villa regassing the system. Exceptional turnaround. Thank you for a wonderful stay Qunci Villas.
Our next stop was Gili Air.