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LUXURY RESORTS: The Oberoi Lombok, Indonesia
Style: Balinese palace
Scene: Tranquillity personified
Seen in the lobby: No one - this feel like my personal paradise

Both beautiful, both island paradises, yet for some reason Bali wins all the popularity contests while her little sister Lombok is horribly neglected. There are no ultra-cool nightclubs, few restaurants, no crowded streets, in fact no crowds. 

Poor Lombok - lucky us.

Because, as fortune would have it, amongst the tiny villages, the unspoiled lush green hinterland and the near-deserted beaches there is one shining five star resort - the superb Oberoi Lombok. So those who like to get away from it all in considerable style won't be disappointed.

the oberoi lombok villa
the oberoi lombok villa
the oberoi lombok  lobby
the oberoi lombok garden
the oberoi lombok jetty
the oberoi lombok room
the oberoi lombok

A winding trip from the airport past quiet farms, curling jungle and spectacular coastal scenery brings us to this 24-acre private estate; a place of silence, style and seclusion. A vast pool, as still as a mirror, sets the scene. Around the edge, personal pavilions, day beds and fleathery palm trees are reflected in its looking-glass calm. There is the Sunbird Café and the Lumbung Restaurant and the open air Tokek Bar-  the perfect place for watching the sunset over Medana Bay - but it is the private villas, set behind pink-tinged limestone walls that make Oberoi Lombok so special.

Best of all, what Oberoi Lombok seems to give you more of is time. A rare gift. The resort is all about communing with nature and yourself. 
 
Communing with yourself here is easy, the resort is so quiet and tranquil and who wouldn't be able to get in touch with their inner goddess in a private pool villa with four poster bed and views of the Indian ocean? Every villa has a separate bedroom, bathroom, courtyard with rock pond, raised dining pavilion and terrace with either garden or ocean views.

Of course communing with A.N. other here is pretty special too, no wonder the hotel is a destination adored by honeymooners. I am alone, except for one faithful delicate dragonfly that hovers near my sun-lounger but happy for all that. I eat breakfast under the dining pavilion in my private sanctuary and float in the pool as frangipani blossoms drop in the water beside me. Every so often I call room service for another cool drink - it is one of the most indulgent and restful days of my life.   I do just manage to stagger to the spacious spa in the late afternoon to be massaged into submission before bedtime. Bliss.

 Communing with nature comes in the form of boat trips to deserted beaches snorkelling around the tiny Gili islands and riverside treks to beautiful waterfalls in nearby Rinjani National Park. The Oberoi Group is keen to preserve the wonderful natural beauty that surrounds the resort so they run several programmes to help the environment and create unforgettable experiences for guests.  One day I write the names of my loved ones on heart shaped slabs, which are then dropped into the warm waters around the resort as part of the Living Coral programme.  I swim down to plant them with sticks of purple and pink coral, helping the reef to regenerate. 

 My fellow guests and I also free tiny baby turtles which have been nurtured in the hotel's incubation tanks.  They wiggle in our hands like mini dance contestants. We all make a wish and place them gently on the sand where they scurry down to the water's edge and launch themselves into the wide blue ocean, their tiny heads poking up out of the water as if to say a last goodbye. Some don't want to go at all and turn around and head straight back to us, which makes me feel strangely honoured. Apparently the ones that turn around need a touch more tank time  - or perhaps they just can't stand to leave the opulence of the Oberoi.
 
Check in: The Oberoi, Medana beach, Tanjung,North Lombok 83352, Indonesia
Ultimate Luxury:  The Royal ocean View villa with private pool
Most Indulgent Moment: A dinner set up under the stars down on the beach
Insider Secrets: General Manager Rudy Baihaqi has great sense of humour, meet him if you can
The Little Things: The baby turtles are the best 'little things' every
Junior Luxies: Children are welcome. There is a whole range of activities that can be organised for them
Dress code: Le arn to tie a sarong
Dent in the platinum:
Luxury Resorts Link: www.oberoihotels.com
Hilary Doling 8/5/14
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