Selong Selo : How I found paradise just 3.5 hours from Perth
Just a short flight from Perth, in the southern slopes of the Island of Lombok, we found one of the world’s most spectacular and relaxing getaways.
Selong Selo Resort & Residences is the brainchild of two Aussie businessmen. Over a decade ago, as the duo surfed the waves way below, they kept imagining a future.
The pair spent years escaping the madness of Hong Kong and Singapore with frequent surfing trips. Each time, dreaming and part-of the idea of developing their own piece of paradise, on one of Indonesia’s most magical archipelago islands.
In 2019, their vision is now a reality.
What has arisen is a sustainable, hidden, multi-dozen villa resort – with sweeping views over the northern reaches of the Indian Ocean on the southern mostpart of Lombok. And getting there a cinch thanks to new direct flights out of Perth Airport.
Like Bali 30 Years Ago?
Unlike the developed tourist filled beaches of Bali, there’s a renewed development push in Lombok and a goal of doing things differently. The people of Lombok are determined to learning the lessons from 30-plus years of tourist development on the island next door.
Indonesia is investing signifiant infrastructure to lure more tourists and high-end investment, with the view to to create more sustainable and low-impact tourism experiences.
Selong Selo’s recent entrance to the scene is perfectly timed to make the most of the trend.
A Journey to Paradise
We took a flight out of Perth early on a Sunday evening. Air Asia QZ471 is packed full of excited Perth travelers, ready to relax and enjoy the promise of this paradise Island.
Lombok, for the first time directly in reach of Perth, with 74,000 seats set to be filler every year, plenty of us will be heading to the Island for the first time
The flight was well staffed and attended for a low cost carrier. A smooth and comfortable trip up that was much faster than promised.
Landing as the last flight that evening into Zainuddin Abdul Madjid International Airport around 10.40pm, about 45 minutes ahead of schedule, we were quickly moved through customs and before we knew it, out of the airport and greeted by our Selo driver waiting.
Into the tropic warmth, I’m whisked to a spacious 4WD provided by Selong Selo for the trip to Jabon in the south. With a refreshing ice cold hand towel and water ready for our 30-minute night time journey to the south. This is a great start to the trip.
We wind through quite, dimly lit townships, with newly surfaced roads, before hitting open fields and pockets of forrest, with roads still in progress. Into the dark of the night we went.
A short time later we arrive at Selong Selo. The resort dead quite, scantly lit and our my receptionist is waiting for my late arrival in a grand open air lobby, covering main reception, the resort restaurant and bar.
A moment later, we jump back in the car and we head up the hilly roads to my villa – a two bedroom pool villa with sweeping views.
This place is stunning. In the distance hundreds of lights dance on the dark Ocean, fishing boats anchored and lit up all evening long. Its an entrancing scene and a great view to fall asleep to.
In the morning, a stunning site to behold, panoramic views across the green hills and rich paddies below, in the early morning sun, all the way down to Selong Belanak beach, three kilometers away.
Its a breezy, partly cloudy day and perfect temperature. You can just heard the sounds of the waves crashing, a scene of blues and greens. Hot enough for a dip in the large infinity pool and a lay in the sun on the deck, before room service brings a late breakfast with a spectacular view.
The villa is broad and open plan, with large kitchen (with everything you need), meals area with glass jars of snacks, lounge and TV area in between the two spacious bedrooms and cool air con fills the rooms. At each end of the villa, large ensuite bathrooms, with freestanding showers and large vanity, and well sized baths with views out across the bay when you open the sliding door. Perfect for spending hours in complete relaxation with a billion dollar view.
Outside the sliding doors is the pool and outdoor lounge area, a large area with timber decking, sunbathing chairs, outdoor lounge chairs and a long infinity pool, perfect really for spending days without leaving nor a care int the world.
The resort supplies guest with a smartphone and is loaded with a whatsapp chat, fantastic for easy communication with hotel staff and management.
The hotel is well wired for WiFi, although better internet infrastructure is on the way. There’s a new sounds system and wide-screen TV, not that you’re here to watch movies all week. The villa is also equipped with universal chargers incase you forgot your own.
The resort offers a range of relaxing experiences. There’s yoga sessions in the morning. You can request massage therapists during most hours of the day, with plenty of options including full-body massage, mani-pedi and peel off clay mask facials.
Aura Bar & Lounge
The Aura Lounge and Bar can be a place to chill and relax all afternoon, with stunning views of the sea. It is also a great place for sunset cocktails and bar snacks.
The semi-alfresco pavilion is popular as well for evening meals and drinks, when a cool gentle sea breeze moving in south from the bay. The menu is ever changing, with a new Chef recently starting. I recommend the prawns, tuna and for a main go the lobster linguine. There’s also pizzas and burgers on the menu and a changing list of options.
The bar and lounge and restaurant is a focal point of the resort, guest from the various villas gather here to socialise over a few cocktails and bintang stubbies with other guests and the neighbours. We enjoyed a great meal and a few drinks with Australian expat and Hotel GM Stuart Lyall.
Private Dining Experience
If you’re lucky enough, you’ll be able to book a private dining experience. This comes with a private chef in your villa, cooking up a fresh seafood feast, with fish, prawns and lobster caught fresh. Or if you’re not into seafood, a multi-course dinner to your desire can be arranged.
Selong Selo Pool
The resort pool is sparking and new, with plenty of deck chairs and large umbrellas, surrounded by retaining walls and protection of greenery to keep the temperature down and keep the are chill. The infinity pool looks out across the property toward Selong Belanak Bay.
Day Trips & Experiences
There’s much to do on Lombok and the three-days on the Island were definately not enough time to explore. Although it was hard to leave the resort, it was time to get out and around the island with our awesome driver. Selong GM Stuart arranged a great day adventure on the road.
We headed inland, through jungle and into vast farmlands of Lombok, where thousands etch a living growing tobacco, watermelons, cotton and rice. Our first experience of the day was traditional weaving and dress store in central Lombok.
In the local Sasak culture, women cannot marry, without mastering the art. We also toured a traditional Sasak village, with woven huts, textile vendors & more weaving experiences and learned about the local culture.
Next on the agenda, visit to the town of Kuta, Lombok on the south of the island, not far from the resort. It’s a lot more chilled out and less developed township than Kuta, Bali. Although quite like the Bali version. The area is where you’ll find a lot of western tourists, including fellow Australians and is popular with surfers and under 25s.
There’s loads of hotels, bungalows and European style cafes and restaurants and a great place for a coconut on the beach. Lunch at El Bazar Cafe & Restaurant is a must if you’re in the area. Expect great service, reasonable prices and serving amazing Mediterranean and Morroccan style cuisine, generous cocktails and fresh juices.
We also stumbled on a ‘bat cave’ on the way back to Selong. Not the best place to be if you’re not a fan of bats and appreciate OH&S practices.
Before returning to the villa to see the sunset from our private infinity pool with cocktails in hand, we check out Pantai Selong Belank – a popular surfing and beach club spot, not far from the hotel. The white sandy beach is several kilometers long. Soon, Selong Selo will link to beach by road, with a private club being constructed in a secluded part of the beach for resort guests.
Exploring Selong Selo Villas
These Villas are owned by expats from across the world, many are built to standard off the plan. Prices start at around $US380,000 for two bedrooms for both the land and villa.
It’s a brilliant way for investors to own a slide of paradise – with the option to book for several week a year – leasing out the villas to the resort for guest stays.
Many of the Selong villas are made to specification and designed by Hong-Kong based architects. The biggest villa was a 7-bedroom stunner, while many of the villas boasted 3, 4 and 5 bedrooms with bespoke configuration and decor, reflecting their owners style.
Many of these villas would be perfect for group getaways. They feature generous outdoor lounges, barbeques, hot tubs/ spas, and plenty of lounge space, separate areas, including cinemas, sitting rooms and even small study and library areas for those on a remote working holiday.
There’s so many options to chose from, depending how big your group is and how long you intend to stay for. We think the resort is perfect for a couples getaway, or potentially a ‘double-date’ experience with the two bedroom villas perfect for couples. The villas offer bedrooms and bathrooms with enough space from each other, combined with the benefits of the extraordinary villa space. The larger villas are also perfect for groups of friends, or even extended families looking for a relaxing holiday together.
The resort is still adding more villas in the months ahead – with over 50 to be build by 2020 across the 16 hectare property. We’ll be spoilt for choice then, however it’s certain the popularity of Selong will only grow.
With super friendly staff, attentive staff, fantastic customer service, great food, beautiful views, great settings and infrastructure, and perfect conditions, this is a resort you could happily visiting again and again. We can’t wait to return in the near future for an even longer stay.
How to Get to Selong Selo
Air Asia will fly direct from Perth to Lombok evert Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday – adding 77,000 seats between our city and the Island paradise.
Book a night at Selong Selo or investigate more.
So Perth was a guest of Selong Selo resort with Elite Havens and flew Perth to Lombok return, thanks to Air Asia in July 2019.