Where to Stay in The Gili Islands: A Guide To Paradise

published by Bren

last updated: October 17, 2022

The Gilis are a trio of islands in Indonesia, famous for their beautiful beaches, chilled vibes and stunning scenery. Once a hotspot for partying backpackers, the islands have developed in recent years and while it still retains its old school charm, there’s now something here for everyone.

This guide is designed to be a quick reference guide for those trying to find somewhere to stay. All the options in the Gilis can be overwhelming, so I’ve consolidated the best choices into this easy to use list. Each island into this Each island offers something unique, so if you’re heading to the Gilis keep reading – I’ll run through each island and the best Gili islands hotels and hostels available on each.

Let’s gooooo.

An introduction

gili islands hotels

The Gili Islands is made up of three main islands.

First we have Gili Meno – a honeymooner’s dream, with secluded white sand beaches, total tranquillity and flowers draped across every pathway.

For those after a livelier trip, Gili Trawangan (codename Gili T!) is the spot – host to an array of fun bars, beach-clubs and great music. Expect hostels teeming with backpackers ready for ‘gram-worthy nights out.

Lastly, Gili Air offers something in the middle – serenity amidst live bands on the beach, all tied up with amazing diving and yoga.

Each island is car-free, making them little hubs of health and calm. There’s the occasional moped (normally driven by several children!) but the main method of transport are horse-drawn carts or bare feet! If you’re after a detachment from hustle bustle life, this is your spot.

Gili Meno

best hotel in gili trawangan

This little island is probably one of the most romantic areas of Indonesia, with crystal waters, long stretches of white sand and stunning natural surroundings.

It’s popular among honeymooners for this exact reason, and the slow-paced life offers an escape from it all. Expect total peace and quiet, flowers at every turn and utter relaxation. As such, there isn’t a huge backpacker scene, with most solo travellers heading to Gili T’s party vibes.

For those travelling with children, there are options – head to the bigger hotels to avoid the swarms of couples.

Where to stay on Gili Meno?

For the Backpacker

Turtle Gili Meno Bungalows is the go-to option here. Just a short walk from the harbour, you’ll be ideally-located for swimming, snorkelling and everything else that Meno has to offer. The bungalows are comfy, clean and feature aircon, which is so much more important than it sounds when you’re staying in a bungalow! Strong WiFi connection in every room is also a huge bonus for this collection of bungalows. Can’t go wrong at eight bucks a night. You’ll get the cheapest rates here.

Those after a more ‘natural’ experience should book a stay at Gili Meno Eco Hostel. This little homestay prides itself on being totally eco-friendly and has a really chilled vibe to it as a result. You can choose from dorm rooms or cheap privates while you’re here, but there’s always a chance to mingle and meet new people. Expect open-air dorms, bamboo showers and compost-toilets. It might not be everyone’s idea of luxury, but it’s perfect for any conscious-living travellers who fancy a break in the sun. Best rates here.

For the Budget Traveller

Hotel Villa Bagus is a fantastic mid-range option in terms of Gili islands hotels. Choose from their quirky bungalows and enjoy the calm surroundings of one of the cutest Gili islands hotels. Make the most of the pool while you’re there, or walk the short distance to the beach. Each room is kitted out with high-speed WiFi, aircon, TV, and ensuite with outdoor shower. Best rates here.

For something slighter fancier, book a bungalow at Exotic House Gili Meno. The natural surroundings are beautiful and calm, and you’ll be in a little den of fresh flowers, bamboo and stunning nearby beaches. You’ll enjoy a private bathroom and aircon in your bungalow, as well as optional bike hire from reception. Ask the staff to sort you out with a snorkelling tour, diving trip or horse riding excursion – all are well worth it! Best rates here.

For the High Roller

Where else to splash out than in paradise?

If you’re after something really out there in terms of luxury, Sunset House is what you’re looking for. Picture your dream Gili islands hotels – palm trees, huge pool, comfy sun loungers and roomy suites. That’s exactly what you’ll be getting when you check in at Sunset House. You’ll be in a great location to explore the island’s offerings, including diving, snorkelling and yoga, just a 15-minute walk from the harbour. Best rates here.

Gili Trawangan

best hotel in gili trawangan

‘Gili T’, as the island is affectionately known, is the party hub of the trio. Expect the same beautiful beaches as Meno, just dotted with plenty more late-night bars and live music nights.

This island tends to be most popular with solo travellers who want to meet other people, make the most of the cheap beer and party late into the night. But fear not, there’s a quieter side to the island for those who want the choice of a night in!

There are heaps of low-priced hostels on the island for backpackers, as well as some luxury options if you’re here for the paradise-vibe more than the tequila. 

Where to stay on Gili T?

For the Backpacker

Happy Cocoon Homestay is a great option for backpackers after something simple and fun. Bag a bed in a dorm or book a cheap private room for a few nights. You’ll be a short walk from Gili T’s famous night markets, although bike hire is also available from this property. This hostel is a good place to meet other solo travellers, thanks to its spacious common areas and central location. Enjoy WiFi, aircon and secure lockers in the dorm rooms – everything a backpacker needs. You’ll find the best rate here.

For a second option, you’ve got Jati Hostel. Hostels with pools are a bit like unicorns, really, but Jati Hostel brings that and much more. The tidy garden is home to a large pool area as well as plenty of space to relax and meet people. There’s also a bar in the hostel, so you don’t have to wander far to find a nice cold Bintang. The dorms are clean and each comes with a private bathroom. Jati also offers an on-site restaurant, bike hire and tennis-playing facilities. What more do you need? Best rates here!

For the Budget Traveller

For affordable room-service and luxe, try Gili Exotic Villas. This little collection of boutique villas are clustered around a beautiful pool, with spacious rooms and quirky bathrooms. This mini-resort is well-located, so you’ll be within walking distance from some of the best dive shops on the island, as well as your very own on-site spa. For this price, this has to be one of the best Gili islands hotels there is. Often booked out, so reserve early. Best rates here.

For the High Roller

Ombak hotels have quite the reputation across the Gilis, and Villa Ombak Hotel in Gili T is no exception. This hotel is kitted out with all the modern amenities while sticking to traditional Sasak-style architecture, offering huge rooms and suites, as well as luxe lounge areas and a ginormous outdoor pool. There are plenty of sun-loungers around the pool, along with shady areas to relax in. Make the most of the on-site restaurant, shops and spa. These Gili islands hotels are worth looking out for, so keep an eye out for the Ombak name! Best rates here.

The best hotel in Gili Trawangan, however, is Coral Flora Villa Beach Front where all your island fantasies come true. Right on the most beautiful beach on the island, this villa is available to rent for people travelling in a group. With four huge bedrooms and plenty of space, it’s like renting out an entire hotel. The huge swimming pool is totally private to the villa and looks out across the beach. You’ll also have WiFi, aircon, plasma-screen TVs and a barbeque available to you. Oh, and a private bar (yeah, you’ll never want to leave). Almost always fulled booked so make sure you reserve early. Best rates will be found here.

Gili Air

gili air accommodation

My favourite of the Gilis, this island is the perfect blend of activity and relaxation. With excellent dive schools, Gili Air is a great place to get into holiday mode.

This reef here is also wonderful for snorkelling, a good alternative for young children.

In fact, the island itself is very family-friendly, with loads of outdoor pools, horse-riding and beaches that are safe to swim on. Not to mention, this island is home to some of the best Gili islands hotels!

Spend your days barefoot-wandering and enjoying the sunshine before a night of fresh seafood and live music on the beach. The nightlife might not be as lively as Gili T’s, but there’s always something going on on this little island…

Where to stay on Gili Air?

For the Backpacker

Captain Coconuts is probably the best hostel across the three islands. It’s set just back from one of the best beaches on the island, in a field of palm trees. There’s a large outdoor pool with sun-loungers and shady cabanas. You can choose from a cheap dorm room (picture hammocks, mosquito nets and a super airy wooden treehouse) or mini-bungalows with private bathrooms. There’s an incredible restaurant, too, offering vegan and veggie food. Just an awesome place overall, you won’t be disappointed. Best rates here.

If Captain Coconuts is fully booked (often is), a good second option is the Fantastic Gili Hostel, located right by the harbour and home to several roomy bungalows that each feature dorm-style beds. The on-site warung offers delicious local food and cheap beers, as well as a friendly atmosphere. Again, you’ll be in the heart of the island next to great food places, shops and dive schools. Best rates here.

For the Budget Traveller

Mowies on the Beach quickly became my second home, mainly thanks to the staff and the delicious food offerings. The hotel is set just off the beach, with a large outdoor pool available to guests. The roomy bungalows are kitted out with speedy WiFi and TVs. Cross the sandy path to the restaurant and enjoy their huge menu – it’s packed with veggie, vegan and healthy options, as well as huge burgers! A stunning ocean view from your window tops it off as a small piece of paradise. Best rates here.

If you’re after something chilled and a bit out of the way however, spend some time at Gili Air Escape. Located a short cidomo (horse and cart) ride away from the harbour, this little haven will have your heart in seconds. The stunning blue pool sits in the entrance, with a bungalow studio or traditional bamboo bungalows available to stay in. With fantastic reception staff and a huge choice of tours and excursions to choose from, you’ll find ways to make your stay here better than you could dream of. It’s a five-minute walk to a beautiful nearby beach, as well as great international restaurants and bars. Best rates here.

For the High Roller

Anahata Villas & Spa Resort has to be one of the most beautiful resorts on the islands. Each villa is tucked away behind flower-laced fencing, giving you a private entrance and total calm. You’ll be treated to a luxury villa, complete with a plunge pool and outdoor bathroom. The villas are located a short distance from the beach and nearby restaurants, although breakfast is provided. Of course, you’ll have access to WiFi and aircon, but you’ll probably be too busy lounging in your very own pool. Best rates here!

But of course, I’ve saved the best best ’til last. Slow Private Pool Villas are every dream come true. Tucked down a shady, sandy lane just off the beach, this collection of ten private villas will have you weak at the knees. Stepping stones lead you across tranquil waters to the reception area, before you’re taken to your private villa, complete with swimming pool. The on-site spa is a stunning bamboo chapel-style building, offering the best treatments on the island. There’s an airy, outdoor yoga shala with regular classes, as well as an in-house travel agent service. It doesn’t get any better than this. For the best rates, click here.

Enjoy the Gilis 😉


Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13Featured Image

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