Located just off Lombok's northwest coast, the trio of tiny Gili Islands — Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno — are hands-down stunning. While all three offer impossibly clear waters and super-soft, white-sand beaches, you’ll want to choose your island — and accommodation — wisely. And the reason? Costs vary, as do the kinds of accommodation on offer, and island experience. With that in mind, here’s our guide to the best Gili Islands hotels.
While all three Gili Islands have been settled since the 1970s, no motorised vehicles are allowed on any of them. In place of cars and trucks, you’ll find horse carts and bicycles and will most likely feel you're living the tropical dream. It's one of the most popular destinations in Indonesia, especially if you are coming from Bali or Lombok.
Before we dive into the best Gili Islands hotels, it's worth taking time to decide which island suits you best. So, here's an introduction to the three Gili's.
Of the three islands, Gili Trawangan is the most developed, with accommodation catering to a range of travellers — families, honeymooners and backpackers.
Gili Trawangan also boasts a range of places to dine, drink and dance the night away.
If you’re looking for a more off-the-beaten-track experience, Gili Meno, to the east of Gili Trawangan, is the smallest and quietest of the trio.
With a local population of around five hundred, Meno is mellow, with a chilled, barefoot vibe.
As a result, places to stay on Gili Meno are more limited, so you’ll want to book early. And don’t come expecting much in the way of nightlife beyond a few laidback bars.
Further to the east, Gili Air suits travellers who like the sound of an idyllic, away-from-it-all experience, but don’t want to forego every convenience.
With a variety of restaurants, bars, and places to stay, Gili Air’s significant population of islanders balances out the increasing flow of tourists.
From undeniably quirky options to super-cool resorts, to rustic bungalow retreats, our overview of the best Gili Island hotels should give you food for thought ahead of your trip.
In general, it's worth knowing that due to the cost of importing pretty much everything, prices on the islands are higher than on Bali and mainland Lombok.
Though there is a growing number of places to stay on the Gilis, accommodation remains at a premium, and many outfits charge wildly inflated prices during peak periods.
Note that while hostels are officially banned here due to opposition from guesthouse owners, some places are hostels in all but names.
With all that in mind, here's our run-down of the best Gili Islands hotels.
After action and lively nightlife? You’ll want to base yourself on Gili Trawangan’s east coast, with the strip south of the harbour especially lively.
Known as Central, this area boasts a host of bungalows, bars and restaurants. You’ll also find lots of dive shops here.
Meanwhile, the west coast is home to large resorts, with Trawangan’s cheapest accommodation options found inland from the east coast.
Note that there are very few hotels right on the beach. Those that do enjoy a shore-side location rarely have rooms with direct sea views. That said, nowhere is more than a few minutes’ walk away from the sea.
Also, be aware that the groundwater on Gili Trawangan is brackish, so showers are often salty. As a result, upmarket hotels and guesthouses import fresh water.
Located on the northwest coast, this fine hotel's huge plot of land is speckled with salvaged 150-year-old traditional Javanese joglo and kampung (village) homes.
The spacious wooden bungalows come with antique furniture and four poster beds. There’s also a pool and good snorkelling on your doorstep.
Around 400m inland from the north coast, this luxurious boutique hotel boasts elegant wood-floored rooms that open onto an enormous 80m saltwater pool.
All rooms have a/c, TV, DVD players and freshwater bathrooms with tubs. One- and two-bedroom villas have private pools. There’s also a gym, and restaurant, and bicycles are available for guests.
On the east coast, this popular backpackers’ lodge is by the beach and close to all the action. The very spacious a/c en-suite dorms and private twin rooms have good security, lockers and clean facilities.
There’s also a pool and a rooftop bar with regular movie screenings and parties. A decent breakfast buffet is included.
Inland of the east coast, just a 4 min walk from the beach, the tropical frangipani-filled garden here adds to the relaxed vibe.
There are 24 standard, superior and deluxe rooms, all with a/c, a fresh-water lap pool and a restaurant serving delicious Mediterranean and Indonesian cuisine.
The in-house dive centre offers one complimentary dive in the resort’s pool to non-divers.
Named after the volleyball in the Cast Away film, this gorgeous small resort has eight spacious suites and two villas with private pools and stunning interior design.
Its location right on the north shore makes it possible to view the sunset over a volcano from the beach.
Accommodation on Gili Air is spread around most of the coast and inland, with bungalows and cottages outweighing the number of resorts.
When choosing where to stay, bear in mind that the lovely stretch of beach on the southeast side of the island, around Scallywags Beach Club, less than ten minutes’ east of the harbour, is something of a hub for restaurants and bars.
The southeast also has the most popular beach and excellent snorkelling, but ask locally about currents, which can be strong.
Away from the coast, countless tracks, some of them paved, cross the interior and allow you to explore beyond tourist hotspots.
On the east coast, right by the beach, attractive a/c bungalows are set around a huge garden, complete with grazing cows and a pool.
Breakfast is served on the roof of the reception building by the beach.
Right on the beach on the northwest coast, and very, very pink, this adults-only option bills itself as "the sexiest hotel on the island".
With funky rooms, cottages and villas, plus a pool, top restaurant and sunset bar, this is the kind of place you won't forget in a hurry.
On the southwest coast, these lovely beachfront bungalows are in a peaceful part of the island where you can enjoy amazing sunset views.
There’s a restaurant, bar and spa, as well as bicycle rental. Diving and snorkelling can also be arranged.
Near the port on the south coast, and built almost entirely from bamboo, this popular hostel has smallish ceiling-fan-cooled dorms with three or four beds.
They also have rooms, all with mozzie nets, some with a/c.
With beds in the Bamboo Lodge suspended from the rafters, this is no ordinary hostel. Each of them have a privacy screen, fan and locker.
It's also close to the beach and has a lovely garden and pool.
In general, accommodation on Gili Meno is less flashy than on Trawangan. In practical terms, few budget places have a/c and there’s some roughness around the edges.
As a result, things can feel quite rustic, even though you’re mostly paying well above backpacker prices.
Prices fluctuate dramatically, and in the high season (June–Sept and over Christmas), you need to book well ahead.
Their location and good value prices make these cottages (ahem…) fantastic. Near eateries and the harbour, they're right in the thick of things, and a 100m walk from the beach.
Note this is an adult and cash-only option.
On the northwest coast, this stylish, family-friendly resort offers beachfront villas and seven spacious pool-view rooms, all with modern artworks and a/c.
Service is great, there are two pools (one for kids) and guests get gratis access to snorkelling gear, bikes and kayaks.
Just back from the beach near the southern tip of the island, and a 10min walk from the harbour, these Balinese-owned and-designed bungalows are well located.
All ten bungalows have large verandas, a/c and cold-water bathrooms.
On the southwest coast, this offers warm hospitality, and bungalows in a variety of sizes, all of them with minimalist décor, TV and a/c.
Cooking courses, a small saltwater pool and free bicycle use are added attractions.
Inland, but just five minutes from the beach by bike, each of the lovely bungalows and villas has access to a garden and a private or shared swimming pool.
There's also a good restaurant serving up Indonesian and Western dishes, and free bikes for guests.
If you're feeling inspired by our run-down of the best Gili Islands hotels, browse our customisable itineraries, discover the best Bali beaches, or talk to our local experts about curating your perfect trip.
Already booked a trip? Read The Rough Guide to Bali and Lombok for information and tips that'll help you make the most of it.
Header image: Gili Meno © Shutterstock
Joanne is a Pembrokeshire-born writer with a passion for the nature, cultures and histories of the Caribbean region, especially Dominica. Also passionate about inspiring a love of adventure in young people, she’s the author of several books for children and young adults, hosts international writing workshops, and has written articles on the Caribbean and inspirational community initiatives for Rough Guides. Follow her