Gili Trawangan Island, Lombok
Anak Cottage looks like an enchanting family island escape, with a charming house and 3 quaint bungalows, 4 breezy bathrooms and a fenced pool (perhaps the only one on the Gilis?) and lots of space to for parents to chill and kids to explore. ‘Anaks’ translates to children in Bahasa Indonesian, but I think it’s not just the youngsters who will be enamored by this unique abode. If you like rustic beachy-shabby chic with a Balinese twist look no further.
I think Anak’s cottage would be perfect for a family with littlies & older kids, or a family with youngsters plus another couple.
Photo Credit: Anak Cottage
Anak Cottage looks like the quintessential quirky and charming island family holiday pad. This unique home is the creative vision of Isabel and her family Belgium that includes her 5 children! Together they have painstakingly and lovingly renovated this delightful property, using local products where possible and skilled local artisans to achieve their vision. They have even installed solar panels in their attempt to minimize their impacts on the local environment. The overall result of this hard work looks like a wonderfully seducing and playful tropical island retreat.
I adore the attention to detail at Isabel’s place, be it the recycled timber from old boats she has used to make the bed frames, the charming thatched roofs or the inviting pool with its comfy lounges under the shade of the mango and frangipani trees. And, it looks like there are plenty of little retreats around the property where you can sit, sink your toes into the sand and relax.
The journey to picturesque “Anak Cottage” looks like half the fun. I think that both kids and adults alike will delight in arriving by boat to the white sandy shores of this island. To top it off, a horse drawn carriage (aka local taxi service) will be waiting.
Why is rocks for families
I think keeping kids entertained would be pretty simple at Anaks. There is the pool (with a permanent fence), books and toys, a great garden, and the treehouse. Isabel can also provide a cot and has kiddy chairs and a table if you need it. And, of course there is the beach which I believe isn't too far away, where all you need for the kids is a few buckets and spades, and BYO snorkels for your kids to practice their snorkeling skills. If your kids are lucky, you may see a Green or Logger Head Turtle straight off the local beach. But, if the turtles prove too allusive, there are always plenty of little fish and crabs to keep young ones enthralled.
Anak’s is made up of the Main House and 2 elevated bungalows with a relaxing area underneath. One elevated bungalow (Joglo Chic) has a queen bed and mozie net and can accommodate 2 people. Isabel’s children use the smaller bungalow - Joglo Petit as their tree house and her older kids sleep there, but I’m not sure if other travelling families would be OK with that? Ask her. They both have relatively steep stairs (which don’t look ideal for toddlers) and a small balcony and outdoor shabby-chic open air bathrooms downstairs.
The Main House is ground level and the place to stay if you have bambinos. It has 2 air-conditioned bedrooms (with queen beds), 2 en-suite bathrooms, a lovely living room with high ceilings, lots of ceiling fans, and a wrap around balcony. There is a separate “Gilligan's Island” style kitchen and outdoor dining area for cooking and family meals. Isabel has created lots of lovely little places to sit and read around the property.
Other important stuff
Bathrooms have hot & cold fresh water
Air-con in bedrooms of main house
Internet (don’t expect fast WiFi)
Outdoor kitchen/dining area
Staff available to cook (on request)
TV and DVD player
Need to know
Getting there. You will need to work out the best way for your family to get to and from the island, being either via boat from Bali (Sanur, Amed or Padangbai) or a super short flight to Mataram from Denpasar and then a much shorter boat trip. It's worth checking the boat company’s safety credentials and ask about weather conditions and how that affects the boat trip at different times of year.
Be organised. You need to be organized if you want to holiday here with littlies and bring all your essentials with you because there is no rushing out to the shops to get nappies, formula, baby panadol, etc. on the island.
Don't expect 5 star aircon luxury. Anak Cottage is on an island in Indonesia, so sometimes things probably don’t work as well as they should. So, if you need mod cons, 100% reliable electricity and don't like bugs, this may not be the place for you. It has rustic style and oodles of charm, but occasionally the power may go off, the internet may cut out or be slow and remember water is an issue because it has to be brought to the island because there is none there. Some reviews mention that it is looking a bit tired, but you can be the judge of that.
Be wary of the pool fence. Even though this is a pool fence, there aren’t the same stringent regulations in Indonesia concerning pool fences that there are in countries like Australia so ask lots of questions before you book. It looks pretty good from the photos, but I haven’t personally checked it out.
Bring a torch. At night the walk/ride to the beach and the village from Anaks isn’t lit, so don’t forget a torch and expect a bit of a bumpy ride home in a Cidomo.
It's known as a party island. These days Gili Trawangan does has a reputation for being the party island and has received some bad press about drugs.
GROWING UP TROPPO WISHLIST. Anak Cottage is on my wishlist, i.e., I haven't stayed there. But, I have done my homework and read everything I could find on Flip-key and Trip Advisor, their Facebook page, as well as emailing Isabel. It is important that the information on Growing up Troppo is as accurate and honest as possible so I would LOVE to hear from you if you have stayed here and have any feedback (both good and bad) about this place. It is important to me that the information on Growing up Troppo is as accurate and honest as possible. So, if I have made any errors or you think my description is not accurate, please let me know. I’m not getting any freebies to write this.