My kids are still raving about our 1 week on gili air. But it's important to not confuse the gili's or Juliantos with more established beach destinations like Hawaii, Fiji, or even certain islands in the Caribbean. For me, that's not a bad thing necessarily b/c you get a lot more fun for your money. Here's why it worked for us:
1. food was good - Both at the restaurant and the many many close by places around the island. We loved Biba's pizza....walking distance
2. Resort was nice, with a pool for the kids - not perfect but good enough
3. Beach in front of hotel - good at high tide for the kids. However at low tides the water retreats way out exposing the rocks...no swimming then. But at certain times the beach was fine. For adults, when the tide is out, it's actually easier to walk out to the drop off where the good coral, fish, turles are.
4. Snorkeling - some of the best I've done from shore. It's a drift snorkel, so you need to walk a ways up the beach...enter, drift down past the hotel..as far as you like then walk back
5. Diving close by - 3 min. walk down the path to Blue marlin dive boats. The diving wasn't exceptional but was good enough to get me and my wife out 6-7 times. We're spoiled now living in the Philippines...we're used to affordable personalized service and great diving- 2 years ago i would probably have raved on the awesome diving in the gili's.
6. OK trail around the island for running - takes about 30 min to get around - there are some places where it's loose sand but didn't bother me too much.
We didn't have any serious complaints, just a few annoyances:
1. This place could be really nice with a little attention to detail like...cleaning, removing some junk from behind certain buildings, and having a more cohesive landscaping plan in synch with the dry environment
2. The staff were not particularly helpful...they did the job mostly, but several times Julia or Tony had to intervene to make it right. If they had not been there I think customer service would have been an issue. Tony and Julia were great though (owners).
3. Population pressure is evident in certain parts of the island - like where your fast boat lands. It's a real mess and eyesore...trash all over the place.
4. My biggest annoyance was the smoke from burning trash in the morning when running (other side of island...not Juliantos fault). Watching all the trash burning I couldn't help but think of all my friends driving prius's in San Francisco....40 hybrids = 1 trash fire?? But to be fair I don't know where else they could cost effectively deal with the trash.
Despite all this I'd go back because it cost effectively addresses my family'svacation needs...dive, snorkel, boat charters, good meals, hang at the beach, exercise, and let the kids romp in the pool ....I shudder to think about what this trip would cost me in Wailea!
- Also Known As:
- Juliantos By The Sea Hotel Gili Air
- Juliantos By The Sea Gili Air, Gili Islands