A Gili Air Icon…
A visit to Bel Air Resort on Gili Air is a must for music lovers. This vast establishment on the beach boasts an incredible collection of music memorabilia and it is highly recommended to take your time and have a closer look at Boots’ treasure. A particular favourite is the humongous print of the Rolling Stones, which looms over the bar area.
Boots, the owner of Bel Air is full of energy and excitement and he confesses to an illustrious past in the music industry and has many a tale to tell.
In the third year of his Architectural Degree, he admits to being bitten by the travel bug, after a trip to India, which changed his course. “I became a hippie… then I became a yuppie,” he reminisces, “I sold rentals in England. Now I’m a cross between the two… I’m a yippie-ya-oh!” He laughs.
He moved to Indonesia in 1986, building and managing a resort in Umalas for 15 years. Seeking somewhere more peaceful, he relocated to the Gilis, “Bali became something I didn’t go to Bali for – hustle and bustle and traffic jams.” Gili Air offered the perfect solution.
Boots opened Bel Air Resort in 2015 and it is home to a range of accommodation options. Deluxe rooms, spacious villas or a romantic home-away-from-home complete with a private jacuzzi offers all levels of luxury. The designs of the villas are indeed interesting and quirky, but Boots is known for his eccentricities and it is evident in his unique style and décor.
Another jaw dropper is the centrepiece of the bar and restaurant. Boots ferried in the roof of a 200-year old Joglo which originated in Yogyakarta. “I had it constructed here. It’s an authentic, fabulous piece of history, a bit like me…fabulously funky!” He laughs easily.
So, what are the other main attractions at Bel Air Resort, besides the obvious decadent surroundings? The location is clearly world class. The beach is white and the snorkelling just a few feet away is arguably the best on the island. Sea-life abound, and turtles are frequently spotted in the shallows. Romantics love dining on the beach at sunset, listening to great live music and later retiring to plush rooms. Days can be spent lazing around the pool, eating and drinking from the restaurant and bar or catching some rays on the beach. Your choice.
Boots loves music and encourages visitors to join in on music nights and participate in jamming with local musicians. He is a champion of local talent and enthuses over many a shining star in the local music industry.
The restaurant offers a variety of delicious food, from local dishes to sushi, making it very popular on the island. “I have plans to make this the first dedicated sports bar on Gili Air,” he smiles, knowing how well-received this news will be amongst locals and guests. “I am looking forward to high season where we can put it out there a bit more,” he explains, genuinely excited to share what he has created with more people.
And for good reason. Boots shares, “This has basically been my life for the past 8 years. I designed this place while sitting on the beach, making sandcastles. Then I built it myself. I have put everything I have into Bel Air!”
Be sure to book into this iconic establishment and when you do, say hi to Boots…