Heading to the paradise island of Gili Meno and planning what to do? Or are you already here and need a break from the clear blue waters, beautiful beach bars and endless sunshine? Or maybe you are staying in Lombok and fancy a crazy adventure and doing something away totally different?
Whichever of these it is, I have found just the thing for you. Whilst exploring the beautiful coastal track around the island, we came across the derelict remains of the now abandoned Bounty Hotel on the islands East Side. This huge sprawling beachfront complex was once a high end hotel, but now its huge bungalows, restaurant, swimming pool, Hindu Temple and reception are slowly retuning to the jungle in which they were built.
Having spoken to locals on the island, and read around a little online, there seem to have been several popular myths about the Bounty Hotel that have developed over the years. My favourite is the tale that the hotel fell into disrepair after the owner mysteriously died and that his ghost is still haunting the now vacant premises.
In reality, I think the story runs a little more like this: Following the Bali bombings in 2002, the number of western tourists visiting Lombok and the Gili islands fell sharply. The owner of the hotel, a wealthy investor from Bali, closed the hotel due to the ongoing cost of staffing and running it without guests. Over the following 2 years, the tourist trade did not return to its former levels and the hotel was not reopened. Without proper maintenance, the it quickly began to suffer damage due to the hot and humid climate of Gili Meno. The local I met also told me the owner had subsequently bought his own private island and was investing heavily in developing this. As a result, he decided not to invest the money it would have taken to reopen the hotel, rather deciding to leave the property abandoned.
As such, the massive hotel grounds continue to deteriorate year on year. Many of the buildings are now little more than shells. But there are still eerie signs of life around the hotel. Many of the windows still have the curtains closed in them. Menus remain in the restaurant, and pathways are slowly being covered in plants. You can walk around the huge hotel complex, which has a distinct feel of a disaster or zombie movie to it. It feels a little like walking around Pompeii.
An interesting side note to this story is the famous shipwreck, which lies just in-front of the abandoned hotel, also used to belong to the same wealth business man, until it sank one night due to heavy storms. It to was apparently called the Bounty, and used to serve as a floating restaurant for the hotel. I just hope this guy had a good insurance broker!