But for Michal Tyles, the visionary behind the stunning new Innit Lombok beach house and Bridge hotel complex, that saying can be taken quite literally. After all, his life’s direction took an important turn in the back of a taxi. “When I was 21 years old, I was living in Sydney and my car broke down,” explains the Slovakian of a time in his life some 25 years ago. “The taxi driver who picked me up was from Bali and he proceeded to tell me how beautiful and magical the island is. So, when the ride was over, I booked a ticket and went there for a holiday. My trip was meant to last two weeks, but I stayed in Bali for three months. When I finally returned to Australia, I sold my broken-down car and flew back to Indonesia. And I never left! That taxi journey changed my life.”
Today, Tyles’ journey continues with him leading his guests on a beautiful and magical quest of their own, and fittingly that quest begins with another form of taxi ride—this one a boat, not a car.
Yes, the journey starts long before you even arrive, so for me it’s important that the moment you step on that boat, your departure from the familiar begins.
Yes, it is very minimalist, but that’s because I think simple is best. Simple design. Simple lines. Simple simple. To me, unnecessary is exactly that—unnecessary. You might call it minimalism; I call it practical. I want my guests to have a very analog experience, to unplug. So we encourage them to stay away from electronics. There are no TVs in the rooms; instead, the view of the ocean is our “TV”. It’s the best thing to look at. And it’s always on!
When I first approached the architect, Andra Matin (D-associates), I told him that I wasn’t going to give him any restrictions. Don’t think about the number of rooms, the economics, just think what is the best. I gave him a blank slate and told him to fill it. I said, “Create a landmark that people will want to see no matter where it is.” For an architect that is a dream brief. And he gave me the dream answer, “Yes,” he said, “I can do that!”
I agree. And it’s no accident. The art of conversation is one of the things that people seem to be losing in the world today. They stop talking. That’s why communal dining is encouraged here and why there is a large sharing table in the center of the restaurant. It opens a world within a world.
I studied at a hotel and tourism academy. But owning a hotel wasn’t my dream. When I was young, I wanted to be a chef and open a restaurant. Then, when I was in Bali, I got into the exporting business. In 1998, when the economy collapsed, I started buying land on the island. I was very lucky—right place, right time. Through a joint venture, I built a resort in Bali. Then I built another. And another. Now, suddenly, I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years! And I can’t see myself doing anything else.
Well, every time you do something, you think it’s your best work. But then, when you finish, you think of new challenges. There’s always more that you want. Plus, you always see the little things that you’d do differently.
Yes. Before we started work on the hotel, we invited locals to come to the site, and we explained what we were doing with Innit Lombok. Then we asked them if they might be interested in being a part of it. And if they were interested but didn’t know how to perform a certain job, we asked if they wanted to learn. Sure, we could have hired a big contractor to do everything, but we wanted to give opportunities to the locals. We wound up bringing in 158 people from the village next door and from neighboring villages. Which makes the experience that guests have a better one. If you come to this remote area, it helps greatly if you connect with locals immediately, which our guests can do right here on property.
What’s next is the realization of the full vision of the Bridge hotel. The best is yet to come!