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Michal Tyles
Minimalism to the Max

01 MBO Innit (2)

Words Ken BaronImages Ruben Beeris, Martin Westlake (hotel images)

For most of us, the old saying “Life is a journey” is meant metaphorically.

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.

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En route to a slice of paradise with Michal Tyles

“The moment you step on that boat, your departure from the familiar begins.”

Michal Tyles

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Dock into a slower pace at Innit Lombok

I will always remember arriving at Innit. I felt like I was leaving Lombok for my own private island.

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.

And it continues upon arrival. One might expect grandeur here, but instead you’re greeted by wood, stone, concrete, glass, and a natural color palette that feels so elemental and wonderfully minimal. Was that a conscious choice?

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!

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Maximum minimalism realized by local architecture firm D-associates

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Blurring the boundaries of outdoors and in with slatted wood

“I think simple is best. Simple design. Simple lines. Simple simple. To me, unnecessary is exactly that—unnecessary.”

Michal Tyles

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Gregorius Supie Yolodi (left) of D-associates architecture firm with Michal Tyles

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Bringing the outside in is a simple luxury at Innit

So how did the “feel” of Innit come about?

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!”

The result seems to be as much about interacting as it is about observing. The environment feels so conducive to conversation.

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.

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Untouched beauty at Ekas Bay

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“The view of the ocean is our ‘TV’. It’s the best thing to look at. And it’s always on!”

Michal Tyles

How did you get into hospitality?

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.

Do you feel that Innit is your peak achievement?

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.

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Local lobster farm run by the team at Innit

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A fresh catch, every day.

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One thing I’m sure you wouldn’t do differently is the way that you involved the local community.

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.

So what’s next for Michal Tyles?

What’s next is the realization of the full vision of the Bridge hotel. The best is yet to come!

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Featured Hotels

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