Hotel with Heart: Pesona Beach Resort, Gili Trawangan

With its bohemian decor, seaside location, delicious Indian restaurant, lounge area, pool, spa, eco-friendly ethos, and onsite dive center, Pesona Beach Resort in Gili Trawangan is near the top of my damn, I could live here, list of hotels.

In mid 2018, Gili Trawangan was hit by a series of severe earthquakes. Most of the island’s residents fled off to Bali, mainland Lombok, or their country of origin while just a few volunteers stayed behind to start the long rebuilding process of their beloved little island.

Of these few volunteers, a handful worked at Pesona Beach Resort and the hotel’s affiliated dive shop, Dive Central Gili. Without their initial hard work of moving rubble and clearing pathways, Gili Trawangan as a whole would’ve no doubt taken much longer to recover than it has. As of now, Gili Trawangan is ready for tourists thanks largely to the volunteers who stayed behind even though leaving would’ve been the easier — and safer option.

I checked into Pesona Beach Resort after bouncing from hotel to hotel while researching properties for an upcoming guidebook. Based on my previous experiences, I somewhat expected it to be just another hotel. And while I don’t mean this in a negative way, it’s rare to find a property that’s truly unique in a destination renowned for having a plethora of clean, affordable, and beautifully decorated hotels. At some point, they all start to blend together.

This isn’t the case at Pesona Beach Resort. There were many factors I loved about my stay that makes the hotel stand out from the rest. Here are just a few reasons why I recommend checking out Pesona Beach Resort the next time you travel to Gili Trawangan:

Commitment to the environment

Gili Trawangan has a major problem when it comes to waste management. There is no efficient rubbish collection system in the entirety of Indonesia (a topic I’ve been discussing for years), let alone Gili Trawangan.

Pesona Beach Resort and Dive Central Gili do their part in mitigating this waste problem by taking part in the Refill My Bottle program, a system where you can refill your water bottle at the resort whether you’re a guest or not. Rooms are free of plastic water bottles and even plastic toiletries (soap, shampoo, and conditioner comes from a refillable bottle instead).

The dive center also participates in weekly beach clean-ups, and adheres to strong conservation principles when teaching new divers how to breathe underwater and while guiding already-certified divers.

Commitment to the community

As mentioned before, the staff at Pesona Beach Resort and Dive Central Gili stayed on the island to rebuild Gili Trawangan immediately after it’d been destroyed.

“The workers here are like our family. We couldn’t just leave.” One of the managers at Pesona Beach Resort explained after I asked why she and her friends stayed behind.

And it’s not just humans who are viewed as family. While at the resort, it won’t be long until you notice a small gang of cats roaming about. Apparently, a handful of cats in addition to the original crew arrived after the earthquakes in hopes of finding a safe shelter.

The rooms and amenities

I’m hoping to someday make bank and hire whoever designed Pesona Beach Resort’s rooms. Colorful, clean, and unique, the decor has captured the carefree, whimsical vibe just about every traveler seeks when they step off of a boat and onto Gili Trawangan.

Plus, the bathroom has mermaids live here written all over it.

There are 25 rooms on the property and six different room types. Some rooms are set poolside while others have views of the ocean. Each room comes with a safety locker, air conditioning, hot water, drinking water, a TV, and wifi. The pool set behind the reception desk is reserved for guests only.

Restaurant and bar

Hosting the only Indian restaurant on the island, dine on fresh curries, chutneys, naan, and daal as a heart, post-dive meal. Their bar is well-stocked with spirits and their two-for-one happy hour draws a fun crowd.

The resort hosts an outdoor movie night twice a week — the perfect wind down activity if you don’t feel like hitting up the party scene.

Come sunset, you’ll likely see people crouched around Pesona Beach Resort’s small shisha tables, with a sweet-smelling cloud of smoke hovering over them.


Pesona Beach Resort is less than a ten minute walk from the harbor and is along the main road. You can easily walk or cycle to just about every attraction from the resort itself.

If you want to lounge on the beach, the ocean’s edge is just steps away.

Diving with Dive Central Gili

I first heard of Dive Central Gili because my open water instructor, Deris, works there. Once I arrived, I realized that Mo’s advanced open water instructor also works there. Since these strapping lads have contributed to my and my boyfriend’s love of diving, it’s safe to say that I recommend the dive staff at Dive Central Gili wholeheartedly.

Diving with Dive Central Gili is safe, fun, and their staff is extremely friendly. Their boats are reliable and the entire operation is well-run — leaving you to think about little more than the dive itself. Many of their employees have diving the surrounding reefs for years, racking up thousands of dives along the Gili Islands alone. Being a 5-Star PADI dive center, students can get a variety of certifications and specialties.

Would you want to stay at Pesona Beach Resort? It’s rare that I find a hotel that’s worth writing so much about, so I really hope you stay and enjoy it as much as I did. For the best price, contact them directly as they’re happy to price match or beat any online booking site (tell them I sent you)! I was hosted by Pesona Beach Resort during my stay — though all opinions are my own.