If you are looking for a place to stay on Gili Island, you have many options to choose from. I made the mistake of choosing Sama Sama. After all, Sama Sama means “You’re Welcome.” It would have been nice if there had been anything to thank them for. If you are looking for places to stay on Gili Trawangan, do not stay at Sama Sama. It was the worst place that I’ve every stayed, to the point that it became almost laughable. First of all, I didn’t realize when booking, that Sama Sama is really a reggae bar, and it was like, as an afterthought, they had the idea that they would build some bungalows in the back and charge for people to stay there. It is not just a bar, but the liveliest bar on the Island. Even with earplugs, the noise from the bad reggae bands and crowds of people was deafening. During the mornings, members of the band would still be asleep on the stage while the stoned teenagers who ran the place stared at the TV, oblivious to the fact that I was there, waiting for Breakfast. One morning, I had to go and tap one of them on the shoulder to tell them that I wanted breakfast. The guy looked at me blankly, and told me that the cook was asleep and that I would have to wait until he woke up. One morning I asked for honey to go on my toast like I had every morning. I was told that the honey was in the locked refrigerator and that they didn’t have a key. The place seriously leaves you with the feeling that it is a frat house being run by a bunch of college students, well, actually make that college dropouts. I think the most laughable thing was that, on their site, they are listed as luxury boutique bungalows.
The rooms themselves look very cute from the outside which is why I reserved the place. But inside, they are very dark and musty. There are barely any lights, and I spent forever trying to figure out why the lamps wouldn’t come on, only to then realize that there were no light bulbs in them in the first place. Also they provided no toiletries, not even a bar of soap was provided to wash with. When, I asked about some soap, I was told that the room didn’t come with any. The safe was also broken. When I told the owner, I was told, “Yes, it doesn’t work. It’s broken.” They had no intention of fixing it. There was also no hot water. The website specifically says that they have hot water. When I told someone, he said he would look into it. The next day, I told someone else who said the same thing. Later, that day when there was still no hot water, I told someone else and was told the hotel didn’t have hot water. There was also no cleaning service. I stayed for five nights and not once did someone come in to empty the trash cans, change the sheets or towels, sweep the sand off the floors or make the bed. I had to ask for more toilet paper when we ran out, and the worker just grabbed the rest of the roll from the bar bathroom. In fact, it didn’t feel like the sheets were even clean from the beginning. It felt like there was sand on them, and the sheets are so old that they are very thin and pilled. We were brought hot water and Nescafe packets on the first day, but they didn’t come to bring us new hot water until the day before we left. To me these things were a travesty, especially in Indonesia, where usually the service is so good. The entire time, I felt like a ghost, and started to wonder if I was no longer even real, such little acknowledgement was given to my presence.
I really don’t have anything good to say about Sama Sama. I wish I did, but it truly was one of the worst places to stay. I would have checked out, but since I really wasn’t on Gili Trawanagan that long, I didn’t want to lose half a day searching around the island for availability. The island was very crowded while I was there because of the silent holiday, Nyepi, that was happening on Bali. It seems that everyone had fled to the Gili Islands. But if you are going to Gili Trawangan, there are better places to stay. Sama Sama.