Apr 21, 2023 | Lombok | 1 comment

Join us as we get to know the masterminds behind this stunning new destination. We sat down with the dynamic duo behind Somewhere, Lombok’s newest Boutique hotel.

Sisters Claire and Valia have poured their hearts and souls into creating a space that embodies their passion for travel, adventure, and sustainability. 

RPL: Tell us  about yourselves

C&V: We are a duo with a unique background – half French and half Chinese, but both of us grew up in Hong Kong. Our passion for exploring the world was ignited from a young age, as we were fortunate enough to regularly travel around Asia and Europe with our family.

Claire studied in Canada and worked in Japan, London, and Hong Kong before eventually settling down in Lombok. On the other hand, Valia studied in the UK, and traveled across Central America, Indonesia, and Australia before starting this project. 

Our parents own a small boutique hotel in Niseko, Japan, where we managed a restaurant rebrand together. This experience showed us that despite being very different, we complement each other very well.

RPL: What inspired you to open a hotel in Lombok?

C&V: Our grandfather is Chinese-Indonesian from Mataram, Lombok. We have family living on the island so for the past 12 or so years, we spent a lot of time traveling around Indonesia. Lombok was always on the itinerary and we all felt very strong ties to this place, for its beauty, its people, and our family. 

We both have a background in the hospitality industry, and knew we wanted to work together but were waiting for the right place and right time to start.

RPL: What process did you go through to select the location for the hotel and how did you arrive at GNE?

C&V: We were introduced to GNE by coincidence in 2015, and the plot was too good to pass on! We didn’t need to visit many more areas on the island, we knew this was the view that we wanted.

RPL: What is the unique selling point of your hotel, and how do you differentiate it from other hotels in the area?

C&V: At the moment, there is an abundance of accommodation options available on the island and in South Lombok in particular. There are however very few high end boutique hotels, so that is the market we decided to tap into. 

We believe in leaving the world in a better place. Building a large property like ours comes with a lot of responsibility and the sustainability side of things is a huge selling point for the modern traveler. With the help of sustainability experts Eco Mantra, we have implemented strict sustainable features throughout the building and operational process. Some examples include: passive design strategies, recycled water for irrigation, rainwater harvesting, waste management, land preservation, use of porous paving blocks and aerated bricks, and many more. 

The location feels very secluded, but is only a 10 min drive from the center of Kuta. Our biggest selling point is our view and the welcoming and warm space that we have created for our guests. From the moment you walk in, you are welcomed with warm friendly faces and can’t help but relax and unwind. 

RPL: What are the types of rooms available, and what features and amenities can guests expect?

C&V: We currently only have 1 type of room. The villa is just over 52 sqm and features a lounge, balcony, as well as a private plunge pool. It is equipped with bluetooth speakers, beach bags, premium shower/skincare products, sustainable amenities, tea/coffee, and a jar of fresh cookies every evening!

RPL: What challenges have you faced in opening and operating your hotel in Lombok, and how have you overcome them?

C&V: Starting a business in Lombok requires a lot of patience. Things move a bit slower here, so make sure to give yourself some extra time and prepare for many unexpected delays and costs. You will also find yourself in the middle of local village politics, so it’s important to build a good relationship with the local community in order to avoid any issues.

RPL: What would be your top piece of advice to other entrepreneurs considering Lombok as their next business destination?

Lombok has huge potential, but the biggest challenge is making sure everything runs smoothly. Our biggest advice for entrepreneurs is to invest only if you (or someone you trust) can be here to oversee the construction and operations, until it’s running smoothly. 

RPL: What are your plans for expansion or growth in the future, and how do you see your hotel evolving in the coming years?

C&V: In the short term, we are building additional villas next door. In the long run, we hope to welcome you to other Somewhere locations around the world. We have big plans for the brand, stay tuned!


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