a resort with soul
Welcome to Pesona, the perfect place if you are looking to chill out, explore the island, connect with the locals, and enjoy some of GT’s nightlife. My husband and I opened this small resort because we wanted open-minded travellers who love style and quality to have a safe and affordable home in the Gilis. We firmly believe that we must protect our planet and work with our local communities to keep the Gilis beautiful and thriving. You will see this in practice when you stay with us. Our values and actions make us who we are: honest, thoughtful and engaged. It sounds a bit strange to describe Pesona as both chilled-out and lively – but that’s what it is. Early mornings and lunch times are buzzing with divers, afternoons are quiet, and when the lights come on in the evening… the place becomes magical for cocktails and great conversations until midnight. We have created a space where you can meet people, make new friends for life or retrieve and enjoy some much needed romantic one-on-one.
Jen — The General Manager, originally from Oregon, came backpacking here 10 years ago, and never left. She trained under the owners for a few years to become the backbone of Pesona, without her excellent eye, Pesona wouldn’t look and sound the way it does today! She know doubt about it puts her heart and soul into Pesona and it’s staff to make it a fun and successful resort!
Alissa — The Assistant Manager, originally from the west coast of Canada
Sandesh & Sumeena — The owners
We never dreamed that one day, we would fall in love with a small island, decide to start our family there, and run a hotel business! This is not a dream we were raised to have… it completely took us by surprise but when it happened, we just went for it. It felt like this was the only choice we had. And now, we are set on protecting this little island, because we owe it and its people, so much of who we have become today.
This led us to follow the very conventional path of being high performers at school and going to university quickly to study accountancy. This is where we met and fell in love. We found great jobs, continued to perform as highly as we could… but by the time we reached our late 20s, we know something was wrong: we had to move out of our conservative lifestyles and feed our souls. Something was missing… so we took unpaid leave and left the UK for what we thought, would only be xx months. '
We stayed in awful hostels that tested our patience but opened our eyes to what really mattered in life. We were set on having a good time and discovered what really mattered to us. Then an idea started to appear at the back of our mind…. How great would it be to have a place that’s everything we dream of as travellers: easygoing, with great service, quality food and comfortable beds! We came to Gili T and fell in love with the island. We were looking for an excuse to stay.
You never really know when your life is about to change. For us, it was the day we got chatting to a man, who connected to us to a Village Elder owner of a tiny homestay. He liked our spark, the fact that we were a ‘brown’ couple looking to change our lives… so he offered to sell us his 5 bungalows. We said yes – immediately, without much thinking… but did not tell our families to make sure they could not talk us out of it! We knew the place would make a great holiday home anyway.
He worked to raise more money and I stayed to make everything happen, pregnant with our first child. Unable to communicate very often (no Skype or what’sApp at the time), it was a fantastic time to grow as a woman. We opened by June 2008, and success virtually took hold of us. We were not expecting to be so popular so quickly. And then we realised that it could not be hobby anymore: we had crossed that point of no-return. We had to either sell or stay, and build a new life on Gili T. So we did, and our vision became to create happiness and fun in other people’s holidays.
By 2017, we had to make another decision, completely driven by the future of our children. Just as we set out to go back to the UK, our friend set up a school in Bali so we decided to move island and stay close. But this meant that we had to find a highly talented and trustworthy manager… and after a few trials and errors, Jen virtually popped in our lives out of nowhere and we know we had the right woman for the job. Letting go is never easy, especially when it’s your first ‘business baby’. We are still involved but Jen has brought fresh ideas and is fantastic at making us greener to help protect the island and the ocean better.
We have a serious issue with waste, water and plastic on Gili T. and since I believe that change starts with us, I have made it one of Pesona’s mission to become greener. This is what I did as soon as I started work: - stop using bottled water in rooms (glass carafes are refilled for free all day long). - become pretty much straw-less (we only have papaya straws on demand and sell reusables made by women in Bali). - replace small toiletry containers by larger ones we refill. - make our own fresh delicious papaya, pineapple and ginger jam instead of selling single use mini containers made in tasteless factories.
"Why didn't I come here sooner?" — Hamlet Daily
"Fairfield is a modern day foodie's utopia. " — Village Post
"An unforgettable time that inspired a new relationship with cooking and eating. " — City Gazette
"No better way to spend a weekend than with good food and good friends. " — Hicks Globe