BILOU BEACH, MENTAWAIS, INDONESIA: TESTIMONIALS
Libby Desantis, Uluwatu, expat family living in Bali (originally from the North Shore, Hawaii + Malibu, CA)
We are a family of surfers that live in bali and love to travel, we have gone on allot of surf trips and stayed in beautiful places all over the world but bilou is by far our favourite.
Bilou hosts gideon & chantal along with their kids josh and indie are some of the nicest people we have ever met,
we felt like family, they have thought of every detail you might want or need and have options ready
The villas are clean, they have good air flow, they are laid out nicely and there is plenty of room, there is a complete kitchen, comfy beds and good water pressure. we loved the big front deck and spent alot of time out there.
I think one of my favourite things was our private umbrella and lounge chairs positioned right in the sand just a few steps to the water. we watched the sunset every night and there is nothing like a sunset in the mentawai’s "it's like a fire in the sky!"
Bilou has a crazy good location. you can check the waves of some of the best surf spots from your front porch. and the most beautiful water in the world is at your doorstep..... i spent most of my trip underwater.
Just going to throw this out there.... ummm, fresh baked bread in the ments??? yes! delivered hot out of the oven every morning to your villa. They also have this great beach bar and every other night they serve up delicious and healthy bar meals, they mix it up and have fresh fish, salads, fun to get together and have a cold beer at night
Another thing that was epic was that there were waves for me. fun longboard cruiser style. i surfed everyday and that just doesn’t ever happen on a surf trip with my family who are all hard core surfers.
Each villa gets its own private boat& driver so we had time and could plan our day to make sure we all got waves!
They also have an amazing little store that has whatever you need, you can grab ingredients and chef it up.
There is no where else like this in the ments. i highly recommend bilou beach villas to any families that want the complete mentawai experience. you will not be disappointed
The Desantis family -
Joe, Libby, Max & Kahea
Grant (Twiggy) Baker, KZN, South Africa - big wave surfer/swell chaser
I have been traveling through Indonesia for the past 25 years and can honestly say that this is the best location I have come across during that time. So many epic surf spots close to the resort with a personal boat per bungalow opens up a world of waves to suit every level of surfer. Combined with new, comfortable bungalows, great food and superb hosts makes this a must see for any surfer. Thank you Golla and Chantal!
BRAD WILLIS, NSW, AUSTRALIA - super charged boys trip
We’d done several Mentawai boat charters before and were looking for something different, a unique experience that was still affordable. Arriving on the fast ferry at TuaPajet, we could barely contain our excitement as we saw lines in the distance stacked to the horizon. The boys were there to pick us up and ferry us a short distance across the channel to Bilou Beach, on Beautiful Awera Island. Chantal greeted us and made us feel at home, but quickly insisted we go surf Telescopes as it was pumping.
Bilou offers you the chance to come and go as you please and surf wherever you want, in your own boat with your own driver. Using the local driver is recommended, as they are not only very funny and great company, they are very respectful and grateful to come surfing with you. Chantal was glad to see us safely motoring back from a late afternoon session at Scary’s.
We had the flexibility to surf any wave of our choice, avoiding peak times and wherever the charter boats congregated. This resulted in many sessions with no one else around, a wave close by known as OmbakTidur soon becoming our favourite wave.
Chantal and Gideon are friendly and helpful, and have an innate knowledge of the Mentawai Islands after running charter boats for many years. Gideon offered to take us surfing with Twiggy Baker and showed us some confident tube riding, trolling with beers at dusk and when the surf dropped off, spearing dogtooth tuna at ‘Scary Island’.
Chantal and Gideon have created their piece of paradise, the resort and villas have been crafted with great skill and are very stylish and comfortable. Whether it’s a family holiday or hard core surf trip, you will not be disappointed with what Bilou has to offer. After 12 days of surfing, fishing and spearing and beers watching the sun set, we were sad to bid farewell to the Malherbe’s, Andoik and Afiz, knowing we’ll be sure to return soon.
GRANT VISSER, SOUTH AFRICA - dad and lad trip
Matt , 15 ,and I landed in Padang, a delight in its own right and fast ferried to the Islands. What a great place to indulge our passion for adventure,food exploration, snorkeling,my obsession with fly fishing (huge species diversity and everything from island tidal points, mangroves and reef flats) and our mutual love for surfing and the ocean. We loved the freedom of our own boat, the culture of the nearby village, our motorcycle trip to the jungle and its rivers on the big island and most of all the beautiful people and our awesome hosts Josh Indi Gideon and Chantal. We will return
KEVIN ANDREW, SOUTH AFRICA - honeymooners
When my wife and I started planning an overseas trip, she wanted to go to a beach destination, I wanted somewhere I could surf (but not a surf camp). All I can say is that Bilou Beach Villas was the best possible option for us! Having a villa to ourselves meant that we could have complete privacy and with our own boat and driver, we could come an go as we pleased. This was crucial so that we could balance my surf sessions with our time together either snorkeling, SUPing or relaxing on the beach or at the villa. There were waves every day and with so many different breaks around, you are really spoiled for choice! Bilou is the perfect set up with an intimate, welcoming and homey feel given by the super helpful and friendly hosts (Gideon, Chantal, Indie and Josh), the dogs and cats and the staff that make the stay at Bilou such an easy going experience. This trip was going to be a once off, but we loved it so much that we'll be heading back next year for a repeat trip! There are just too many highlights to list when describing this amazing place! I have done a few surf trips to Indo, but this was hands down the best place for us to find the perfect balance (surfer and non-surfer). Can't wait to get back there!
Debbie Goodman-Bhyat - Sept 2017 - family trip
We've been home a week already since our extraordinary trip to Bilou Beach Villas and Beach Bar, Mentawai Islands, and I'm finally getting round to facebooking a bit about the experience.
I consider myself relatively well-traveled when it comes to surf and beach holidays. Over the years we've done lots, and so you know what to expect and how things will work, wherever you are in the world, regardless of the resort.
But Bilou is completely different! And incredible. Proper 'boutique' (only 4 villas), and so that means wonderful, warm, personal attention from Chantal Malherbe and Gideon - hosts extraordinaire!
It means daily fresh baked-bread (by Chantal) which arrives on your kitchen table, so delicious that even my gluten-free family devoured it the moment the loaf landed.
And it means your own personal boat driver to take you to the waves, or snorkeling, or to the village at the next island, whenever you want. So you're not watching the clock to be ready at a specific time when the group boat leaves.
And (best of all) you're not sitting in the boat waiting for the die hard surfers who are not related to you to get their last damn wave before you can leave (very important for me...I'm about a 45min/ surf sesh person, regardless of how warm the water).
The waves are really uncrowded (one day it was just me, Zaheer GB and our 10yr old); the waves are incredible (and also sometimes small enough that shit-scared-of-big-waves people like me can go out); and the snorkeling is magnificent (live coral, which you don't see much anymore).
But my most endearing memory is waking up every day and going to sit on my lounger at the shore, lapping waves rolling in, writing or meditating or just staring out into the ocean. Bliss.
Eric Pearson, August 2017, Currumbin, Australia - group of 11 surfers turning 50
Absolutely loved Bilou’s setup, having autonomy on where and when to surf with your own tinny, with or without a driver, was gold. I also loved the villas self catering aspect, with plenty of healthy premade options from the pantry as well as general staples.
Being an early riser, I could make coffee and read on the balcony without disturbing anyone and wait for first light to decide where to surf. The snorkelling and fishing options are just fantastic too, basically it was like living in a postcard perfection. I can’t recommend Bilou more highly, especially if you have a surfing family as it caters to everyone and Golla, Chantal and the boys are the perfect hosts
LAWRENCE CAVALLARO, AUS - family trip
Not just amazing beauty and tranquillity but great hospitality and genuine friendliness from ALL the crew at Bilou...the gorgeous Chantal, husband Gideon, sons Josh and Indie always happy to share their piece of paradise with us. (I even scored 4 free 'therapeutic' Bintangs from them after a clumsy fall in the long boat..lol) Their knowledge of surf conditions at all the breaks at all times was always 'spot on'.
The villas were locally built/designed, light, airy and well thought out in their construction with plenty of outdoor space for 'kicking back' and enjoying the awesome views.
The boys/boat driver guys/guides, Andoi and Wewe were great fun and always helpful smiling laughing!
We loved our scenic boat trip around the island and beyond, the beautiful beach bar meals and the awesome daily fresh baked bread.
On a scale of 1 to 10....I'd score it an 11++"
BRANDON KERZNER, CT, RSA
Golla, Chantal are the greatest hosts in the world!
- Rooms are pristine & spacious
- Great bar hangout area
- Food is delicious
- Golla legendary surf guide skills will keep you stoked for your duration
JP Rossouw, Hermanus, South Africa - boys trip
What I liked about Bilou is how you can set your own pace for all the sensory overload that's on offer... Surf when you want, snorkel when you feel like it, sleep all afternoon if that's your speed, or make a great meal at leisure with your mates. It's like being at home... just without work getting in the way (and way better waves) !
Mark Snowball, NSW, Australia - Dad + sons
My 10 th Mentawai trip, first at Bilou Surf Villas, but it ranks right up there with my best surf trip ever! We had a great variety of excellent waves, local adventure and cultural experiences, all made possible by the location, Management and staff of this niched concept ! Highly recommended, I'm going again!!
GORDON NEWTON-JOHNSON, Hermanus, RSA
Bilou has the perfect concept for a stay in the Mentawais. First off, there are half a dozen premium surf spots within 10 minutes boat ride, catering to all levels of surf experience. No need to wait for others to fill up a boat, you can come and go as you please, giving you the freedom of the water on a whim. If you are with the family, Bilou is the perfect nerve centre with a great beach out front for swimming and reef for snorkeling. If you manage to find time away from surfing, there are plenty of other short trips around the island for snorkeling, swimming or fishing. The kids will be overly entertained, and for those who are less adventurous, the beach is well set up by the Malherbe's to stretch out in sun chairs in front of your chalet or lounge away on the large shaded deck overlooking the water. The chalets are beautifully built, spacious, and preserve your privacy. I will be back with the family for sure.
Peter Allen Finlayson, Hermanus, South Africa - boys trip
I have known Gideon and Chantal for a while now and to say that they give everything they do there all would be a major understatement. We visited in May 2017 and had 12 blissful days of cooking surf and island chilling. The water is warm and the waves are plentiful and varied. The villas are built beautifully and are equipped with everything you need and each one is completely private. Each villa has its own boat and guide, allowing for total flexibility and convenience when it comes to surf and activity choices and if you can't paddle anymore, put on a fin and mask and swim over the tropical reef on your doorstep.
Bilou is the perfect tropical surf and family getaway and I would highly recommend visiting them and its probably a good idea to do it soon, as I think it's going to get pretty difficult to find a space as more folk discover this gem.
Megan Sims, Gold Coast, AUS - family trip
I had one of the best weeks of my life at Bilou! The location is stunning and the surf is amazing - with minimal crowds too! I couldn't believe how much there was to see and do on such a tiny island. We had such a fun, relaxing time and absolutely loved the owners, such a lovely, friendly family! We will definitely be back and for much longer this time too.
Nathan Farr, Queensland, NSW, AUS - boys trip
We arrived at Bilou for a 5 night stay and were then due to head to another spot in the Mentawis. After 2 nights we decided we were going nowhere else. Bilou is awesome, each villa has its own boat which means your surf wherever and whenever you want. Gideon will get you into the best waves around. Accomadation is top notch, Chantal, Gideon and the team really look after the guests. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Go there.
Stanislaw Trzebinski, Malindi, Kenya - boys trip
“Bilou has got to be one of the coolest spots I’ve ever been to! Beach villas were top notch island chic, super kitted out, running water, electricity.. the works! And the surf... despite us not having great swell when we went- we still managed to have some killer sessions even though the swell was forcaste as flat! So many waves in the area, super close to the camp- On the days where the surf gods did not provide, we fished.. And my god the fishing there is INSANE! I’ve never caught so many fish in my life! Make sure you take a rod with if that’s your thing too!
Tinnys were perfectly maintained, surf guides were amazing and friendly, food was increadible and Chantal’s home baked ciabatta bread was quite literally a daily feast! 11/10 in my books! Book your spot now!
DAWIE DE VILLIERS, Cape Town, RSA – family holiday
For us the essence of Bilou Beach is just getting off the grid – a place to relax, re-connect and rejuvenate.
Daily activities are varied; from exhilirating world class surf through to epic beach chilling (check out Bilou’s crazy diving dogs) – followed by fun evenings at the beach bar, the odd barbecue in front of our villa or just supper on our deck……and then ZZZZZ. The result; a tanned, fit and healthy family with fully-charged batteries.
Bilou Beach is the bomb, thanks to the resourceful Malherbe family who make it all happen. (We’ve already booked our next 2 weeks for 2018)
Judy de Villiers, Cape Town - non surfer mom, family holiday
I had a wonderful holiday at Bilou! I went with my surfer husband, and beginner surfer daughters. Lovely to have our own private villa and own boat. Haven't had such a relaxing holiday for years. Loved the snorkelling, beaching and general exploring. I found the catering easy, helped by Chantal's shop and delicious bread. Great to have the Indonesian Beach Bar dinners. Happy, entertained kids, surfed stocked husband and relaxed me! We're going back next year...can't wait.
Scott Carson, NSW, AUS - boys trip
No words can describe Bilou Beach Villas only this picture. It has it all, a telescope, scarecrows, a backyard, dogs that swim under water and catch more fish than you can and even a scary island. If that’s not enough theres a place that’s very icey and will test your limits of your surfing ability. It’s a beast at 8ft to 10ft plus. My ex board knows this. You will just have to go there to see this all for yourself. There is one bad thing..........you have to leave. See ya hopefully sooner than later guys. Bos besar
Robert Scott, kommetjie, Cape Town
Myself and 11 of my surf mates from our youthful days at Glen Beach congregated at Bilou Beach Villas for a 50th surf adventure. From the moment we arrived in Padang, where we overnighted to stepping on the beach at Bilou after a ferry ride and dugout speedboat transfer, we were treated to top notch hospitality and organisation in an area where things probably don’t always go down as planned. The accommodation is comfortable and kitchenette is perfect for making your own meals although Chantal and Gideon provided awesome local dinners 3 times a week. Freshly baked bread was delivered each morning after our morning surf and the local coffee did the job. Plenty fresh water was available for showers and filtered rain water for drinking and yes, there was plenty of Bintang too. Having done the boat trips before, and with plenty of surf spots around the group of islands accessible with the tinny boats, I liked the freedom that the resort offers.
I’m going back again this year with my wife and two kids (aged 12 and 14) – can’t wait!
Ant Tulleken, Kommetjie, South Africa - family trip
World class resort run by a world class family. Awesome for both surfers and non surfers. So many waves to choose from with your own boat makes this the perfect getaway destination. 5.0/5.0
Garth Pearson, Kommetjie Cape Town, August 2017
Our trip to Bilou was arranged for a bunch of guys who all turned 50. What a wonderful relaxing spot to surf, hang out, chill with the mates. The beauty of Bilou is you go surf when the mood strikes you. One evening myself and one mate took the little boat for a dash across the bay to see if there might be the odd wave. We surfed cooking 3 foot lefts by ourselves until almost dark. Where in the world does that happen. Cruised back to camp, had a few Bintangs while waiting for our evening meal at the camp. The other guys in the camp went to the other break just around the corner and also scored great waves. That was just one of the 12 days.
Besides the surf, the snorkeling just 10 metres from the beach is unbelievable. Although I am not much of a fisherman, the opportunities are endless. The accommodation is amazing. Very understated but comfortable with your own little kitchen, bathroom on suite and wrap around verandah which is about 30 metres from the ocean. If you just want to lie down and read a book or go to the communal area and chat to the other guests it is all up to you.
I still use the photos from my trip as my screensaver on my laptap. Takes me back to my happy place when the city stress gets too much. I look forward to the day when I can go back to Bilou Beach and enjoy all it has to offer. Thanks Gideon, Chantal, Josh, Indi and all the staff!
ANTHONY SINGLETON, KZN, RSA - Dad + Sons trip
I decided to take my two sons on a surf and fish trip to the Mentawais. Having done three trips on the Indies Explorer as well as numerous surf trips through Chantal, it was not hard to choose Bilou as our destination.
Before I new it, two of my best mates jumped on to the trip with us. Mark surfs regularly and Guy from Canada body boards. We booked for 10 nights in August last year.
Bilou offered more than we expected and the whole culinary arrangement worked well. The experience of buying your own food from the village and having a communal dinner with new and other guests every second night added fresh variety.
My one son does not surf and I was concerned that he may get a bit bored. Not a chance. He fished every day, snorkeled, Gideon took him diving, he trawled from the tinnie when we went surfing, took photos of us (bonus)surfing and played with Chantal’s boys. We were spoilt for choice of surf. The breaks around Bilou offer a real variety. My favorite was the right hander in front of Bilou called Suicides. A really good challenging shallow reef break. We had Telescopes also belting out classic lines and barrels. There was not a day we did not surf.
The Villas were perfectly designed and comfortable for a surf resort. It was all so easy.
A big thumbs up to the staff. Between Gideon and Chantal a great job on training them. Such pleasant, humble and accommodating people they are a complete asset to the resort. So impressed we were we left a surfboard and surfing kit for them.
Now, to get my wife there.
TAMRYN SIMS, Gold Coast, AUS - family trip
Bilou Beach Villas is the epitome of an “island getaway”. Located completely off the grid on a remote island, this rustic retreat offers affordable, private, comfortable and unique beachfront villas perfect for couples, families or groups of friends. As a family of 4 we loved that there was a diverse range of activities to choose from (surfing, relaxing on the pristine beaches, snorkelling, stand-up paddling, fishing, swimming and walking depending on the tides). Having a personal boat driver allowed us to wake up each day and enjoy the freedom and flexibility to do whatever we wanted, when we wanted. Bilou Beach Villas is run by a fun and friendly young family (and two beautiful dogs) who go above and beyond for their guests, for example delivering home-made bread each morning (small/personal details that you wouldn’t get at a mainstream resort). Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Bilou and highly recommend this place to anyone wanting a real island escape.
OTTO DU PLESSIS, CT, RSA - super charged boys trip
Bilou Beach Villas equals adventure of a lifetime .I was invited by friends to join them on a surf trip and Bilou Blue completely over delivered . Best local fresh produce was always available fully stocked pantry with European food , good coffee and Chantel freshly baked bread daily .
Beautiful Villas built with natural materials think luxury Robison Crusoe. Palm trees, white beaches lead to the beautiful tropical water. Every villa has its own boat and getting around to different beaches ,breaks and Islands was so easy and convenient.
Great surf , fishing ,snorkeling ,hiking or just chilling under coconut leaf umbrellas on the beach
It's a destination that suits all your needs as a group of friends or a family.
ps The owners Chantal ,Golla and their boys Josh and Indi were so hospitable and made
Us feel welcome and relaxed from the time we set foot on this pristine Island.
This is definitely ranks high on a best nonstop action holiday ever.
DIRK LOMBARD - family trip
In July 2017 we were fortunate enough to spend 10 days with the Malherbe's in Bilou. A truely magical experience for the whole family! We enjoyed uncrowded waves in a warm, tropical & unspoiled ocean with friendly hosts and wave guides.A holiday for the whole family to remember.... We will definitely be back!
Dirk, Dee, Ethan & Nicholas
Linky McIntosh - Aug 2016 ST FRANCIS BAY, South Africa - family trip
The gentle swish of palm trees and lapping waves woke us to another gorgeous day in Bilou paradise... depending on the tide we could surf Backyards or Telescopes nearly every day... just a short boat ride away... if the adults lingered too long over our coffee in the gentle morning sun... the kids just walked to Backyards.
Threading our way through a forest of palm trees from our hidden wood-clad villa, we could swim just off the beach to the reef of fish and coral... or just float along the edge of the island in the clear blue current to a sandy cove.
Even after hours in the surf, the kids kept busy skim boarding, supping and collecting coconuts for the moms evening gin coconut cocktails.
Was pleasantly surprised at the "Mom and Grom" friendly surf breaks... fun waves and especially not having to travel far in a small speed boat.
Kabot Family with Makai (12 yrs) - St Francis Bay, South Africa
A wave rich, pristine Island paradise for the whole family. Plenty of surf options for different skill levels, a snorkeling reef and a white sand beach on your doorstep to relax on. Bilou Beach is a gem, and a short fast ferry ride from Padang makes it easy too get to as well.
Greg Coulstock - Sept 216 Camps Bay, South Africa
What Gideon and Chantal have created is something totally unique in the Mentawais area. If you are traveling as a small group or a large group or with the wife and kids this feels like a home away from home, the only difference being the abundance of perfect waves on your doorstep. With each villa having their own traditional Indo longboat you can surf where you want when you want . When not surfing there is plenty to do, truly a tropical paradise. I can't wait to bring my mates in August 2017. See you guys again.
Sonja, Mark + Oscar (16 yrs) - Cape Town, SA
Beautifully finished traditional villas built under coconut palms. They are cool and comfortable. The kitchen is open plan with an awesome view of the sea.
Walk down the steps from the deck and you are on the soft white sand beach with clear, calm water .
Excellent waves all between 5 and 20 mins away by boat.
Far enough from the town to feel away from it all but close enough to hop across the chanel to buy fresh fruit , veggies and beer.
Gideon and Chantal have all aspects of this kind of island holiday covered. Cant wait to visit again.
Chantal Grehan - July 2016 ELANDS BAY, SOUTH AFRICA
It was an out of magic destination, medicine for your soul. The setting has a calm magical effect on one's spirit - thank you to these 2 beautiful souls Chantal and Gideon who created this magical place. Highly recommended destination where saltwater, spirit and nature connects..... describing it as a little piece of heaven on earth would be the perfect wording.
Malcolm Fraser Buchanan (Dad) and Cameron (16yrs) - June 2016, Gold Coast, AUSTRALIA
It was priceless seeing the expression on my sons face when we dropped anchor at Telescopes for the first time....heaven on earth. The fishing snorkeling, surfing and company at Bilou was out of this world. It is a rarity to take your son on these incredible adventures, but when you do he becomes your best friend as well as your son. Awesome to have a spot like Bilou Villas which just ticks all the boxes!
Luke Herbert-Funk - Nov 2016 NEW ZEALAND
I got to say thanks to Gideon and Chantal for being incredible hosts during our stay at bilou beach...they turned us on to the best waves around as well as the top non surfing things to do like going through the mangroves at high tide, snorkeling spots, shopping in the village and exploring the area..didn't make it to the waterfall but we will be back...we had a great trip and I loved the DIY element too... it made the holiday more real.
Jess and James Brodie - Sept 2016, Mauritius
Staying at Bilou Beach was a one of a kind experience. Gideon and Chantal were amazing hosts and their intimate knowledge of the Mentawais made our stay that much more enjoyable. Great snorkeling, fresh fish and cooking waves everyday. The biggest bonus was our short 5 min hop from the ferry to their piece of paradise. Thank you so much for an epic stay.
Richard Hartsuiker - Sept 2016 Cape Town, SOUTH AFRICA
A big shout out to the Malherbe's and Bilou Beach Villas for my trip to the Ments!!
Incredible selection of right and left hand wave setups minutes from resort with a hollow fast right hander on the door step. Incredible swell magnet just around the corner for smaller days and a premier left 5 min drive for the juice. Definitely spoilt for choice ! Froth level 10!!
Epic and easy fishing and as much spearing and snorkeling opportunities in warm crystal clear torquise water on the down time.
Super easy mainland ferry access, with all the necessities nearby. 5 star service with beautiful self catering accommodation right on the beach! All in all an amazing stay!!! Will definitely return. Big thx again
Tania Lopez - CANARY ISLANDS Nov 2016
Bilou feels like you in the wild and at the same time is a beautiful area, quiet, no cars - waves around and beautiful snorkellng!
And nice neighbours
See you next time!