Tabo is located on Samosir island inside the marvelous caldera of Lake Toba, the largest volcanic lake of the world with 100 km length and 30 km width.
The natural, open Restaurant is built to be relaxing and admiring the endless waters and the steep hills of this natural beauty of Sumatra.
The founders of Tabo are Antonius Silalahi, a local Batak man and Annette Horschmann from Germany.
She came to Lake Toba on her world travels in 1993 at the age of 25, loved it and spontaneously decided to stay for good.
She was traditionally adopted in the Clan of Siallagan.
They have 3 children which all grew up by the lake. The oldest sons learned hotel business whereas the daughter is in Environmental management.
The youngest son learned fine cuisine in Germany. All of the children are hoping to live at Lake Toba again, after their education is finished and they collected some experiences in other parts of the world.
Tabo Vegetarian Restaurant and German Bakery
The business started as a Vegetarian Restaurant and German Bakery in 1994.
Vegetarian food was a good niche market for the backpacker market and the many European travel groups were happy to buy our authentic German breads and cakes.
The restaurant is spacious and open, so that there is always a great breeze to be enjoyed. By the time we have added 5 Garden Pavilions and our famous “Sopo”, a traditional meeting house by the shore of the Lake to guarantee enough space and privacy for our guests.
The amazing architecture of the traditional Batak houses inspired us of buying houses in bad shape in the villages to save them from decay and rebuilding them into Luxury rooms. The first 2 rooms were opened in 1997.
The business was running well, and we could extend our property to build more rooms, develop a park like garden and put in a swimming pool. By now we have 30 rooms of medium to high standards.
We started roasting local coffee beans in 2011 with a small electric roaster and Tabo Restaurant was the first to serve a delicious local brewed coffee from freshly roasted Arabica and Robusta beans. The rather cool climate of the highlands of Sumatra around Toba Lake on 906m altitude is especially suitable for the “new” Arabica coffee.
The tours became another business idea and both of them love to take people into the highlands of Samosir to explore coffee fields, traditional villages and find the finest beans for their coffee roastery at the same time.
Other tours with special interests like heritage, culinary or christian tours were developed as well as mountain bike drop offs on the mountain.
Getting in touch with the locals is an aspect of any tour to witness and take part of the simple local lifestyle and experience the hearty friendliness of the local people.
A small wellness center became really popular for traditional massages and Aloe Vera treatments using home grown Aloe Veras from the own garden.
Since we realize that our team is our biggest asset we recruited people from the area and trained most of them in our own style with the help of international consultants to be able to serve our customers in a welcoming, helpful and friendly way.
50% of our team are women and more than 70% local village people We do regular training programmes, weekly briefings and intensive courses in hotel skills, hospitality and English.
We recruit village people to help out casually in peak times like weekends and high season with dish wash, laundry, gardening, and coffee processing.
Staff retreats and parties help for good teambuilding and to open their eyes in the hospitality world.
Tabo means delicious, feeling well and comfortable, and this is what we aim for. The tranquil spacious grounds should provide a comfy place for everybody to quietly admire the stunning landscape of the Supervolcano and to get a feeling of homelyness at the same time.
We are happy if our customers leave with a smile and take a wonderful experience of the Batak land home with them.
Tabo Cottages wants to add to the experience with excellent service and care for the customer.
Environmental Care & Sustainability Program
1. Clean ups
One thing that was always bothering us was the plastic rubbish on the land and in the lake. We started organizing clean ups together with school kids, the local government and volunteers as a communal social responsibility and contribution to the environment.
Especially Annette got exposed in the local and international media for her continuous work and received several awards over the years.
2. Energy and Resources saving program.
We show commitment to take care of the environment by using alternative energies like solar power for water heating, which works really well in the tropical climate. We have an energy saving plan that the staff needs to follow strictly, and we apply small fines for staff that is inconsiderate and still wastes water or energy in order to teach them.
3. Eco Enzymes
In 2020 we learned to make “eco enzymes” from fruit and vegetables waste, which is simply fermented with palm sugar and water which we use for cleaning and washing. We have reduced.
Chemical Detergents down to 20% of what we used to buy, and we are very proud of this development.
4. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
We are aware that reducing plastic rubbish is the most important of the 3 R’s.
That is why we don’t use plastic bottles but Jars in the rooms for drinking water. We have reduced the use of plastic bottles that way down to 20%.
We avoid the use of single use plastic strictly but provide shopping bags and baskets to take to the market/shop. Our goody bags that replace plastic bags are labeled with eco slogans and practical tips on the back to create awareness of the waste problem in Indonesia.
5. Support the local community.
We get more and more people to provide us with local organic products and want to improve community based tourism so that the locals get more income from Tourism.
We see education as part of our tasks for the local community and are proud of our good results