Thursday, 3 May 2018

INDONESIA: Nihi Sumba Island Hotel, On The Edge Of Wildness

Almost three times the size of Bali, Sumba is a jewel in Indonesia’s necklace of islands.

This is a cluster of private villas ensconced within a series of curling stone pathways flanked by banyan, banana, palm and frangipani trees.

Each has its own glassy infinity pool, ocean view and private butler.

A wealth of activities will keep you busy, or you can simply kick back in bliss.

Almost three times the size of Bali, Sumba is a jewel in Indonesia’s necklace of islands.

The resort itself is set on a deserted stretch of private, gold-sand beach backed by raw, tropical jungle.

It might be a far-flung destination to reach, an hour’s flight from Bali and a 90-minute car ride, but this remote setting on the edge of wildness is definitely worth a visit.

There are villages nearby; some you can walk to, others you might need to ask your personal butler to arrange a car or horse ride for.
Tropical luxe meets surfer’s retreat. The resort was born of a simple shack that surf enthusiast Claude and his wife Petra Graves set up after discovering legendary wave Occy's Left here in the late Eighties.

It was bought up by Chris Burch and James McBride who developed it into a series of private villas.

Buildings reflect the local Sumbanese culture and architecture, with traditional grass-thatched menara roofs sombrero shaped, teak wood and local artworks.

Big windows and open lounges bring the outside in. It’s all about the relaxed, beach-chic mentality here, with an emphasis on sustainability, wellness and really soaking in your surroundings.

You need a few days to pack everything in, but to get you started, each villa comes with a superb personal butler who can arrange anything from a sunset horse ride and yoga at the pavilion, to a three-mile trek to a full day’s spa safari at Nihioka.

There’s a chocolate factory with cocoa-making courses and treatments, and a whole range of water-based activities including stand-up paddleboarding, fishing, diving and surfing Occy's Left.

Tropic surf instructors can take novices to the resort’s quieter bay, Coconut Cove.

There’s a gorgeous infinity pool by the boathouse: sundowners and canapes in the bar shack here are out of this world.

You might even get lucky with a turtle release.

- Bar

- Beach

- Laundry

- Parking

- Pool

- Restaurant

- Room service

- Spa

- Wi-Fi

The 27 villas and treehouse come in all shapes and sizes and some are like mansions, but all have ocean views, large terraces, four-poster beds and private infinity pools.

Interiors are simple and rustic, featuring lots of teak and smooth marble floors.

Furnishings are minimal and could be livened up slightly.

The minibars, which house a good selection of drinks from bottled gin to lychee juice and snacks including chocolate from the estate, the safe, and tea and coffee-making facilities are neatly hidden away in cupboards.

No televisions in-room, but you can watch DVDs in the villas’ outdoor lounges, and Menara - the main lounge near reception has cable.

Bathrooms are semi-open and earthy in natural materials and tones.

Ombak restaurant overlooks the bay and serves a mix of Indonesian and western-style dishes.

From creamy redang sapi with vermicelli and Sumba linefish of the day, to redang sapi - braised beef curry and chicken with green papaya and vegetables from the resort’s organic gardens and trees.

The wine list is excellent, with an in-house sommelier who can easily twist your arm.

Lunch and breakfast is also served here: watching the surf pros while you tuck into nasi goreng or pancakes is a mesmerising way to start the stay.

For something less formal head down to Nio Beach Club for fresh fish, tacos and pizza at The Boat. Food at Nihioka is mostly vegetarian, with a range of vegan dishes.

One bedroom villas from $795 (£602) in low season; and from $1,445 (£1,093) in high.

Minimum stay is three to five nights depending on the time of year.

All meals - breakfast, lunch, dinner, morning/afternoon snacks and all non-alcoholic beverages included, as well as the minibar, laundry, selected excursions and activities (sea and land) and daily yoga/meditation sessions. Free Wi-Fi.

Access for guests with disabilities Not available.

Yes, villas feel private and with exclusive pools, the beach and many bookable activities, there’s plenty for children to do.

Extra beds cost $250 (£189) for ages 12 and over; $125 (£95) for ages six to 11; and those aged five and under stay for free.

Babysitting services are available and children’s options at dinner can be requested.

Rooms from - £ 1,027 per night

Enjoy your stay at Nihi Sumba Island Hotel.


Tourism Observer
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