Nihiwatu is one of the best resorts in the world that provides excellent services to tourists and the traditonal style of Sumbanese people. The property encompasses 175 hectares of tropical forest, grasslands and rice terraces, while its stunning two and half kilometers of beachfront are protected by headlands that ensure total exclusivity for guests. The resorts is located in the Sumba island, a small and exclusive island hideaway in remote eastern Indonesia.
Located on 438 acres of tropical forest and rice terraces, Nihiwatu is surrounded by some of the world’s most pristine beaches. The resort is strongly committed to conserving its native surrounds and improving the quality of life of the Sumbanese people. Nihiwatu opened for the first time during the low season in 2016 for anyone who wants to witness villagers in headscarves and their best ikat cloth hurling blunted spears at each other from horses adorned with pom poms.
Style & character
Villas sit amid banana trees beneath tall, pointed thatched roofs that are a magnificent tribute to Sumbanese traditional houses. The main path through the resort leads down from a wooden yoga pavilion with awe-inspiring views over a swathe of unbroken forest, past the resort’s organic vegetable garden, to the shabby-chic boat house, beach bar, surf and dive shop, and then further up the beach, to the stables where local horses are kept. The resort aims to be sustainable and also donates profits to the Sumba Foundation, which funds malaria clinics, wells and schools on the island.
Service & facilities
Guests have a personal butler who they can call upon, one of the many sweet-natured local staff who are happy to chat about Sumbanese culture. Numerous activities are available (some for an extra charge) from paddle boarding down a river to diving offshore, sport fishing, trekking to waterfalls, releasing baby turtles, yoga, horse riding, equine therapy, and surfing, for those with experience.
The hotel’s latest addition is their “spa safari” experience, where guests trek through raw rainforest and atmospheric villages to alfresco spa Nihioka. Perched on the cliffs between two pristine slices of beach, it is simply extraordinary. Treatments, performed by local Sumbanese therapists in open-air cabanas, live up to the sublime setting.
Accommodation ranges from family-sized villas up to the owner’s estate, which has its own library and kitchen. Three Mamole treehouses are brand new and close to the beach, with their own pool. Marangga villas have totem-like four-poster beds, mini-infinity pools and cliff-top bales, with a bed, and loungers overlooking the beach. All have smooth teak furniture and calming, sand-coloured textiles with a dash of local ikat for colour.
Food & drink
Lunchtime in the informal beachside restaurant sees salty-haired surfers take to the shade for stone-fired pizza, salads, fish tacos and other light bites. The evening menu, in a restaurant lit by fire wells and lanterns, takes in the best of Indonesian food, curries, nasi goreng and the like, while also offering plenty of Western dishes. If you’ve had a successful day fishing, staff will happily chop up your catch and serve it to you as sashimi. The wine list was being revamped while we were there, with necessary improvements being made to the choice and quality offered.
Yes. There is plenty of space and activities for kids, although the sea is quite rough for swimming.
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