Nihiwatu Resort in Sumba
Nihiwatu is a remote, luxury eco lodge on the lesser visited island of Sumba in Indonesia, just a short flight from Bali. It supports local villagers who follow an ancient, tribal culture and is the only property on the island for western visitors. You won’t find a similar experience on Bali or one of the more populated Indonesian islands – this is a wholly unique experience and we would thoroughly recommend it. Nihiwatu’s exclusivity and privacy is unrivalled. This stunning resort is situated between the lush jungle on one side and picturesque beach on the other. Surfing, diving and fishing are sensational from Nihiwatu and all are right on your doorstep. Nothing is too much trouble for the staff here, they are all passionate about where they work
The hotel is the remarkable result of a vision of colorful resort founder Claude Graves, who in 1984 with his wife, Petra, packed up their life in Africa to go in search of the perfect wave. The ambition, he says, was to create a “perfect place” around that perfect experience. It has so far proven a story well worth retelling. “I wanted to create something totally experiential that didn’t detract from the area,” says Grave. “The best travel is around the best experiences.”
After four years, and finding what has become known locally as The Wave, he and Petra ended up here in Nihiwatu on the southern coast of the relatively unknown Sumba, an island about an hour’s flight east of Bali. Claude began building what became the only resort on the island — training and employing locals from various tribes and encouraging inter-tribal marriages, to assist in easing tensions. The hotel soft opened in 2001 and had its first full year in 2005. Keen to protect the highly regarded surf spot from the overuse and abuse displayed in places like Bali, Graves restricted the number of surfers allowed at the hotel at any one time. He eventually acquired around 600 acres but developed only a small portion of that, impacting as little of the environment as he could.
Nihiwatu is a place for a totally unique holiday experience, perfect for those wanting a remote and exclusive stay in one of the most stunning locations on earth. Nihiwatu was born from a vision to protect and preserve the unique culture of Sumba and empower the local communities to support themselves and their families. The resort is proud to employ over 90% local Sumbanese, a team that hold a genuine spirit of hospitality. Guests here have a chance to experience an adventurous holiday in a dramatic, unparalleled setting. The island of Sumba has an ancient culture, untouched by the modern world and a visit to the villages of megalithic tribes is fascinating.
With lush jungle on one side and the exclusive beach and Indian Ocean stretching out as far as the eye can see on the other, the property encompasses 175 hectares of tropical forest, rice terraces and grasslands, while its stunning two and half kilometres of beachfront are protected by headlands that ensure total exclusivity. With an idyllic setting that is pristine, romantic and endlessly peaceful Nihiwatu is the perfect tropical retreat for honeymooners, couples and families alike.
Tucked amongst the trees are Nihiwatu’s 33 villas that represent the cutting-edge of responsible luxury. Hand-built by local craftsmen using materials indigenous to Indonesia, all the villas are air-conditioned with panoramic views. All of the villas are the epitome of understated luxury, featuring spacious outdoor living areas and private Bales. The emphasis is on open-plan living that reflects the simplicity and beauty of Sumbanese architecture.
On the beach below, nestled under a grove of Pandanus trees, is the jungle spa and close by is a rustic boat house and bar that is the focus of a myriad of daytime watersports activities. Just uphill and overlooking the full length of Nihiwatu beach is a swimming pool area where you can lose yourself in the views for hours on end. To rejuvenate the body and soul, indulge in massages and body treatments available at the Jungle and Hilltop Spas. Nihiwatu also have private and group Yoga instruction available under the largest traditional Sumbanese structure on the island.
Enjoy the many water sports or land activities, from diving, fishing and yoga to horse riding along the beach at moonlight. Nihiwatu boasts one of the top waves in Indonesia, if not the world and the professional surfers who have visited Nihiwatu over the years have attested to this. Meals are taken communally at Nihiwatu in the rustic dining room or private dinners can be enjoyed at the various outdoor pavilions and vegetables are mainly organically grown on the island. There is also a dramatic cliff top bar and living room for guests to enjoy.
A stay at Nihiwatu, without doubt, is a once in a lifetime, unforgettable experience.