Clinging to a hillside on Sumba’s south-west coast, the exotic hideaway named Nihi Sumba Island is a luxury resort with a conscience, surrounded by acres of tropical forest, unspoilt valleys and rugged coastline. Tucked away in the heart of Indonesia, Sumba Island, a landmass three times the size of Bali, is still mostly unexplored, offering never-ending stretches of gold sand, world-famous surf breaks, wild horses and deserted jungles.
A hotel with an interesting upbringing, Nihi Sumba Island was brought to life by surf enthusiast Claude and his wife Petra Graves, who discovered the island’s epic waves back in the eighties. Starting as a simple shack, the property was bought by Chris Burch and James McBride who developed it into a series of private villas. Nowadays, the high-end collection of villas reflects local Sumbanese culture and architecture, merging grass-thatched menara roofs, teak wood, local artwork and a beach-chic mentality. The 27 villas and treehouse come in all shapes and sizes but all offer big windows, open lounges, ocean views, four-poster beds and private infinity pools. Inside, smooth marble floors compliment teak and amenities all fit into the hotel’s sustainable ethos. Our favourite room, the Mamole Tree House, offers three separate but conjoining villas hidden in the mist of the jungle. Built around the trunk of a tree, Mamole is ideal for anyone who appreciates unique design and a sense of immersion in nature. Furthermore, each villa comes with a wonderful personal butler who can arrange anything from a sunset horse ride to a spa safari.
A truly romantic escape, Nihi Sumba Island hotel, a place where tropical luxe meets surfer’s paradise, is also a resort that gives back. Where responsible luxury is a guiding principle, Nihi Sumba Island takes on an eco-friendly approach to everything they do. They grow their own produce, fed by their own water-recycling system and have a collection of community outreach programmes where they support local villages, helping them produce clean water and reduce malaria.
When is comes to food, Ombak is the resort’s gastronomic hub. Sat on the sand with sweeping ocean views, Head Chef Bernard Prim serves up a mixture of produce from the garden and fish from the sea, fused with his Indonesian flair. Next door is Nio Beach Club, perfect for chilled days in the sun whilst gorging on grilled fish and pizzas straight from the clay oven. There’s also the gorgeous Boathouse by the infinity pool serving sundowners and canapés in a bar-style shack. Experiences are in abundance at Nihi Sumba Island. From sunset horse riding sessions, sunrise yoga, island trekking and visits to the resort’s chocolate factory for cocoa-making courses, there is a never a dull moment at Nihi. There is also a whole range of water-based activities to be enjoyed including stand-up paddle boarding, fishing, diving and surfing with Tropicsurf at the infamous Occy’s Left break or the quieter Coconut Cove.
Looking to relax? Then book into Nihi Oka and relax in Nihi Sumba’s open-air spa pavilions. For a totally unique experience, embark on the Spa Safari, a journey to a secluded valley where four bamboo-clad couples’ treatment rooms await. Pick one of the homemade aromatic oils and indulge in a series of treatments with views over the peaceful paddy fields.
Sumba Island can be reached via plane from Denpasar, Jakarta and other Indonesian islands. The closest airport to the resort is Tambolaka in West Sumba, a 90-minute drive from the hotel. The resort can organise return transfers from Bali including flights, taxes and service, use of VIP lounges in Bali and Tambolaka, and airport transfers to and from the hotel.