NIHI – Sumba
The term barefoot paradise merely scratches the surface when you’re describing NIHI Sumba. Set within its own 500 acres of lush rainforest and fronted by a vast stretch of pristine beach, it calls itself the “edge of wildness”. There are few places that are this remote, yet offer such a seductively luxurious and laidback escape. Here you’ll find an untouched part of Asia, where villages follow ancient animist customs, far removed from the modern world, and wild horses roam the beaches.
NIHI’s traditional thatched teak and bamboo villas peak out from palms and hibiscus and personal butlers look after your every whim. So, slip off your flip flops and feel the sand between your toes.
At A Glance
Why We Love It:For its remoteness and laid back charm.
Style:Island castaway chic.
Location:Right on the beach in the west of the island – an hour’s flight from Bali, then a 90 minute drive.
Rooms:27 individually designed villas and a treehouse with private pools, and views over the beach and Indian Ocean.
Swimming:A large infinity pool, private freshwater pools and the warm Indian Ocean.
Children:A wild and welcoming playground for all the family.
Accessibility:There are no facilities for guests with reduced mobility.
Open From:All year round
Price:Weekly price from £10,625 per room.
Each of the 27 villas is entirely unique, and is each wonderfully spacious, with outdoor living very much the focus. Built in the authentic Sumbanese style with thatched roofs, some are tucked away in the rainforest, whilst others have views out over the ocean. Interiors are simple, decorated with local ikat and artefacts, teak four poster beds and semi-open bathrooms, whilst outside, you’ll find huge terraces, large daybeds and freshwater plunge pools.
The one bedroom villas are the perfect romantic hideaway, whilst the larger two, three and four bed villas and the Mamole Treehouse will cocoon your family. And don’t forget your private butler!
Remote locations can still mean fabulous food. The resort’s organic gardens provide much of the vegetables, herbs and fruit, and the catch of the day comes fresh from the Savu sea. Overlooking the bay, Ombak serves traditional Indonesian and Western cuisine, and down on the shore, Nio Beach Club is the place to head for street food style dining, grilled seafod and pizzas. And we think you’ll be pretty impressed with the wine list.
Originally built as for surfers to ride the island’s largest wave – Occy’s Left – this is still the place to come for unforgettable surfing. NIHI’s watermen will teach you how to surf on the calmer waters at nearby Nihiwatu beach, whilst Occy’s is definitely only for the very experienced. The kitesurfing here is also excellent here, and if you prefer something a little less energetic, then the diving and snorkelling won’t disappoint.
You can’t stay here and not head out for a sunset beach horse ride, a gallop or swim through the waves, or a trail ride to a local village. From an hour to a day’s safari, this is surely one of the most exciting ways to explore the wild surroundings. Spend an indulgent hour or so at the open air Spa, looking out over the ocean. We recommend the Spa Safari – a trip to bamboo pavilions in a remote valley – perfect for couples. And if you’re lucky, there may be a turtle release during your stay.
Together with the enormous villas, there’s an array of activities for all the family. Start with the estate’s own chocolate making factory, then head to the beach to learn to surf. Little ones love exploring the jungle and watching a turtle release never fails to raise a smile. Children under five stay for free; there are children’s menus and a babysitting service.
NIHI Sumba is committed to giving back to the local community, whilst respecting its unique island traditions. The majority of the staff are Sumbanese, and many other islanders are employed through supplying food and other resources. The original owners set up the Sumba Foundation that is key in supplying fresh water to villages, providing healthcare, eliminating malaria, and creating educational opportunities. The change to the living conditions and life chances of the islanders has been extraordinary. Guests staying here directly contribute to this vital work, and you can visit a number of the foundation’s projects.
Right on the beach in the west of the island – an hour’s flight from Bali, then a 90 minute drive.