If you are looking for the most luxurious surf destination in the world, you’ve found it at Nihiwatu! Located on Sumba Island, in East Indonesia, just a short one hour flight from Bali, Nihiwatu was voted the #1 hotel in the world (in all categories!) by Travel & Leisure 2016. As an avid surfer and surf instructor, having the opportunity to be hosted at this amazing resort for three days was the highlight of my travel blogging career thus far.
Nihiwatu is an eco-friendly luxury resort, offering 28 individually decorated villas, beautifully designed with traditional Indonesian thatched roofs. Each villa has a private pool and an ocean view overlooking the resorts private surf break. Yes, that’s right, Nihiwatu has its own private surf break that only guests are allowed surf at! You have to also sign up for surf sessions in advance, as they only allow 10 surfers at a time out in the water, which ensures the break never gets crowded.
My friend Misha and I had the pleasure of staying at Nihiwatu last September, and there were never more than 4 or 5 surfers out when I was in the water. Nearby, there are also several other advanced breaks, to which the hotel will give you a boat ride to, so you can choose where you want to surf each day. And if you are new to surfing or would like to fine tune your skills, an experienced surf instructor will take you out for beginning, intermediate, or advanced surf lessons. This is truly a one-of-a-kind surfer’s paradise!
It’s a bit of trek to get to Nihiwatu, but once you arrive, you are never going to want to leave. The resort is located on “The Edge of Wilderness,” away from crowded tourist destinations, in a remote area of Sumba Island, known for its excellent surfing, beautiful palm tree forests teaming with wildlife, gorgeous white sand beaches, and pristine turquoise water. In addition to surfing, there are an array of other activities to do such as SUP, jet skiing, snorkeling, yoga, fishing, hiking, and even a “spa safari.” Island exploration includes hidden waterfall hikes, scenic views of farmed rice paddies, local villages and artisans, freshly harvested coconuts, and picnic lunches. Nihiwatu also boasts a professional equestrian center that offers sunset beach rides, mountain excursions, horsemanship, and riding lessons.
Each villa at Nihiwatu is individually designed and furnished, offering all the amenities of a five-star resort and much more. During your stay you will be assigned a butler who will take care of any and every request. Our butler, Asnat, was beyond sweet and made us feel like royalty as she organized every detail with a big, genuine smile. As expected, the staff at Nihiwatu, most of whom are local Sumbanese people, will provide you with exemplary service during your stay.
The dining experience at Nihiwatu is also incredible. Three meals per day (prepared by award-winning Australian chef Ben McCrae), are included in the price of your stay, and all your food will be prepared with organic vegetables grown on property. My favorite meals were our breakfasts at the main restaurant, Ombak, overlooking the surf break. In the morning, you can enjoy delicious egg dishes (fresh from the on-site chicken farm) and fresh squeezed-juices. At night, Ombak serves up mouth-watering Indonesian cuisine.
For lunch, you’ll head to Nio Beach Club, to enjoy delicious food and cocktails with your feet in the sand, at the water’s edge. Private in-villa dining is also available upon request. Misha and I shared a beautifully decorated “honeymoon dinner” one night at our villa and laughed about how we always have the most romantic experiences when we are not with our husbands!
But Nihiwatu is not just a luxury resort. They are an eco resort dedicated to preserving the natural environment and Sumbanese culture. A portion of profits are donated to supporting Sumbanese schools, hospitals, and farms through the Sumba Foundation. The resort has become the biggest employer on the island, and the Sumba Foundation gives back to the local communities. Guests are introduced to the Foundation’s efforts and subsequently, many become benefactors.
During my stay, I made a small donation of just $50, which paid for 50 healthy lunches for local school kids. It was a great feeling to be able to make a small contribution that provided an immediate, tangible benefit for the local Sumbanese people, in addition to what Nihiwatu is doing on a daily basis. Over the last fourteen years, the Sumba Foundation has set up four medical clinics, a Malaria training center, and has developed over 100 water wells and water stations. The Foundation currently feeds young children in a malnutrition program, has refurbished and supported 15 primary schools, and provides lunch for over 1,000 schoolchildren twice a week. We all have a responsibility to leave this earth better than we found it, and Nihiwatu is proudly doing their part.
Nihiwatu is the perfect eco luxury escape for surfers looking for an uncrowded, pristine break, for couples looking for a secluded, romantic getaway, for families or friends looking to experience a wilderness adventure with all the luxuries of a five-star resort, or for anyone just wanting to get away from it all…
See website for latest offers and rates at Nihiwatu.
Eco Bikini by SUMMERLOVE SWIM
I was hosted at Nihiwatu as a guest, but as always, all opinions are my own.