Where is it? Nihi Sumba sits on 567 acres of largely untouched jungle on the remote western coast of Sumba Island in eastern Indonesia, close to the Komodo National Park and an hour’s flight from Bali. The 27-villa resort, the design inspired by traditional thatched Sumbanese structures with their signature peaked roofs, is located on the steep hills above a private beach, home to one of the world’s most renowned surfing breaks, Occy’s Left.
What is rustic luxury? Nihi Sumba started life as a surf shack and retains the spirit of such low-key accommodation – outdoor showers, rough stone pathways, an emphasis on outdoor activities ranging from surfing, fishing and snorkelling to horse-riding, mountain biking and hiking – while also upping the level of luxury to an impressive degree, particularly given the remote location and the resort’s emphasis on sustainability. All of the villas have private infinity pools, indoor and outdoor bathrooms, teak and marble finishes and a dedicated host (AKA butler). The resort features a spa at a spectacular second clifftop site with open-air treatment rooms with ocean views and also a chocolate factory, a beachfront infinity pool and an organic garden that supplies much of the produce for Nihi Sumba’s three restaurants.
Eco credentials: Given its surf shack origin story, Nihi Sumba’s care for the environment, the marine life and Sumbanese culture is right on brand. Organic gardening, composting and water recycling facilities, a turtle hatchery, community outreach programs (guests have the opportunity to participate) and measures to protect the quality of the water and the island’s flora are all part of the ethos.
Eating and drinking: The well-stocked mini bars in the villas are provided gratis and private dinners are offered to guests but Nihi Sumba has a gregarious atmosphere and the three venues – the Nio Beach Club with its casual menu of fish, tacos and pizza, the Boathouse Bar, the venue for pre-dinner snacks and drinks and the main restaurant Ombak with its excellent Indonesian and western dishes – provide relaxed luxury and laidback mingling.
What’s the deal with all the horses? Besides all the water-based activities, cooking and chocolate-making classes and yoga sessions, the resort is also renowned for its horse-riding. Nihi Sumba has a herd of horses that are brought to the beach for a swim every morning and are also available to hire for exhilarating beach gallops.