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Hotel Highlights

  • Star-lit restaurants
  • Peaceful wilderness
  • Open-air spa

Overview

A cluster of rustic-luxe villas perched above a stretch of unspoilt Sumbanese coast, Nihiwatu hotel feels perched on the edge of the world. Preserved from urban development, this off-the-beaten-path Indonesian island is an idyllic setting for once-in-a-lifetime romance. Unplug and explore acres of luxuriant valleys, a vibrant local culture and world-famous surfing breaks.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Nihiwatu with us:

A bottle of wine on arrival. SilverSmith and GoldSmith members receive a free room upgrade subject to availability; GoldSmith members also receive a 60-minute massage for each guest

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at Nihiwatu

Exclusive: free Nihi Oka spa safari

5 nights for the price of 4 10 nights for the price of 8

Facilities

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Nihiwatu – Sumba – Indonesia

Need To Know

Rooms

32 villas.

Check–out

11am. Check-in, 1pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.

Rates

Double rooms from $900.00, excluding tax at 21 per cent.

More details

Rates include all meals (American breakfast, lunch, dinner, afternoon teas and coffees, soft drinks and bottled water from the minibar).

Also

Staff can also organise torch-lit dinners on the beach, treehouse barbecues and in-villa lobster feasts – just give them a day’s notice. The resort’s legendary surf break is just off the coast; for a gentler splash in the waves head to Tranquility Beach, a 15-minute drive away.

Hotel closed

The hotel is closed annually for maintenance from 8 January to 28 February.

At the hotel

567 acres of land, private beach with watersports facilities, spa, equestrian centre, beach cinema, ping-pong table, pool tables, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: Minibar, free bottled water, tea and coffee-making facilities, Nihiwatu natural toiletries.

Our favourite rooms

Right on the cliff edge, Marangga villas have jaw-dropping ocean views and an outdoor bale where guests can sleep overnight. Built in the style of a Sumbanese house, Kanatar Sumba Houses have an upstairs bedroom with a terrace and bathroom among the trees. Crowned by distinctive conical roofs thatched with local Alang Alang grass, all the villas encourage breeze-cooled outdoor living, with private gardens, pergola-shaded bales and sweeping ocean views.

Poolside

There is no communal pool at the resort, but each villa has its own sleek private pool.

Spa

In a sheltered creek framed by pandanus trees, Nihiwatu’s open-air spa pavilions look out over the beach and crashing waves. Worthy of its name, the Sumbanese Dream treatment combines a mineral-rich foot bath, relaxing massage, lavender-scented scrub and aloe-infused body mask. For an out-of-this-world experience, book a babysitter and embark on the Nihi Oka Spa Safari, a journey to a secluded valley where four bamboo-clad couples’ treatment rooms await. Pick one of the home-made aromatic oils and indulge in a stress-busting massage with views of peaceful paddy fields.

Packing tips

Bring your own riding gear to make the most of Nihiwatu’s sweet-natured horses. Serious surfers should bring their own boards too, but they’ll need to be shorter than nine feet for the flight.

Also

The resort’s rocky paths make it unsuitable for wheelchair users. If a visit to the beach spa doesn’t float your boat, in-room massages are available from 9am to 8pm.

Children

Two under-5s can stay free. Extra beds for 6–10 year-olds cost US$90 a night; 11–16 year-olds are charged US$195 a night. The restaurants have high chairs and a children’s menu. Babysitting is available for US$7 an hour.

Read more

Eco‐friendly

Responsible luxury is the guiding principle of Nihiwatu’s eco-friendly approach. Much of the restaurants’ produce is grown in the resort’s organic garden, fed by a clever composting and water-recycling system. The hotel’s green ethos extends beyond its walls, too, with community outreach programmes in local villages, a turtle hatchery and a foundation working to clean water and reduce malaria on the island.

Food & Drink

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Hotel Restaurant

Sheltered beneath a spectacular thatched roof, laid-back Ombak is the resort’s gastronomic hub, blessed with sweeping ocean views. Set right on the sand, tables for two are romantically lit with lanterns recalling lobster nets. Chef Bernard Prim makes the most of the garden’s organic produce and the island’s line-caught fish: don’t miss his archipelago menu of Indonesian fare flavoured with lemongrass, sambals and palm sugar. Just steps from the sea, Nio Beach Club serves simply grilled fish, sizzling satay and pizzas fresh from its large clay oven.

Hotel Bar

Open-air Ombak Bar serves fruit-infused daiquiris, rum-addled caipirinhas and an excellent mojito made with home-grown mint. Open in the early evenings, the Boat House bar is an upmarket surfer’s hangout, complete with a bonfire on some nights; both offer fresh-off-the-boat sashimi to nibble on with a sundowner.

Last orders

Ombak serves breakfast 7am–11am and dinner 7pm–10.30pm. Lunch at Nio Beach Club is 12 noon–3pm, after which light snacks can be ordered at the Boat House until 6pm.

Room service

Order in-villa meals from 6 am to 10pm from a tempting menu of Indonesian classics (nasi goreng, fried noodles and grilled fish with a fiery chilli sambal) and international favourites such as burgers, grilled tuna salad and comforting chicken soup.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Luxe friendship bracelets, fringed shorts and tousled manes.

Top table

Perched in a treehouse platform over a rugged stretch of coast, the Nest is a one-of-a-kind spot for leisurely lunches. Ask to have dinner at Nio Beach Club – dressed with flower garlands and pretty hanging lanterns, tables there are impossibly romantic.

Local Guide

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Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

Kick off your shoes and spend carefree days exploring Nihiwatu’s winding paths, tropical greenery and organic gardens. With its games, pool tables and beach cinema, Menara is a laid-back hangout for idle afternoons. Stretching over 2.5km, the resort’s private beach is a rugged but pristine crescent of white sands. In summer, its wild, crashing waves have earned it cult status among surfers: only 10 surfers are allowed on its world-famous break at any one time. A serene hilltop pavilion offers yoga and Pilates classes with breathtaking ocean views. The resort runs daily excursions to explore local villages and spectacular landscapes on foot, mountain bike or horseback – the sort of exertion best rewarded with a lengthy visit to the open-air spa.

With its dramatic waterfalls, tranquil valleys and golden coastlines, Sumba has bags of lost-world appeal. Rooted in tradition and ancient animist practices, local life is colourful and vibrant: visit off-the-beaten-path villages to discover festival rituals, exquisite Ikat weaves and monumental megalithic burial sites. Guided hikes through the valleys take in the national park, sheer cliffs and a miraculously blue lagoon – the perfect spot for jumping off the rocks and devouring a well-deserved picnic. A tour of the Sumba Foundation makes an enlightening day trip: working hand in hand with the local communities, this unique philanthropic setup is responsible for much of the island’s preservation successes.

+ Enlarge
Unspoilt surfer's retreat

Nihiwatu

Desa Hobawawi, Wanukaka, West Sumba, Nusa Tenggara Timur, 87272

Nihiwatu is a secluded private estate clinging to a hillside on Sumba’s south-west coast, surrounded by acres of lush tropical forest, unspoilt valleys and rugged coastline.

Planes

An hour’s flight east of Bali, Sumba has two airports, served by domestic flights from Denpasar, Jakarta and other Indonesian islands. The closest is Tambolaka airport in West Sumba, a 90-minute drive from Nihiwatu. The resort can arrange travel from Bali for US$500 a person, which includes the one-way flight, taxes and service, use of VIP lounges in Bali and Tambolaka, and return airport transfers to Nihiwatu. One-way airport transfers from Tambolaka cost US$125 (excluding tax and service) for up to four guests. Your other option is Waingapu’s Mau Hau airport in East Sumba, a journey of three hours; one-way transfers cost US$200 (excluding tax and service) for up to four guests.

Automobiles

The condition of the island’s roads can be unpredictable: leave driving to the professionals. Nihiwatu can organise a car with a driver and a has a fleet of open-top Land Rovers for off-the-beaten-path exploration.

Reviews

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Nihiwatu – Sumba – Indonesia

Anonymous review

By Mr & Mrs Smith.

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this secluded hotel in Sumba and unpacked their riding crops and Ikat textiles, a full account of their luxury island break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick postcard from Nihiwat…
Read more

Nihiwatu

By Mr & Mrs Smith.

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this secluded hotel in Sumba and unpacked their riding crops and Ikat textiles, a full account of their luxury island break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick postcard from Nihiwatu in Indonesia…

When it comes to far-flung island romance, Nihiwatu hotel is nothing short of magical. Clinging to the hillside above a golden coastline on off-the-beaten-path Sumba island, its distinctive thatch-roofed villas and private pools offer luxurious respite from the stresses of modern life. A Nihiwatu experience is all about the outdoors: stroll through the estate’s winding paths, lush gardens and rugged beach. This laid-back surfer’s paradise calls for underwater adventures – snorkelling, diving and spear-fishing are all on offer here – but there’s plenty to do if you’ve yet to find your sea legs, too. Unwind at the breeze-kissed spa, visit the stables for bush-to-beach excursions, follow trails through unspoilt valleys and discover the ancient culture and colourful traditions Nihiwatu is working so hard to preserve.

The Guestbook

Reviews of Nihiwatu from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

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