Meaning 'peaceful forest', romantic Amanwana is the only resort on the just-remote-enough island of Moyo, a pristine nature and marine reserve off the east coast of Bali. Its 20 swish tents enjoy striking views of the turquoise Flores Sea, a prime spot for beach-basking, diving and snorkelling far from the madding crowd. Think soaring jungle, pure shores and endless ocean... Like what you see? This hotel is one of the luxurious stays in our Indonesian adventure.
Double rooms from £1325.47 ($1,815), including tax at 21 per cent.
Rates include all meals and select alcoholic drinks, guided jungle treks, snorkelling excursions, one waterfall excursion, one Amanwana massage and laundry.
For most of the year, Amanwana is only available for exclusive use, so bookings must be for a minimum of eight tents (and a maximum of twenty). Individual tents are available to book in the months of July and August when Amanwana operates as a hotel.
At the hotel
Gardens, 11 boats, spa, bamboo-roofed music pavilion, library with books, DVDs and CDs, boutique, free WiFi throughout, gardens. In rooms: free minibar, bottled water, air-conditioning.
Our favourite rooms
From the 20 secluded, standalone tents, choose from the green scenes of the Jungle Tents or the serene sea views of the Ocean Tents (our pick for speedy bed-to-beach dashes). Solid walls and hardwood floors underpin the soaring canvas ceilings, air-con keeps things cool, and the net-draped king-size bed is the definition of romance. Add in sumptuous white divans, an elegant writing desk and Indonesian artworks for a sleek Asian take on safari chic.
Overlooking Amanwana Bay, the small, round freshwater dipping pool, nestled against a frond-fringed coral rock wall, is handy for cooling off if you're basking on the sunloungers on the adjacent Boardwalk. There's a shower set into the cliff-face, too.
With golden beaches and a transparent turquoise sea all to yourself, you may not want to spend anytime indoors, even in the name of pampering. Luckily, at Amanwana's waterside Jungle Cove Spa you won't have to. Book a treatment in the gorgeous open-air massage area, shaded by date, fig and wild tamarind trees and sheltered by tactile stone walls. For more privacy, the Spa Tent offers treats from Borneo body scrubs to Indonesian milk baths.
An underwater camera for snapping surprised fish; an overwater one for getting close-ups of sea eagles, Rusa deer, wild boar and macaques.
Most of the camp is open-air, so smoking is allowed. Your sneaky cigarette break might be interrupted by shy Rusa deer, though, as Amanwana has created a sanctuary and breeding programme for the indigenous creatures on this island reserve.
Welcome: full board for under-12s costs US$30 (plus tax) a day; extra beds and full board for anyone over 11 is US$175 (plus tax) a person a day. Babysitting is free for up to four hours a day, given one hour's notice (from US$20 an hour, after that).
Welcome: full board for children under 12 costs US$25 each a day; extra beds for older kids are US$100 a child a day. Babysitting is complimentary for up to four hours a day, given one hour's notice.
Kids of any age will love Moyo's beaches and wildlife, but older ones will be easier to keep an eye on by the sea.
All Tents are spacious and child-friendly; ask for one set back in the jungle or nearer the main resort if you're travelling with toddlers.
Building sandcastles never looked this good. With beautiful, empty beaches, sensational snorkelling, sailing, windsurfing and kayaking (plus diving for adventurous teens), boat charters and island excursions, and guided nature treks and jungle walks, entertaining kids will come naturally. If that doesn't excite them, fish-feeding, deer-spotting and turtle-watching will.
Amanwana has a fairly petite plunge pool as the beach and ocean are the stars of the show.
The kitchen here is completely flexible, and can knock up meals for kids on request. Children are welcome in the restaurant at any time.
With up to four hours' free babysitting up for grabs each day, with just one hour's notice, it's almost enough to make you have a baby to make the most of it.
No need to pack
Nappies, which are sold at the resort's shop.
Amanwana can set up extra beds in your tent for children over 12 for US$100 a child a night. Kids under 12 sleep for free, but you'll need to pay a US$25 a day full-board rate a child a day.
A low-impact island resort that harnesses local materials, Amanwana's green credentials are in keeping with its wild, pristine setting. Guests can contribute to its Moyo Conservation Fund which benefits nearby village communities and the environment.
Snaffle a table or banquette closest to the ocean at the main restaurant. For romance in overdrive (and US$165 a person), you can't beat a private barbecue on the beach, with lanterns to light your way, candles in the sand and petals strewn about.
Flip-flops, floppy hats and floaty little numbers for the girls; Bear Grylls-goes-beach for the boys.
If you don't know your urap-urap (steamed veg with roasted coconut) from your udang colo colo (grilled king prawn with tomato and lime-leaf salsa), then you soon will at Amanwana's appealingly airy main Dining Room. Chef Setia Purnama serves up an exotic mix of Asian and Western dishes in this open-sided, bamboo-roofed pavilion, open from day through to evening. Embrace your hunter gatherer within and catch your own dinner on a fishing trip; or just let the local fishermen do it for you. Fresh herbs and vegetables hail from the organic chef's garden; fresh sea views come care of mother nature.
You'll be compelled to order a cocktail involving mangoes or coconuts once you catch sight of the teak-top colonial-modern bar alongside the Dining Room. Segue to the comfy banquettes alongside afterwards for post-prandial lazing. The resort was designed by interiors whizz Jean-Michel Gathy, who puts the tasteful into tropical-modern.
Amanwana is an 'anytime, anywhere' sort of retreat where there's no such thing as last orders.
Your wish is Amanwana's command, with round-the-clock room service taking its cue from the restaurant menu.
The only resort on Pulau Moyo (Moyo Island), a pristine nature reserve 15km north of the coast of larger Sumbawa Island, just east of Bali and Lombok, this Indo idyll is fairly remote but still easily reached.
International guests to Amanwana usually route through Bali's Ngurah Rai airport near capital Denpasar. From there, the hotel runs direct 65-minute flights to Moyo Island. A private jet seating up to eight people takes off at 10am every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, all year round ($450 a person, each way); in June and September, the flight is available on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and in July and August the flight is available on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. If you're arriving on another day, you can privately charter the jet for $4,500 (one way). Flights back to Denpasar depart Moyo Island at 11.30am on the same days.
No way, Jose. Trains aren't an option in this part of the Indonesian archipelago.
There are no cars on this eco-retreat of an island, something you'll no doubt come to savour. Leave the hired wheels for that New Zealand road trip you've been planning...
Helicopter transfers from Bali to Moyo Island can also be arranged on request. If you're already touring the area, you can take a 45-minute speedboat from Sumbawa Island to neighbouring Moyo. If you want to stay overnight in Bali at either end of your trip, sister hotel Amanusa is only 15 minutes' drive from Denpasar airport.
Worth getting out of bed for
Swimming and snorkelling is superb at Moyo, with crowd-free beaches and seas and all the equipment you need up for grabs at the beach umbrella- and sunlounger-strewn shoreside Boardwalk. A Hobie Cat, windsurfers and kayaks are available in a thatched bale. Guided nighttime snorkelling safaris are a highlight, as is turtle-watching from the pontoon just offshore. Amanwaya has its own Dive Centre too to help you access the jaw-dropping, world-class dive spots around the island (rent an underwater camera if you've forgotten to bring one). You can also go sailing, island cruising or fishing in one of the resort's fleet of boats, or head off on longer expeditions to neighbouring islands on board its custom-built cruiser Amanikan. Nature treks are a must in the lush forest, with the chance to spot deer, wild boar, cheeky macaque monkeys, osprey and sea eagles. Walks start straight from camp and take in spring-fed waterfalls and natural swimming pools. The resort has strong links with local villagers, supporting eco, health and education initiatives, so take the chance to meet kids at a nearby school.
Amanwana is the only resort on Moyo Island, and there are no other restaurants or bars on this remote reserve. If you fancy 'eating out', you can enjoy a private beach barbecue or campfire dinner with your own table set up on the sand. Lanterns will light your path, with candles flickering by the waves to greet you. With a personal chef and butler on hand, you'll be served a delicious fresh seafood meal, including your choice of lobster, prawns, calimari and fresh fish, as well as meat and vegetables (US$165 extra a person). Starlit dinner cruises can also be arranged if you've got cabin (or should that be tent?) fever.
There’s something refreshing about being ushered to your room, or in the case of Amanwana on Indonesia’s Moyo Island, your tent, only to discover that you do not need a key.
Flanked by tropical rainforest on one side and coral-laced beaches on the other, the resort comprises 20 deluxe tents reminiscent of the glory days of colonial expeditions, divided into Jungle and Ocean boudoirs depending on their proximity to the sea. On this secluded isle – part of an archipelago also boasting surfing hot spot Lombok and nature reserve Komodo, famous for its dragons – there’s little chance of being set upon by intruders. Unless, that is, you count the marauding families of macaques, curious deer or the odd turtle.
I’ve become addicted to snake fruit, topped up daily in my Jungle Tent, and so have my new-found friends, a small clan of wild crab-eating monkeys. My top tip would be don’t ever leave your tent door open, otherwise drastic measures may need to be taken to remove pesky simians from your room. I come across a male monkey devouring my entire fruit bowl. When I ask him to save me the snake fruit all I get in response is a cheeky hiss and a show of teeth. The greedy thing won’t share one little bit with his host!
A petite seaplane whisks guests in from capital Denpasar, accommodating only eight passengers, and as the name suggests, landing right on Moyo's doorstep: the inlet known here as ‘Turtle Street’. Disembarking onto the pier, you are warmly greeted and swiftly transported by waiting jeep to your tent. Then, suddenly, you are left alone amid all that serenity. Rooms are internet-friendly, but there are no iPod docks and – gasp – no TVs! But this is a definitive element of Amanwana’s appeal: your entertainment is instead to be found in vigorous treks through virgin forests or the myriad watersports up for grabs. Your soundtrack is the call of native fauna and the gentle lapping of waves. For the truly tech-dependant, though, there is a dedicated outdoor Music Room where iPod playlists can be enjoyed on comfy loungers or a DVD beamed onto an old-school projector screen while you savour cocktails or a meal lit by swaying Chinese lanterns.
A thatched roof, exposed beams, sturdy wooden pillars, simple table arrangements and low couches along the perimeter define the Dining Room, the restaurant at the heart of the hotel which is a prime example of Indonesian architecture. The menu is precisely what you want. Aside from a few staples such as nasi and mee goreng, two entrées, three mains and two desserts are offered at each sitting, proudly showcasing local produce, and fruit and vegetables from Amanwana’s own gardens.
Highlights during our stay include spicy chicken, superb vegetable curry and refreshing rice-paper rolls. The wine list is limited and could do with some work (this being my only gripe, given that of the three wines I order one night, none are available) but a plethora of fruit-based cocktails are on offer along with the usual suspects. Don’t expect stashes of junky snack foods back in your room (although they can be requested), as this really is the ultimate rejuvenating getaway. The excellent spa facilities, featuring all manner of healthy scrubs, cleanses, soaks and traditional massages, further inspire you to return home reinvigorated.
You can get your heart pumping with a hike to Crocodile Head for a jaw-dropping view of the sunset or a walk along the scenic ridge. A lengthy trek takes you to the awe-inspiring waterfall where a swim in the crystalline waters is a must. This little slice of paradise can also be reached through daily excursions via boat and jeep in a four-hour round trip, leaving ample time for exploration and a dip.
Paddle boards are the perfect way to circumnavigate the island or there’s kayaking, snorkelling and scuba-diving – probably the area’s greatest claim to fame. We opt for an unforgettable trip along the coral reef, which rewards us with a magnificent tapestry of tropical sea life. If you prefer to stay dry, but still want a piece of the action, you can charter a variety of vessels. The Aman Madu, a restored Madura fishing boat, is ideal for a seductive sunset cruise or a spot of bottom fishing. Our leisurely afternoon aboard results in a number of small tropical fish we happily return to the sea and an impressive sweetlip snapper. The Aman XV and Aman XVI are built for speed and suit avid divers and game-fishers, while the powerful four-stroke Aman XX is tailormade for day trips island-hopping, deep-sea fishing and diving.
Wistful parents are in luck. Although it’s ridiculously romantic, we’re happy to report that Amanwana is most definitely kid-friendly. Aside from the natural wonderland all around you and the seaside adventures awaiting each day, there are also child-specific activities such as fish-feeding, sandcastle competitions and cultural distractions such as coconut-leaf bird-making, along with kids’ DVD evenings and an impressive and generous children’s menu.
Would we come back to Moyo Island? Yes, in a heart beat, but next time with our three children in tow and better prepared for fruit wars with those mischievous macaques.