Need to know
11am. Check-in, 1pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from $795.04, excluding tax at 21 per cent.
Rates include all meals (American breakfast, lunch, dinner, afternoon teas and coffees, soft drinks and bottled water from the minibar). A minimum 3 night stay applies for Nihiwatu.
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.
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.
Take a dip in Nio Beach Club's pool, or retire to your villa: each has its own freshwater private pool.
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.
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.
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.
Two under-5s can stay free. Extra beds for 6–11 year-olds cost US$90 a child, each night; 12–16 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.
Close to Menara and with easy access to the beach, the two-bedroom Pantai Villas are ideal for older children with energy to burn. The living room in Lulu Amahu villas can be turned into a bedroom and has its own bathroom.
There’s no kids club or crèche, but staff can tailor activities to suit your little Smith’s whimsy. They’ll set up beach games, supervise splashing sessions in the pool and babysit in the evenings for US$7 an hour.
Borrow a board and embrace your inner surfer dude: confident swimmers over eight can take lessons at Nihi Sumba Island. In calmer weather, snorkel around the beach or test your balance on a paddle board. Families with over-5s can set out on horseback to explore the estate from bush to beach.
Each villa has its own unsupervised pool, which can be fenced off if you’re travelling with little ones. The beach is watched by lifeguards from 7am to 6pm. Some villas have unrestricted access to the sea, so keep a watchful eye on wandering tots.
Children are welcome at all the restaurants. Picky eaters will love the kids’ menu with its crowd-pleasing burgers, fajitas, toasted sandwiches and banana splits. For more authentic fare, book a rijstaffel (rice table), a family-style Indonesian feast. Purées for tots have an exotic twist: pick from papaya, pumpkin and avocado or the more traditional peas, carrots and potatoes. High chairs are on offer, though little ones may prefer playing on the sandy floors; if they get too fidgety, colouring books and games can always be brought over from Menara.
English-speaking babysitters can look after a brood of little Smiths for US$7 an hour; book a day ahead.
No need to pack
Highchairs, car seats, swimming aids, beach bags. A baby monitor can be handy if you’re planning on spending a lot of time enjoying your villa’s luxuriant gardens and private pool, but you’ll need to bring your own.
If you’re travelling with curious toddlers, ask for plug covers in your room. A pram is useful for navigating the airports, but quite impractical along Nihiwatu’s rocky paths. Bring a baby carrier to make the most of a stay with a babe-in-arms.
Responsible luxury is the guiding principle of Nihi Sumba Island'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.