Sumba, Indonesia


Rates from (inc tax)$1,100.00

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (21USD), via, using today’s exchange rate.


Breeze-kissed hideaway


Unspoilt surfer's retreat

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

Get this when you book through 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


Photos Nihiwatu – Sumba – Indonesia

Need to know


32 villas.


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


Double rooms from $1100.00, excluding tax at 21 per cent.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (USD1,331.00), via, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

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.


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

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.


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.

Best for


Recommended rooms

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 Nihiwatu. 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.

Swimming pool

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 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 and Drink

Photos Nihiwatu – Sumba – Indonesia

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.

Dress Code

Luxe friendship bracelets, fringed shorts and tousled manes.

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.


Photos Nihiwatu – Sumba – Indonesia
Desa Hobawawi


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 return travel from Bali, which includes flights, taxes and service, use of VIP lounges in Bali and Tambolaka, and airport transfers to Nihiwatu (US$375 each, $500 in business class). 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.


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.

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.


Photos Nihiwatu – Sumba – Indonesia

Anonymous review

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

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Nihiwatu’s Guestbook below.

We loved

The feeling of living in decadent luxury a million miles from nowhere and having to learn to chill out and slow down, amazing food and service

Don’t expect

Shopping, restaurants, TV, or fast internet connection.


Stayed on 16 Feb 2016