reviewer's rating ★★★★★
In Short I cannot think of a better honeymoon. There isn't a resort like this on the planet. Heaven on earth!
To Elaborate We spent 9 nights at Nihiwatu and could have happily spent more here. We briefly considered spending a few nights in Bali since we had to layover there, but we are SO glad we stocked up on time here instead. It's one of the most beautiful, exotic places I've ever been. Tourism is still so new and rare here that Sumbanese are delighted to have visitors and rightfully proud to show off their island and their culture.
Nihiwatu sits on a mile and half long stretch of beautiful, protected beach and acres of jungle landscape. Each private villa has an ocean view and is decorated like a home. The property winds through rock pathways, palm trees, hanging ivy and organic gardens.
If you're at all interested in surfing, no matter the level this is the perfect place; I could not get enough! Nihiwatu has one of the most famous surf breaks in the world, which is enhanced by the fact that they only allow 10 surfers in the water at a time. We came during April when the swell, which can be enormous here, was just the right size for us beginners. We did lessons almost everyday with their incredible watermen. The water is crystal clear and 80 degrees; the waves are big enough to be exciting, and small enough to be welcoming.
We also went on two beautiful hikes, one that overlooks acres of rice paddies and one through rolling hills and a local village that ends at Nihiwatu's spa, Nihioka which sits on a cliff overlooking the most beautiful beaches. They call their spa experience a "Spa Safari," which I think is GENIUS. You can get to it by hike, car or horse -- we loved it so much we spent two different days, one via a 90-minute hike with the sweetest guide Tiger, and another via horse with the coolest guide Carlos. We saw local villages and herds of goats, sheep and water buffalo. You cannot beat it. Once you arrive, the spa gives you a robe and takes your clothes, including your sneakers, and washes them. You receive your own private bale overlooking waves crashing into rocks and are served fresh juice and breakfast before choosing as many treatments from their menu; everything is included in one price. We did facials, aloe rubs, deep tissue massages, coconut hair masks, foot reflexology... I mean it was heaven and the cost is the best deal going. Let's just say we felt we'd be crazy if we didn't go twice.
During our 9 days, we also paddledboarded down the river, horseback rode on the beach, and took complimentary yoga classes at the Yoga Pavilion, found on a cliff overlooking the entire beach.
The service is amazing at Nihiwatu; each villa receives its own private butler who is dressed in the coolest Indonesian threads and carries a sword around... in case you'd like a fresh coconut split open. We loved our butler Arafin - he taught us local phrases and made us feel like we had family here in Sumba. On our last night, Arafin and the team surprised us with gifts, massages and a private beach dinner.
The food is delicious-- centered on fried rice, fresh seafood and some Western classics plus they have an extensive fresh juice for a healthy kick and made from scratch ice cream. All food except alcohol is included in the price of a villa which for me led to maximum relaxation. There's nothing worse than being at a resort and seeing that you've spent $100 before lunch... Here, I didn't bring my wallet or think about the price of anything once. It was bliss.
Finally, Nihiwatu is integrated into Sumba's culture and has a mission to build up the island through its employment practices and Sumba Foundation which has built schools, medical clinics, and even roads--- being a guest here was the opposite of feeling like an obnoxious tourist. You felt like you were part of something wonderful and you truly are at Nihiwatu. We hope to come back back again and again.
Date April 2015