OK, so I just made a trip to paradise. Honestly. My husband wanted to visit a resort called Nihiwatu, on an island called Sumba — neither of which I’d ever heard of. The island of Sumba is located in Eastern Indonesia, a short plane flight from Bali (we’ll get to Bali in a later post). In the past, Sumba’s main export was sandalwood – the island was actually known as Sandalwood Island. In recent history the island has been a favorite of surfers in search of a remote and uncrowded destination. I don’t surf, but that wasn’t a problem. There was still plenty of other “outdoorsy” stuff to do.
In the late 80’s Claude and Petra Graves arrived on the island in search of the proverbial “perfect wave”. They quickly fell in love with the island and started making plans for a truly unique resort that would preserve the beauty and natural ecology that surrounded them. In 2012 Christopher Burch (former husband of Tory Burch) made a trip to the island and soon became a major investor in the resort’s expansion. He continued the idea of creating a resort that would work in harmony with nature and the indigenous people of the island. Thanks to Burch’s generosity a portion of Nihiwatu’s profits are funneled back into the Sumba Foundation that was originally started by the Graves’. Over the years, the foundation has set up over 15 primary schools, built 48 water wells and 5 medical clinics, supplied 172 villages with clean water and reduced Malaria by 85% in affected villages. As a guest you’re given the opportunity to experience the foundation’s work first hand (a visit to the closest malaria clinic and tour of a local school are a must) and many guests become life-long supporters.
If you’re looking for the ultimate island getaway, this is the place. It’s a little harder to get to (especially if you live in the US) but it’s well worth the effort. The water is amazing, the resort itself is beautiful, the food was great and people are some of the friendliest you’ll find. Can’t wait to go back!