Best Hotel In The World Nihi

By | May 8, 2023

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I checked out Nihi Sumba, formerly known as Nihiwatu, as it opened its doors as a full-fledged luxury resort. It further rose on my list as marketing materials and videos began to flood luxury hotel publications and more of its beauty was revealed through photos and images of resort guests and staff.

Best Hotel In The World Nihi

Best Hotel In The World Nihi

It’s fair to say that this has to be one of the most widely covered luxury hotels of the decade, alongside Polynesian The Brand. I couldn’t wait to review Nihi Sumba for myself for my annual birthday splurge (remember when I spent it in the underwater room at Manta Resort? Watch the video here and review here ).

Everything You Need To Know About The World’s Best Hotel

What does Travel + Leisure’s best hotel in the world look like? And is Nihi Sumba really worth the high price? I also asked myself all the good questions. Let me take you on a virtual tour and share my review of Nihi Sumba Hotel. But first video of my visit!

Disclaimer: I was not hosted by Nihi Sumba, I paid for this stay entirely out of my own pocket.

Nihi Sumba began as a lodge and base surf camp in the 80s when Claude Graves bought the land and opened a simple accommodation. Graves had experience managing hospitality companies in Kenya, where he started in the big game hunting industry.

Before selling it to travel the world with his wife in search of the best surf break, he ran East Africa’s most successful club in Malindi, on the Kenyan coast.

Yoga And Wellness Retreats At Nihi Sumba, Indonesia

Claude and his wife eventually ended up in Sumba at the end of the decade, where they settled like the locals off the land and later bought property to build a small surf hotel on the beach. It is with the local population that they have developed a close relationship which is very important to the success of Nihi Sumba.

Graves built Nihi Sumba as a rustic-chic retreat, made from local elements and as self-sufficient as possible. Newspaper articles claim that the hotel used copra, a local coconut fiber, as fuel. The hotel first opened in 2005 with a Robinson Crusoe vibe and determined surf.

In 2012, when there were only twelve cottages, Graves sold what he had built to Chris Burch, the successful billionaire behind the famous shoe specialist Tory Burch, who teamed up with seasoned hotelier James McBride to make Nych’s dream a reality. .

Best Hotel In The World Nihi

Burch and McBride built Graves’ dream and elevated the small but special resort to stardom. They renovated it to offer the ultimate in barefoot luxury, with an emphasis on marketing and PR.

Nihi Sumba, Sumba, Indonesia

As a result, Nihi Sumba began to feature prominently in luxury travel publications as the next “IT destination,” a sought-after getaway for the rich and famous, an exclusive resort available only to the few wealthy guests who could afford at least $7,500. discount in high season.

The efforts culminated when Travel + Leisure named it the best hotel in the world in 2016 and then again in 2017, joining the ranks of great properties such as The Oberoi Udaivilas (2015), Triple Creek Ranch (2014) or Mombo Camp in Botswana (2013).

Although Graves is no longer at the helm, his approach continues, although the resort has lost the rustic, authentic feel of its beginnings. It helps that he’s there often, no bullshit, and genuinely committed to the country he calls home, and that he continues to run the Sumba Foundation.

My review of Hotel Nihi Sumba cannot begin without mentioning the location of the resort as it is the soul of the place. I have stayed at many hard to find resorts.

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I slept in private tented camps in Amboseli Park, which can only be accessed by private jets from Nairobi. I slept in an underwater room at Manta Resort, which is off the coast of Pemba Island, an island reached from Zanzibar by small planes. I slept in the only resort on an island in the middle of Lake Malawi, accessible only by private jet from Malawi’s main cities.

I spent a few nights in Bwindi National Park while waiting to travel in search of gorillas, a park that at the time was only accessible by a 12-hour drive from Uganda’s capital, Kampala, on a very bumpy road or private. Two-seat charters. I have also traveled to remote islands in the Pacific, most of which few can find on a map.

Is Nihi Sumba as remote as its slogan “On the edge of the wild” claims? In my opinion, I would not classify Nihi Sumba as a hard to reach destination. The resort is a 90-minute drive by paved road from the airport, which offers hourly direct, daily and low-cost commercial flights to Bali, which is itself a very well-connected island.

Best Hotel In The World Nihi

There are many countries that are really hard to get to and that no one goes to. Nihi Sumba’s remoteness is due to the fact that there are virtually no other accommodation options on an island twice the size of Bali. I would even say that for the majority of Sumbanese, Indonesia is Sumba and they will probably never leave its shores.

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If you want to visit Sumba, there are very few ways to make it possible. Certainly, the island is far off the tourist radar, even far from the more exotic parts of Indonesia.

Despite serious efforts by the Indonesian Tourism Board to promote tourism in the past three years, Sumba is still completely unknown to most. Even for die-hard travelers. Yes, it is remote, but in the sense that it is untouched by tourism or development and has remained untouched, not in the sense that it is difficult to get to. Sumba today is what it always was. Many say it is still as Bali once was.

To get to Sumba, you need to take a plane from Bali to Tambolaka. There are only two flights a day to Tambolaka, operated by the notoriously unreliable Wings Air and the state-owned airline Garuda.

They both arrive and depart at the same time in the morning, so the flights are pretty inefficient in terms of time management, you arrive late in the afternoon and depart early in the morning. Wings Air has slightly better times (10am departure from Bali) but fly at your own risk, they are known for frequent plane crashes which fortunately never end in death.

Nihi Sumba, Sumba

Also, delays with Wings Air are normal and your luggage can get lost, as happened to us. Also, Wings Air’s flights are longer (1.5 hours) because they fly propeller planes, while Garuda flies planes that reach Sumba within an hour.

Nihi Sumba can arrange international and domestic flights from Bali, or you can book yours directly from the airlines’ websites. If you use Nihi’s service, you can access the lounges in Bali and Sumba.

Their booking also includes an excess baggage allowance, which is worth noting because Wings Air only allows 10kg, so you’ll have to pay one dollar per kilogram for excess baggage. Bring Indonesian Rupiah to pay sumba as they do not accept any other form of payment.

Best Hotel In The World Nihi

When you arrive at Bali’s domestic airport, you will be directed to find Nihi Sumba staff who will hold your boarding passes and help you check in. The same will happen in Sumba on your return. In our case, it was quite chaotic.

Nihi Sumba Island Hd Wallpapers

The Bali staff were busy sorting other overbooked Garuda guests so we couldn’t find them. Not a big problem because you don’t actually need help checking in, but they had our boarding pass so we had to call and find them. Nihi Sumba’s contact person was also missing in Sumba and we found him only after checking in.

When you arrive in Sumba, Nihi Sumba staff will welcome you with fresh coconuts and slices of banana cake wrapped in banana leaves to keep your hunger at bay until you reach the resort. Traveling by car goes through villages and narrow roads where you are unlikely to see other cars. You pass scooters and dozens of waving children who run into the road whenever they see a car.

They smile from ear to ear and are genuinely happy to see guests, as if it were a party during the day. The drive is beautiful, climbing through mountain passes and dense jungle until you finally see the bay below and realize the wild beauty of Nihi Sumba. The car may have WiFi, but it probably won’t work because there is no signal to communicate in the jungle.

When you arrive at the hotel, you will be escorted to your villa. Check-in papers will be signed there and you will receive your butler’s phone number to communicate with him or

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