Today, Nihiwatu is a draw not just for surfers but experience seekers of all sorts. As well as those superb swells, and the riding, hiking and fine dining, there’s the excellence of the resort itself, the villas variously placed hillside, shoreside, or treetop, indulgent inside and out, with private pools and butler service.
Dining is just as indulgent, almost entirely sustainable and organic, with ingredients from the resort's own gardens, free-range poultry farm, fresh seafood and local herbs and spices. There are no set times for meals, they happen as and when wished for, in a variety of scenic venues. Menara, at the highest point of the resort and with the highest Sumbanese roof on the island, hand carved from teak wood, has long views, Ombak, the open-air main restaurant, has exquisite wooden detailing, sandy floors, a convivial atmosphere, a deck cantilevered over the ocean and hosts spectacular barbeques and special dining events. Down on the beach, a wood fired oven turns out pizzas, and a grill does overtime as surfers return and guests gather to swap stories at the Nio Beach Club and Pool.
Horse riding is another highlight – the sweet natured Sumbanese horses and the experienced local guides ensure beginners as well as advanced riders have the pleasure of riding along the surf or exploring the interior. Among the other joys here is a spa experience like no other, a day-long delight staring with a trek through a palm tree forest and cascading rice terraces to a tree house platform above pristine beaches, where the treatments by Sumbanese therapists are as sublime as the views over the Indian Ocean.
For many visitors though, as exclusive, as exciting, as remote and as beautiful the resort is, the chance to take part in the many community projects the resort has established is as just as satisfying. Sumba Island is still truly unspoilt, and the resort plays a substantial part in keeping it that way, with impeccable eco-credentials, and always working to empower local communities. This is the only resort on Sumba, the rest remains an island where traditional tribes and the wilderness co-exist as they always have done.