If you’re looking for adventure with a large slice of luxury on the far flung island of Sumba, Indonesia there are only a couple of options when it come to high-end resorts. We chose Lelewatu, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
The scale and beauty of Lelewatu is breathtaking. It is a fundamentally romantic place. Isolated. Beautiful. Luxurious. Escapist.
Gazing out of our gigantic window of our villa that teeters magnificently on a dramatic cliff, we watch the sea crash and spray against the rocky landscape. We spot distant dolphins play in the glinting water. Outside by the decking, an infinity pool stretches to the horizon. Exotic birds sing and tiny lizards skitter in the grass.
Lelewatu is set on 10 hectares of clifftop overlooking the powerful Indian Ocean, with an astounding nine individual beaches to choose from. Our home away from home was our own private villa (one of just 27) ensconced in a rainforest and built in the Sumbanese tradition from local materials around a central tower. Inside, a sumptuous four poster bed, complete with netting and Indonesian fabrics lulled us to sleep each night with the sound of the crashing waves as our lullaby.
Our butler, Yeremi was on call if we wanted anything, zipping us around in golf buggy if we were feeling lazy and was full of ideas of things to do around the resort – like explaining which hills were best to hike and cycle on, if we were not. But with a sense that we were most definitely in the prettiest place on the island, we decide to lean towards the former, spending most of our time lounging by the pool and reading. If we weren’t at our reserved sun-loungers, we were found in the resort’s boutique Maraga Spa enjoying a full-body Sumbanese massage that primed us for more relaxing and lazing.
At meal times we wandered down to the restaurant by the main pool for incredible freshly caught seafood or Indonesian curry – and each time, our tastebuds were just titillated, if not tingled, from the divine spices used to create an almost otherworldly flavour that we know we will miss and crave when we return home.
If riding a horse on a beach is for you, then it’s the in – or at least the (In)stagram – thing to do on Sumba. Type in Sumba into any social media and you’ll be met with pictures of horses galloping freely on the beach or frolicking in the surf. It’s a liberating activity, but if that’s something you want to do, make sure you let your Lelewatu butler know well in advance, so they can arrange it on a perfectly picture postcard, soft, white sand beach for you.