Indonesia's Best Secluded Resorts

Indonesia's Best Secluded Resorts
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Amanwana The charmingly secluded Amanwana resort, located on the equally isolated Moyo Island in West Nusa Tenggara province, is a study in classic luxury. Amanwana (which means “peaceful forest” in the local language) is the only resort on the island, and is also a marine and nature reserve that covers an area of some 22,500 hectares. The hidden retreat’s exclusivity is such that it has hosted guests of the calibre of Princess Diana, David Bowie, Yoko Ono and Mick Jagger, to name but a few. Set on a beach in a secluded cove, overlooking the Flores Sea, the reason that Amanwana appeals to the elite is its brilliant yet simple concept: tents. The tents are all lavish of course, and who can resist the promise of adventure that only outdoor living can inspire? Amanwana’s 20 luxury tents pitch guests deep into the heart of the island, which is also a protected deer sanctuary for a population of indigenous rusa (deer). Moreover, the marine park offers some of the best scuba diving and snorkelling in Indonesia, with pristine reefs boasting a rich array of sea life. To get to Amanwana, the resort itself offers scheduled flights via a private floatplane charter from Bali, as well as helicopter transfers which can be arranged upon request. Losari Spa Retreat & Coffee Plantation Set flush in the middle of a real coffee plantation, this one-of-a-kind hilltop hideaway offers an enjoyable alternative to the usual spa retreat routines. Losari pays homage to the Dutch colonial heyday through its charming old-world buildings and facilities, and the place was originally frequented by the royal court of Solo. There’s a Dutch mansion, originally built in 1828 and now restored as a clubhouse, and a lobby that was constructed timber by timber from the remains of the old Mayong railway station—in fact the reception area was once the station’s ticket office. Losari Spa Retreat & Coffee Plantation is located 900 metres above the plains of Magelang, near the cities of Yogyakarta, Solo and Semarang, and is surrounded by no fewer than eight volcanoes. During the Dutch Colonial era, this was an active coffee plantation of some 22 hectares, and today it still produces some of the highest quality organic crops around, including Robusta coffee beans, potatoes, cabbages, broccoli, tomatoes, spinach, mangoes, starfruit and jackfruit. All of these healthy products promptly make their way to the resort’s three restaurants, and the Plantation Tour is the most popular option among Losari’s list of activities and programmes. Losari Spa Retreat & Coffee Plantation is located equidistant from Semarang, Yogyakarta and Solo. It takes about one and a half hours to reach Losari by car from Semarang Airport, and two hours from either Yogyakarta or Solo Airport. Nihiwatu Nihiwatu resort is way out in the middle of nowhere, and therein lies its appeal! Even though the travel time from Bali to Nihiwatu has now been cut to just over three hours, from the original two and a half full days, you’ll still need to spend a night in Bali, as there are no international flights that arrive in Bali early enough to make the Sumba flight connection. Nihiwatu is the perfect escape from it all, and contains 175 hectares of tropical forest, rice terraces and grassland, including a stunning two and a half kilometre stretch of private beachfront. From the lush jungle that lies on one side of the resort, to the pristine beach and the Indian Ocean that stretches out as far as the eye can see on the other, guests can opt for either an action-packed holiday or an indolent break doing precisely nothing more strenuous than lazing around enjoying the peace. The indigenous culture that surrounds Nihiwatu consists of Stone Age sites and traditional villages that have remained largely unchanged for centuries, and the world-famous pasola ritual (a traditional Sumbawa battle ritual performed on horseback) is not to be missed. Kura Kura Resort Set in the midst of the Karimunjawa Archipelago, which is also a National Marine Park, Kura Kura Resort boasts an exclusive retreat surrounded by one of the largest lagoons in the area, as well as 22-hectares of tropical paradise. Kura Kura is the only resort on the private island of Menyawakan, and guests can expect pristine, white, sandy beaches fringed with palm trees and an amazingly colourful sea. Diving is the most popular activity here, although there are many other adventures for solo travellers and families to enjoy, including Robinson Crusoe trips, which drop guests on one of the chain’s deserted islands for a day for them to explore on their own. There are also daily diving and snorkelling trips to the best of Karimunjawa’s coral reefs. Travel to Kura Kura is usually via private air charter provided by the resort. After a 40-minute flight from the city of Semarang, adventurers will be whisked over to Kura Kura on a speedboat. Cubadak Paradiso Village Located just two hours from Padang International Airport, the secluded island of Cubadak is a haven of tranquillity and peace, far removed from the hustle and bustle of city life. The island is uninhabited, except for a few isolated fishermen’s huts, and Cubadak Paradiso Village, the only resort on the island, consists of twelve wooden bungalows, a suite-bungalow suspended over water, a restaurant, a communal area and a pier with a terrace. All of the village’s two-storey cottages, with the exception of the suite, sit up on stilts and are constructed from local timber, reflecting the area’s Minangkabau heritage and affording guests an authentic stay. The bungalows and suite all face the sea and stretch along 1.5 kilometres of white, sandy beach, offering guests direct access to Cubadak’s underwater riches. The island is completely surrounded by superb coral reefs and numerous species of multicoloured reef fish. In addition, the island, located just a few miles off the coast of Sumatra, is wonderfully sheltered from strong waves, making water activities such as diving, snorkelling, water skiing or wake boarding truly to die for. Electricity runs 24 hours a day here and no bottled water is necessary, as potable water flows directly from a pure mineral spring located on one of the island’s hills. Cubadak is truly one of the last paradises on earth. Pangkil Island Pulau Pangkil Kecil (Little Pangkil Island) is a delightful little Indonesian island located very close to Singapore. A stay on this gorgeous atoll is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, as the entire island is for rent! Pangkil the island and Pangkil the resort are, in fact, one and the same. When you rent Pangkil—and you can only rent it as a whole—you get the entire island as part of the deal, including its Driftwood Palaces (the resort’s accommodation), a bar, a sound system, a pool, kayaks, snorkelling equipment, speedboats, a kitchen and a staff of twenty. This could be your very own version of “Survivor”, only with maids and butlers to keep things strictly civilised. The private island resort is popular with both honeymooners and families and their friends, who travel long distances to celebrate that special wedding or getaway. If you can’t afford Prince William and Kate Middleton’s GBP 4,000-a-night private honeymoon experience in the Seychelles, then Pangkil makes for a fine alternative. Pangkil offers nine elegant, detached Driftwood Palaces, all of which have unobstructed sea views, and none lies more than five paces away from the beach. The Singapore jump-off point is the Tanah Merah Fast Ferry Terminal, which is only ten minutes from Changi Airport. Kandui Resort Karamajet Island, part of the Mentawai chain and home to Kandui Resort, is situated 75 miles off the west coast of Sumatra. Due to its remote location, it requires a one-of-a-kind crossing of the Mentawai Strait: a patch of ocean steeped in historical folklore and intrigue. Kandui is the only resort on the island and is set amidst 30 acres of palm trees, lagoons and a spectacular mile-long, white, sandy beach overlooking two of the most picturesque islands in the Mentawai chain. There are no shopping malls, housing complexes or freeways here—just raw, unspoilt beauty caressed by the soothing rhythms of the tides and tempting visitors with the ever-present allure of perfect surf! Accommodation on Kandui comprises of eight uma, or traditional thatched houses, which were built in traditional Mentawai style by local craftsmen. Each uma can comfortably house between two and three people and comes with a dedicated Wi-Fi connection and a speaker system to plug your iPod into. Kandui is popular with surfers, especially Californian surfers, who seem to have all been bred at sea and who are always on the lookout for bigger and better waves. In fact, the Mentawai Islands boast some of the meanest waves on the planet and are often touted as the best surfing destination in the world. To get there, fly to Padang and a speedboat provided by the resort will ferry you to Kandui. Nabucco Island Resort Nabucco Island Resort lies on a private island known as Pahabanan and is surrounded by the amazing Maratua Atoll. Pahabanan is located next to Derawan, Sangalakki and Maratua, all of which are well-known dive sites, and lies about 90 minutes by boat from Tanjung Redeb. The island is one of the last habitats of the coconut crab, and many other rare species can also be found roaming its shores. On trips to Maratua, nature lovers can observe apes, bats and a huge range of birds in their natural environment. Diving is the resort’s strongest draw though, and guests can expect a simply sensational experience that can be accessed from right outside their huts! It’s a diver’s dream come true and groups of eagle rays, hammerhead sharks, tuna, turtles and many more are all there for the viewing. Sangalakki, where manta rays can be found daily, lies a 50-minute boat ride away, and at Kakaban and Maratua you can admire the flora and fauna of the very rare sweet water lakes. Amatoa Resort The Amatoa Resort is built into a cliff on the southernmost tip of Sulawesi, and each of the resort’s seven bungalows features a unique point of interest. Some have private access to the sea, some offer private plunge pools, while others sport private “on the rocks” terraces and gardens. There are plenty of great diving and snorkelling opportunities here. The Cape of Bira, in particular, is famous for its sharks and rays, as well as for its beautiful reefs and coral gardens. It has been said that South Sulawesi boasts one of the world’s last unspoilt diving frontiers, and an impressive 15 dive sites lie close to the resort. Other equally interesting activities, such as day visits to famous local boat builders and trips to idyllic desert islands with white sandy beaches are also well worth checking out. The resort can be accessed via Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport, where you’ll be picked up by the resort’s private charter car and then driven down to Bira (3.5 hours). Menjangan Resort Set amidst 382 hectares of pristine forests, mangroves and coral reefs within the West Bali National Park, Menjangan Resort offers a rather different take on the Bali experience. Accommodation at the resort lies in an idyllic setting surrounded by trees, birds, deer and other wildlife. Furthermore, you can choose to stay on the water’s edge, nestled in the heart of the forest, or perched on a cliff overlooking the sea. A wide range of activities are on offer at the resort and its surrounding park, including kayaking through the resort’s secret mangrove maze and diving or snorkelling on one of the most beautiful coral reefs in Bali. Venturing through the forest on horseback is a slightly more unusual option, but a thrilling experience nonetheless. To get to the resort, you will need to make a scenic drive up to North Bali, a journey of some 3.5 hours by car from Denpasar. Misool Eco Resort Think you’ve seen paradise? Think again. Raja Ampat, located off the north-western tip of Indonesian Papua’s famous Bird’s Head Seascape region, is an archipelago comprising of over 1,500 small islands. The archipelago lies at the heart of the renowned Coral Triangle, an area that contains the highest levels of marine biodiversity on earth. Misool Eco Resort, an environmentally-friendly and exclusive dive resort and conservation centre, is located on the private, beautiful island of Batbitim. The island’s scuba dive sites are surrounded by a 1,220-square-kilometre No-Take Zone, an area in which all fishing, along with all shark fin, turtle egg and shellfish harvesting, is strictly prohibited. Needless to say, scuba diving is the resort’s most popular attraction, and the fully-equipped dive centre was designed to meet the needs not only of divers, but also of professional videographers and photographers. To get to the resort, fly to Sorong Airport in West Papua and a private speed boat will transfer you to the Misool Eco Resort. Due to its relative isolation, it is recommended that you arrive early in Sorong from Jakarta (departing at 5 am and arriving at 11:50 am), as the boat transfer can only wait for one flight. Source: Garuda

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