The Only Thing Better Than a Safari Might Just Be a Spa Safari

Where: Sumba Island, Indonesia


The view from your bale

Safaris and spas – two hotel-related things that we either love (the latter) or know we would love (the former). So we’re all over the Spa Safari that Nihiwatu on Sumba - an island in the Indian Ocean 250 miles south-east of Bali, and an hour’s flight from Denpasar – will launch next month.

It’ll take an entire day, the spa safari, crossing the island to Nihi Oka, a clifftop bale (traditional open air pavilion) overlooking the ocean below. You can get there either by foot (90 minutes) or – the luxury option – by car. Because why would you work up a sweat when you’re about to get slathered in fine oils?

Your bale

You’ll start with a group yoga session, followed by a bush-cooked breakfast served in a treehouse above the beach. Then comes the good stuff – an entire day’s worth of unlimited spa treatments, with your own therapist. Pick as many as you like (in advance), it's all included – you’ll be worked on till the sun goes down in your bale, overlooking the ocean, beach and rice paddies. Don’t worry either – this is super sustainable. All treatments use local ingredients.

Nihiwatu has changed a lot since it was last on our radar in 2006. There are now 21 traditional-looking thatched villas on a 1400-acre estate, fronted by a 1.5-mile beach. It reopened last year after a six-month renovation and change of ownership, so everything’s squeaky clean – and there are 3 more villas on the way for this summer.

Of course, an island idyll like this doesn’t come cheap. Villas start at $900 for two people, full board. The Spa Safari costs $450 per couple - for, remember, an entire day's worth of treatments. On the plus side, that’s still way cheaper than a real safari.

[Photo: Nihiwatu]

by Julia Buckley   originally published on May 19, 2015


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