By now you know that the journey matters just as much as the destination itself. After a 36+ hour travel extravaganza I found myself at Travel + Leisure’s number one hotel in the world, Nihiwatu. Located on Sumba Island, Indonesia I was there with British Polo Day. And let me tell you, there is more than meets the eye here. It goes deeper than the treehouse bungalows, horseback riding on the beach at sunset, the delicious cuisine, and the spa safari. It’s about the people. Always, all about the people here. Spending time at Nihiwatu was simply amazing, there is no other way to describe it.
Sumba is an hour and a half to two-hour flight by way of Ngurah Rai International Airport with Garuda Indonesia. On the Edge of Wildness. Once you’ve arrived, you’ll deplane on the tarmac and immediately feel that hot Sumba heat. I wasn’t there yet though. I still had about an hour drive from the airport. The island is the size of Jamaica after all. Filled with bumps, twists and turns. The roads are winding, some paved and some dirt. But the views, they are magnificent and filled with the ocean, mountains and children running beside our vehicle through the villages. I nearly forgot about the plummeting drop offs beside me.
The remoteness of Nihiwatu, and Sumba in general, makes for an even greater experience. I really was on the Edge of Wildness.
Upon arrival we were greeted by the BPD team and a delicious fruit infused beverage, icy cold just the way I like it. We quickly made our way to our bungalow. Yep, that’s right our very own, standalone bungalow. I called Kanatar 1 home for a little less than a week and it did not disappoint. This one bedroom, two story villa is fully equipped with an open air living room, infinity pool and endless views of the lush gardens and Indian Ocean. Let the pictures do the talking:
I had to literally force myself to leave Kanatar. And after I finally ventured out I discovered so much. There are endless amounts of activities at Nihiwatu. As I mentioned previously the horseback riding, this is a must. Especially at sunset. If you’re the adventurous type I recommend surfing/surf lessons and Wanukaka & Blue. A waterfall so blue you’ll think you’re staring at a screensaver. It is a 45-minute drive and about a 90 minute hike into a valley. Unfortunately, while I was there the lagoon was dried up so we didn’t get to experience its beauty. I guess that means I have to go back! I did however get to experience Nihi Oka Spa. Arrive by car or by hike on the Spa Safari where you’ll walk through local villages and really get to experience the terrain of Sumba. All of the “rooms” have views of the ocean. At this point you should realize sea views are inescapable at Nihiwatu. Once you rest your head down on the massage table you’ll notice there is a mirror below reflecting the ocean. Choose to watch the waves crash or close your eyes and listen to them. Both are good options. Oh, go with the signature massage- you won’t regret it.
Also, when you’re planning a trip to Nihiwatu try to remember you will live in your swimsuit most of the time. Here is my go to bikini by L*Space. I love it because it’s reversible and super comfy! (Top, Bottom)
And what is a swimsuit collection without a one piece? Here I’m wearing one of my current favs from Orchid Boutique, the Dani Lanikai Monokini. It is Orchid Boutiques own swim label. What I like about this label is that there are so many different styles of swimwear from high waisted bottoms to cut out one pieces and your standard bikinis. This one piece has an open back and ties at the neck. Super flattering and I’m in LOVE with the bright color!
BRITISH POLO DAY
Never underestimate the international language that is Polo. Coming into British Polo Day never having watched a match previously, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But what I can tell you is that watching the vision unfold behind this event was pure magic. Seeing two countries come together, overcoming language barriers amongst people that otherwise would have never met was so humbling. In such a remote part of the world, getting to know the local culture whilst bringing a piece of familiarity from England and Indonesia. Everyone bonded over their appreciation of Polo. I never realized how impactful small things can be. Together we celebrated all things travel, Polo and philanthropy. In one day. Can you imagine what the world would be if we had more events like British Polo Day?
The Sumbanese people were so kind. We couldn’t necessarily communicate verbally but we did exchange smiles, laughs and an appreciation for the sport. We didn’t need words and that is something I’ve never experienced while traveling. It is usually the exact opposite. So thankful I was able to experience British Polo Day and I can’t thank the team enough for including me in such a fun and philanthropic event. Stay up to date with the upcoming events here, http://www.britishpoloday.com/events.
THE SUMBA FOUNDATION
This is a foundation that provides humanitarian aid to the Sumbanese people. Providing things like food, clean drinking water, education and protection against Malaria, a disease that is curable but Sumba has one of the highest occurrences of the disease in all of Asia. I am so lucky I had the chance to interact with the children and serve them lunch. We took so many selfies on Snapchat and exchanged so many laughs and smiles.
Some of these children only get one meal a week. Can you imagine? Only eating one meal in an entire week. It’s nearly impossible to get all of the nutrients needed. On top of that, these children lack clean drinking water daily and have to live in the intense heat of Indonesia. To say this was a humbling experience would be an understatement. It really makes you realize how little we need in this life. While yes there are necessities, many of which the Sumbanese lack, there are also all of those “extras” we could really live without. These children will never know how they’ve impacted my life and the way I travel. I am forever grateful for the Sumba Foundation. Learn more about how you can contribute to and empower the Sumbanese people at sumbafoundation.org
A huge thank you to Dave, Mark, Ed, James the Nihiwatu team, Arafin and everyone else that made our Nihiwatu and British Polo Day experience so special! I can’t wait until all of our paths cross again.