While we try to capture in photos the details of the hotels we review, inevitably videos do a better job at showing what a place is truly like. For the June 2018 Hideaway Report, I traveled to the Indonesian archipelago where I discovered a truly remarkable hideaway, Nihi Sumba, on Sumba Island and a serene clifftop sanctuary, Alila Villas Uluwatu, in Bali.
Nihi Sumba comprises 550 wooded acres that slope gently down to the sea. A reported $30 million was invested to build 27 villas with 38 rooms, all with private pools. My villa, Mandaka #1, was accessible through a traditional gateway that opened into a private garden with a patch of clipped lawn and a sizable jade-green plunge pool. A teak deck led into a spacious glass-sided lounge with two parallel white sofas, wicker armchairs and a bar counter. It seemed an ideal place in which to relax with family or a group of friends.
On arrival at Alila Villas Uluwatu, I was impressed by the serene and secluded atmosphere, as well as the spontaneous friendliness of the staff. The resort’s public areas comprise a series of graceful modern pavilions set around water gardens and reflection pools. Villa #402 had a tremendous feeling of space, thanks to a generous open-plan layout. (The bedroom and the bath were separated by a large rattan structure.) A huge cushioned daybed next to a glass wall overlooked a surprisingly large private garden, with a 25-foot pool, a small dining table and a pavilion on a raised platform. As well as being an ideal spot for reading and relaxation, the latter provided a distant view of the sea.