Island hopping

Because I’ve always wanted to…

Issue 35 / March 2019

Early March greetings to you all,

Indonesia is one of my very favourite countries, made up of tens of thousands of islands spread over thousands of miles of ocean, the variety of which is astonishing.  On a recent trip I revisited some of those places which are closest to my heart and discovered some fantastic new ones.  Below I would like to tell you about some of the highlights from that amazing journey which you can see in full here.

Yours laterally,

MesaStila, Java

This is the Club House at MesaStila, an original Dutch colonial house dating from 1920.  The lobby is housed in a charming old station house which was transported here in 30 trucks from another part of Java and reconstructed on site.  There’s also a lovely bar where you can have a snifter before and/or after dinner over a game of pool.  All this is set on an old coffee plantation up in the scenic hills of Java.

Sequoia Yacht, Raja Ampat & Komodo Islands

The most sumptious wooden boat I have ever seen, Sequoia is marine luxury personified.  Every little detail is beautifully designed and thought through with passion.  The cabins are superbly comfortable and the food and service exceptional.  This would be a real treat for a special occasion.

Jungle River Cruise, Kalimantan

Take a boat trip up a jungle river deep in Kalimantan (Borneo) to see those most wonderful of creatures, the orangutan.  This is the well-equipped Kumai on which you can enjoy some great food cooked by your very own on-board team.  A naturalist guide will take you to see wild orangutans in the conservation areas as well as gibbons, long tailed macaques and long-legged proboscis monkeys.

Capella Ubud, Bali

Brand spanking new in summer 2018, Capella Ubud is an exciting and original property which is the creation of the famed tropical architect Bill Bensley.  Set in a lush valley outside arty Ubud, the concept is of an explorer’s tented camp wildly reimagined.  The unique view of Capella’s setting is shown in the title picture, and directly above is one of the explorers’ tents with its own pool looking over the jungle.  It’s quite a structure!

Como Beach Club, Canggu, Bali

Como Uma Canggu was opened in 2018 and has a fantastic position right next to the classic Balinese surfing resort of Echo Beach.  Como Beach Club faces the beach and has a big, funky bar and restaurant from where you can get down with the cool crowd and enjoy cocktails and some good food.  Behind the club is the most contemporary of hotels featuring the largest swim-out lagoon pool I have ever seen.  Como’s sister property, Como Shamhala Estate over in Ubud is just one of the most beautiful and relaxing wellness retreats not just in Indonesia but, in my view, the world.

Tiger Blue. Raja Ampat & Komodo Islands

Imagine yourself on the deck of this beautiful boat sailing through the stunning scenery of Raja Ampat in West Papua.  The friendly and efficient Tiger Blue crew look after your every need and will take you swimming, snorkelling, diving and even on a pre-dawn trip into the jungle to see the red bird of paradise strutting its stuff in a mind-blowing dance.  A total wow and experience of a lifetime.

Plataran Borodubur, Java

This is Java’s Borobudur Temple at sunrise, a mere 15 minutes’ drive away from the Plataran Borobudur from where you can view the temple from afar from a lovely pool villa suite.  There’s also a magnificent dining and bar area from where you can watch the sun go down on Borobudur later in your enjoyable day.  Even closer to the temple is the splendid Amanjiwo.

Belmond Jimbaran Puri, Bali

The Belmond Jimbaran Puri is a classic Balinese beach resort, upmarket but very relaxed.  Jimbaran is a less developed, quieter area of this otherwise bustling corner of Bali.  It’s a great place to get over your jet lag, or to relax before your flight home, with a cool drink on the golden sand beach.

Plataran Komodo, Flores

From Labuan Bajo, Flores, you can take a boat out to the Komodo Islands to see the famous dragons.  It’s well worth stopping just outside Labuan Bajo at the Plataran Komodo for some real toes-in-the sand beach time.  The villas are stylish and spacious in the best Indonesian style.  Alternatively, a little further off the coast is Sudamala Seraya, a brand spanking new beach resort with a desert island feel.

Papua Explorers Resort, Raja Ampat

Papua Explorers is a stunning over the water dive resort which is the best available in the northern sector of Raja Ampat, West Papua.  It’s a fantastic place to learn to dive, for world class snorkeling and the sunset views have to be seen to be believed!

Up Periscope: Sao Tome & Principe

This is an amazing new discovery!  The two-island nation of Sao Tome & Principe lies off the coast of Gabon, West Africa, and enjoys a wonderful tropical climate which is ideal to visit when the long gloom of the UK winter is upon us.    This is the pool at Sundy Praia, a totally luxurious beach resort nestled within the pristine rainforest jungle of Principe Island.  Principe is surrounded by unspoilt, golden sand beaches including those at  Bom Bom Resort.  Combine a few days on the beach with a couple up in the hills on a former cacao plantation, Roca Sundy, or Roca Bela Monte from where you can take a helicopter trip around the island to view its magnificent topography from above.  See our recent trip here.

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