CHECK IT OUT BAWAH IS­LAND, IN­DONE­SIA

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE -

Fans of bare­foot lux­ury have a new ad­dress — a re­mote eco-re­sort in the south­ern In­done­sian Anam­bas open­ing at the end of this month.

Cater­ing to a max­i­mum 70 guests in 24 suites and 11 over­wa­ter bun­ga­lows, Bawah Is­land re­sort is tucked away on an un­touched archipelago in a marine con­ser­va­tion area made up of five small is­lands, three la­goons and 13 pow­der-white sand beaches.

Three hours from Sin­ga­pore via ferry and pri­vate sea­plane, the re­sort lies half way be­tween the Malay Penin­sula and Bor­neo in the South China Sea; de­vel­op­ment has been low key and ev­ery­thing on the is­land built by hand, with no heavy ma­chin­ery in­volved.

The un­fussy but very smart tented sa­fari suites are tucked into vir­gin jun­gle near the sand with re­cy­cled teak floors and pri­vate decks look­ing out to stun­ning la­goon views.

Nat­u­ral fin­ishes in­clude drift­wood, bam­boo and re­cy­cled tim­bers, while the large bath­rooms use re­cy­cled cop­per.

Re­sort fa­cil­i­ties in­clude a tree-top restau­rant and wood-pan­elled li­brary, three bars and a beach­front in­fin­ity pool. The Aura Well­ness Cen­tre of­fers tai­lored yoga and Pi­lates classes as well as med­i­ta­tion and reiki ses­sions.

This part of South­east Asia is well known for snorkelling and div­ing and the is­land rep­re­sents a kind of Robin­son Cru­soe par­adise with clear wa­ters and un­touched for­est. Pes­ti­cides are banned as is fish­ing or an­chor­ing in Bawah’s wa­ters and guests can en­joy a range of marinebased ac­tiv­i­ties as well as for­est hikes.

DON’T MISS: Ex­plor­ing the “river” by ca­noe at high tide, a won­der­ful jour­ney fol­low­ing an arm of the sea squeezed be­tween man­groves and the is­land and lead­ing to a beau­ti­ful la­goon with a long beach. DIN­ING IN & OUT: Ex­ec­u­tive chef Omar Bernardi favours a free-flow­ing ap­proach to is­land din­ing. In the tree-top restau­rant, he’s plan­ning no fixed or a la carte menus but dishes will be pre­pared each day based on what’s avail­able lo­cally and in the on­site per­ma­cul­ture gar­den and to suit guests’ pref­er­ences. If you fancy a pic­nic on the beach, Bernardi sug­gests the likes of green Asian gaz­pa­cho fol­lowed by slow-cooked oc­to­pus with pineap­ple. By the pool, have the kitchen rus­tle up the likes of lamb nasi goreng bur­ri­tos. Leave space for dessert at din­ner with sig­na­ture dishes in­clud­ing Ba­li­nese black rice pud­ding with car­damom and white choco­late ice cream.

ASK THE CONCIERGE: At sun­rise, guests can search for tur­tle nests on Sang­gah Is­land; later in the day, take a tour of the kitchen gar­dens with res­i­dent per­ma­cul­ture ex­pert Jonathan.

CHECK­ING IN: From $US1960 ($2503) a cou­ple a night in­clud­ing round-trip trans­fers from Sin­ga­pore, all meals, non-al­co­holic bev­er­ages, daily laun­dry, mini­bar and ac­tiv­i­ties. More: bawahis­land.com.

ALSO TRY: The Brando, French Polynesia; Ni­hi­watu, Sumba Is­land, In­done­sia; Cempedak, In­done­sia.

CHRISTINE McCABE

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