CATCH OF THE DAY
bit as much as those who come to ride the waves. Featuring nine new villas, extensive renovation of the existing 12 villas and a host of new and improved facilities, Nihiwatu Mark II opened its doors in March last year and has already welcomed the Rockefeller and Hermès families among a slew of other A-listers and well-heeled surfers.
What hasn’t changed is the setting, a glorious sweep of beach backed by greenery so lush it seems painted on. On first sight, as we arrive from the airport in one of the resort’s all-terrain vehicles, it’s easy to imagine how its founders must have felt when they first set eyes on the then-inaccessible and untouched coast, and perhaps even why they endured more than a decade of trials and tribulations—from local clan wars and animal sacrifices to earthquakes and financial meltdowns—to bring Nihiwatu to fruition.
But while the resort might owe its existence to the Graves, its present incarnation is very much down to the vision of managing partner James Mcbride. A silver- haired South African, Mcbride has had a long and illustrious career in the hotel business, including a stint as managing director of New York’s famed The Carlyle, where he would personally ensure guests such as Roger Federer, Morgan Freeman and Paul Mccartney were well taken care of.
In Nihiwatu, Mcbride seems to have found his Xanadu and his enthusiasm is infectious. He is animated enough when he shows us what they have built so far—in addition to the villas, there is the Ombak restaurant, the sun-kissed Nio Beach Club and a spacious family area replete with games and activities—but Mcbride really lights up when he starts explaining what’s in store. By April Nihiwatu will add 11 more villas, including an 80,000sqft five-bedroom resort within a resort. Also under construction are a hilltop yoga pavilion with breathtaking 270º views of the coastline and a tree-house jungle spa.
Despite this expansion, Nihiwatu’s impact on the environment is minimal. Only a little more than 10 per cent of its 230 hectares can or will be developed. Indeed, its impact on the environment and the local community is something that Nihiwatu takes very seriously. That there are numerous ecologically responsible initiatives underpinning the
FRESH SEAFOOD PREPARED BY FORMER AMANRESORTS CHEF BERNARD PRIM