ROBB READER Limitless creativity, clever marketing techniques and exceptional hotel experiences have helped James Mcbride raise the bar in the hospitality industry.
When the Independent Hotelier of the World award for 2016 was announced, it was James Mcbride’s name that was called. Not for a palatial hotel in London, nor a flawless resort in The Maldives, but for Nihiwatu on Sumba Island in Indonesia. Five years ago, you could be forgiven if you asked ‘where?’ at the mention of Nihiwatu or Sumba. That they are now synonymous with the pinnacle in luxury resorts is all thanks to Mcbride, who channelled more than two decades of hospitality experience into what was once a lonely surfing outpost 400km east of Bali. How did he do it? It’s the type of accolade one wouldn’t expect to receive. I was most honoured to be acknowledged by my peers in the industry around the world, who took the time to vote for me. I am fortunate to have worked with amazing people and in the most wonderful places across the globe, in taking a path less travelled at times. The forgotten Sumba Island is a hidden gem in the Indonesian archipelago. The island is still largely tribal with a population of over 650,000 people. Home to one of the world’s remaining intact animist and Mesolithic cultures, what you can expect during a visit to Sumba is to look through a window to the past. One day, my good friend and now business partner Chris Burch called me and told me I had to get myself to Sumba. We find ourselves here now, with an ever-growing list of accolades. Nihiwatu has been almost completely rebuilt after Chris and I took over the ownership. Every aspect was specifically constructed in the look and feel of