Par­adise found

ROBB READER Lim­it­less cre­ativ­ity, clever mar­ket­ing tech­niques and ex­cep­tional ho­tel ex­pe­ri­ences have helped James Mcbride raise the bar in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try.

Robb Report (Malaysia) - - Robb Reader - By Sam Yen

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

May - 2 017 Photo ALEXAN­DRE RIBEIRO DOS san­tos

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