Times are changing rapidly in Indonesia. The archipelago is vast — 3,200 miles from west to east — and, as yet, most of its 17,508 tropical islands are untouched by development. But increasing numbers of intrepid Americans and Europeans are now discovering the region’s natural and cultural riches. Doubtless they are pioneers; the major hotel companies are unlikely to be far behind.
The first luxury resort in the archipelago, aside from those in Bali and Lombok, was Amanwana, a wilderness retreat on the island of Moyo, a speck of land off the north coast of the larger island of Sumbawa (not to be confused with Sumba). An hour by floatplane to the east of Bali, Moyo is a nature preserve in which deer and wild boar roam 135 square miles of untouched jungle.
When it opened in 1993, Amanwana was well ahead of its time. With just 20 air-conditioned tented suites, it brought the style and ethos of an upscale African safari camp to a remote beach overlooking the Flores Sea. A quarter of a century later, the resort still seems to be at the cutting edge of luxury travel. The tents come with hardwood floors, king-size beds, sitting areas and Indonesian artwork. An airy pavilion with high ceilings, coconut pillars and wooden flooring shelters the bar, dining room and lounge.
The primary activity is world-class diving (including wreck diving), with certified scuba instruction available. Moyo’s reefs are pristine, and the water is of exceptional clarity. Sportfishing, kayaking and guided jungle hikes are also available. An open-air spa, just steps from the edge of the sea, provides a variety of massages and body treatments. Today Amanwana also offers a home port for Amandira and Amanikan, the company’s two traditional wooden vessels.
The sense of remoteness; the fabulous open-air spa; the superlative diving.
As Moyo is a nature reserve, there are no other restaurants or bars.
Guests can contribute to the Moyo Conservation Fund and pay a visit to a local school.