Chris Burch, known for creating famous retail brands C. Wonder and Tory Burch, has bought a beach hostel on the Indonesian island of Sumba in 2012. It cost $30 million to renovate the hostel and reopen it as a five-star resort called Nihiwatu in 2015. What originally meant to be a place for his children turned into the best hotel in the world by Travel + Leisure in 2016, and for a good reason, too.
Nicknamed "The Edge of Wilderness," Nihiwatu is on the west coast of Sumba, a remote Indonesian island.
The name means "mortar stone," and the beach was originally named after a rock formation on the tide.
In 2012, Chris Burch and hotelier friend James McBride bought what was then a beach hostel owned by a couple from New Jersey.
Burch and McBride redeveloped the land and opened it as Nihiwatu in 2015.
It has become the largest local employer on the island. A portion of the hotel's profits are also given to the Sumba Foundation, an organization that funds projects to help the local community.
It has 27 private villas with plunge pools.
Raja Mendaka, Chris Burch's private home, is also available to guests. It has a main house and four additional villas.
Its plunge pool has views over Nihi Beach and across the Indian Ocean.
It also has a large indoor-outdoor entertaining area.
There are two, two-story tree houses on the resort. Connected by a bamboo bridge, both villas have a bedroom, a bathroom, and a balcony. The main treehouse also has a living area and private infinity pool.
Traditional Sumbanese antiques, local wood, and Ikat prints are featured throughout.
There is a beach spa available, but treatments can also be done in your own room.
The wellness center offers daily group yoga sessions. Instructors can also hold private classes that are tailored to an individual's needs.
The beach has always been considered a surfer's paradise. According to Nihiwatu's website, "Swells generated by the Southern Ocean storms travel thousands of kilometers across the Indian Ocean to meet our shores."
The resort has a rule that no more than 10 surfers are allowed in the water at a time, and a surf slot costs $125 per person in the high season. Surf lessons are also available and cost $250 per person. The sessions are tailored to the amount of experience each person has.
You can book excursions to nearby waterfalls through the resort. One trip includes a 90-minute trek to a blue lagoon where guests can jump off the rocks and swim. The trip costs $175 per person.
A neighboring bay called Coconut Grove offers guests a calmer place to learn how to surf. The resort transfers guests by Safari jeep or boat.
There are riding stables with a team of guides to take guests out on sunset beach horseback-riding trips. A resident horse whisperer also coaches guests how to connect with horses.
Prices for a one-bedroom villa start at $750 a night during the low season. Burch's five-bedroom private estate costs around $14,000 a night in the high season.
Burch and his partner McBride are also looking to expand and build resorts in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. They want to create resorts that are more accessible to the millennial traveler.