Design Buzz: Nihiwatu's New Villas


Nihiwatu, a luxury resort located on Sumba Island in Indonesia, is set to launch three new signature villa residences this July. Here's a peek at how they'll look. 

Designed by German architect Walter Wagner, with interiors by Marco Scarani and Susan Colley, the three new villa residences are all “Sumbanese” in style, and will have traditional touches including local carvings, antiques and Ikat prints. Each villa’s design is unique, ranging from the three-bedroom Puncak villa that will reflect a traditional Sumbanese house to the three-bedroom Mamole Tree House. The largest new residence – Raja Mendaka – will have five individual villas, and will be the private estate of Nihiwatu’s owner, Chris Burch.


Raja Mendaka will overlook the 1.5 mile beach coastline. The estate will be comprised of five individual one-bedroom villas, each with its own private pool. Raja Mendaka was designed with large families and groups of friends in mind, and will be equipped with entertainment areas. The landscaped gardens around the villas will also provide privacy so that each villa can be rented exclusively. Other highlights will include a private 1,000-square-foot wood paneled library area with en-suite bathroom in the master bedroom, and an open deck with a plunge pool.

Highlights of Raja Mendaka’s master villa will include bedroom views across the white sand coastline and Nihiwatu’s sunsets, an outdoor bathtub and a private pool.

The three remaining two-story, one-bedroom villas will be dotted on a slope. These will have designs reflecting the traditional Sumbanese house. The entry level will offer a partially covered deck, living room, bathroom and private infinity pool at the front with a lounge area. There will also be a study at the back, and upstairs will be a 495-square-foot bedroom that will open to a platform among the trees, with a bathroom complete with an outdoor jungle shower. An outdoor bathtub will also be on the balcony. There will also be a waterfall cascading off natural rocks into a private pool and a hidden massage cave between the boulders at the base. Furnishings will include Sulawesi marble inlayed with special teak.


Mamole will be a three-bedroom tree house complex, elevated on wooden stilts between Nihiwatu’s trees. Two of the two-story, circular villas will offer a lounge area on the entry level, with the bedroom, bathroom and balcony on the upper level. A bamboo bridge will connect the two tree houses, and a shared infinity pool with lounging deck will be out front.

The main Mamole tree house will include a private infinity pool and a living area with a bathroom on the entry level. Upstairs, there will be a bedroom with a bathroom, balcony and connecting bridge to the main outdoor bathroom. Traditional Sumbanese carvings, antiques, local wood and Ikat prints will be included throughout the tree house complex.

Designed to reflect the traditional Sumbanese house, Puncak will be made of two main buildings, with the first offering two bedrooms. On the entry level at the front will be an outdoor area with a 301-square-foot private pool and sunken dining area, while indoor highlights will include a 452-square-foot bedroom with bathroom and a study at the rear. The second bedroom will be accessed by a staircase and will have an outdoor jungle shower and a balcony with bathtub, complete with an open-air view of the Indian Ocean. The main entertaining and dining area, kitchenette and large pool will be situated between the two villas and boast high views of the beach and the organic garden below. The second villa will have a living room on the ground floor with the study to the back and upstairs to the third bedroom, which will offer the same configuration as the first villa.