Researching tropical island holidays is a difficult task these days. It seems every sandbar with a palm tree is the latest heavenly escape, but occasionally you come across one that offers a genuinely special experience.
Additionally, there are many factors modern, thoughtful travellers now demand that were not a big consideration until recently. Let’s face it, if you are really looking for that special hideaway, you’re going to be looking at things like environmental credentials, sustainability, use (or non-use) of plastics, and ecologically and environmentally sensitive buildings. An ‘unspoilt paradise’ is not really up to scratch if guests feel their very presence is spoiling the place they have come to enjoy.
Enter Bawah Reserve, a thoughtfully constructed sustainable luxury resort in Indonesia’s unheard-of Anambas Archipelago. Just a little more than an hour by private seaplane from Singapore, pampered guests are accommodated in 11 overwater bungalows and 21 beachfront suites overlooking one of the three lagoons and 13 beaches.
If you are going to be attracted to buzzwords like, ‘isolated’, ‘secluded’ ‘hidden gem’ ‘pristine’ and ‘remote oasis’ when choosing a tropical resort, Bawah Reserve will confidently and honestly tick all those boxes.
Hosting a maximum of 75 guests, Bawah Reserve is its own sanctuary within a marine conservation area that has been uninhabited since forever. In your research, you’ll see more words like ‘unwind’ and ‘reconnect with nature’ tossed around, but at Bawah Reserve you’ll see what this really means.
With thoughtful design by renowned Singaporean architect, Sim Boon Yong, every component of Bawah Reserve is hand-made with environmentally-friendly materials. There’s plenty of inspiration taken from the natural terrain of the Anambas Islands and creating a five-star resort that does these special islands justice while preserving their ecological integrity is a challenge worthy of our age.
You’ll find Bawah Reserve’s ecological credentials extend beyond the hyperbole to its permaculture and products, ocean-friendly sunscreen, eco-friendly laundry detergent and no plastic bottles. All waste is recycled, all paper is mulched, food waste is composted and crushed glass is used in the water filtering process. The resort is also part of the Bawah Anambas Foundation, which was created to channel funds back into preserving the land, the sea and the local community.
The island location naturally lends itself to such activities as snorkelling and diving through the colourful underwater worlds, stand up paddle boarding or kayaking in the lagoons or sailing around the islands. Excursions and resort activities also include hiking, cookery classes, bat cave exploration, star gazing, tennis and croquet.
How some resorts can call themselves ‘five-star luxury’ and not offer true all-inclusive pricing defies belief. The last thing you want to do at the end of a divine, relaxing stay is argue about your bill. To this end, Bawah Reserve is the only retreat in Asia to include complimentary, bespoke all-day dining, picnics on the beaches as well as one wellness treatment per villa, per day. Only scuba diving and alcohol are charged extra.
Opened in 2018, Bawah Reserve is already gaining accolades from the likes of Conde Nast with inclusion on their coveted 2018 Hotlist and makes the perfect choice for honeymoon, anniversary, special event or any excuse really.