Next time you visit Singapore, leave a few days to explore the private island resorts located off the Lion City’s coast. By Laura A H Elliott
One of the most anticipated openings of 2017, Bawah Island is now taking bookings from intrepid travellers looking to explore the untouched Anambas archipelago, a clutch of idyllic, pristine coral-wreathed islands a short ferry and 75-minute seaplane ride from Singapore. Previously uninhabited, Bawah is a marine conservation area comprising five pristine islands, three crystal clear lagoons and enough beaches for an anthropophobic football team. The retreat only allows a maximum of 70 guests at any one time, with those lucky souls accommodated in 35 eco- designed suites and overwater bungalows, each featuring a beautifully appointed bedroom, spacious bathroom and a relaxing outdoor living area with incredible views across the lagoon. Designed to give urbanites the opportunity to commune with nature, guests while away the days exploring the archipelago’s vibrant coral gardens or delving into the islands’ untouched primary forest. While the heart of the resort is Bawah’s beach-fronted infinity pool, the perfect spot for sundowners, guests can also unwind with bespoke cocktails at the Grouper Bar, Jules Verne Bar, and Boat House Bar. These uniquely- themed bars are situated at different zones on Bawah, each offering beautiful and distinctive sights of the surrounding islands. In addition, Bawah houses a wood- panelled, treetop library, where a diverse collection of natural history, architecture, classic literature, maps and guidebooks are available for literary lovers to browse, while nearby, the Tree Top restaurant serves bespoke Asian-fusion cuisine using locally-grown ingredients. Be sure to leave time for a visit to Aura, the island’s holistic wellness centre, home to an intimate spa and a yoga pavilion, and offering personalised yoga, pilates, meditation, and reiki sessions from sunrise to sunset.
Just like its exotic namesake fruit, the island reveals the most delicious morsels. Find romance, adventure and wellness in barefoot luxury that thumbs its nose at tech nd high-fives elemental luxury––privacy, spaciousness nd natural beauty. Welcoming guests sixteen years old and over, this intimate island hideaway features 20 xquisite, bamboo-clad one-bedroom villas, all with stunning views of the South China Sea.
Spend your days sailing, kayaking, snorkeling and diving around the island before returning to gourmet dining, complete with an excellent wine selection and imported beers that provide exciting pairings for the restaurant’s Indonesian specialties. Be sure to leave time for a massage at the spa, which helps fund classes in everything from soil management to IT and nutrition for local villagers. www.cempedak.com
An hour ferry ride from Singapore, just off the coast of Bintan, Nikoi Island was stumbled upon by Australian expats Andrew and Julia Dixon, who bought it and developed an ultimate ecological, food, wine, and restorative getaway––a down-to-earth outdoor paradise for city dwellers. Beach volleyball and tide pool exploration leads to mountain biking, rock climbing and trekking or simply fish off the jetty at sunset. Come between February and September to spot nesting turtles. Your host, Yogi, is as equally excited about introducing you to a huge tropical spider as he is mixing a tall cool one at his namesake’s bar. Granite boulders hug the bars, pool and restaurant – home to menus that include the day’s catch and the joy of dining barefoot in the sand – in a gorgeous setting of jungle and white sand beaches, but you might find the most respite in your spacious villa, complete with stunning views of the South China Sea and. www.nikoi.com
Sail out of Singapore to your island paradise and enjoy encounters with pink dolphins and flying fish on a three-hour journey to the private island of Telunas, the ultimate escape, where jungle and sea frames a deserted cove. Relax with a massage on the veranda of your overwater sea villa as you admire stunning views of enchanting Sugi Island nearby. Take a swim in the fresh water infinity pool or plunge into clear aquamarine waters from the island’s 10-meter-high diving platform. Jungle treks will break up endless days of sun worshipping, although there’s always the chance to cliff dive the local waterfall if you need a fix of adrenaline. Kayak or SUP on Kallang Basin’s Indonesian currents or join one of the cooking classes offered by the island’s culinary team, where you can make your own sambal. www.telunasresorts.com