How Chris Burch Transformed a Remote Island

Have you ever heard of Nihiwatu? This Indonesian resort has now been rated the #1 hotel in the world two years in a row, but Travel & Leisure Magazine. What’s the fuss all about? It was in 2015 that billionaire and serial entrepreneur Chris Burch decided to jump into the business of resorts and hotels. Attracted to this long-time surf destination, Burch fell in love with the island the history of it. What he saw was more than a remote island, but a chance to utilize the raw beauty and turn it into an experience. That experience would translate into a five-star resort for elite vacationers from all around the world (

Sumba Island, formerly known as “Sandalwood Island”, has now captured the hearts of those who enjoy the finer things in life. The island stretches to about 4,000 square miles, and was only discovered during the 16th century. Portuguese explorers are responsible for the existence of the island, incorporating it into the Dutch Indies in 1866. The remote location shut the world off from Sumba Island. The lack of natural resources made it undesirable at the time, known only as a prime location for surfing.

While the island may seem displaced, it is essentially noted for it’s unspoiled beauty. Due to the nature of the island, developers do not seek the island for any other reason than to be a destination. This primitive location won the heart of Chris Burch and his partners, determined to take the hotel that was there and turn it into the five-start resort that it is today ( Nihiwatu is noted for its rich rock formations, along with the vast tide along the beaches. Working with hotelier James McBride, Burch knew that the potential for this elite destination would become a resort for all time.

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