There’s a sense of exclusivity about 7 Secrets Resort and Wellness Retreat that starts the moment you check in. You’ll be greeted with a fresh cocktail from the ‘molecular mixology’ bar menu. Spa therapists will offer a welcome head, hands and shoulders massage, while your butler readies an aromatherapy suite for you. Set beside the glittering sands and turquoise seas of Nipah Bay, this luxury hotel promises a made-tomeasure escape.
The temple-like suites bring together traditional Indonesian architecture with contemporary, technology-filled interiors. Sink into your very own Jacuzzi, or head for the 7 Secrets Resort diving centre to discover a vibrant underwater world. While away afternoons in the spa or stretch out on a stylish lounger beside the pool, chilled drink in hand. For dinner, feast on imaginative gourmet fine dining, overlooking the shore.
The hotel staff can have personalised excursions ready for your arrival at 7 Secrets Resort. You could see the island from above on a helicopter ride, charter a luxury catamaran for a sailing trip or factor in some relaxation time on the talcum powder beach and colourful reef that curve around Nipah Bay. To finish the day in style, your private butler can arrange a romantic dinner-for-two on your suite terrace.
Authentic influences and modern, minimalist style come together in the 7 Secrets suites. Expect a crisp, calm colour scheme with gold accents, rich wood and traditional sculptures. Each has an open-air bathroom with Grohe fittings and luxury spa products – plus a private terrace with Jacuzzi. High-tech features sit alongside the plush furnishings, from BOSE docking stations to computer-controlled curtains.
The Gourmet Head Chef at The Majesty creates innovative tasting menus with contemporary flair. Discover 21st-century takes on classic French and Mediterranean flavours as you watch the sun set over Nipah Bay. This fusion of science and art continues to the bar, where award-winning bartenders practice molecular mixology – or ‘liquid art’. There’s also a breezy beach restaurant serving tasty breakfasts, lunches and pool-side snacks.
Lombok, Indonesia 🇮🇩
Long overshadowed by its superstar neighbour across the Lombok Strait there’s a steady hum about Lombok that catches the ear of travellers looking for something different from Bali. Blessed with exquisite white-sand beaches, epic surf, a lush forested interior, and hiking trails through tobacco and rice fields, Lombok is fully loaded with equitorial allure. Oh, and you’ll probably notice mighty Gunung Rinjani, Indonesia’s second-highest volcano, its summit complete with hot springs and a dazzling crater lake.
And there’s much more. Lombok’s southern coastline is nature on a very grand scale: breathtaking turquoise bays, world-class surf breaks and massive headlands. Development on these splendid beaches is just around the corner, but until that moment comes, they are still natural wonders to explore over much-improved roads.
If you’re going to the Gilis, a Lombok stopover is a must. It’s easy to get around the Lombok–Gilis–Bali triangle.
Lombok and the Gilis
Almost as big as Bali, Lombok is the completely different island right next door. From its volcanic centre to idyllic beaches such as Mawun, it rewards travellers who want to explore. Many are drawn to mighty Gunung Rinjani, Indonesia’s second-highest volcano. Rivers and waterfalls gush down its fissured slopes, while its summit – complete with hot springs and a dazzling crater lake – is the ultimate trekker’s prize. In the south, you may need to hold your jaw in place as you encounter one superb beach after another.
Meanwhile, off the west coast, the fabled Gili Islands are three exquisite droplets of white sand sprinkled with coconut palms and surrounded by coral reefs teeming with marine life. Each has become a full-blown destination in its own right with oodles of great places to stay, eat and celebrate.
Indonesia’s numbers astound: more than 17,000 islands, of which 8000 are inhabited, and over 300 languages are spoken across them. It’s a beguiling country offering myriad adventures.
Beaches & Volcanoes
Venturing across Indonesia you’ll see a dramatic landscape, as diverse as those living upon it. Sulawesi’s wildly multilimbed coastline embraces white-sand beaches and diving haunts, while Sumatra is contoured by a legion of nearly 100 volcanoes marching off into the distance, several capable of erupting at any time.
The world’s fourth most populous country – 255 million and counting – is a sultry kaleidoscope that runs along the equator for 5000km. From the western tip of Sumatra to the eastern edge of Papua, this nation defies homogenisation. It is a land of so many cultures, peoples, animals, customs, plants, sights, artworks and foods that it is like 100 countries melded into one.
The people are as radically different from each other as if they came from different continents, with every island a unique blend of the men, women and children who live upon it. Over time deep and rich cultures have evolved, from the mysteries of the spiritual Balinese to the utterly non-Western belief system of the Asmat people of Papua.
This ever-intriguing, ever-intoxicating land offers some of the last great adventures on earth. Sitting in the open door of a train whizzing across Java, idling away time on a ferry bound for Kalimantan, hanging on to the back of a scooter on Flores, rounding the mystifying corner of an ancient West Timor village or simply trekking through wilderness you’re sure no one has seen before – you’ll enjoy endless exploration of the infinite diversity of Indonesia’s 17,000-odd islands.
Dramatic sights are the norm. There’s the sublime: an orangutan lounging in a tree. The artful: a Balinese dancer executing precise moves that would make a robot seem loose-limbed. The idyllic: a deserted stretch of blinding white sand on Sumbawa set off by azure surf breaks. The astonishing: the mobs in a cool, glitzy Jakarta mall on a Sunday. The intriguing: the too-amazing-for-fiction tales of the twisted history of the beautiful Banda Islands. The heart-stopping: the ominous menace of a Komodo dragon. The humbling: a woman bent double with a load of firewood on Sumatra. The delicious: a south Bali restaurant. The shocking: the funeral ceremonies of Tana Toraja. The solemn: the serene magnificence of Borobudur.