Here Be Dragons: Sudamala Resorts to open 50-Villa Five Star Diving Resort Adjacent to Komodo in summer 2017
Pioneering boutique resort operator Sudamala Resorts will launch its third luxury resort at Pulau Sebayur Besar (Sebayur Island) on the Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara, a prime jumping off point to some of the world’s most incredible diving in and around Komodo National Park, home of the famous Komodo Dragons. Sudamala Komodo Villas and Dive Resort will be the only Indonesian owned and operated luxury resort in this region, which is tipped to become one of the region’s hottest destinations in the next few years, located a stone’s throw from the world heritage-protected wonders of Komodo.
Komodo National Park is located in the centre of the Indonesian archipelago, between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores, and was set up to protect the only known habitat of the unique and fearsome Komodo dragon (Varanus Komodoensis), huge monitor lizards that can bring down a cow or adult human, and represent a living link to the dinosaurs.
Bajo traditional houses.
The national park was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986 and includes three major islands: Komodo, Rinca and Padar, as well as numerous smaller islands creating a total surface area (marine and land) of 1’817km. It is also home to the orange-footed scrub fowl and the Timor deer, as well as one of the richest marine environments including coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds, seamounts, and semi-enclosed bays, harbouring more than 1,000 species of fish, some 260 species of reef-building coral, and 70 species of sponges. Dugong, sharks, manta rays, at least 14 species of whales, dolphins, and sea turtles also make Komodo National Park their home.
Sudamala Resorts currently operates Sudamala Suites & Villas, Sanur, Bali and Sudamala Suites & Villas, Senggigi, Lombok, luxury boutique experiences distinguished by their heart for art, artisans, and authentic adventures that connect guests deeply with destinations and cultures.
The Bali resort is a living art gallery, while in Lombok the resort is akin to an artisans’ sanctuary. Both share an exquisite design aesthetic marked by an uncommon attention to detail, reverence for the talents of local artisans, and a seamless blending of vernacular style with timeless tropical modern luxury.
Sudamala is the lifelong passion project to create and operate unique resorts by Sudamala Resorts founder Ben Subrata and his daughter and Director of the group Emily Subrata.
Resorts Director Emily Subrata said she was very excited about the upcoming Komodo launch in one of the world’s most exotic and upcoming destinations on roads less travelled. Ms Subrata shares her father’s appreciation of art and attention to detail at every level, and is committed to developing bespoke boutique resorts that reflect and respect the local culture and showcase the amazing talents of Indonesia’s artists and the richness of its cultures.
The architect chosen for the resort is Yori Antar of Han Awal & Partners Architects, who created the landmark house Ms Subrata resides in when in Bali’s chilled artists’ quarter of Sanur, while Hidajat Endramukti of Endramukti Design will take on interior design.
She said the national park and surrounding islands were ‘pure diving nirvana’ and guests would encounter an other-worldly wonderland with architecture in the vernacular Labuan Bajo style, reminiscent of Papuan architecture, lush tropical jungle and pristine waters as their playground, and the group’s renowned touches of art and artisanshjp also be a feature
“We expect around 80 percent of our guests will be divers,” Ms Subrata said. “We are talking about very pristine and protected dive sites. Sea turtles, manta rays, mum and dad sharks deposit the baby sharks in the local mangrove. We have established our dive centres at Sanur and Lombok and this will be the extension of that as well as the jewel in our crown.
“We must be as mindful and sustainable as we can. We will be using recycled materials where we can. We will need to generate our own power and desalinate our own water, so it’s a big undertaking.
“Sebayur Island, 30 minutes on boat from the nearest domestic airport of Labuan Bajo, is still quite remote, with the biggest resort on the same island now about 25 rooms. It’s an exciting part of the world to visit; Flores itself is 450km long and you have triple-coloured crater lakes, smoke belching volcanos, and at the other end they still harpoon sperm whales like in Moby Dick. Komodo is like a real life Jurassic Park, so that will be a big draw of course. But mostly, it’s going to be about the diving.”