Accessible only by seaplane, 150 nautical miles from Singapore, the remote islands are greenly forested and rise out of three turquoise lagoons, fringed by thirteen brilliant white beaches. Bawah is on the largest island, 66 hectares of land encircled by a ring reef, and 35 eco-villas and suites are strung along the powder-white sand beach, suspended on stilts over the waters, or hidden away among thick jungle foliage. Singaporean architect, Sim Boon Yang was behind the masterful design; five years in the making, the hotel was built by hand from bamboo, recycled teak, the local santigi wood and driftwood, working with the islands’ unique environment. The rooms feel earthy and organic, with a smart castaway feel; teak floors, muslin-canopied beds, aged copper bath tubs and huge daybeds on the verandas.
With six islets comprising of 300 hectares, there’s no end to the adventures to be had here. From non-motorised water sports such as kayaking, paddle boarding and windsurfing between the islands, to hikes up through the rainforest (keep an eye out for mynah birds and monitor lizards!) to the island top where you’ll be greeted by astonishing views across the open seas. Snorkelling expeditions are underwater safaris, where you can swim amongst a variety of rainbow coloured sea life: sweetlips, butterfly fish, parrotfish, clownfish and turtles. Or, of course, you can just soak up the stunning surroundings with a book from the hotel library. There is also the Aura spa which offers complimentary daily yoga, Pilates and meditation, as well as facials and massages.
Dining at Bawah is a highlight with four bars and restaurants to choose from. The beachside Boat House and Grouper Bar, by the infinity-edged pool, serve delicious light lunches; expect freshly baked breads, grilled fresh fish and tropical fruit on the menu. In the evenings, dragon-fruit cocktails are served in the tree canopy Jules Verne Bar, and the appropriately named Treetops restaurant offers a refined and creative menu of Indonesian and Southeast Asian flavours.
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
- Mr David Wallace, North India
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
- Jaime Benitez, South India
- Leslie Siben, India
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
- Susan Ford, India