Indonesia’s exotic new private-island resort

Cempedak Island debuted in March on more than 42 acres of rainforest ringed with secluded white-sand beaches.

By Daven Wu 28/04/2017

It has been a decade since the Australian banker-turned-hotelier Andrew Dixon and his partners opened Nikoi Island, Indonesia’s picturesque private-isle resort in the Riau archipelago.

Now, Dixon has unveiled his next big project, a second private island just a short speedboat away. Cempedak Island debuted in March on more than 42 acres of rainforest ringed with secluded white-sand beaches. There lie just 20 villas, each hidden among the verdant thickets for total privacy.

Designed by the New Zealand–born architect Miles Humphrey (who counts Bali’s temple-like Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, among his many hospitality projects), the accommodations are constructed entirely of sustainable bamboo, recycled teak, and rubber wood, and topped with thatch grass roofing. It’s all very Robinson Crusoe, but with creature comforts like organic linens, private saltwater swimming pools, and sprawling terraces that spill out onto the sand.

Of course, Cempedak offers plenty of reasons to step away from your villa, too. Guests can enjoy a grass tennis court and a long list of aquatic activities, including scuba diving and snorkelling in the surrounding crystalline waters.

The cocktail bar, raised high over the jungle treetops, provides a dramatic front-row seat for sunset, and the Indonesian restaurant highlights regional dishes like mie goreng (spicy noodles) and gado-gado (vegetable salad with peanut dressing) with impeccable precision.

Regardless of where you spend your time, you’re sure to find company from the wild locals — sea otters swirl around in the shallow coastal waters, rare silver-leaf monkeys swing in the trees above, and even the critically endangered pangolin make very occasional appearances. (cempedak.com)

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