Bawah Reserve

Anambas Archipelago, Riau Islands, Indonesia Book from Book from £1402 per night

An exclusive private-island retreat on Indonesia's far-flung Anambas Archipelago, with luxury villas, pristine reefs and blissful isolation
Bawah Reserve is one for the bucket-list: a remote archipelago of pristine coral islands cast adrift in the South China Sea. Saved from destruction by illegal dynamite fishing, this private atoll is now a marine reserve and ultra-exclusive eco-retreat. From the moment your sea plane touches down on the shallow turquoise lagoon, you’ll be totally absorbed: six tropical islets with impossibly white sand against a jaw-dropping backdrop of virgin jungle. And it’s all yours to explore.

Five years in the making, the resort blends discreetly into its island surrounds, hand-built to minimise its ecological impact. Sandy paths and ironwood walkways connect the 35 thatched villas and safari-style tents, some secluded among lush foliage, others on stilts above crystalline water just a few feet above the colourful fish. Activities and spa treatments are part of the package, so days can be spent kayaking, snorkelling and learning to cook. From bespoke beach picnics and five-course treetop suppers to guided jungle hikes and couples massages, you’ll be cossetted with genuine warmth. Ideal for barefoot honeymoons or off-grid adventures, Bawah is a rare gem indeed. We’re already fighting over who gets to visit.

Highs

  • Unparalleled exclusivity on a remote private island
  • The rates include all meals, round trip luxury transport (including a private seaplane), non-alcoholic beverages, daily spa treatments and plenty of land and water activities
  • Contemporary Indonesian Mediterranean cuisine; choose from 3 restaurants, a beach picnic or dine privately on your deck
  • Strong sustainable ethos with permaculture gardens, full waste and water recycling and off-grid power
  • Blissfully isolated - you are surrounded by 6 islets, 13 pristine beaches and 3 blue lagoons

Lows

  • The journey from Singapore takes 3.5 hours, but it's well worth the effort
  • The isolated location means the island isn't suitable for young children
  • There's a 15kg luggage allowance per guest, so pack light
  • Alcohol isn't included in the package (but almost everything else is)

Best time to go

Bawah Island Reserve is close to the equator and has a humid year-round climate. The best time to visit is from March onwards, just after the wet northeast monsoon ends (November-February). Daily temperatures average 26-29C.

Our top tips

Book a meal at the impossibly romantic 'Lookout', a private dining perch for 2 in the Treetops restaurant. It's gorgeously decorated with candles and lanterns.

Great for...

Beach
Eco
Great Outdoors
Spa
Family
  • Boutique Resort
  • 35
  • All inclusive
  • Over 4s welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Tennis Court
Room:

Rooms

Hand-built from recycled teak, bamboo and driftwood, the 35 bungalows and suites were carefully designed to immerse guests in nature. Simple yet stylish, the wooden structures have high-pitched ceilings and bamboo lattice walls, which allow a gentle breeze and natural ventilation. Canopied four-poster beds feature luxury cotton linens, while open-air bathrooms have rain showers and deep copper tubs.

The real showstoppers are the Overwater Bungalows, stilted above a picturesque lagoon, with huge daybeds on wooden decks and idyllic views of sunsets or sunrises. Ideal for honeymooners.

Dotted along the water are the safari-style Beach Suites, with canvas roofs stretched across their private verandas. Deluxe Beach Suites are twice the size, with a separate living area and hideaway sundeck; rented together, these form an exclusive area for families or friends.

Behind the suites are the Garden Suites, nestled in the jungle foliage, where you’ll wake to the sound of tropical birds flitting among the trees.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Mosquito net
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Food at Bawah is a real highlight, with a focus on contemporary Indonesian-Mediterranean cuisine. Fruit and vegetables come from the island’s permaculture garden, including pak choi, wild figs and lemongrass.

Breakfast is a buffet affair of fresh fruit, homemade yoghurt and scrambled eggs made with coconut milk. Lunch and dinner are à la carte - menus feature Indonesian favourites such as nasi goreng and seafood laksa, as well as more creative options of crab tartare with spicy mango salsa or cod fish steamed in banana leaves. Finish with delicious pandan ice-cream or tropical fruit

With a choice of 3 restaurants, you can dine according to your mood. The beachside Boat House is a casual affair; ideal for a sundowner with sand between your toes. For panoramic views choose the spectacular Treetops restaurant, high up in the jungle canopy with an exclusive ‘Lookout’ area just for 2. The Jules Verne Bar has a wildlife viewing platform and great cocktails.

Features include:

  • All meals included
  • Bar
  • Children's meals
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Enjoy a complimentary daily treatment at the open-air Aura Spa spa: massages, scrubs, yoga and meditation
  • Snorkel in the shallow lagoon with its colourful coral walls; you might come face-to-face with parrotfish, turtles, even a blacktip reef shark
  • Learn to dive at the on-site dive centre (not included in the price); the surrounding waters hide world-class dive sites
  • Hike through the jungle interior to a deserted beach; trek up to the ridge for stunning island views
  • Try windsurfing and Stand-up Paddleboarding; we also love the sound of see-through kayaks
  • Take a boat and picnic to Turtle Beach and spend a relaxed afternoon in complete privacy
  • Cosy up on a beanbag at the outdoor cinema; once a week a huge outdoor screen shows classic hits on the beach
  • Peer through the resort’s telescope at one of the clearest night skies imaginable. Truly breathtaking

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Meditation
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Scuba diving
  • Scuba diving courses
  • Snorkelling
  • Stand Up Paddleboarding
  • Star gazing
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Well being
  • Windsurfing
  • Yoga

Kids

Though families with children over 4 are welcome, Bawah Island Reserve isn’t suitable for young children due to its remote location and rugged terrain. Older kids will love having a deserted island and natural playground at their disposal, and playing on the beaches, snorkelling or sailing in the shallow lagoons, and taking cooking classes, guided jungle walks or playing tennis.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

All Suites can fit an extra single bed, though booking 2 suites is a more comfortable option as they are really designed for two. The Deluxe Beach Suites can be booked as a pair with a shared central living and dining area (though the suites are 30-50m apart).

Children's meals:

There are no kids menus or specific food options for children. The chef can make most dishes to request

Families Should Know:

The swimming pool is unfenced

Distances:

  • Airport: 300km (Singapore)
  • Hospital: 3 hours
Kid Friendly:

Location

Bawah Island Reserve is part of Indonesia’s Anambas archipelago, 300km northeast of Singapore in the South China Sea. The islands are accessible by private yacht, but otherwise a private 3.5-hour transfer from Singapore is included in the price.

By Sea and Air:
A private chauffeur will pick you up from your accommodation in Singapore at 7am and drive you to the Tanah Merah ferry terminal. Here you will be escorted on a short ferry ride to the Indonesian island of Batam. Fast-tracked through immigration, you’ll take an 80-minute private seaplane to Bawah Reserve and land on the lagoon outside your suite just in time for lunch.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.

Airports:

  • Singapore Changi Airport 300.0 km SIN

Other:

  • Beach 0.0 km
  • Shops 0.0 km
  • Restaurant 0.0 km

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