We Check In To Nikoi Private Island, Indonesia
Nikoi’s safari-inspired tented spa sets the tone for the island. Approached by a meandering path through a tunnel of trees, getting there is an adventure in itself: I narrowly miss a dangling spider of epic proportions, and our progress is accompanied by rustling undergrowth. Inside, the spa is a retreat. I feel like I could be in Holly Willhoughby’s quarters post I’m a Celebrity filming. We sip herbal tea while selecting treatments via iPad, and dip our feet in cool flower-strewn water baths. A first: two of my children are here to sample Nikoi’s kids massage. This place clearly rewrites the private island rule book.
Once ensconced in the treatment tents, that come with the bonus of sea views, I partake in a divine Javanese massage: luxuriously relaxing but with a hard working kick. A little like what I’ve seen of Nikoi so far. My therapist explains they use only the island’s home produced coconut oil. I am sold. My children’s half hour massages score equally high, and seem to be just as intensive as the adults version. Our therapist tells us that a ten year old boy recently enjoyed a massage each day for two weeks. It’s that kind of place.
Bottles of coconut oil in hand, we head to our family villa. Open to the elements and hugging the coastline, it’s a vision in sun-bleached driftwood. A monitor lizard bigger than I have ever seen lumbers out from under the deck. It looks like it might have just eaten my youngest child. Child located, exploration reveals elevated bedrooms above a lounge in the sand complete with swinging daybed, just steps from the sea. In short, the dream. On Nikoi adults can do as much or as little as we like, from watersports to sampling cocktails around the spectacular swimming pool hewn into the rocks. For kids, anything is possible. From rock climbing to scaling palm trees, searching for monitor lizards and whittling weapons, the young team actively enjoy helping the kids achieve holiday utopia without the aid of technology or breaking the law. Yes, the weapons lead to a minor holdup en route home. But what’s detainment at customs to the pursuit of happiness?
Three times a day we sit at a huge driftwood table with feet in the sand and a view out to sea, Nikoi’s menu focuses on sustainably produced meat and fish, and the island’s homegrown vegetables and eggs, presented in an insta-fabulous way. Kids can choose between Indonesian or European, and second helpings are actively encouraged. Come 7.30 huge beanbags are pulled out and a film projected, leaving adults to eat and indulge in the child-free witty repartee these parents of three rarely experience on holiday. Love Island eat your heart out. We stay at Nikoi for three nights, but feel like we’ve had a month of relaxation. Whether it’s the wild beauty of the place, the private island recipe interpreted to family-friendly perfection, or just the fact that fortnight isn’t mentioned once, we leave having joined the converted. We all heart Nikoi.
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