Australian hoteliers Andrew and Julia Dixon couldnâ€™t have imagined the accolades they received after opening Nikoi Island, their first eco-resort in Indonesiaâ€™s Riau Archipelago back in 2007. The enterprising couple have now unveiled sister property Cempedak Island in nearby waters, pushing the idea of sustainable design to even greater heights. Apart from hiring Miles Humphreysâ€”the man behind Ubudâ€™s Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserveâ€”the Dixons also harnessed the bamboo-building expertise of Balinese architects Chiko Wirahadi and Ketut Indra Saputra. And the result is rustic-luxe at its purest. Guests at the jungled private island will bed down in 20 two-story pool villas, each one a soaring, crescent-shaped bamboo structure roofed in alang-alang thatch. Diversions too are a treat, with a bar and restaurant rising above the treetops, water sports galore, and naturalist-led walks to discover the isleâ€™s native fauna (villas from US$400).
This article originally appeared in the April/May 2017Â print issue of DestinAsian magazine (â€śSecond Natureâ€ť).