Sumba Island, Indonesia: Nihiwatu, a resort with luxury treehouses

How to build a unique resort suite that combines luxury with a tree house? Employ an architect with a deep understanding of location, high-end property and doing things a little differently.

As recent winner of the 2015 PURE Design Award, the luxury Indonesian resort Nihiwatu on Sumba Island takes design principles seriously. So when they set out to create three new villa residences to complete the resort's existing 21-villa estate offering, including the Mamole Tree House, they called on Habitat5, a Bali-based firm that has done extraordinary projects such as Jamie Durie's beautiful multi-level Balinese home, the unique form of which sympathetically mimics the rice paddies surrounding it. 

Perched on wooden stilts and based on similar principles of place-sensitive design, the three-bedroom Mamole Tree House melds into ancient trees and is positioned to have Nihiwatu's best view of the beach. It comprises three two-storey, circular villas with a lounge area on the entry level and bedroom, bathroom and balcony on the upper level. A bamboo bridge connects the villas and a shared infinity pool with lounging deck features at the front.

The main space includes a private infinity pool and large living area with bathroom on the entry level, and upstairs, a bedroom with a bathroom, balcony and connecting bridge to the main outdoor bathroom.

With interiors by Parisian interior designer Marco Scarani and partner Susan Colley, Mamole Tree House is Sumbanese in style with traditional touches including local carvings, antiques and Ikat prints. 

Mamole Tree House costs US$7260 a night including tax and service charge.  See