FIRST LOOK: Cap Karoso – an instant classic on Sumba

Guest Post: Words by Vanessa Hollidge

Cap Karoso is Sumba’s most anticipated opening of 2023, and after a one-hour flight from Bali’s Denpasar International Airport and a 50-minute transfer from Tambolaka airport, we had arrived.

The first glimpse of Cap Karoso was the thatched tip of a traditional Sumbanese hut on its three-hectare organic farm, before we were dropped directly to the ocean-side Beach Club – an all-day restaurant and bar where Executive Chef Antoine Levacon serves up his delicious Mediterranean-inspired fare and Indonesian dishes.

Without a moment of hesitation, we sat down to eat. A refreshing shot of something cool and sweet arrived from the bar, before slices of freshly baked french bread and a chalkboard menu was propped up next to us to choose from. A bowl of gazpacho soup with cucumber sorbet and a niçoise salad later and we were very happy indeed.

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As we arrived the final touches are being made, new linens imported from Turkey, local art sourced from artists across Indonesia is being hung, and carved wooden statues purchased from local craftsmen take pride of place. With no TV screen on the wall and a fully stocked mini-bar – curated to suit your tastes via a pre-stay questionnaire – our room is bliss.

Our day tours took us to traditional villages ringed by megalithic tombs and to turquoise lagoons – fed by the ocean and as clear and salty as the waters of the surrounding Indian Ocean. One afternoon at the beach, much to our bemusement, our guides directed us to another hidden cove because they worried we’d find the beach they’d taken us ‘too busy’ with only one other tourist and their guide sharing it with us.

Uniquely, Cap Karoso faces west meaning you will enjoy the best sunset views anywhere on the island, be it from The Beach Club or from Apicine, its Indo-Basque tapas bar that keeps guests relaxing next to the resort’s huge infinity pool with spectacular views of Karoso beach’s natural lagoon and the local fishermen in their carved wooden canoes. There is also Julang to consider, a 28-seat restaurant with a communal table to enjoy the company of other guests and a fine-dining experience delivered by a series of guest chefs on

rotation. Kicking this series off is Mehdi Kebboul whose Michelin star credentials shine through on every plate.

The gym is close to ready and it and the spa will be completed within a matter of days, but no matter as it was easy to find alternative ways to keep active with the lagoon so close by and a willing team to support SUP, kayak, bike and snorkel adventures. Spa treatments were also housed in one of the completed Terrace Studios and kept us returning throughout our stay. If nothing more do book in for a Malala Signature Massage and a Hair Care Cream Bath, you won’t regret it.

In the coming months, a constellation of international talent will bring their creativity to Sumba, from mixologists and leading chefs, to an ongoing program of visiting artists in residency, agricultural experts, DJs and more.

Other planned facilities for guests include artist ateliers, a creative Kid’s Club, an open-air cinema and yoga platform, as well as an activity centre where guests can book heartfelt cultural excursions and unforgettable adventures by land and sea. All experiences are conceived to consciously explore the island’s nature and culture, connecting with – and giving back to – the local community.

Although the days are long the weeks are short in Cap Karoso, and it’s a destination where you’ll be planning a return trip before you leave in order to make a departure bearable. It’s the place where you’ll always find a warm welcome and a home away from home in one of the most beautiful corners of the world.

Cap Karoso is represented in the Australian and New Zealand markets by La Collection For enquiries, contact Craig Farrell

Vanessa Hollidge was a guest of Cap Karoso.

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