Launched in September of this year, Ayana Komodo is the only 5-star resort on Labuan Bajo. But that doesn’t mean the resort’s style and ethics is that of a start-up - they’ve already crafted the art of luxury getaways in Jakarta and Bali.
Unlike the ease of Bali - a 2.5-hour flight away from Singapore - you need to get two planes to Komodo, which brings total travel time to around 6.5 hours. But don’t let this deter you, for nothing worthwhile is ever easy. And boy, was this worthwhile.
Nestled in an alcove of Waecicu Beach on Flores island, the hotel is an easy 10-minute drive from the local airport. Welcomed with lemongrass and ginger cold brew at the lobby level (there are 10 floors), you’re immediately hit with the view of rugged mini islands, as expected in Indonesia’s archipelago.
Pick from one of their 13 suites or 192 guest rooms, which all offer an unbridled ocean view and bright, light comfort living inside. The room view is glorious during the day, but the real magic is at sunset. The sunset alone, in fact, is worth the entire trip.
The resort has multiple places to watch the sunset from your personal balcony. There’s a large wooden terrace above Rinca restaurant (foodies, we’ll dive in later), UNIQUE rooftop bar on level 9 or from the end of the jetty, which also has its own bar. Whichever you choose, you’ll be sure the backdrop is one to be desired by all...particularly on the ‘gram.
Speaking of restaurants and bars - the resort has three main places to eat: Rinca restaurant on level 2, Kisik grill on level 1 and Hon Zen on level 9. Rinca is your go-to for a variety of Western and Eastern meals, from chicken rice and satay to beef burgers and pork loin. It’s also the place to go for breakfast, a buffet that can satisfy most, if not all, taste buds.
Kisik grill is situated right on the beach front and is a seafood BBQ specialty. You get to view a huge selection of shellfish and fish, choose whatever you desire, and then the chefs cook it on the grill for you. All served to you fresh on your beachfront table, complete with sand in toes. May we recommend the lobster and tiger prawns, grilled in their special Bajo marinade. Delicious!
For the Japanese food lovers, Hon Zen is a treat. In true teppanyaki style, you can enjoy a delightful couple’s meal in front of the griddle as your master chef delivers a 12-course (yep, 12) meal. You can of course pick adhoc from the menu, but the special set course is a winner. It includes soup, sushi, sashimi (which was melt-in-the-mouth delicious), grilled vegetables and seafood as well as wagyu beef. Tip: arrive hungry.
If you’re after an evening alcoholic beverage of two, the UNIQUE rooftop bar provides large tub loungers on a terrace, perfect for quality time together with your other half. Or you can enjoy tipples at the end of the jetty - although we recommend getting there before sunset, as it gets very dark.
There is, of course, also the pool bar. You can order freshly made cocktails or any tipple of choice and the waiters will concoct it for you, then deliver it right to your sun lounger. Or you can simply swim up to the bar and stay cooled in the pool. Pool bar also serves snacks for that needed post-cocktail club sandwich. It's a judgment free zone here.
There are two large pools that deliver an ‘infinity’ view towards the ocean - another killer picture for your social. Divided into adult-only and kid friendly, you can get all the quiet space you need to recharge from Singapore’s busy city life. Alternatively, walk to the end of the jetty and jump into the clear waters from the sun loungers on the wooden decking. It’s a nice way to spot the tropical fish and still relax.
If you like nature such as viewing tropical fish in their natural habitat, then the full day boat tour is a must-do. In one day (boat leaves at 8am), you make several island stops that includes a guided tour of Komodo National Park at Rinca island, hiking and snorkeling on the pink beach. It can get pretty spectacular.
Getting up close and personal (not too close!) with the iconic Komodo dragons is a treasured experience - particularly when Komodo island is officially one of the 7th New Wonders of Nature. With wild macaque monkeys, deer and buffalo also roaming free, the dragons can be spotted at various spots as you hike through the land.
As for the pink beach, the soft yellow-pink sand and clear waters makes for epic pictures and great snorkeling. We actually saw a giant wild turtle, calmly swimming and eating along the ocean bed. A very special moment that made me wish I had invested in a waterproof camera. The tropical fish found here are not huge nor are they in large numbers, but if you look carefully among the coral you’ll see them.
But if all of the above doesn't tickle your fancy, there's so much more to do and see including daily activities such as: stand up paddle yoga, rooftop sunrise yoga, sunset tours, kayaking, glass bottom boat rides, night diving. Heck, you can even get married here too.
We can't recommend this resort enough - it's a superb venue to escape city life for a long weekend, albeit with your partner, family or girlfriends.
To book your own mini-moon inspired getaway, click here.