The Inertia

Because you can afford it, right? There are many a way to do a surf holiday. But if you want luxury, exclusivity, world-class waves and, most importantly, spa treatments, you’re going to have to pay through the nose, and maybe some other orifices. These six resorts are neither cheap, and maybe not even cheerful, but for up to $1,000 a night (excluding flights, transfers, cocktails and pilates lesson) they provide surfing’s most high-end experiences. Now where’s that credit card?

Nihi Sumba Island – Indonesia

The blurb says this is a vacation with a purpose and a destination with meaning. For surfers, it’s mainly about the chance to surf the exclusive Occy’s Left (aka God’s Left), the wave made famous by Occy in Jack McCoy’s 1992 classic surf film The Green Iguana. Located in remote Sumba, the wave has remained one of the few roped-off waves in all of Indonesia. The lack of crowd comes with a price, though the luxury accommodation, sustainable living and untouched, pristine marine and land environment also add a tax. Bought in 2015 by billionaire investor Chris Burch and global hotelier James McBride, it has twice been named hotel of the year. But we all know the 400 bucks a night really just gets you, and a maximum of six other surfers, the chance to recreate Occy’s famous surf section from the film. 

Raes On Wategos, Byron Bay

The Mediterranean-style villa with gothic turrets and art deco touches is nestled into Byron Bay’s only quiet peninsula of Wategos Bay. The ’60s-built beachside boutique resort has crafted a reputation of laid-back yet refined luxury, all within a short walk or drive of Byron’s best waves. Choose between surfing The Pass, Shipwrecks or Tallows, then wind down with sunset drinks at the Cellar Bar. There is also a fine dining restaurant, swimming pool and a day spa with treatment options. Surfboards are available, and we’d bet the $950 bucks a night that it costs to stay there that they’d include a Slater Cymatic, a Hayden Shapes Hypo Crypto and a McTavish longboard. 

The World’s Most Expensive Surf Resorts

A luxury resort with a surf problem in Nicaragua. Photo: Mukul

Mukul, Nicaragua

Located on 1,675 acres of Nicaragua’s southwest Pacific coast, the sprawling Mukul luxury hotel is within walking distance of Manzanillo Point. The world-class lefthand point has no public road access and surfers can only reach it by panga. However Mukul guests can pick and choose their surf windows, and early morning and late sessions can often be surfed crowd-free. There are other waves within reach, from learner to hollow, while the luxury accommodation, spa and vast nature of the “low-density private beach community” means there’s plenty to do if the Emerald Coast’s waves don’t turn on. However, with rates starting at $500 a night, aim for summer and as close to the prime month of July as possible. 

Niyama Private Islands Surf Resort, Maldives

To be fair, we could have clogged this whole list with Maldive resorts. The archipelago doesn’t back backpackers and hates hostels. The Maldives have become a byword for a luxury holiday, with waters so clear, and prices so high, they can make your eyes water. However, while Six Senses is worth a shout, the Niyama Private Islands Surf Resort gets the nod here. The two pristine islands, hilariously and Instagrammingly known as “Play” and “Chill” have beachfront suites and overwater villas, all with postcard-worthy views of the azure lagoon. However, it is the wave of Vodi, a powerful and hollow lefthander off the edge of “Play” (and the nearby ripple right of Kasubu) that elevates this resort for surfers. Both are exclusive to resort guests. The fact that the island also has Subsix, the world’s first underwater nightclub, is just icing on the cake.

Cloudbreak will always be the main draw to Tavarua. Photo: Kirstin Scholtz//WSL

Tavarua, Fiji

With peak season rates (March to Oct) topping out at $6,960 for a seven-night stay per person, Tavarua Island Resort remains at the upper echelon of what you can pay for a week-long surf trip. It has always been thus. Yet of all the locations on this list, it still might provide the most bang for your surfing buck. Spas, treatments, infinity pools, yoga and sunset horse rides all have their appeal, but no other high-end resort has not one, but two, genuinely world-class waves as its biggest drawcords. Cloudbreak and Restaurants have always been the sole reason why demand will always exceed supply, but Tavarua’s ability to match the quality of its surf with the quality of its accommodation and service is why a large percentage of its clientele are returning customers. All be it high net worth ones.

Bulgari, Bali

Milan, London, Paris, Tokyo… and Uluwatu. It says a lot about Bali’s transition from surf rat hub to a global tourist destination that Bulgari has posted up on the cliffs of the Bukit Peninsula. Each of the luxury villas and mansions sits atop the dramatic cliffs a few miles to the east of Uluwatu’s Outside Corner. Each has breathtaking vistas of the Peninsula and Indian Ocean and access to private beaches, ringed by infinity pools and chic bars. Now sure, this isn’t exactly Morning of the Earth, and we bet there isn’t a local ding fixer on the swept grounds, but with access to relatively uncrowded waves near your four poster bed, and Ulus and Padang a five-minute drive, it’s a way to surf your ring out and take in Bulgari’s standardized form of international luxury and service. 


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