And the living should be easy, but that’s not the case now. With the prevailing mood of dressing up even when you’re dressing down, the fashion bar has been raised for what to wear, wherever you are, whether it’s close by like Bawah – an island paradise an hour and a half from Batam – or somewhere further away like Croatia, or just Orchard Road.
PHOTOGRAPHY ELVINA FARKAS/ANUE MANAGEMENT
STYLING BRYAN GOH
HAIR CHRISTVIAN WU/TRIMMINGS SALON & SPA, USING KEVIN.MURPHY
MAKEUP MELISSA YEO, USING SISLEY
MANICURECHISAKI MURATA & AI ENOMOTO/KIYONE+LIM
A new kind of “sundress”: Fendi’s knit top under a cut-out dress. Turtleneck, $1,410, silk organza dress, $3,579.
Bawah is the biggest of the six islands in the Anambas archipelago, and its ecodriven resort is pictured here as well as on the following 20 pages.
There is always time for a game of chess and afternoon drinks in an eyelet dress inspired by the fashion styles of the early 20th century. Dress, $10,590, straw hat, $690, Gucci.
Bawah resort has three bars. This one is the Grouper (yes, it’s named after the fish), which faces a natural lagoon, the South China Sea, two smaller islands – Sanggah and Lidi – and the jetty at which guests arrive on a seaplane.
What to wear when you island-hop? How about a maillot under flared jeans? Kick off the latter when the water is tempting; put them back on when you’re on land for lunch. Polyamide and spandex one-piece, $570, Eres. Cotton-blend jeans, $660, Alice + Olivia. Acetate sunglasses (price unavailable), Bottega Veneta. Metal earrings, $120, Kate Spade.
All water related activities are on the house at Bawah, including boat trips that let you explore the archipelago or spend a day on the other islands. Our suggestion: Get dropped off on the other side of Bawah and track your way back to the resort through its rainforest. BTW, the boat seen here is solarpowered.
1 Every piece of wood used in Bawah resort is recycled from wood salvaged from the island or other parts of Indonesia. This applies even to the beams, roof, tables and benches at the Boat House Bar, a Robinson Crusoe-esque shack for no-frills food like salads and sharing-sized snacks.
2 The one shop at the resort stocks beachwear and handmade soaps from neighbouring islands, as well as Singapore.
3 Yup, that’s a seaplane on the left. Anambas’ corals, reefs and three lagoons are protected. The plane is the only way for Bawah guests to get here. Buggies and staff will be waiting for you when you disembark.
4 Bawah is 30 minutes ahead of Singapore. This gives you half an hour extra on your holiday.
5 All villas are named after their guests – your names go up on a wooden sign. And it’s a parting gift if you want it.
Cotton shirt, $1,630, silk bustier, $1,630, and embellished cotton shorts, $3,050, Prada.
Nylon-blend dress, $2,720, and cotton tank top, $330, Miu Miu.
Bawah has 35 villas: 11 are suites on water – six on the eastern part of the island, five on the western part. Each has stairs leading directly to the water, to which lagoon sharks and parrotfish have returned thanks to conservation efforts, and are now thriving.
By 2019, Bawah will launch a programme that will help farmers on neighbouring islands to start farming more responsibly, without pesticides or harmful chemicals. The programme offers a 100 per cent guarantee of purchase of their produce. It’s also looking into working with them on sea turtle conservation.
Polyester blend tunic, $2,430, Issey Miyake. Cotton headwrap, $55, and earrings, $20, Oliveankara.
1 2 One of three bars at Bawah, Grouper is a pit stop for any time of the day and night.
3 A retreat is only complete with a wellness centre and spa. Aura provides treatments and yoga classes on the house.
4 All meals are served at Tree Top restaurant (when you’re not dining in-room). Speciality: Asian fusion cuisine, using locally grown ingredients.
5 Eating sustainably doesn’t mean you can’t eat well. Bawah’s Italian executive chef, Omar Bernardi (pictured right), comes from Michelin-starred restaurants San Domenico in Imola, Italy and Dolce Vita at Mandarin Oriental, Singapore. His sidekick: chef Ardian Brantoro, who creates bespoke Asian fusion menus.
6 Remote island, city fare: tuna mackerel carpaccio with spicy dabu-dabu (the Indonesian version of Mexican salsa), and squid tagliatelle with a perfect sous vide egg (firm egg white with a runny yolk) and gulai sauce (an Indonesian curry with turmeric, coriander, black pepper and ginger).
Silk dress, $12,000, viscose-blend bra, $1,750, matching underwear, $1,450, cotton cap, $1,150, earrings with glass pearls, $1,900, and calfskin loafers, $1,490, Christian Dior.
To preserve the coral during the construction of the jetty, a team of local seacucumber divers was employed to move each head of coral by hand.
Silk dress, $1,330, Tory Burch.
Every Bawah villa is stocked with everything you need on an island paradise: beach bag and towel, kaftans, straw hats, and sun care. If you stay in the Garden Suite, you’ll find that the sides of the villa open up for an “openair camping” experience.
Sunset calls for a little razzmatazz. How about a sequinned jumpsuit? $11,400, Marc Jacobs.