Portrait of Tammy Strobel
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Fancy an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life? The tropical paradise of Cempedak Island awaits, only about 2½ hours away from Singapore. It’s a 17ha private island for grown-ups (yes, there’s an adults-only policy) located in Indonesian waters, accessible via a ferry ride to Bintan, followed by a drive to a jetty before a private speedboat ride. 

Peppering the landscape composed of white sandy beaches and a tropical rainforest are 20 architecturally designed sustainable bamboo villas. Enveloped in lush greenery, they are designed to promote natural ventilation, so you can enjoy pleasant cool breezes while taking in sparkling sea views. 

Each handcrafted villa also features a nature-embracing open design, with a deck that leads out seamlessly from the living area to the pool. Ascend the curved staircase centrepiece to the spacious bedroom, for a better view overlooking the ocean and horizon. 

Lead architect Miles Humphreys worked with bamboo specialist architects Chiko Wirahadi and Ketut Indra Saptura to create spaces, throughout the island, with high ceilings and fascinating textures, embracing a modern look that blends rusticity with refinement. Locally sourced sustainable materials, including bamboo, alang alang grass, recycled teak, lava stone and petrified wood, were used to create unique and organic forms. But the concept of sustainability and preservation extends beyond the island’s design, to the employment and training of locals as staff. 

All you have to do here is rest and recharge – the island accommodates only 40 guests. There are no TV sets, but you won’t need this form of entertainment when there are beautiful surroundings where the natural habitat and wildlife have been preserved. Get active with a game of tennis or croquet, or water sports. If you’re lucky, you might even encounter small-clawed otters, silvered leaf monkeys, green sea turtles, the critically endangered Sunda pangolin, and more inhabitants! Going barefoot is also encouraged as, after all, you will be treading only on soft white sand. 

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