For travellers who seek the finest that the world has to offer

Inside Sumba’s lavish new design hotel, Cap Karoso

Guided by the traditional culture of the land, art and concepts of sustainability, this Indonesian resort delivers a unique type of luxury.

Surrounded by lagoons, villages, forests and coral reefs, the Indonesian island of Sumba is an idyllic tropical hideaway seemingly untouched by contemporary culture. Visiting Sumba requires an hour’s plane journey from Bali, then a 40-minute drive from Tambolaka Airport will deliver you to Cap Karoso, a new design hotel founded by Eve and Fabrice Ivara.

“We first came to Sumba in 2017 by chance as we had heard this island was very special, a uniquely preserved local culture and some kind of mysterious magnetism,” says Eve. “When we saw this place, particularly Karoso, we just fell in love and decided that it was a sign that our distant dream of a hotel should be brought to life.”

aerial view of sumba and cap karoso
Aerial views of Sumba and the resort. © Cap Karoso

Although Cap Karoso opened with a soft launch in March 2023, the official opening for the property in all its glory is scheduled for October 2023. It’s a unique hospitality venture that puts land, people and culture first. While the 47 rooms, 20 villas, Malala Spa, two restaurants, bar and pools are framed by lush greenery, the landscaping is comprised of native species. All non-indigenous weed species were removed, and plants were chosen for their low-water requirements. Furthermore, Cap Karoso has an eco-friendly water treatment system and draws half its running energy from an onsite solar panel park. But that’s not all.

A biological farm stands at the heart of Cap Karoso. Spanning three hectares of rehabilitated land, the farm produces all the fruits and vegetables used in the Cap Karoso restaurants, and provides a home for buffaloes who, in turn, keep the soil fertilised. Cap Karoso share this space with local farmers who come to learn about biological farming and permaculture. Guests can even take part, too.

“Neither of us had experience in hospitality, but we always dreamed of opening a hotel one day as we were passionate about travel, design, lifestyle, experiences and gastronomy,” says Eve. “Fabrice founded one of the first restaurant blogs ‘Coup de Fourchette’ in Paris, which was his passion project for years.” Naturally, Cap Karoso’s offering reflects the values of both Eve and Fabrice.

Villaat Cap Karoso
Villa at Cap Karoso. © Cap Karoso

Culture, authenticity, sustainability

Given that Eve has a professional history working in marketing for brands such as Louis Vuitton and Dom Perignon, and Fabrice’s background is in finance and is currently a successful entrepreneur, it’s no surprise that the design of Cap Karoso is exquisite. The deep dive into Sumbanese culture starts within Cap Karoso, where each room and space is furnished and decorated using art, textiles and objects that not only reflect local heritage but were made by local artisans, too. To further expand the developing cultural dialogue between Sumba and Cap Karoso, the resort hosts an artist-in-residence program that aims to build connections between multi-disciplinary international artists and local artisans. Alexander Sebastianus, Ines Katamso, Yuki Nakayama are currently involved with the initiative.

“Many of the design elements of Cap Karoso are very personal to Fabrice and me. For example, we’re both passionate about fabrics, so we chose all the textiles ourselves, from throw pillows in the rooms to the upholstery of the armchairs and sofas in our Lobby, it all reflects our personal taste and sense of colour,” says Eve. “I also personally curated the artwork commissions and led the creative direction on different design aspects of the resort, such as the reception area to the look of our ceramics and uniforms.”

beach front lounge at cap karoso
Beach Club lounge. © Cap Karoso

Things to do at Cap Karoso

While lounging by the pool or booking a massage, body wrap, scrub, or beauty treatment at Malala Spa all sound incredibly indulgent, the best thing to do here is engage with the island. Sumba is home to a unique religion that dates back to the Bronze Age. Here you’ll find indigenous art, megalithic tombs, and traditional houses with soaring 25-metre-high roofs thought to form a bridge to the spirit world. Reconnect with nature by swimming, snorkelling or surfing in the lagoons. Or get to know the inner island by hiking, biking or taking off in one of Cap Karoso’s electric cars. Personal introspection is also possible, as Cap Karoso hosts meditation and yoga sessions.

“I want our guests to feel like explorers, especially as they have travelled further than most, as many people stop in Bali. I want them to be able to really experience the wild magic of Sumba that impressed us so much on our first visit,” sasy Eve. “When guests return to the resort after exploring lagoons, villages or waterfalls, I want them to feel that they are part of this unique, like-minded community of Cap Karoso, so they can connect with our team and with other guests, learning more about this island and engaging in inspiring conversations.”

Beachfront suite at cap karoso
Beach front suite. © Cap Karoso

Dining at Cap Karoso

Beach Club is led by executive chef, Antoine LeVacon, and serves up casual yet refined cuisine featuring products from the farm. Julang takes the dining experience up a notch. Blending the concepts of fine dining and community tables, Julang hosts a maximum of 20 guests per dinner, ensuring an intimate experience around the chef’s table. All meals are created by visiting chefs and made from produce grown on the farm. Should a cocktail or wine be on your agenda, Apicine is the bar to visit.

“Cap Karoso has collaborated with travelling pastry chefs Rachel Blanchon and Christian Gillet to create delectable bread and pastries for breakfasts and beyond,” adds Eve.

the beach club at cap karoso
The Beach Club. © Cap Karoso

Kids’ Club at Cap Karoso

The kids’ club at Cap Karoso caters to children aged three to 12 and is designed to make learning fun. From discovering the constellations with an astronomy teacher to learning to grow crops on an organic farm, there are plenty of engaging activities for growing minds. Babysitters are also available.

“We see our guests as modern, conscious hedonists. The way they approach travel is very particular; they’re truly interested in the locality, and in respectfully interacting with local communities, and are eager to live adventurously,” says Eve. “At the same time, our guests are used to a certain level of sophistication and are eager to indulge in the finer things in life, such as a sophisticated dinner or encountering an artist-in-residence. This is exactly what Cap Karoso is all about.”

biological farm
The Farm at Cap Karoso. © Cap Karoso

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