Many places claim to be the ultimate beach retreat but few can balance the requirements of actually being one. You want beauty, comfort, calm, service, friendliness and privacy. Some places are too large to be truly intimate. Some places are too remote to offer the services and luxury required. Some places don’t have the perfect location or are too close to other amenities.

When thinking of beaches and luxury, people often think of the Seychelles, Mauritius or the Maldives. They have some amazing properties, but many are too large to be truly intimate, let alone offering an authentic bare-foot escape.

A wonderful option is to visit Cubadak Island off the west coast of Sumatra. A flight to Padang (with daily flights to Jakata and Kuala Lumpar) is followed by a 2 hour transfer in a private vehicle to the coast and the small harbour town of Sungaitalang. Here you are collected by boat and transferred the 20 minutes to the resort on Cubadak Island.

The Island is yours to enjoy. Other than the resort there is only a fishing village on the Island, situated on the opposite shore. A trail across the Island (steep in places) brings you to it where you can watch the fishermen land their crops and enjoy a drink at the local bar. Another short walk brings you up to a small viewpoint over looking the resort, the perfect place to enjoy a sun downer.

The resort itself is small and intimate. It comprises of 12 bungalows, each with private verandas and looking our over the sea. They are built on stilts, exclusively of local materials and feature locally made furniture of rattan, locally woven carpets and blankets and with walls decorated with local wood carvings and traditional costumes. The honeymoon cabin is build on stilts out over the beach to give it complete privacy. There is also a family cabin with two connected bungalows.

The bar is found at the end of a long pier out over the reef, letting you enjoy a coffee or beer while watching the superb fish life in the water below. You might even be lucky enough, as we were, to watch a turtle feeding as you relax.  Food is taken in the Dining room on the beach, large tables letting all of the resort capacity of 30 guests eat together, or smaller table for honeymooners and families to eat by themselves.

As you would expect, the snorkeling is superb and can be done by swimming from the beach the 20 or so metres to the start of the reef. Canoes and paddle boards are available free of charge. The resort offers excursions in its boats to nearby uninhabited islands where you can relax, snorkel and picnic free of charge. There is also a small PADI dive centre which will take experienced divers to some of the most spectacular dive sites in the World. They also do beginners courses and offer reef dives for the less experienced.

So if you want to escape somewhere truly unique, somewhere offering stunning beaches, great snorkeling, a relaxed and chilled atmosphere and a friendly and welcoming team, consider a visit to the Cubadak Paradise Resort and find a truly idyllic beach escape.

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