Island Retreat

Island Retreat

A great beach getaway

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Sprawling Island Retreat is the westernmost of all the accommodation on the Togeans, and it offers spacious wooden beach bungalows with a terrific beach outlook.

Travelfish says:

We’ve had two lengthy stays here, both times in the ever-so-slightly-slowly-falling-over honeymoon cottage at the western end of the resort. There are perhaps a dozen bungalows in all, set in a single row in a lawn garden running along the beachfront, all with solid, hammock-strung verandas ideal for taking in the sunset.

Solid wooden bungalows. : Stuart McDonald.
Solid wooden bungalows. Photo: Stuart McDonald

At the centre of the resort is a long, increasingly shaky wooden pier which juts out into the bay to where the bottom starts to deepen—outside the very lowest of low tides, this is a great pier for leaping off, and both to the left and right, especially to the latter, is some reasonable snorkelling to be had. We’re not kidding when we say the pier is wobbly—in heavy seas on our most recent visit we watched (from our hammocks) as pieces slowly broke off and floated out to sea.

The bungalows fall into two primary categories, which are referred to as oceanfront cottages (ie bungalows designed for couples) and honeymoon cottages (those designed for more). All are solid wooden affairs with thatch roofs and good-sized verandas. In most cases the rooms are entered from the rear, which translates into better enclosed balconies.

There is plenty of beach to go around. : Stuart McDonald.
There is plenty of beach to go around. Photo: Stuart McDonald

On our most recent village in April 2018, the oceanfront rooms were the more solid and felt to be generally in better condition than the honeymoon option. All rooms have a sunken blue concrete bathroom unlike anything we have seen anywhere in Southeast Asia in over a decade of looking at bathrooms. They rely on mandi shower and Western loos with a bucket flush—for the money, these bathrooms, while unusual, are not really up to scratch compared to other similarly priced options in the Togeans. Fresh water (from a well) is piped in once daily or on request.

One of the standouts of Island Retreat has long been the food—here they range away from the standard fish and rice to everything from pizza and pasta, curry and even mushroom and pumpkin soup (separate—not mushroom and pumpkin mixed together) and in season, when there are sufficient guests, the food is both plentiful and of a superior standard. Out of season, or even in shoulder, if there are not many guests, the range of quantity (though generally not the quality) of the food, is a little less noteworthy. Island Retreat was also the only place we visited this trip which did not have a complimentary water refill set-up. We mentioned this would be a good addition and we believe it will be available by the time you read this review.

The interior of our family bungalow. : Stuart McDonald.
The interior of our family bungalow. Photo: Stuart McDonald

It helps to be an animal lover at Island Retreat, as there are plenty of friendly dogs and cats slinking around, seeking treats during meals and lying around in the kitchen and restaurant at other times.

Staff are friendly and helpful—the owner Sylvie spends much of her time in Ubud, Bali now, and the resort is largely run by her son Gunter, who is obliging and helpful in organising trips and so on. Island Resort is well placed for snorkelling and diving trips to Taupan Island (which has an impressive drop off and some spectacular coral) and also to Bomba Atoll out towards Una Una.

Dinner prep during our first visit in 2014. : Sally Arnold.
Dinner prep during our first visit in 2014. Photo: Sally Arnold

Spacious grounds and a long, very fine sand beach (ideal for sand renderings of Angkor or Borobudur), Island Retreat is a fine option for families and travellers looking for some downtime. It is the closest resort to Ampana making for convenient travel time, though this makes it very inconveniently located for attractions such as Karina Beach or the Jellyfish Lake.

Contact details for Island Retreat

Address: West of Bomba, Pulau Batudaka
T: (0852) 4115 8853;  
Coordinates (for GPS): 121º39'9.94" E, -0º32'28.13" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: 400,000 to 1,000,000 Rp

Room rates

What we were quoted as a walk-in.

Standard double room
Per person full board.
440,000 rupiah 550,000 rupiah

Reviewed by

Stuart McDonald co-founded with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.

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