Photos by Sefval Mogalana
Perched atop a hill in Tambolaka, Sumba Barat Daya, stands the magnificent Sima Sumba Hotel. This seven-storey building, designed by architect and interior designer Djony Gouw, is one of the largest hotels on Sumba Island, located in Indonesia’s province of East Nusa Tenggara. Indonesia Design had the opportunity to experience a two-night stay at Sima, and we are excited to take you on a tour of this remarkable hotel.
In the last decade, Sumba Island has gained more popularity amongst local and international tourists. Although it experienced a decline during the pandemic, it is now slowly regaining its momentum. Sima Hotel Sumba opened its doors to its first guests in March 2023 and celebrated its grand opening on 7 June 2023.
The hotel is only 15-minute drive from Tambolaka Airport, which is a strategic location for anyone coming in to or out of Sumba. Sima is a city boutique hotel with a contemporary design and some local traditional touch for
the interior. The façade is made of ACP and aluminium screen in silver and grey with wooden skin as a tropical touch. The hotel consists of seven floors; the lobby and general facilities on the first floor, a total of 105 guest rooms and suites on the next five floors, and a multi-function space that accommodate up to 300 people on the top floor.
Upon arrival, you will be welcomed by two running horse statues at the porte cochere, where guests alight from vehicles and are greeted by the friendly staff. Two of the most renowned things from Sumba are the horses and the ikat weaving. Entering the building you’ll see another pair of horses standing by the corridor that connects the lobby to the outdoor swimming pool. At the far side of the pool there is a giant horse head with its snoot down, portraying that it’s drinking from the pool. All of the horse statues are made of driftwood by an artisan based in Ungaran, Central Java, who likes to stay low-key.
The lobby boasts furniture mostly designed by Djony. A set of sofas and uniquely shaped chairs is arranged by the stairs, and some of the pieces are adorned with ikat weaving. Another stunning artwork is the 3.5x6 sqm backwall behind the reception desk. It is a three- dimensional HMR cut created using modern technology, featuring a motif that imitates a real ikat weaving from his private collection.
With a keen eye on the artworks showcased across its seven floors, it becomes evident that the hotel embodies the essence of the Archipelago, transcending beyond Sumba alone. Moke Café, situated on the lobby floor and featuring an outdoor seating area, is adorned with a wooden wall piece embellished with the mega mendung batik motif. Moreover, the walls adjacent to each floor’s elevator exhibit captivating artworks depicting motifs from various regions of Indonesia, including Madura, Toraja, and many more.
All guest rooms face the beautiful island landscape. The Presidential Suite is comprised of a master bedroom and bathroom, a second bedroom, a living room, and a regular bathroom without a bathtub. The Executive Suite offers a king- size bed, a master bathroom with both a shower and a bathtub, and a living room separated from the bedroom by a partition. The Junior Executive Suite, on the other hand, features a pantry and a powder room instead of a second bathroom. The Business Suite provides more amenities and space compared to the Grand Deluxe Room and Deluxe Room.
Building Sima was far from easy. “In the beginning, we had to cut and fill the rocky hill to accommodate building a hotel,” Djony said. Add to that, often they had to fly in the right materials down to the nuts and bolts from Java or Bali. As for human resources, they had to fly in experienced people from various other islands as the section heads, and most of the staff are local people who are eager to master the art of hospitality.
“Building this hotel required not only money but also a lot of effort and patience,” said Hanny Salimun, owner of Sima Sumba Hotel. It took five years to design and build the hotel. “I was in too deep when realising how challenging it was. But it had to be done,” she added. And she hopes that the existence of Sima will trigger more businesses around the area, which will boost tourism and the economic progress of Sumba.
Currently, the hotel aims to attract more tourists and host MICE events. Opening just before summer and school holidays is a strategic move, as corporate gatherings have also started taking place in Sima. One thing that both Hanny and Djony hope for Sumba is to have increased direct access from Jakarta and other areas. This would undoubtedly attract more guests to come, witness the beauty of Sumba Island, and enjoy a delightful stay at Sima Sumba Hotel for a few nights.