In the month of April renowned travel magazine ‘Condé nast Traveller’ published a beautiful article about our beloved Island, Sumba. Maringi Sumba was among the 4 must-stay hotels. With Nihi, Alamayah, and Cap Karoso we are definitely in good company. Honeslty, any hotel in that in that list could be the best hotel in Sumba. For the full article about responsible tourism on Sumba, we’ll have to direct you to Condé Nast Traveler but we are happy to share the interview with our founder.
Belgian-born Inge De Lathauwer, a lifelong charity worker, started the Sumba Hospitality Foundation in 2016. Her sustainability-focused hotel school is the host of hotel, spa and restaurant Maringi Sumba, restaurant Makan Dulu, and an organic farm.
“When I first came to Sumba in 2013, people weren’t used to seeing tourists. They’d be intrigued, and sometimes look a bit angry — but when I smiled, I’d get a huge smile back. No one was coming, which is partly why it was so pristine and had managed to hold on to its animist culture. People were poor and uneducated, and it seemed inevitable that this gorgeous place would get developed. I wanted to empower people, and worried about what development could look like — especially having seen what has happened to parts of Bali.”
“I’d originally come with the idea of building an eco-resort but after spending more time here, I decided to start a hotel school, which would also showcase how sustainable development should look, from recycled water and solar panels to building with bamboo. It was hard, because people thought I had a hidden agenda, so it was really important when Dempta joined me: as a local, she knew how to get the tribe leaders, the Merapu priests and prospective students on-board.”
“More than 800 17- to 23-years-olds from underprivileged backgrounds now apply for 60 spaces. Most arrive speaking no English, and we have to teach them not just a language but a whole new way of thinking about themselves. Many have gone to work at some of the world’s best hotel brands: not just Nihi on Sumba, but Belmond, The Ritz-Carlton and Aman. We also train them to be good guides. Going away to Bali or the Maldives helps them to connect with their own culture, and I like to think we’ve helped teach them to dream”
Stay at Maringi Sumba, where dreams are made
We are proud of our history and proud to be so much more than just another resort. Thank you Inge to share your story and thank you Condé Nast Traveller for sharing it with the world! Maringi Sumba, the best hotel in Sumba?… what a dream!
When staying at Maringi Sumba, you are part of the dreams of 80 students. Here the most motivated youngsters you will ever meet are being trained to give you an unforgettable stay. Maybe it will not be perfect yet, but it will make the experience for you and your family even better. We are honored to share this project of hope and dreams with anyone that chose to visit Sumba. In name of our 80 students: See you soon in our small resort with a big heart.