Chris Burch: Converting a Hostel to the World’s Best Five-Star Hotel
In 2012 Chris Burch together with James McBride acquired a beach hostel previously owned by a New Jersey couple in the Indonesian island of Sumba. They then spent $30 million to renovate the hostel. In 2015, they reopened it as a five-star resort under the name Nihiwatu. In 2016, the hotel was recognized by Travel+Leisure as the best hotel in the world.
According to Chris Burch, he bought the hotel for his children and as something they can preserve and give back to the community. Nihiwatu has become the island’s largest employer. Also, some of the profits obtained from the business are allocated to the Sumba Foundation, which is a locally based organization that funds projects that are aimed at helping the local community. Check on businessinsider.com
The hotel is comprised of 27 private villas such as Raja Mendaka, which serves as Chris Burch’s home. Raja Mendaka contains the main house with four separate villas, each with a private plunge pool. It also contains an enormous indoor-outdoor entertainment area for his guests. The plunge pool has a fantastic view of the Indian Ocean as well as over Nihi Beach.
The resort contains two, tree houses connected by a bamboo bridge. The main tree house contains a private infinity pool and a living area. Both villas have a bedroom, bathroom, and a balcony. Both villas contain a bedroom, bathroom, and a separate balcony.
The hotel also has a beach spa, but for those who want to maintain their privacy, they can receive the treatments in their rooms. Its wellness center provides daily yoga classes, but there are tailored classes as per individual needs. If you like surfing, here is your paradise. A surf slot per person costs $125, and if you don’t know how to surf don’t worry, surfing classes are held at the neighboring Coconut Grove bay.
During the low season, the one bedroom villa in Nihiwatu goes for $750 per night while the Raja Mendaka villa goes for $14,000 per night during the high season.
Chris Burch is a Business undergraduate from Ithaca College. He is the founder and the Chief Executive Officer of Burch Creative Capital, which has a portfolio of brands such as Coccon9, ED by DeGeneres, Poppin, and Nihiwitu. Mr. Burch is a very shrewd investor in a wide range of businesses ranging from industries to hospitality and fashion. Christopher Burch is also the founder of Tory Burch, a luxury fashion brand. Related article on fashionista.com.
His entrepreneurial success started in 1976 while studying at Ithaca College. With his brother Bob, they invested only $2,000 and started Eagle’s Apparel, a company they later grew to a tune of $165 million and then sold to Swire Group. He then used the money from the sale of Eagle’s Apparel to buy shares in Internet Capital Group during its IPO. Additional article on bjtonline.com.