Nihiwatu Resort, Chris Burch’s Investment Crown Jewel

Christoper”Chris” Burch is a prolific entrepreneur and investor, dipping his hand in a variety of industries from fashion, technology, and most recently, hospitality. During a career spanning more than 40 years, Burch has had a hand in the rise of over 50 companies, most notably luxury retail brands Tory Burch and C.Wonder, and Faena Hotel + Universe, Cocoon9, ED by Ellen DeGeneres and Voss Water.


Burch’s entrepreneurship journey started when he was an undergraduate student at Ithaca College in 1976. He and his brother, Bob, started clothing company Eagle’s Eye from a 2,000 dollar investment. They were able to expand the venture into a 165 million dollar business, which was later acquired by Swire Group. After this, Burch was able to grow his fortunes by being one of IPO success Internet Capital Group’s earliest investors.


Chris Burch attributes his successes to a unique understanding of consumer behavior, extensive experience in utilizing efficient sourcing and direct-to-consumer infrastructure, as well as an innate ability to find the right balance of innovation and implementation. He has been able to apply these principles in his latest foray into investment: hospitality.


Chris partnered with James McBride, a renowned hotelier, in 2012 for this latest venture. They purchased a beach hostel on the remote island of Sumba in Indonesia. They then poured 30 million dollars into renovating the hostel and transforming it into a five-star resort called Nihiwatu. The resort reopened its doors in 2015 go rave reviews: by 2016, it was voted the “best hotel in the world” by Travel + Leisure.


Nihiwatu, fondly called “The Edge of Wilderness” by the locals, is located on Sumba’s western coast. The resort has a total of 27 private villas, each with a plunge pool with views over the adjacent Nihi Beach and the Indian Ocean. When not spending time in Miami of the Hamptons, Burch resides in Raja Mendaka, his private villa in the resort.


Traditional Sumbanese antiques, Ikat prints, and local woods are featured throughout Nihiwatu. The resort offers beach and room spa treatments, offers yoga sessions at the wellness center, and unparalleled surfing opportunities at the beach. Vacationers can also explore the nearby blue lagoon and waterfalls, as well as ride horses from the resort’s stables.


During the low season, the price for a villa starts at 750 dollars per night, while Burch’s private five bedroom estate goes for about 14,000 dollars per night during the high season. Since it began operations in 2015, the resort has become the island’s main source of employment. A significant portion of its profits are donated to the Sumba Foundation, which funds programs focused at uplifting the local community.


Currently, Burch and McBride are looking to expand and develop more resorts in Nicaragua and Costa Rico. Their target market for these new ventures is the millennial traveler.



Categories: Fashion Designer

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