• Paul O'Connor

A Christmas Holiday to Remember.

Some years ago before my mum died we took the decision to spend Christmas in Indonesia. When I say we took I mean I took as I'm the chief travel organiser in our family. We flew via Singapore to Bali and late at night we headed inland to the Amandari resort. Amandari is a resort with beautiful free-standing villas and pavilions. We booked two villas and spent two wonderful nights there before heading back to Denpasar for our flight to Sumbawa via Lombok. I adored the village-like feel to Amandari with ducks occasionally ducking into the private pools and local people wandering through the meandering pathways with flowers or whatever they can sell locally. www.amanresorts.com/resorts/amandari

We flew in a 24 seater plane to Sumbawa with a brief stop off in Lombok. There was no first or business class here, but some people had their caged poultry on their lap which amused me and scared me in equal measures- they have since introduced their private water plane to our destination- but we enjoyed the adventure.

From Sumbawa, the resort’s private boat took us in great style to Amanwana, Moyo island. As the recent typhoon had taken away their guest welcome Jetty, we were transported in an old open army truck from the service jetty to the resort which was an experience itself as we were driven through the jungle on a very bumpy road. The resort comprised 20 well-appointed tents, a boutique, outdoor spa, huge dining pavilion with a swish bar, all set on a private beach.

The tents are vast each with a large, comfortable double bed, two corner banquette style sofas which would suit as beds for children. Double sinks, shower and WC. Well if it was good enough for Princess Diana and her friends, it was good enough for me- this island is quite a remote being on the edge of the Komodo islands.

What could possibly go wrong?

First up my Mum’s luggage didn’t arrive, it was the day before Christmas eve and she just had what she was wearing. No greater tragedy, I went to the boutique with her where she bought a few locally produced linen outfits. She wasn’t happy but soon relaxed into the seriously laid back feel of the resort.

I went for a walk on my own, against the wishes of the resort’s nature guides. About 1km up a gentle, jungled hill, a komodo type giant lizard eyeballed me. Having read the nature guide in the tent, I walked very slowly back down the hill until the tents came back into sight, then I ran like Mo Farah.

The next day we took a boat trip around the coast to a stop-off point where a guide took our picnics up to limestone pools and a waterfall, heavenly.

My father told me on the boat that he had tipped the guide but the guide didn’t look happy. I asked Dad how much he had tipped, converting his rupiah tip of 10,000 came to about 8 euro. Morto!

Fabulous snorkelling and wonderful food made for a great Christmas. Mums luggage arrived the day we were leaving. www.amanresorts.com/resorts/amanwana

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