by Jenny Miller
Paradise tends to look a certain way in the mind’s eye: simple, remote and oftentimes surrounded by water. That’s the exact scene at Nuli Sapi, an eco-friendly hotel on Papua New Guinea’s Milne Bay. The property offers just four bungalows, built entirely from natural bush materials and perched on stilts over the water. Each has an attached bathroom with running rainwater, and a balcony for quiet contemplation. Though, there is no WiFi—which we see as a plus. It’s a place to truly log off and get serene.
Nuli Sapi is the project of PNG-born Kayleigh Colbran and her partner, American Joe Boucher. After sailing the world, the duo opened Nuli Sapi in 2012. Colbran heads up the cooking—a treat in a country whose cuisine can at times be a little adventurous for Westerners. During our visit, we feasted on unforgettable chili crab with rice, made using plump, locally caught mud crabs.
The hotel arranges guests activities, which tend to revolve around island-hopping in the nearby dreamy bay. A short dinghy ride away sits the fascinating, half-ruined Samarai Island, the former district capital when PNG was an Australian territory. Now many of its once-elegant buildings are in a shambles and its population diminished, leaving the whole place stunningly overgrown with frangipani trees and climbing vines. It’s a photographer’s—or Instagrammer’s—dream. Other islands offer overwhelming lookout points for gazing down on the waters below and beaches for snorkeling and spotting manta rays. At night, the welcome lack of bright lights or big city means unwinding on the outdoor veranda with a local SP beer and the sound of the water.
Nuli Sapi rates begin at 250 kina ($99) per night for a double bungalow, 350 kina ($138) with meals included. Transportation to and from the mainland, plus all activities are separate. To book, contact Nuli Sapi directly.
Images by Jenny Miller