Misool – The Secret’s Out
Raja Ampat in Indonesia has become one of those destinations in-the-know travelers and divers whisper under their breath. A hidden away archipelago just south of the equator, it offers some of the most pristine coral reefs and marine ecosystems in the world, relatively untouched by our gamut of modern pollutants.
Within the archipelago sits Misool—a luxurious but sustainable resort, within its own 300,000-acre Misool Marine Reserve and an hour by speedboat to the nearest village. For guests looking for a remote getaway that could also change their lives, this is it.
Misool is more than a remote beach and a private getaway. From lagoon adventures worthy of Peter Pan and Captain Hook to mangrove kayaking or paddle-boarding to a romantic bay, the joy of Misool is interacting with, and ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the incredible environment that’s lapping at your toes.
As well as offering guests a once-in-a-lifetime experience packed full of biodiverse adventures, Misool, through its eponymous foundation, is on a mission to both prove sustainable hospitality is the key to long term growth but, more importantly, to protecting incredible coral reefs when it partners with the local communities on the ground. There are 15 full-time rangers across the reserve (as big as the five boroughs of NYC) that make sure it remains a non-fishing zone, and the resort has funded a local kindergarten and pays the salaries of local teachers.
Misool has to be pretty self-sufficient to be sustainable. 60% of all their energy use comes from their onsite solar farm, all organic waste is composted, and all recyclable waste is sent to its community recycling project.
Misool’s attraction is partly its remoteness but also the richness of experiences in nature it offers its guests, yes there is incredible diving and kayaking, but it’s the quality of the experience that’s so special, in a paradise like world that seems untouched by human hands. That goes right down to the design, with luxurious over the water villas sensitively constructed from reclaimed local woods and native grasses for the roofs.
This far out into the middle of the ocean, Misool has to be pretty self-sufficient to be sustainable. 60% of all their energy use comes from their onsite solar farm, all organic waste is composted, and all recyclable waste is sent to its community recycling project which recycled 409 metric tons of waste in 2019, and 60% of the water used on site and for guests is harvested rain water. From biodegradable shampoo to a strict code of conduct for boats in the water, Misool is serious about helping the surrounding oceans thrive rather than just survive. And it’s paying off. Dr. Mark Erdmann, marine biologist, coral reef ecologist has said Misool is one of the only places in the world where biodiversity is thriving not declining.
Guests will also love the commitment to sustainability within the resort’s restaurant. From avoiding prawns because their farming is too destructive to not using palm oil, you can be sure a meal here is 100% locally sourced, good for you and for the planet. And what could be better than sitting watching the sun go down with some locally grown mango, while black tipped sharks laze around in crystal clear water below you?
Misool’s green initiatives aren’t all back-of-house either. Guests can get involved too, and learn how this delicate ecosystem works, whether it’s working to help release hatchling turtles or spending a day with the resort’s ranger team. Their hard work has seen the biomass increase on Misool’s reefs by 250% over a six year period. Guests can spend time with the team at the ranger stations, on beach clean ups or helping to monitor the reserve. Misool’s Ranger Patrol even uses green surveillance technologies such as drones to reduce fossil fuel consumption.
There’s no better way of understanding why our marine ecosystem and coral reefs are so important to the world’s long-term future than experiencing the best of how life could be for yourself. Once you’ve snorkeled in crystal clear water surrounded by thousands of fish every color of the rainbow or lounged on a white sand beach devoid of any plastic, you’ll find yourself committing to help the rest of the world achieve this kind of perfection.
Our seas need more options like Misool; it’s not enough for a “barefoot” luxurious resort to remove plastic bottles and miniatures from their bathroom when a ton of plastic ends up in the ocean every minute of every day. Operations like Misool are pioneering the approach that luxury hospitality can drive local community action and create a meaningful difference on the ground.