Boutique Hotel Rote Island, Nemberala Beach Resort

Resort Rote Island Nemberala Beach Resort

Finding a great new beginner surf destination can these days be compared to a search for the Holy Grail.  So many beginner surf spots are already busy and overcrowded.  Some beginner surf spots simply can’t offer the quality of accommodation considered good enough with today’s rather more demanding standards.

You probably know that Indonesia has some of the best expert and intermediate surf spots and waves in the World (it’s already very famous for that), but what about those of you who are just starting your surfing quest?

Well, in the search for a location to build our own boutique resort, we ended up choosing one of the real hidden gems amongst Indonesia’s 27,000 + islands.  If you are wanting a mid-to-high-end beginner surf destination, come and visit us on the stunning island of Rote, in East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia.

Rote Boutique hotel and resort

What do Rote island and our boutique surf resort offer for beginner surfers?

We know from experience that number one on most beginner surfer’s minds, when they think of being in the water and surfing, is avoiding dangers, like sharks for example.   Rote island has no nasties lurking beneath the waves and you can usually see all the way to the bottom as Rote’s crystal clear, azure-blue water is less polluted than many of Indonesia’s larger islands.

The 2nd is to have a comfortable water temperature: Beginner surfers, as a rule, hate cold water and the necessity for wet suits.  You can leave those at home for sure as the water surrounding Rote’s stunning island mass is warm, warm, warm.  You’ll just need a bathing suit and sunscreen if you want to learn to surf with us in Rote, Indonesia.

The 3rd is the quality of beginner waves.  There is a sweet little beginner surf spot close to our boutique surf resort, cutely known as Squealers.  Squealers produces quite perfect white water, ideal for learning to surf.  In the afternoons (especially in July and August) it can be a bit windy, but if you go first thing in the morning, or later before sunset, the winds have usually not yet picked up, or have already died down.  Other months of the year, it’s not so windy anyway and you can enjoy glassy days of perfect-sized waves for beginner or novice surfers.  On the outside of the Squealers surf break, larger waves are to be found, ideal for intermediate surfers, as it never gets as big as T Land (a great left-hander also close to our surf resort).

If you are a beginner surfer, taking off in the white water at Squealers can produce a long ride into reforming waves, both lefts, and rights.  On the main break at Squealers, there is a short left-hand wave that requires a cut-back to keep the ride alive, but it’s still really fun for learning to surf, or if you are an intermediate surfer looking to improve.  The right-hand part of the A-Frame wave is a longer, arguably more satisfying wave.

Who can teach you to surf on Rote island?

We think this is one of the coolest reasons to come to Rote to learn to surf.  The surf instructor on Rote island is a charming older gentleman from Hawaii called Ron Wolfe.  There’s nothing Ron doesn’t know about teaching folks to surf and as he lives pretty much opposite Squealers and surfs there every day with his own lovely family, he’s the expert on when to go and where to sit to get the best waves.  Make sure you book in advance as he’s often very busy.  You can contact him at or Julia or I can help arrange lessons with Ron for you.

Where to stay in Nembrala for a surf holiday?

Of course, we might be biased, but we hope you stay at our new boutique surf resort of 81Palms.  We finished the resort in 2020 (just in time for covid19 – yikes!) but luckily, even during covid times, we have been busy.  Designed by award-winning architect Alejandro Borrejo, we think our boutique surf resort is quite special.

I’m chef Jose (known by my friends as Cote) and I’ve worked in some excellent Michelin-starred restaurants across the globe.  It was always my dream to have my own place and when Julia and I found we shared the same passion, to build what would be most people’s idea of a dream island boutique surf hotel, we decided to make it happen.  Now we live here and run 81Palms surf resort, where it’s our goal to provide the best possible hospitality experience for our guests with beautiful rooms, great food, and a welcoming vibe.

We trust that you will love our spacious and stylish Cabanas.  81Palms sits right in front of T Land and is just a 200m walk to Squealers.  We have a water taxi free for our guests to get you to the surf breaks.  Not just T land and Squealers, but also a few other ‘secret’ spots here on Rote.

How to get to Rote island?

  • It’s worth the trip from Bali or Java to visit us on this unspoiled little island paradise.
  • You can take a flight from either CGK (Jakarta) or DPS to KOE (Kupang) and then a short half-hour flight from KOE to RTI (Rote) with Lion Air or Wings Air.
  • There is also a fast ferry (Express Bahari) which runs 3 times per week and is very cheap or a slow ferry (even cheaper) which runs every day.

What else is there to do on Rote Island?

Rote is unspoiled, really unspoiled.  It’s one of the things which makes it such a special place to go surfing.  It’s a very peaceful island where you will usually see more goats than people (the goats are charming as they wander freely around and yes, they do have owners!).  Don’t come to Rote if you are looking for a party; it will be more about relaxation than anything else.

There are several pristine white-sand beaches (Nemberala Beach) to visit (our place, 81Palms, sits on one) and a few other attractions such as hiking up Mando’o Hill, visiting Batu Termanu, or going swimming in the salt waters of Oemasapoka Lake.
But, it’s mostly about relaxing, surfing, eating our food and sipping a cocktail here at 81Palms while you watch some of Indonesia’s most spectacular sunsets.

If you want to learn to surf somewhere a little off the beaten track, come at visit us at 81Palms boutique surf resort in Rote Island, Indonesia.


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