Chris Burch’s Luxury Resort Nihiwatu

Chris Burch, successful entrepreneur and cofounder of many internationally recognized retail brands such as Tory Burch and C. Wonder, bought a beach hostel island in Indonesia in 2012 along with hotelier James McBride. Within three years, the island was transformed into a luxury hotel known as Nihiwatu, and in 2016 was voted “best hotel in the world” by Travel + Leisure ( Nihiwatu encompasses 567 acres of land, has 32 private villas, and offers various resort activities unique to the island such as waterfall hiking, surfing, stand-up paddling, and village sightseeing.

Burch started his entrepreneurial career in 1976 while he was still attending Ithaca College. It was then that he invested $2000 into Eagle’s Eye Apparel, a business which eventually grew to $165 million. After selling Eagle’s Eye Apparel to Swire Group, Burch invested in Internet Capital Group which soon became a well-known IPO story on the internet. He continued investing and creating for the years following that, using his intuitive understanding of consumer demands and experience to guide his way to success. Some of Burch’s notable investments include Faena Hotel + Universe, ED by Ellen Degeneres, Cocoon9, BaubleBar, Blink Health, and many more. He has also been a active philanthropist, contributing to countless domestic and international institutes (

The story of Nihiwatu and the island it is based on, Sumba, begins with the Marapu spirit who landed on its beaches centuries ago. According to the Sumba people, the Marapu spirit is a benevolent force that has safeguarded the island and has worked to attract custodians to protect the Sumbanese people and their way of life. In 1988, Claude and Petra Graves were attracted by Marapu to the beaches of Sumba in search of waves to surf on. In appreciation of the island, they decided to found a hostel which they named Nihiwatu, after the beach they first came to. Twenty-four years later, word of Nihiwatu and the Graves’s desire to expand the hostel reached Chris Burch’s ears. He then joined forces with James McBride who’s successful hotel management in Singapore was used to create the luxury resort that is so well known today.

Connect with Burch at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *