You go for the stunning views, and you stay for the peaceful atmosphere.
Set along the beach edge of Samur Tiga Beach is the Casa Nemo Beach Resort, an intimate Pulau Weh resort that encourages guests to appreciate Weh Island’s beautiful nature and local culture.
Casa Nemo is more than just a place to sleep; it’s a safe space for locals and visitors alike.
It’s a love. It’s a passion. It’s a commitment to Weh Island and all that it stands for. Weh Island is filled with a history and culture that stretches across time, plus a beautiful natural environment that remains very much untouched compared to the rest of Indonesia. And that’s exactly what Balqis wants her guests to experience when they visit Casa Nemo.
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Meet Balqis, the visionary behind the Casa Nemo Resort, Pulau Weh
Owned by local Acehness, Balqis Guidotti, she opened Casa Nemo in 2007 and it quickly became an oasis for locals and foreigners alike, who wanted to find serenity and beachfront accommodation.
After Balqis and her family survived the devastating 2004 tsunami, Balqis spent the next few years working with several NGOs including the British Red Cross and Unicef to assist in the tsunami recovery along the west coast of Aceh. Despite the tragedy of the tsunami, Balqis met the love of her life, a Swiss-Italian named Gianluca who was working at the time with the ICRC (International Committee of Red Cross).
In the years since, Balqis has flourished beyond her home island, but her heart very much still remains firmly on home soil. Balqis, along with her husband and son have found life experiences in countries around the world including Chad, Eritrea, Pakistan, and Switzerland. But every year, they return to Weh Island where they spend a few months at Casa Nemo.
With just 5 rooms to start off with in 2007, Balqis worked hard with her team to grow Casa Nemo. Reinvesting profits to keep it growing, Casa Nemo today has 15 rooms, a beachfront bar and restaurant (serving the best pizza on the island might I add), a small bakery, and a spa (the first of its kind on Pulau Weh).
She has built a dedicated team of 33 staff, many of whom have been with Casa Nemo from its inception. In fact, her goal has always been to support the less fortunate on Weh Island, and she provides them with a safe place to work, learn, and grow.
She has provided education to many of them to develop skills- from learning how to read and write, to using a computer, to baking, to learning skills to run a spa and salon.
Staying at Casa Nemo Beach Resort
As you make your way through the lobby’s garden you find yourself at the main resort door – the entrance to a little slice of paradise on Weh Island.
The entrance to the resort sits on top of a hill, and the resort itself is built along the hill top and works its way to the beach. You’ll find yourself meandering along the path that takes you right down to the beach.
We stayed in a Beachfront Bungalow which was found right at the bottom of the hill. Quite a number of stairs took us down to the room and our bungalow was nicely tucked away with somewhat uninterrupted views of the palm trees and turquoise blue waters of Samur Tiga Beach.
I had no problem walking up and down the stairs because not only was it good exercise, but the views and nature along the way was fantastic. It had wonderful tropical vibes, which is perfect for any beach holiday! But do keep in mind that there are a lot of stairs and so it isn’t the most user friendly for those who might have trouble walking.
Taking inspiration from traditional Acehnese architecture and design, a lot of heart went into building Casa Nemo.
In fact, Balqis purchased 3 heritage Acehnese houses that were more than 150 years old and were once owned by the Acehnese royal family. She found that the local community wanted to demolition some of these historical homes to make way for a more modern home. But her passion and dedication to Acehnese history saw her purchase these old houses and move them to the Casa Nemo compound. Together with her team, the houses were restored and today guests can stay in them.
Each of the rooms have been locally commissioned using as much local resources and materials as possible. Working closely with the local community and with close guidance by an expert, Casa Nemo has been built with the community in mind.
During our stay, Hubby and I enjoyed the Beachfront Bungalow which overlooked Samur Tiga Beach. It’s a cosy bungalow that is one of the heritage Acehness houses that Balqis purchased.
The bed takes up the centre of the room, and is a comfortable and large bed with a solid mosquito net sitting above. There is a small mini fridge, filtered water dispenser, a kettle, and a small bookshelf. No frills, just a simple life where we could destress and we loved it. There is no air conditioning in the room, however there was a ceiling fan and also a standing fan to keep the room cool. We also found in the evening, the temperature was quite comfortable.
It’s an outdoor bathroom which at first, I was unsure about, but in the end, it actually was nice to be immersed in nature.
One of my favorite additions to the bungalow was the hammock on the balcony. With the gentle sounds of the waves in the background and fresh salty air, it was the perfect spot for a nap or two.
Eco-Friendly & Going Plastic Free
It’s no easy task, but it is something Balqis is determined to do. And she knows that small steps goes a long way, and slowly her own team will follow in her footsteps.
Here are some steps that the resort is taking to become more eco-friendly:
- The resort doesn’t use any plastic straws – instead they use metal and bamboo straws instead.
- There is also very minimal plastic used – in each of the room, instead of single use plastic water bottles, there is a water gallon with a dispenser.
- When staff go to the markets to purchase ingredients for the restaurant, reusable bags are used.
- Wherever possible, they prefer to purchase items in glass jars rather than in plastic.
- They support the local community through purchasing local produce including local Acehnese coffee
- They reduce palm oil consumption to protect the Leuser National Park by using virgin coconut oil from Aceh in the kitchen and spa.
Balqis is also determined to educate the local community on how to reduce the use of single use plastic. And so, she has created this video:
Facilities & Services
The Speakeasy Restaurant sits smack bang beachfront and boasts some of the best views on the resort. It was my favorite spot morning, afternoon, and evening to chill out and enjoy a fresh coconut. And a highlight is definitely their pizza which is delicious. Thin crust base with house-made sauce and fresh local ingredients make for a delicious pizza.
On Saturday night from 8pm until 11pm, guests can enjoy live music at the restaurant. The band originates from Weh Island, and plays a range of music including top 40s and even their own originals. The music sounded great and made for a fantastic atmosphere on Saturday evening. And if you want, you can even get up onto stage and sing a tune or two with the band. It’s great fun and you most definitely should book your table to get a seat as it does get busy on Saturday night.
There is also an on-site spa, which is the first of its kind in Pulau Weh. I personally did not get the chance to try it this trip as we were quite busy exploring the island, but I have read that the massage is quite good.
The resort is also able to arrange transfer from the Sabang ferry station to the resort. It is Rp100,000 (A$10) for this. You can also hire a motorcycle to drive around the island which costs Rp100,000 for a full day hire.
Casa Nemo in Pulau Weh is a slice of paradise. It’s a simpler life that lets you enjoy the sights and sounds of the beautiful name of Weh Island. Rates start from Rp490,000 (A$49 | U$35) for a king room with some ocean views plus or minus depending on the season you travel and availability of the room type.
We enjoyed staying here and would happily return. We felt part of the Casa Nemo friendly!
No compensation was received for this review, however we were guests of Casa Nemo Beach Resort. All opinions remains my own and I only promote products/services that I love.
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