Chris Burch and the Birth of Nihiwatu

Chris Burch is a name you most likely associate with fashion, but you probably now associate this name with Nihiwatu. Nihiwatu is a resort located on Sumba Island. Although Burch was excited to make the purchase, he certainly didn’t do it alone. His partner in crime was James McBride, President of YTL Hotels. The two businessmen traveled to the island after hearing that the current resort was looking to make an expansion. Claude and Petra Graves owned a resort there, but later McBride and Burch would come to pay the island a visit and partner up to create a hotel that would soon blossom into something more wonderful than either of them could imagine (

When the Graves purchased the island in 1988, they decided to make the move to preserve the natural beauty that was Sumba Island. Once that decision was made, the two took up the offer from Chris Burch to partner up on the deal. The name “Nihiwatu’ comes from the legend of the Sumbanese people and the history of the beach, so the resort following kept the same name. The resort was turned into nothing less than short of amazing, preserving the natural beauty of what the Sumbanese people believed in and kept as a theme, as well as creating a beautiful haven for all who come to enjoy and call their home away from home during vacation time at Nihiwatu.

The Travel and Leisure Magazine, a well-known publication, reported that readers chose Nihiwatu as the best hotel in the world. This award was given to Burch and McBride’s hotel two years in a row, creating more buzz around the stunning resort on Sumba Island. Although Burch is known as a builder of many brands, this is the first time Burch has become a top name in resorts and travel.

Burch has been a massive brand builder for many years, most notably for Voss Water, Tory Burch, Guggenheim Capital, and some others. Mr. Burch’s entrepreneurial spirit got the best of him in 1976, while still an undergraduate student. At the time, Burch had invested with his brother building a clothing brand. Starting with just $200, the two grew the business to $165 million dollars and later sold it to the Swire Group.

Burch is extremely successful today in many arenas, although the is still known best for his ability to build brands.

Connect with Burch on LinkedIn., follow him at


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