Cover Arthur Tay (left) and Jimmi Ho, the developers of Nirup Island

Just 15 minutes away from Singapore, Nirup Island is every avid boater’s dream and is set to be the hottest private island destination in Asia

Imagine this: a private island just 15 minutes away from Singapore’s One°15 Marina in Sentosa Cove. If you have a yacht, the trip to the brand new Nirup Island is a simple one that will allow you to berth on the island and access beach-front villas. If not, daily ferry trips will land you right on its shores. 

Your journey begins the moment you step off your vessel as you are taken into the idyllic island, which boasts 94 modern and breathtaking villas, as well as the five-star M Gallery Hotel, which features a sustainable seafood restaurant and a cosy bar with the marina as its backdrop. 

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With wellness experiences, spice gardens and an incredible view of Singapore’s skyline from the island’s hilltop, Nirup Island is expected to be the epitome of luxury. 

“I anticipate a lot of proposals on that hill,” Jimmi Ho, a real estate developer from Indonesian firm PT Citra Tritunas Prakarsa, said with a laugh. Ho is one of the main developers of the island and has been instrumental as the luxury island ramps up its construction in preparation for its opening in 2023. 

The development of Nirup Island into the luxury maritime epicentre that it is quickly turning into has been a project four years in the making. 

“About four years ago, I went out with my dad on his yacht and he brought me to Nirup Island and told me that he bought it. We docked and there were no paths or anything at that point so we had to use hiking sticks, but together we made our way to the top of the hilltop,” recounted Ho. “We got to the top and I realised I was able to see Singapore from the island. It was incredible looking down at the island and I realised that the land had a lot of potential,” he continued. 

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This was how the idea of Nirup Island began to take shape in Ho’s mind. Ho, who has in the past worked on massive projects such as the relatively new five-star Marriott Hotel at Harbour Bay Ferry Terminal in Batam, had the experience and know-how to begin this project. However, he knew it could be bigger and this is where One°15 Marina came in. 

“Jimmi’s father and I are actually really good friends and we have been in business together for a very long time,” said Arthur Tay, the chairman and chief executive of SUTL, a group of companies that manages various marinas around the world including One°15 Marina. “When I heard about this project, we decided to sit down to see how we could collaborate. After all, since it is so close to Singapore, it’s the perfect destination for yacht owners.” 

Together, the pair decided that it would be opportune to open a marina at Nirup Island to make the location a highly preferable one for boaters. Today, after much work, Tay and Ho are gearing up to declare the new 76-boat marina fully operational by September this year.

“We will manage the marina for Nirup Island and draw on the yachting network to boost numbers and use,” Tay explained, before saying that they would also be focusing heavily on contributing to the island’s desire to be sustainable. 

“Trends are really changing and more people want sustainable boats that run on hydro or solar power to reduce our impact on the earth,” said Tay. “We are working on educating the public as well as getting boat companies to bring in a more diverse selection of environmentally friendly boats.” He went on to add that he has, unsurprisingly, in his opinion, seen an uptick of people buying or renting out yachts during the pandemic. 

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“Over the pandemic, lots of people started taking their yachts out in Singapore waters for the sea breeze and to enjoy the freedom of somewhat leaving the country, so the demand really went up,” Tay explained. 

Tay’s view on the ever-expanding yacht industry is certainly true considering that in October last year, One°15 Marina completed an SG$7 million marina reconfiguration project that allowed it to accommodate yachts of up to 220 feet and an expanded layout that increased the number of superyacht berths from 15 to 33.

“We are now seeing that the younger generation is very different and they are willing to spend on boats,” Tay said before adding that he only wished that he had more land to further develop the marina in Singapore. “People are realising that yachting is one of the more experiential lifestyle pursuits by spending time with our family or friends in a private sanctuary so the demand is only going to keep increasing.”

With the increasing demand for boats, Nirup Island comes in at the perfect time to provide a place for the boating community to gather, spend time with families and enjoy an easy getaway. 

Currently, the island is on a fast track to completion despite being forced to weather significant delays as a result of the pandemic. 

“A lot of our consultants are based overseas and while we could do most things online, it was very difficult because certain things need a personal touch and we needed to be able to really see how everything was progressing and make sure that it was what we wanted,” explained Ho. He added that for a period of time, the crew kept having to quarantine when they entered or left the island which significantly delayed things. 

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However, despite delays, the island is already hot property with The Riahi Residences, which is part of the M Gallery collection by Accor, offering up its beachfront villas that have been designed by world-renowned architect, The Kulorgroup. The integrated development will offer only a handful of private overwater villas that have been designed to give guests a truly fantastical-like experience that is unlike anything they have ever experienced before. 

With generous, full-length sliding doors, private decks, as well as private swimming pools, these villas are a true treat. 

If you are not staying at the villas though, there is still MGallery Resort, a truly gorgeous space that provides the ultimate luxury for guests. With a sunset lighthouse bar, hotel spa services, watersports, multiple dining and entertainment options and an overwater outdoor wedding terrace, Nirup Island is well on its way to becoming the hottest holiday destination in Asia. 

The island is currently set to open towards the end of 2023 and non-boaters can look forward to ferry trips to the island by Horizon Fast Ferry in due course.

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