Both literally and in spirit, the main homestead, purpose-built for the entertainment lounge, family style dining area and driftwood bar, is the heart of Pitstop Hill. Hand-built from warm hardwoods this impressive structure blends western style with the Mentawai and Sumatran culture that surrounds us.
The sunken lounge is surrounded by full height windows to take in the colour explosion from the gardens, palms and the bay-view beyond. The walls are merely a place to display items that are significant to the Mentawai people, as well as impressive canvas prints of local waves and scenes as shot by photographer John Barton.
Of an evening, this is where you want to be. Giant, custom-made leather lounges almost soak you in and the cool air-conditioning feels pretty incredible after a long day in the tropical sun. The electronic entertainment suite, hooked up to a surround sound system holds the better part of a thousand movies and surf films and a music library that is almost as extensive.
Who isn’t thirsty after days like these? From dusk till dinner, and from after the meal until when your eyes demand sleep, there are stories and laughter coming from the bar.
From behind this massive slab of driftwood, found on a beach during a surf trip in the earlier days, the friendly Pitstop Hill bar girl will be handing out drinks. The majority of the time it’s a pretty stereotypical Indo surf trip scenario, sipping on cold Bintangs and talking of perfect waves, but there are also several other types of beer and a range of spirits and mixers, and you need only to ask and wait a moment. Our guests are very welcome to bring along duty free spirits to expand the selection.
This area is also where we come to eat. Flick through the guest book and there are dozens of references from regular guests promising that they come for the food and the waves soon become a bonus! There is a focus on both healthy and hearty meals, with recipes borrowed from western and asian favourites, and an emphasis on both locally caught seafood, like mud crab and spanish mackerel, as well as Padang / Minang traditional specialties like fragrant curries, ayam bakar, sambal and beef rendang. You’ll probably eat a handful of your meals cooked just like home, and almost certainly will try plenty of new dishes, and our bubbly kitchen staff pride themselves on being able to cater for any special dietary requirements. As well as the main meals, there is a steady flow of home-baked treats coming out of the busy kitchen.
You will be one of a maximum of only 10 guests staying on the Hill, unless, as many do you choose to book the place to yourselves with an even smaller group.
The accommodation is split between the central building which sleeps up to 6 in 3 rooms, and also the bungalow which sleeps up to 4 guests, the layout of which can be adjusted to cater for 4 friends, for couples, or for families.
All of the accommodation areas are cooled by both fans and air-conditioning, and we provide all linen and towels for our guests.
The mezzanine leveled bungalow in particular, which sits a little further up the ridge from the main accommodation, is a really inspiring and private place to stay, the views across the bay are framed by contrasting varnished wood and natural stone walls.
A lot of the showering at Pitstop Hill is done with nothing but the sky and the palm fronds as a ceiling, with the carved log wood shower surrounded by orange leaved jungle plants, as well as the main open roofed shower building, having been designed that way. There is something about a warm shower after the evening boat ride as cool rain drips through from the leaves above.
Adamant on providing a real coastal Mentawai experience for our guests, at Pitstop Hill we have a fleet of local style longboats. These boats, our largest is 36 feet long by 6 feet wide, are fitted with such necessary additions as surfboard racks, rod holders, comfortable seating, and a tinted-window cabin to either let the sea breeze in, or keep the spray out.
They easily achieve 20+ knots and are powered by either 80 or 120hp of Yamaha engines. These sleek black boats have caught the eye of several of the videographers and photographers that we have hosted over the years and have been featured surprisingly regularly in Australian surf magazines and DVDs. Our guests spend a lot of time in these boats, going surfing, fishing and sightseeing and we believe that they add a lot to the Mentawai experience, in comfort and style of course.
Another benefit of this choice of boat is that they are made, and largely maintained, locally in Siberut, just to the north of Pitstop Hill. This not only means that their design has evolved specifically to suit the Mentawai sea conditions, and they do slice through any wind chop incredibly well, but also their acquisition and maintenance puts funds directly into our local community.
The resort currently owns 4 of these boats, because of their constant use day-in and day-out, we keep two on hand at the island while the other two are being maintained at our joint facility in Siberut, such that they are always looking and performing their best. Our boat drivers are just as proficient steering these boats around our local islands, bays and reefs, as any of our guests are behind the wheel of their car back home, it’s impressive to watch.
Complementing the fleet of longboats is our Australian designed and built 4.2 meter Quintrex aluminium dinghy, fitted with a 40 hp Yamaha outboard.
This versatile boat is used for running in and out of the bay to transfer guests to and from the Padang bound transfer vessel, and for similar work when the swell gets bigger and the longboats are too long to bring into the tight cove. Given its speed and stability it is the weapon of choice for touring up the river or for organizing fishing trips with a smaller number of participants.