Richard Branson has Necker Island, Marlon Brando had Tetiaroa and anybody who’s anybody is looking to scoop one up. Yes, private island living is all the rage and one of the finer places to experience it is at Laucala Island in the Fiji Islands. First, the lay of the land. The island is of volcanic origin, making for a varied topography. Its western portion has mangroves, and white sandy beaches, while the center showcases volcanic mountains amid tropical vegetation. The resort lies at the northern end—all other areas remain untouched.
Here, 25 villas plus the Hilltop Residence are at the guests’ disposal. The 11 Plantation Residences are the most requested premium accommodations. Of the 11, six are one-bedrooms, four are two-bedrooms and there is one three-bedroom variety with an outdoor pavilion. These residences are right at the private beach area with a private pool and hot tub. Guests at Laucala will also quickly become familiar with “Tao.” Translated as “my friend,” the Tao is somewhat like a resort butler who caters to guests’ every whim.
|The Peninsula Residence has an infinity pool and a hidden private beach.|
The four Plateau Residences on Nawi Mountain offer guests the best views of neighboring islands and the sea. Their open-plan design gives guests a real island-living experience. With supreme privacy, these residences should also be booked for clients looking for utmost solitude.
Another private option is the Peninsula Residence, where living areas are neatly connected by wooden bridges (think Robinson Crusoe). The residence has its own private pool, concealed private beach and jetty. Note: We think this is the best option for a romantic honeymooning couple.
Of course, which South Pacific resort doesn’t include an overwater accommodation? Laucala Island has it covered with its own version: a two-bedroom overwater residence, which appears to float above the emerald-green lagoon. The residence sports a terrace that ranges across several levels over the lagoon along with a private pool, which has been carved directly into the shore rocks. Amazing Arrival: Guests can be escorted to the residence via a private yacht, which pulls right up to the private jetty.
Meanwhile, families will want to opt for a Hilltop Residence, which Laucala heralds as a “resort within a resort.” Here, guests have three villas at their disposal with 360-degree views and almost 13,000 square feet of space. The residence has its own panoramic pool and offers such special services as a private cook, chauffeur and private nanny.
With the array of residences available, luxury travel advisors will want to contact Maia Israel ([email protected]) or Jan Wilkens ([email protected]) to determine the best accommodation for their client.
With five separate restaurants and bars on the island, dining and entertainment are a treat. The Plantation House, the island’s fine-dining restaurant, is a mansion fashioned in its original colonial style. We hear the degustation dinner is a must-try. The 80-seat restaurant also has a private room with space for 50 guests. For a true alfresco experience, the Seagrass Lounge offers cuisine with a slight Asian touch. This being a private island, guests can also opt to have a dinner prepared for them and served directly on the beach.
The spa at Laucala comprises four treatment villas with two wet-treatment rooms (think Vichy shower and steam rooms) along with two wet-treatment villas. Laucala’s four signature scents—Molikaro, Wainimate, Senikau and Qele—are all integrated into the spa’s treatments (we are told the Fijian Bombo massage is the signature treatment). Spa reservations don’t need to be made in advance, but questions can be directed to Spa Director Chamriang Thapnet ([email protected]).
Activities abound at Laucala, none more than golf. David McLay Kidd, of Bandon Dunes in Oregon fame, designed the par-72 layout, whose par-5 12th is considered the signature hole with the green extending onto the beach (high tide will mean wet feet!).
Other activities at Laucala include horseback riding on the beach or a visit to a traditional Fijian village (complete with a bure kalou or temple), which was replicated on the island. A private sunset sail on the island’s yacht can also be arranged, as can an aerial tour of the island.
Fly clients into Nadi Airport where they will be met by Laucala’s airport team and shown directly to the island’s private airport lounge and hangar. Guests are then transferred to Laucala Island, a 50-minute flight from Nadi, via the island’s private aircraft, a King Air B 200.