Pick of the Pacific
Scattered around the translucent blues of the South Pacific are some of the world’s most beautiful island escapes
Far flung they may be, but these island resorts in Fiji and French Polynesia are well worth the effort to get to - think palm-fringed atolls surrounded by coral reefs, crystal-clear lagoons and hillsides dripping with tropical foliage.
Kokomo Private Island - Fiji
A breathtaking private paradise, Kokomo Island offers two long sweeps of white-sand beach, an interior criss-crossed by hiking tracks and superb diving and snorkelling on the Great Astrolabe Reef, one of the largest and best preserved barrier reefs on the planet.
Above the water there’s a calm, relaxed atmosphere. Both families and couples are warmly welcomed, and the 21 suites and villas provide ample privacy thanks to private plunge pools and in-room dining. They all open onto the most divine stretch of beach – so it’s easy to head straight from your bed to the ocean for an early morning swim.
For groups or large families travelling together, Fiji’s most spacious six-bedroom villa lies in wait, perched on the hilltop overlooking the verdant rainforest.
“Kokomo Island is as wild as it is luxurious. Hike jungle tracks to the island’s interior, marvelling at exotic bird calls and cooling off beneath enchanting waterfalls.”
Head to the spa for treatments to ease away jetlag. A traditional Fijian massage using smooth, warmed shells will simultaneously relax and rejuvenate.
Laucala - Fiji
From a distance, Laucala seems little more than a collection of grass-topped huts spread out over a rocky hillside. Coconut trees make way for white sand and at the shore, a perfect beach is licked by an astonishingly blue sea. It’s how you might imagine a castaway commune, built up over time.
This, however, is one of the world’s most exclusive resorts, and behind the rustic exterior you’ll find spacious suites and villas made up in the utmost tropical-luxe taste. A natural atmosphere pervades, with wraparound pools, large standalone tubs, vast teak beds and stone flooring. Sunken seating makes the most of stunning ocean views – this is the spot to hideaway with a loved one for sunset cocktails.
It’s very easy to enjoy downtime here but it would be shame to miss exploring the island. Ride horses through the rainforest in the early morning to the sounds of the dawn chorus, or take the two-seater submarine out over the reef and discover a world of bright corals and colourful, tropical fish.
“With just 25 villas and over 350 members of staff, service at Laucala is second to none.”
Golf fans will find the 18-hole course at Laucala distractingly beautiful as it winds its way around verdant jungle and white-sand beaches, lapped by azure water.
Six Senses - Fiji
Malolo Island, the largest of the Mamanuca Islands, is characterised by gently shelving bays, water as sparkly and blue as an aquamarine gemstone, and a hilly, grassy interior. At one end is this wow-factor Six Senses resort, with 26 private hideaways hidden among palm trees and foliage. Each secluded home is an enclave of barefoot luxury with a plunge pool, chunky furniture and outdoor bathrooms.
Spa lovers, surfers and eco warriors will find this private island to be the stuff of dreams. Catch a wave under expert tuition on famed surf spot Cloudbreak, rejuvenate at the spa with treatments that use traditional Fijian medicinal plants and hot lava shells, or connect with nature on a walk to the island’s highest point for spectacular panoramic views.
All this can be done with a clear eco-conscience too: the resort is 100% solar powered, with a reverse osmosis plant to create drinking water, and an innovative worm-based septic tank.
"This is the only resort in Fiji offering 24/7 transfers from the airport. Even if you land in the evening, you'll go straight to Six Senses without having to spend a night at a Viti Levu hotel."
Get under the skin of Polynesian culture with a Fijian Cultural Night. Enjoy warrior dancing before sitting down to join a ‘kava circle’ – where a traditional bitter drink is passed around while you listen to Fijian storytelling.
BORA BORA BLISS
The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort - French Polynesia
Set on its own isle within Bora Bora’s breathtakingly beautiful lagoon, the St Regis is the gold standard of tropical escapism. With powder-white sands fringed by lush jungle and aquamarine waters, this collection of opulent overwater bungalows is a honeymooner’s dream.
Perched like nests over the water, the stilted villas sit atop turquoise waters and come topped with traditional Tahitian thatch roofs. Inside, the hardwood floor is peppered with glass panels, allowing a direct view of the underwater marine life.
Foodies are especially well-catered for here. The overwater Lagoon Restaurant serves up a suitably tropical Asian-Fusion cuisine, you can feast on the freshest of seafood at beachside Te Pahu, plus the resort is home to Bora Bora’s first sushi restaurant and sake bar.
“The famed St Regis butler service is unrivalled – anything you want, at any time, is just a phone call away.”
Follow the crushed seashell path to the Miri Miri spa, which faces majestic Mount Otemanu. Then succumb to a Polynesian massage using sun-warmed monoi oil.
Le Taha'a Island Resort & Spa - French Polynesia
This luxurious hotel, set on a sandy, tropical islet, looks one way to the vanilla plantations of Taha’a, and the other to the striking silhouette of Bora Bora.
Polynesian character is rife throughout, from the ukuleles and traditional dancers that welcome you on arrival, to the decor and styling of the suites and villas, which feature locally sourced wood, traditional thatch roofs and decorative printed cloths. Particularly striking are the overwater bungalows, from whose private decks you can slip with ease into the tropical lagoon.
Snorkelling equipment, stand-up paddle boards and kayaks are free to use. You can dive with manta rays with the on-site scuba centre, visit rum distilleries and vanilla plantations on neighbouring Taha’a, or even make your own jewellery at a local pearl farm.
“For extra privacy, opt for the End of Pontoon Overwater Suite. It faces the horizon and is an amazing place to watch the sun rise.”
For a bird’s eye view of the paradise you’ll be inhabiting, take the helicopter ride from Bora Bora and admire the sensational palette of swirled blues and greens.
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