Luxury travelers looking for new experiences in off-the-beaten path destinations have a growing list of options in Fiji.
Last month, the $25 million, all-villa Nanuku Resort and Spa Fiji opened on two miles of private beach on the main island of Viti Levu, representing the latest hospitality investment in the country, which is increasingly popular with honeymooners, adventure travelers and others seeking unique tropical experiences.
The environmentally conscious Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, located on the island of Vanua Levu, is undergoing a series of major upgrades and enhancements.
And private island resorts such as Laucala Island, which claims to be 80% self-sustainable, are setting new standards in farm-to-table cuisine. The resort grows its own fruits and vegetables on a 240-acre hydroponic farm, and most of its seafood is caught within a within a mile of the shore to preserve the natural offshore habitat.
While Fiji has long been known for its remote and private beach resorts resorts, the past five or six years have brought renewed interest in luxury investment across the nation’s 333 islands.
“Fiji is enjoying a period of stability and prosperity because of its idyllic beauty [and] some of the friendliest people on earth" said Paul Cutler, sales and marketing manager for Nanuku resort, who also cited easy access via direct, ten-hour flights from Los Angeles on Fiji Airways, which last fall introduced new branding and plans.
“In the past five to six years, we have seen dramatic improvements in infrastructure, and with this comes Fiji’s luxury resort development," he added. "The successful management of our coral reefs and other natural resources are being noticed by our visitors and well received by tourism investors.
"With this stability, there is also a focus on retaining existing indigenous Fijian culture and acknowledging the mix of Melanesian cultures that make up Fiji, including Fijian and Indo Fijian. This provides a greater cultural experience ... which has proved to be something long-haul visitors are seeking.”
Nanuku is located on 55 acres of tropical gardens overlooking Beqa Lagoon, on one of the mainland’s spectacular white sandy beaches. It offers suites on the beach or overlooking the lagoon, with personal butlers, personal fitness trainers and private nannies.
Nanuku is the first resort in Fiji to offer large luxury villa-style accommodation, most with private plunge pools, outdoor living areas and daybeds. General manager Karen Taylor says the resort “blends contemporary luxury with traditional Fijian design, and provides travelers with an unforgettable experience, one that is romantic, adventurous and rich in culture.”
To mark its opening, the resort is offering a “Celebrate in Paradise,” five-night introductory package through March 3. The package is priced at $3,024, based on a five-night minimum stay in a Fijian style residence, and includes three meals a day.