The Pacific has always conjured images of beachside perfection, palm trees, clear water and the simple pleasures of life, and indeed there are many simple pleasures to be enjoyed in this corner of the world from shabby chic, rudimentary seaside shacks to unspoiled village visits but … There are now many luxurious and more opulent offerings in both accommodation and shopping choices for sophisticated travellers to the region, here we take a tour of some of the best from Fiji to Samoa and Vanuatu.
There are any number of picture-perfect luxury island holiday experiences on offer around the Pacific, from boutique resorts, to major hotel chains to private villas with bespoke activities to match. Take the tour …
The Havannah, Vanuatu
Port Vila’s most luxurious accommodation is set on the shores of Havannah Harbour a scenic 25-minute drive from town and about 25 light years from care. The multi-award winning resort is home to 17 beautifully appointed air-conditioned villas either with lush garden surrounds or absolute waterfront settings, some with private infinity plunge pools. These also feature a daybed, a dining pavilion with BBQ so that you can enjoy private dinners provided by their chef plus decks which cantilever over the bay. In addition there is a spectacular split level lagoon pool shared with other guests. Among the many dining options is the Point Restaurant which has commanding 270-degree views to Havannah Harbour’s outer islands and serves only the freshest of local ingredients in its gourmet cuisine. www.thehavannah.com
Reef House, Vanuatu
The magnificent Reef House has been designed by renowned Australian architect, Peter Stutchbury, for modern island living and is among the finest villas on Efaté for holiday rental. Situated on the shores of Teouma Bay and just a 15-minute drive from town this stunning property offers accommodation for up to twelve people across its five bedrooms, with on-site staff available 5 days per week. Its inclusions range from a fully fenced in-ground pool to three bathrooms, one with a sunken bath plus two outdoor showers. There is also a full modern kitchen with large gas/electric oven, double dishwasher and an external galley kitchen for outdoor catering and meals.
The secluded bay is sheltered for swimming and snorkelling, and perfect for children and adults taking those long refreshing ocean dips. www.reefhousevanuatu.com
Paua Private Villas, Vanuatu
Paua offers a range of spectacular private, absolute beachfront villas in the Whitesands/Narpow Point area of Efaté. Most properties include on-site staff and en-suite accommodation, in-ground pools plus private beaches.
In-house catering, airport transfers and concierge advice is available to ensure your private resort holiday is everything you dreamed of. The houses on Paua’s list are among the finest in Vanuatu with facilities to match many of the better resorts with the added advantage of total privacy and exclusive use of the grounds and inclusions and are sited within easy reach of two of the island’s better waterfront restaurant/resort complexes. Perfect for sharing and a cost efficient way to split your holiday expenses with family and friends in luxe surroundings. Five-star Trip Advisor rated. For full details and bookings: www.paua.co
Le Lagoto, Samoa
Le Lagoto suggests that you ‘unwind on the ‘Big island’ at Savaii’s premiere boutique resort’ and this property is the perfect place to do just that. Located on a white sand beach, next to a crystal clear lagoon and nestled among lush tropical gardens Le Lagoto Resort and Spa offers all the convenience of a large resort but in an intimate island setting. This family owned and operated retreat was established in 1993 but in 2006 re-emerged as the beauty it is now.
With just 10 Samoa-style bungalows and two family rooms Le Lagoto offers traditional Samoan hospitality in a beautifully appointed beachfront location with the inclusions you’d expect of a high end holiday destination including excellent snorkelling, sea kayaks a fine restaurant, poolside bar and day spa. More info at: www.lelagoto.ws
Sheraton, Tokoriki, Fiji
Situated on a 35-acre beachfront property in the south-western corner of Tokoriki Island, the northernmost island within Fiji’s idyllic Mamanuca group, Sheraton Resort & Spa, Tokoriki Island is the only five-star, internationally branded hotel on the islands. With direct access to a private, white sand beach, the new look resort features a luxurious and fresh, island-inspired design philosophy. All 101 of the property’s guest rooms and suites embody the tranquil island location and the resort’s tropical surroundings, carried through in a white wash palette, accents of blue reminiscent of the surrounding ocean and complemented by natural, contrasting materials and textures including stone-finish floors and wooden furnishings. For those travelling as a couple, the resort offers 30 luxurious adult-only Tokoriki Retreats, designed to promote true rest and relaxation with their own private deck, plunge pool and uninterrupted ocean views. On the other side of the resort, families will find a range of child-friendly options.
Reopened in January 2017 after a AU$16 million refurbishment in the wake of Cyclone Winston in 2016 the upscale resort has been transformed throughout with the renovation encompassing all guest rooms, suites and public areas. New guest facilities have also been added to further enhance the luxe experience, including Sunset Bistro, a café-style dining venue, a Fijian cultural centre and a mini golf course. Headed up by Chef Adriano Avino, Flying Fish Tokoriki the resort’s waterfront dining option offers an exquisite menu of modern and traditional Pacific dishes, all bursting with flavour and fresh produce along with its beachfront location offering breathtaking views. www.sheratontokorikiisland.com
Your very own island escape. Enjoy sun-kissed days and star-filled nights in the beauty that is Sinalei, an untouched and delicately preserved island paradise boasting 29 stylishly designed villas.
Home to secluded balmy beaches and clear blue waters, Sinalei welcomes all, including adult families (children over 12). Indulging those who wish to unplug from their hectic lives, the remote resort strives to spoil guests with luxurious touches and personal experiences. Five-star dining, waterfront spa, signature activities and specialised event co-ordinators are just some of the luxurious inclusions available.
Sinalei says “But we are more than just a boutique resort. When you visit us, you visit the people of Samoa. You visit those who make up the villages of our great island home. You visit family.”
Sinalei is a locally owned boutique resort nestled within a sheltered lagoon along the Southern coast of Upolu Island. The resort is spread across 33 elegantly groomed acres of lush vegetation, creating an atmosphere of modern-rustic luxury combined with raw untouched beauty. But it’s more than what treats the eye. “We are a place steeped in tradition and love, where the people of the villages and surrounding environment combine to create a truly unique experience for all. It is no wonder Samoan kings and warriors of old would spend their time resting here in preparation for battle.”
For when nothing but the best will do check out their two bedroom beachfront villa. Positioned perfectly with panoramic views across the stunning white sands and turquoise lagoon, this residence comprises three standalone villas.
Allowing your tribe the perfect location to reconnect, by disconnecting, this rustic-chic suite of villas are joined by walkways and perfectly appointed gardens. Affording you the utmost in barefoot luxury and embodying the ambiance of island style.
This villa complex is designed with tropical whimsy for families wanting the most private and perfectly-located abode. Perfect for multi-generational bookings. One villa houses a master bedroom, indoor Jacuzzi and stunning panoramic deck, the second villa comes complete with all the creature comforts including a private bar, entertaining area and bi-fold doors extending out beneath the swaying palms.
Naisoso Resort Villas, Fiji
Naisoso Island Resort Villas really does offer the privacy of your own villa whilst meeting the services of a luxury hotel and in recognition of having achieved that, it has just received the 2016 World Luxury Hotel Awards for the Best Serviced Luxury Villas in Fiji. The awards are considered the Oscars of the luxury hotel industry and rewards the finest hotels for their luxury offerings and exceptional service delivery. This one joins their 2014 gong for the Luxury Villa Resort for Excellence in Service.
Naisoso means ‘peaceful place’ and that is exactly what’s on offer among their range of three- four- and five-bedroom private villas with beachfront, river or garden views. For more information and bookings, see: www.naisosoislandresortvillas.com
Situated at Angel Fish Cove on three acres of lush landscaped gardens with 100 metres of private beach you will be in your own piece of paradise when you holiday at Karibu. Inspired by Kenyan coastal architecture, Karibu, which means ‘welcome’ in Swahili, has lovely wide verandahs which run the full length of the house. Here the day beds and hammock are perfect for relaxing and gazing at the calm waters of Port Vila bay. This four-bedroom, four-bathroom villa comfortably sleeps nine people. With spacious living areas, four-poster king beds and views directly on to the sparkling ocean, this property is perfectly suited for families or friends traveling together. Beachside luxury at its exclusive best. Managed by Vanuatu Luxury Holiday Homes see: www.vanuatuluxuryholidayhomes.com
Jewels Fiji, Fiji
Fiji’s only Antwerp diamond dealer Romil Patel, the founder of Jewels Fiji has been providing his expertise in advising on the gem that is known as a ‘girl’s best friend’ since 2007. Romil is particularly proud of his direct knowledge of the centre of the world diamond trade in Antwerp, Belgium, a place where he honed his craft among the finest diamond merchants in the business. As an officially recognised Antwerp Diamond Broker he is among a select coterie of internationally recognised experts in the field and he considers it a privilege to use these skills to provide a standard of personalised service and attention to detail that is unique in Fiji.
Call in to the showrooms in Nadi, Suva and Denarau. And unlike many jewellers Romil doesn’t delegate giving jewellery advice to his staff, he always ensures that he attends to clients personally. www.jewelsfiji.com
Vanuatu’s favourite jeweller, Vanuatu Bijouterie (opened in 1981) specialises in the finest gemstones and Tahitian pearls available in Vanuatu. As well as these, Vanuatu Bijouterie offers semi-precious stones, local coral and other minerals and metals cut and polished at their Port Vila workshop every day, the end result being exquisite art for the discerning buyer.
Quality is assured with rings, pendants, earrings, necklaces and bracelets made to order. That Ni Vanuatu status symbol the pig’s tusk is a particularly beautiful base for a jewel encrusted bracelet along with tam tam amulets.
Choose one of their Vanuatu-inspired, original stunning designs, or suggest your own. Where: Nambatu area, past Au Bon Marché. Telephone: +678 776 8750.
At Likuliku Lagoon Resort (on Malolo Island in the Mamanuca Group) you’ll find the ultimate in understated island luxury and Fiji’s only over-water bures which sit directly above a reef. Likuliku is described as ‘Fiji’s unique luxury escape for couples’ (although it’s the sort of place where a single would feel entirely comfortable). Likuliku means ‘calm waters’ and calm is a state which is exuded here in spades.
While the jetty greeting is an ebullient round of bulas with musical accompaniment a pervading sense of peace and tranquillity is what this place is all about. There is plenty on offer for all tastes and levels of aerobic ability but the serenity of the surrounds tempers all activities, not in the spiritual sense that attaches to ‘wellness retreats’ but in a very civilised adult sort of way that comes with thoughtful, individual service and a respect for privacy and personal space, Which is not to say that the staff aren’t wonderfully welcoming and engaged, in fact I don’t think I’ve been anywhere where the people assigned to ensuring that their guests’ expectations are met are more genuinely proud of the levels of service and warmly embracing of their clients. I suspect that this authentic concern is a direct result of the employees having ‘skin in the game’ as they say in business circles.
Likuliku employs many of the local villagers who are direct recipients of the land charges and a percentage of sales, so in turn have a sense of ownership and a sincere interest in seeing that every holiday is a memorable success for both sides. The dining, drinking and accommodation options all are the equal of the service so it’s a case of – first among equals. Email: email@example.com or www.likulikulagoon.com
The Grand Pacific Hotel, Fiji
The spectacular Grand Pacific Hotel is the Grande Dame of Suva’s hospitality industry and rightly claims to be where ‘elegance meets history’ from its liveried doorman to its galleried foyer and brass ceiling fans, it oozes style.
With its colonial Raffles-esque main building the Grand Pacific has been at the heart of Suva’s social life and high society since its opening in 1914 when the room rate was eighteen shillings and sixpence per night. Since then it has hosted royalty, actors, authors and aviators and an opera singer. It has also suffered the indignity of having fallen into disrepair, decrepitude and closure for 22 years before a glorious revival after a multi-million dollar renovation and re-birth in time for her centenary in May 2014. For more on how to live like royalty: www.grandpacifichotel.com.fj
Taumeasina Resort, Samoa
Taumeasina Island Resort in Samoa was marketed as four and half star luxury, situated on its own private island when it opened recently and … Seeing is believing and we can happily confirm, this resort lives up to expectations.
We stayed in a family villa, comfortably sleeping six people, with a full kitchen, laundry, two bathrooms and three bedrooms. The Resort caters to couples, families travelling together and the business and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) market. The resort has two private beaches, a cascading resort pool, fine dining and casual restaurants, lobby bar, sunset bar overlooking the ocean, day spa and a number of venue options for wedding ceremonies and an outdoor kids’ play area. www.taumeasinaislandresortsamoa.com
Natadola Beach, Fiji
Live your dream lifestyle overlooking the turquoise waters and famous white-sand beach of Natadola, while enjoying access to the facilities of the neighbouring InterContinental Resort including bars, restaurants, pools and the lavish day spa. With the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course just a short stroll from your front door, you could spend every day refining your game on Fiji’s finest 18-hole golf course.
Secure your piece of land and create your ideal family home that is perfect for couples or large families. Alternatively, make a smart investment decision and purchase a piece of real estate to add to your portfolio.
Natadola Beach Land Estates is being developed by Natadola Bay Resort Limited, a privately incorporated entity fully-owned by the Fiji National Provident Fund. The estate is an exclusive gated community set on 50 acres comprising 44 lots ranging in size from 1600 sqm to 1900 sqm, its residents will enjoy 24-hour professional security and the certainty of a 99-year pre-paid lease included in the sale price. The lots feature breathtaking elevated views of the Pacific Ocean, Natadola Bay and surrounding hillside and are within walking distance of the acclaimed Natadola Beach voted by CNN as among the top 20 beaches in the world. The estate is pet-friendly and construction of the first model home is scheduled for early 2017.
For those looking to invest, Natadola Beach is the perfect location to enjoy everything Fiji has to offer, without sacrificing convenience and proximity. Lots now selling from FJ$599,000. For further information: www.natadolabeach.com.fj
Eratap Beach Resort,Vanuatu
Thankfully Vanuatu doesn’t do opulence, it wouldn’t suit the climate, the culture or the customers. Casual elegance it does do and Eratap Beach Resort does it very well.
The resort occupies a private peninsula between a lagoon and the sea about 20 minute’s drive from Port Vila where you’ll find a certain sense of remote charm and the finest in beachfront dining.
Originally with only 12 villas the resort is ‘boutique’, indeed it has won several tourism awards for best boutique resort, so it’s official. Every villa fronts the white sand beach and every one enjoys uninterrupted ocean views and comes with its own beachfront fare for lounging, dining or viewing the spectacular sunsets. The good news is that this little clutch of luxury is to be joined by two new deluxe waterfront villas each of which will sleep up to five people in three separate buildings and include private plunge pools right on the beach.
Another addition is the new chef Kazutomo Miyano, a French-trained Japanese veteran of the New Zealand lodge scene for the past eight years. He’s settled into his warmer surrounds with enthusiasm and is keeping the kitchen humming in top condition with food to die for, well, at least take the trip to the beach for.
Considering the facilities, which include a pool, pristine beaches and waterways, a perfectly preserved reef for snorkelling, kayaking, picnicking on deserted islands and a welcoming local village, the rates, which range from AU$600 upwards are extremely reasonable. Check the website for more at: www.eratap.com
Ratua, Santo, Vanuatu
Upon arrival at Ratua Private Island just off Santo’s south coast the beachside BBQ is already alight with two lobsters standing by as we are led to our suite of villas to freshen up before lunch. There simply aren’t enough travel brochure clichés to do justice to this place, it is another world but within another world. The genesis was in 2005 when the French owner was sailing across the Pacific and found himself enchanted by Vanuatu’s untouched lifestyle, so he bought his own island. He then created a private paradise before deciding to share it with paying guests. The 15 Indonesian style villas are a perfect blend of simplicity and luxury with easy access to the limpid waters of the Segond Channel and some of the finest fare and fishing in Vanuatu on offer to the lucky few. For bookings and more see: www.ratua.com
The arrival of Elysium in Port Vila elevated duty free shopping to another, more sophisticated, international level so that it is now the destination for travellers seeking the finest duty free goods in the capital. They offer a wide range of Swiss watch brands, fine jewellery, including Allure South Pacific Pearls along with Swarovski crystal and a range of luxury products that display beauty elegance and style.
As we all know your watch says a lot about your personal style and a Swiss watch says it best, Elysium’s range of Tissot, Longines, Tag Heuer, Oris, Edox, Victorinox, Gc and Rado timepieces are genuine statement pieces that enhance any wrist and reflect the renowned workmanship that makes every item from these master craftsmen a collectible. Next to the BRED bank in the Rossi shopping complex on the main street.