Fiji’s oldest operating resort is undergoing a transformation, taking it to the next level in style and elegance. We met the locals and fell in love with this village within a village.

Sunset Sensations

At four o’clock every afternoon the Island Bar at Musket Cove Island Resort puts on quite a show. Locals, visiting yachties, resort guests, guests from neighbouring resorts and even a few people from the mainland congregate on the bar stools as they wait for sunset.

This is no ordinary resort bar, in fact it doesn’t feel like you’re at a resort at all – and that’s just the way the guests seem to like it.

The drinks are cheaper, the guests all seem to know each other and there are families standing around a barbie cooking dinner.

You could be in someone’s backyard, except this back yard is the stunning Mamanuca islands of Fiji.

Musket Cove Island Resort is a sprawling 400-acre property on Malolo Lailai island, surrounded by the blue and green hues of the Mamanucas. This four-star beach resort blends the barefoot ambience of a tropical island with the warm hospitality and traditions of the Fijian people.

First opened in 1976, the resort is still owned by the same family.

Original owners and developers Dick and Carol Smith’s daughter Josephine and son-in-law Will Moffatt have lovingly renovated and expanded the resort with elegant styling. The entrance is spectacular; high ceilings with exposed beams, antique furniture and memorabilia, you are immediately transported to colonial times.

Musket Cove was a working copra plantation before the resort was built and you can see the history on the walls. There is a quaint general store attached to the resort and an upscale gift shop selling everything from designer cushions to Camilla kaftans.

It’s an eclectic resort, partly because the renovations are continuing (although the resort schedules these so there’s no impact on guests) so one minute you’re dining in the revamped Dick’s Place restaurant with it’s a` la carte menu, extensive and well priced wine list and superb service, the next you’re shopping with the local villagers for supplies.

The pace of life is smooth and unhurried and again a community feel prevails. The staff will play beach volleyball with the guests, not because they have to, but because it’s home to them too.

Of the resort’s 55 rooms, over half have been renovated. The offerings range from beachfront adults-only fares with separate living rooms to family units with plunge pools.

The new pool area with private cabanas is gorgeous and uncrowded. In fact nothing at Musket is crowded – you can wander the island and hardly see another soul, right up until sunset of course, when the troops all gather at the Island Bar.

Musket Cove Island Resort caters to families and couples, groups and the passing yachties keen to stretch their legs and enjoy an air conditioned room for a while.

Whilst the neigbouring resorts attract schoolies, Musket attracts schooners. The private marina offers a launching point for unforgettable fishing, scuba diving, snorkelling, surfing and sailing excursions, while watersports like paddle boarding, kayaking, catamaran sailing and windsurfing await on the resort’s beach.

Whether you’ve come to do everything or absolutely nothing at all, Musket Cove Island Resort & Marina offers an authentic Fiji holiday experience. It is a village within a village and you’ll leave feeling part of the family.

Twice daily connections are available from Denarau on the Malolo Cat or seaplane transfers can be arranged from Nadi International Airport.

www.musketcovefiji.com