Hilltop Villa at Laucala Island
Overwater Villa master bedroom
Bathing en plein air, Peninsula Villa
Calling Laucala Island paradise on earth is not idle rhetoric. First, this is Fiji. More specifically, Laucala encompasses 3,200 acres of luxury and exclusivity in the Pacific Ocean.
This very private island — covered in coconut groves, sprouting green mountains, bordered by pristine white-sand beaches, blue lagoons, coral reefs and all manner of ethereal natural beauty — was once owned by Malcolm Forbes and now belongs to Red Bull CEO Dietrich Mateschitz. Each of Laucala’s 25 Fijian-style villas is curvy and heroic, nuzzling into the island’s swoops, walls built from stone with massive wooden steps, soaring thatch roofs like clam shells, lashed-together railings, swinging bridges and private infinity pools and baths carved from stone. Each villa has its charms.
Hilltop Residence is a sojourn in its vast confines, with the services of a private cook, chauffeur and nanny. Overwater Villa (aptly named, as it’s perched on the water) and Peninsula Villa, whose living quarters are connected by rope bridges, both adhere to the resort’s commitment to responsible and sustainable environmental stewardship. For that matter, you can inquire about renting the entire island, as one Houston couple did to celebrate a birthday.
Five very fine restaurants and bars are stocked from the island’s 240-acre organic farm, including Wagyu beef, quail, duck, coconut crabs, lettuces, eggplant and vanilla. Of course, you may want to do more than lounge around your private pool and lagoon — we are perfectly happy to stay put. If you must go afield, you’ll find a golf course carved from the rainforest, 14 sleek watercraft, eight Fijian horses, rainforest walks and farm tours, a spa and a well-equipped gym with personal trainer and yoga instructor.
The thing about these far-flung paradises is the knotty problem of arrival and departure. Here, problem solved. A private landing strip accommodates all but oligarch-sized planes, and Nadi International Airport, Fiji’s main airport, is just 50 minutes away — it’s where all manner of big-brand planes land, and where Laucala Island’s King Air B200 spirits you away.
From $5,520 per couple per night, at laucala.com.