In this Fijian island paradise, guests enjoy stunning ocean views and pampering service
The Fijian island of Taveuni is the epitome of a tropical paradise. Known as the garden island, it is a land of lush forests and flowers, where waterfalls cascade from a mountain lake, and the shores are surrounded by some of the most colorful coral reefs in the world. Much of the island remains pristine and protected within national parks, and the lush forests and mountains contain palms, ferns, orchids and other plants found nowhere elsewhere on earth. There are no large resorts on Taveuni, and guests are instead housed in intimate beachfront properties that take pride in delivering the highest levels of warm and personal service. Here are three of the best places to stay on the island.
Paradise Taveuni Resort
When new owners acquired a popular backpackers hostel in 2006, they began a sweeping upgrade that transformed this waterfront property into an upscale boutique resort. A year later, Paradise Taveuni opened for business with its existing rooms upgraded, and two new luxurious Fijian- style bures added to the resort’s five-acre oceanfront grounds. Paradise Taveuni is located on the southwest corner of Taveuni, where it is close to the world-famous dive sites of Rainbow Reef. Don’t expect sandy beaches; because this area of the coast features volcanic shores that quickly transition to deeper water. This is good news for divers and snorkelers, who can step right from the resort’s pier into some of the most pristine coral reefs in the world. The resort also offers fishing, paddle sports and other watersports, while land activities include hiking, horseback rides, guided tours, cultural excursions, spa services and more.
Each of the resort’s traditional thatch-roofed bures combines traditional Fijian architecture with contemporary design and standards. Five oceanfront bures have uninterrupted water views from the spacious decks, and also provide Jacuzzi tubs set in private gardens. Five more bures sit in lush South Pacific landscaping with partial ocean views. All are hand-built from local coconut and rain tree woods, with glass doors that open to a spacious deck completed with a Fiji daybed. The grounds also include five air-conditioned rooms, which can be configured for couples with a king-size bed, or connected into a two-bedroom suite with bunk beds to accommodate families or groups. Accommodation plans include three meals a day.
Taveuni Island Resort and Spa
The premier features of this five-star property can be summed up in two words: views and service. Taveuni Resort and Spa is located on the island’s west coast, set against a backdrop of lush mountain slopes, while sitting on pristine sand looking out into the crystal clear blue waters of the Somosomo Straits. Each of the resort’s private villas is positioned to take full advantage of these world-class views, which includes magnificent sunsets. Fijian hospitality is some of the warmest in the world, and for the ultimate in attentive service; each guest of Taveuni Island Resort is assigned a personal staff member, and can enjoy 24/7 service through the front desk.
There are just 12 luxury villas spaced across the ten-acre grounds of the resort. Save for one garden villa, all have partial or full ocean views, and feature floor-to-ceiling windows on all sides. The bure-style villas are open plan, with lounge areas that open to a spacious outdoor living area that includes rainforest-style showers. Each villa has a small kitchenette for in- room snacks and drinks, while all meals are included in the accommodation plan. The resort’s chefs create a true farm-to-table dining experience, making extensive use of local seafood and meats, and incorporating organic ingredients picked from an on-site garden. Guests can enjoy relaxing treatments at the on-site spa, or enjoy a massage on their villa deck. Other signature activities include a day trip and picnic to a remote out island, and a guided excursion to Lavena and Bouma Heritage Parks.
Tides Reach Resort
With just four beachfront villas, the Tides Beach Resort is able to offer a truly personalized, all-inclusive vacation experience. All villas are set on a private beach that faces the waters of the Somosomo straits. Included in all stays are meals, daily snorkel excursions, water sports and traditional Fijian cultural events. Guests have access to paddleboards and kayaks, and can arrange for diving and fishing trips, horseback rides and guided island tours to sites such as Lake Tangimouci, Bouma waterfalls, or the Lavena coastal walk. The spa provides both traditional Fijian and international treatments, using all-natural Pure Fiji products. For the ultimate vacation or wedding experience, the entire resort can be hired for groups of up to 12 adults.
Tides Beach Resort’s standard beachfront villas are a generous 800 square feet, with king-size beds, oversized bathrooms and wrap-around decks. The deluxe beachfront villa is 1,200 square feet, and includes a separate sitting area, which can accommodate a family of four with additional twin beds. The designer-chosen furnishings showcase a mixture of European, South African & Indonesian styles, with touches such as stand-alone soak tubs, Belgium lines and designer bath amenities that create an atmosphere of pampered luxury. The staff is always available for special requests such as in-room dining, though most guests prefer to take their meals in the open- air dining pavilion that also enjoys uninterrupted ocean views. Meals are created from the resort’s own organic farm and garden, with dishes showcasing freshly picked herbs, organic vegetables and tropical fruits as well as free-range meats. In true Fijian style the food is artfully presented as a feast for all the senses.