Fiji conjures up images of a dreamy landscape, dazzling beaches, a salubrious climate and a country blessed with warm and hospitable people. The average Fijian is so friendly that falling in love with this speck of paradise becomes a truly graceful act of conversion, which is far, far removed from the cut throat jet set corporate world.

Words Subhasish Chakraborty

Fiji conjures up images of a dreamy landscape, dazzling beaches, a salubrious climate and a country blessed with warm and hospitable people. The average Fijian is so friendly that falling in love with this speck of paradise becomes a truly graceful act of conversion, which is far, far removed from the cut throat jet set corporate world.

Words Subhasish Chakraborty

This island nation comprises as many as 320 islands, many of which are uninhabited. The main island is Vitu Levu with its capital city Suva, which interestingly has two names – in the east the city is referred to as Suva while in the west as Nadi. Nadi is actually the point of entry to Fiji as the international airport is located here from where visitors disperse to their chosen islands.

Fiji with a population of 900,000 is an eclectic mix of native Fijians (56%) and Indians (38%). Other races like Europeans, Rotumans, Chinese and Pacific Islanders make for a truly diverse racial mix.

The average Fijians are of Melanesian origin, with a blend of Polynesian, which is predominant in Eastern Fiji. The spirit of Fijian wanderlust is best epitomised by the fact that families trace their ancestry through 11 generations – it invariably starts with migrant sea people who sailed to the Fijian shores from far-away lands and gradually settled down in Fiji in the midst of a fellow Melanesian populace who already inhabited the gorgeous Fijian landscape.

The big question now is: how do you differentiate Polynesians from the Melanesians? Well, generally the Polynesians are tall and well built, possess fair skin and straight hair, while the Melanesians are shorter and darker skinned.

Laucala – Welcome To The World Of The Super Rich

Back in 1972, billionaire business magnate Malcolm Forbes bought this idyllic retreat and transformed Laucala as his private sanctuary. Its present owner, Red Bull mogul Dietrich Mateschitz, has left no stone unturned in fashioning a magnificent island hideaway, resulting in top end luxury that guarantees total privacy. Out here in serene Laucala, each of the 25 villas are all sensational adaptations of time-honoured Fijian residences.

In the words of Dietrich himself, “Our integral philosophy encompasses the whole island, growing our own livestock and vegetables, caring for the environment and hand making all our own guest products using the island´s natural resources. We have tried to preserve the integrity and history of Laucala in this way”. Truly, Laucala epitomises eco-tourism exemplification.

Each carefully crafted villa comes with its own private pool and once inside, the distinctive Fijian décor takes your breath away – be it the sofa sets or the bathtub! Tell me, which island hideaway can lay claim to cook any plausible meal for you? Laucala does that, literally!

Comprising 3,500 acres of coconut plantations and green rolling hills, alongside dreamlike stretches of sandy beaches, here the switch from indoor to outdoor is one of the most harmonious, unmatched by other island hideaways largely due to the resort’s respect, admiration and commitment for vernacular Fijian architecture. No wonder that Condé Nast Traveler has ranked Laucala as a top 20 Resort in the Australia/Pacific region.

According to The Telegraph: “This private-island holiday home of Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz is almost kitsch in its perfection: four square-miles of private forest and coconut groves, cut through with a golf course, pools and waterfalls. With just 25 villas, and almost 350 staff, the service is as glorious as the island’s setting”.

Laucala is remote – to the north of the archipelago and surrounded by coral reefs and lush green mangrove forest – making it ideal for an escape from civilisation and embracing a paradigm culture and nature shift. Evolving as Fiji’s largest tourism development project ever, Dietrich’s passion for everything big and expansive finds reflection in the resort’s in-house submarine with shark sighting a regular phenomenon. This seven-metre semi-submersible submarine reportedly cost $2 million.
Here in Laucala, privacy is of the utmost importance. The impeccably appointed residences or ‘Bures’ as they are referred to in the local Fijian parlance, have been rather meticulously crafted, relying predominantly on locally available materials like bamboo, cane, etc.

For the quintessential foodie, Laucala’s offerings are simply irresistible and they make good use of the island’s organic produce as fruits and vegetables are all sourced from the resort’s signature kitchen garden. Apart from an enticing array of nouveau international cuisine, you can experience many authentic Fijian dishes.

The principal dining venue is a thoroughly renovated old plantation residence and needless to say the service too is every bit as colonial. The culinary norm here is that all meals are nicely complemented with wines and spirits to match the dining temperament.

Sensitive to the guests’ spirt of wanderlust and curiosity for things Fijian, the Laucala authorities offer truly immersive cultural experiences in their own private culture village where traditional Fijian dance, drama and musical performances are staged. The Kava ceremony in particular is an outright hit with guests as they partake of the centuries old traditional drink of Fiji from the community bowl.

For those desiring a Spa treatment, the Laucala Wellness Spa has four suites, all with shower and changing rooms. The mesmerising views from the clifftop are every bit as stunning. The best part of the Laucala Spa is that all the herbs and flowers are grown in the resort’s in-house gardens.

Dietrich’s love for Golf meant that the 18-hole Championship golf course at Laucala had to be world class and so he roped in Scotsman David McLay-Kidd to design and construct it. PGA professionals support golfers at Laucala and what is more, a chauffeur and nanny are on call too.

Traveller’s Fact File

Rates: Villas cost in the range of $4,800 per night + taxes.
Accommodation: Plantation Villas – Located in the midst of the coconut plantation, with a private beach.
Plateau Villas – Ensconced on Nawi Mountain, offering breathtaking views of the sea, providing a front row seat to a beautiful sunrise every morning.
Seagrass Villas – Set in the idyllic Seagrass Bay in the midst of tropical jungle. The villas are impeccably appointed with wooden decks and the pool complements the oceanic views.
Reaching There: Fiji is currently open to international travellers, but make sure you are aware of your country’s latest restrictions before booking.
Airlines That Fly To Nadi: Fiji Airways, British Airways, Qantas, KLM, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Korean Air, etc.
Once you have landed in Nadi, a King Air B200 transports you to Laucala island. The journey time is 50 minutes.
Island Buyout: US$ 170,000 per night (minimum five nights). One-bedroom villa costs $US 4,800 per night, minimum three nights. For a three-bed villa – $US 8,800 per night.
(All costs are subject to 25 per cent local government tax).


For further information and reservations, please feel free to contact: Laucala Island Resort Limited
c/o KPMG, Chartered Accountants, 10 BSP Suva Central, Renwick Road, Suva, Fiji. T: (+679) 888 0077
F: (+679) 888 0099