- Patrick Ball
With more than 300 volcanic islands making up its archipelago, Fiji has a great many beaches to its name, many of them scarcely touched by modernity. However it is not just snorkeling and swimming that constitutes a trip to Fiji, there are opportunities to explore its unique tropical ecosystem and its vibrant local culture. Here, we choose ten of the best places to stay in Fiji, from high end luxury resorts to local bed-and-breakfasts.
Coconut Grove Beachfront Cottages
With just three standalone bures (wood and straw huts) beside one restaurant, Coconut Grove is a tiny resort located on Taveuni, Fiji’s third largest island. Each hut is in a private, secluded spot surrounded by tropical foliage and is only a minute’s walk to the resort’s beach. Staff are available to guide travelers in snorkelling or on nature walks. Close to local villages and with a renowned restaurant serving fresh fish and seafood, Coconut Grove is a good option for those wanting to get away from the busier resorts and a little closer to Fijian culture.
Turtle Island Resort
Turtle Island, also known as Nanuya Levu, is located in the Yasawa Islands, a volcanic archipelago northwest of Viti Levu, Fiji’s main island. The island is privately owned by the luxury Turtle Island Resort, which, with its stipulation that only couples and solo travelers can stay, ensures total seclusion and peace. Meals are made from produce from the resort’s garden and served, either, communally at a long table or privately on the beach beside the Blue Lagoon.
Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort
Located near the town of Savusavu on the south coast of Vanua Levu, Fiji’s second-largest island, the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort is a family-oriented resort with a focus on preserving Fiji’s environment. Alongside more conventional resort activities such as scuba diving and kayaking, guests can learn about the tropical environment and its ecosystems, with lectures from an on-staff marine biologist and walks through mangroves and rain forests.
Levuka is the largest town on the island of Ovalau in the Lomaiviti Archipelago. Founded by European settlers in the early nineteenth century it was Fiji’s first modern town and it briefly served as the capital after its annexation by the British. The town retains much of its historic colonial architecture. The interior of the island is largely unspoiled with tours provided to traditional Fijian villages. The best option for accommodation on the island is Levuka Homestay, a small family-run bed and breakfast with three self-contained units on a hill overlooking the town. Breakfast is served each morning on the veranda.
Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort
Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort occupies the whole of Yanuca Island, a small island just off the southern coast of Viti Levu near Sigatoka. This island is connected to the larger island by a causeway. It is the largest hotel in Fiji: 442 rooms in three blocks linked by walkways and separate standalone bures. Every room offers views over the ocean or over the island’s lagoon. The luxury five star resort features a huge range of facilities from a spa to a golf course, as well as many restaurants.
Located thirty minutes off the shore of Viti Levu, Dolphin Island is a private, intimate boutique hotel with a number of immaculately designed and traditionally thatched bures. The resort consists of a main bure for entertaining, four guest suites, and an open air hilltop ‘sleep-out’ bure at the very top of the resort’s private island. Any guest booking is for the entire resort, meaning that one party (maximum of eight people) will have exclusive use of the island, its facilities and its staff for the entirety of their stay.
Dolphin Island, Viti Levu, Ra, Fiji, +647 378 5791
Taveuni Palms consists of three private villas set on a hill on the northern tip of the island of Taveuni, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Each modern, slickly designed villa is secluded from the others on its own plot of beachfront land, complete with a private pool and a full staff to provide service and meals. Taveuni itself is one of the world’s best sites for scuba diving and snorkeling. Its outstanding natural beauty lends itself well to hikes inland.
Another resort in the Yasawa Islands, the Octopus Resort, is based along the mile long beach of Likuliku Bay on Waya Island. It caters to a wide variety of guests, from families and honeymooning couples to backpackers, with a variety of accommodation options to match. Dormitories provide the opportunity for those on a budget to experience some of the best beaches and snorkeling in Fiji, while private bungalows and bures are available for those wanting luxury and seclusion.
Matangi Private Island Resort
Matangi Island, a small private island about twenty minutes from Taveuni by boat, is the home of a resort surrounded by lush tropical vegetation. In fact, three of Matangi Island Resort’s standalone bures are tree houses, suspended high in the air for privacy and stunning sea views. Other bures are closer to the ground and beach. All are hand constructed using local techniques and materials.
Likuliku Lagoon Resort
Likuliku Lagoon Resort is on Malolo Island in the Mamanuca Archipelago, to the west of Viti Levu. It is the only resort in Fiji to feature bungalows built over the lagoon. These lodgings stand on stilts, rising up from the water and feature glass floor panels to watch the fish beneath. The construction of the resort pays homage to traditional Fijian culture and architecture; it is designed to resemble an ancient village, but with the luxury of a modern resort.