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The Laucala Island Resort in Fiji is without a doubt one of the world’s top island resorts and once there it is easy to see why. It is very, very special.
It is hard to know where to begin with this place as there are just too many good things to say about the place. It might be expensive but it's worth every penny.
The island was bought from the publishing magnate, Malcolm Forbes by Dietrich Mateschitz, the co-founder and owner of Red Bull, in 2003. By 2008, he had turned the Laucala Island into arguably the world's best island resort. This is not an exaggeration. He has set out to create something special and spent vast sums of money in the process and in our opinion he has succeeded.
Getting here is a lot of fun in itself as you are whisked through arrivals at the international airport and straight onto one of the resort's private planes for the one hour flight. If you have your own jet, you can land directly on the island and they will fly the customs official over for you so you don't need to go via one of the main Fijian airports.
Laucala Island is huge and feels a bit like Jurassic Park. The 25 luxury villas are spread out over the island and you whizz around on suped up electric golf buggies or, if wanting to get to more remote parts of the island, in jet black landrovers.
The villas are made up of 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom units. All are similar in design and the difference is in their location on the island whether by the sea or perched up high. The villas are immaculate. Beautifully designed and incredibly tasteful; there is nothing ostentatious about them. All have huge bedrooms and living spaces, indoor and outdoor bathrooms, private pools and all manner of facilities such as sound system, fully stocked fridges (everything is included) and bathroom amenities created on the island.
Apart from the main villa types there are three specialty villas, the Peninsula, an overwater residence and Hilltop which is the owner's private residence and is ridiculously luxurious and huge!
In terms of what to do while here the list is very long. There is a beautiful spa offering a wide range of treatments, a fitness centre, boutique, a Fijian cultural village, a watersports centre, a library... the list goes on.
In terms of activities on the island, most centred on the water where there is waterskiing, wakeboarding, kayaking, diving, snorkelling, sailing and fishing - all of the gear is top notch and brand new. You can go mountainbiking or horse riding, play tennis or indulge in a spot of golf at the stunning (and very challenging) 18-hole golf course. There are also all manner of boats including sailing boats and, amazingly, one of the sailing boats that apparently won gold at the Beijing Olympics.
One of the nicest things about all of this is that it is completely on-demand - there is no set schedule for anything and you just call the concierge (from the mobile phone you are given in your room) at any time when you want to do anything - this is very rare throughout the world. And virtually everything is included so you never need to worry about your bill at the end of the holiday.
Dining is taken seriously and there are four main restaurants offering fine dining to bar snacks and everything in between including a teppanyaki grill! Wherever possible the ingredients are from the island itself including meat as there is a fully functioning farm with cattle, pigs and even Austrian chickens (which taste better apparently!).
And then there is the diving. While you can easily access the sites of the Somosomo Strait from here given the power of the boats, the local sites are just as impressive. Most of the diving is wall diving with incredibly healthy hard coral and excellent marine life; time your dive right with the tides and you can find all manner of big stuff including hammerheads, reef sharks and mantas. They also have their own soft coral dives to rival those of the Somosomo Strait and many of the dives are located within 20mins boat journey of the island.
The dive centre is very good. The team know these waters very well. All of the equipment is new and in great condition and they have an enviable selection of boats. There is no dive schedule so you can go diving whenever you want.
Overall, this really is an amazing place and undoubtedly one of the highest quality resorts in the world. The message is simple, go now (if you can). We will make it our mission to return as soon as we possibly can.
It's hard to know where to begin when talking about the Laucala Island Resort in Fiji. How about diving on demand? No schedule, just call and 10 minutes later you will be on the boat.
Neill, Original Diver