Likuliku Lagoon Resort, Fiji
What is it? A romantic couples-only hideaway with 46 bures (cottages), Likuliku Lagoon Resort is located on Malolo Island, in Fiji's Mamanuca archipelago, a 10-minute helicopter flight or 30-minute speedboat ride from Nadi. It's the first resort in Fiji to offer luxurious overwater bures in the style French Polynesia is famous for.
Luxurious, you say? This is barefoot South Pacific opulence at its finest, built in the style of a Fijian village, using local hardwood such as mahogany and thatch made from pandanus palms. The bures have private decks, open-air showers, DVD players, internet access, king-size beds and luxe bathroom amenities. The soft furnishings are contemporary in style, with Polynesian and Melanesian touches.
The main drawcards are the 10 stunning overwater bures, suspended over a coral-reef lagoon. But even the entry-level bures qualify as luxurious. Set along a stretch of pristine beach, these have outdoor thatched lounging pavilions surrounded by greenery and flowering hedges. Some come with small plunge pools.
Is the spa anything to write home about? Once you've tried it, you'll be back for more. The Tatadra Spa's House of Dreams is a four-room spa located in a thatch-roof building on the water's edge. On the menu are spa rituals that draw from traditional Fijian indigenous techniques, such as banana-leaf wraps, and use Pure Fiji natural body-care products made from drift nut oils and botanical extracts.
Can we bring the children? Definitely not; Likuliku is for couples only ('likuliku' means 'a place of calm waters') and is a popular spot for honeymooners and romantic weekends. Ahura Resorts, the Fijian company that owns Likuliku, has a superb family-friendly resort a few kilometres away, where the boisterous can disturb the waters to their hearts' content.
What's the food like? Dining is a key element of the experience. The resort's restaurant, Fijiana, serves up an innovative Pacific Rim menu that showcases produce such as seafood and tropical fruit. Lunch is usually made up of three courses, with a Fijian-accented dessert. Surprisingly, there is no room service here, due to the long distances between bures.
Would we go back? Fijians are the most wonderfully natural hosts. The combination of barefoot luxury, snorkelling, lovely weather and happy people makes it a place most people will want to visit again.
What's the bottom line? A beachfront bure is 1,594 Fijian dollars (HK$7,000) a night; an overwater bure is 2,676 Fijian dollars. The Summer Bonus (from November 1 to March 31) starts from 3,985 Fijian dollars per person for five nights. It includes meals and 500 Fijian dollars credit to spend at the spa and boutique or on activities.
Likuliku Lagoon Resort is on Malolo Island, tel: 679 666 3344; www.likulikulagoon.com.