Enjoying a redefined level of luxury, Cathy Wagstaff relishes three days of sumptuous living. With massages, languid swims and unsurpassed service on Fiji’s most luxurious, and most private, COMO Laucala Island.
I really don’t want to leave. The private jet is waiting patiently to whisk me back to the real world, but here on what is unquestionably one of the most beautiful, most luxurious private islands in the world, I just want to linger and succumb to its charms a little longer.
COMO Laucala Island has been the most seductive experience, where absolute luxury merges with nature at its most idyllic. The resort spans the island’s northern coast, with villas stretching along private beaches or hidden among the hills. Buggies transport guests from the waterside spa to horse-riding lessons in the southern area of the island, passing a magnificent 18-hole championship golf course on the way.
It is a lush 1400-hectare island where nature reigns and architecture gracefully cedes superiority to the environment’s wild grandeur. Coconut groves grow alongside exotic orchids; jungle creeps to the edge of white sand beaches and hidden coves; and all is ringed by the stunning blue halo of its protective reef.
Room to move
Care and passion ooze into every detail. Each of the COMO Laucala Island Residences exists in splendid isolation amid wild and verdant surrounds. The morning greets me with songs from the forest, weaving through the free-flowing complex that is my beachfront Plantation Residence. Constructed with natural materials, including thatch roofs, bala bala fern stems and timber from the island, the villas are grand in every sense.
Space is the true luxury on COMO Laucala Island. Airy rooms supported by beams bearing traditional intricate designs lead out to a maze of pavilions. Containing my two huge outdoor granite baths and the vast open-air lounge. These meander down to the private infinity pool ringed by Tikki torches in the evening (which is conveniently just metres from my private beach). I also find the villa to be deceptively high-tech. For among the driftwood and pebbles hide modern Bose sound systems and all the fancy conveniences you could hope for. My personal Tao (meaning ‘my friend’ in Fijian) is on speed-dial. He ensures all three bar fridges are fully stocked with the finest drops the island has to offer.
The 97-hectare farm grows organic crops, as well as containing quail pens, subterranean coconut crab enclosures, a piggery, a duck pond and a cattle farm complete with abattoir. Beehives provide honey and chocolates are handmade in-house from the resort’s own cocoa beans. Three organic greenhouses produce vegetables the likes of which you’ll never find in your local supermarkets, and gardens nurture the flowers you find daily in your bure. More than a quarter of the island is covered by coconut groves, used for food, beauty products, building materials and cocktails under the soaring roof of the Pool Bar.
On COMO Laucala Island, paddock-to-plate dining is taken to a whole new level and eighty per cent of everything consumed in the resort, from fruit and flowers to candles and moisturisers, is produced on the island.
The COMO Shambhala Retreat spa is a remarkable showcase. Pools of lotus flowers surround the hilltop oasis, cooled by fresh ocean breezes. Guests can experience wet treatments with two Vichy showers available. I couldn’t resist a Fijian Bombo massage using Molikara Coconut Oil, one of the resort’s four signature scents. I chose well; the massage is sublime. And yet more bliss is to come. For the next day I’m spirited away on a speedboat to Tadra beach. It’s here champagne and a long, rejuvenating Swedish massage await.
On a paradise as naturally extraordinary as COMO Laucala Island, the great outdoors is as much a temptation as the spa. Riding on horseback through the coconut plantations is true peace. I also opt for a round of golf. The 18-hole championship course cuts through the green hills, carving out a place on the island that is mine alone. Even when the resort is at its maximum capacity of 89 guests, you will rarely meet another soul.
Water sports have their own appeal, and an entourage of instructors are on hand to take me jet skiing, wakeboarding and speedboat riding. Diving with glimmering tropical fish is available at 25 locations, or you can do it yourself right off the beach.
My last evening is aboard the COMO Laucala Island resort’s luxury yacht. From here the resort appears in all its glorious green wonder. Before disappearing into a black silhouette against the gold-stained sky.