Hotel Highlights

  • Expert dive shop, directed by the son of scuba-pioneer Jacques Cousteau
  • Free Bula Club for kids, with a complimentary dawn-to-dusk nanny service
  • Laid-back shoreside location with eco-aware design and back-to-nature activities

Overview

With diving run by the son of legendary scuba-pioneer Jacques Cousteau, shoreside eco-retreat Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort is all about underwater exploration, and even boasts a marine biologist. The free Bula Club for kids and dawn-to-dusk nanny service means families flock to this coastal sanctuary on tropical Vanua Levu Island, too, while adults-only dining and the seductive spa will please romantics.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort with us:

A private island picnic for two, and free breakfast and lunch prior to 2pm check-in if arriving earlier

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort

Romance Package: Stay 5 Pay 3 Stay 6 for the price of 5 Relaxation Package: Stay 6, Pay 4 Dive & Rejuvenation Package: Stay 6 Pay 4

Facilities

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Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort Hotel — Fiji Islands — Fiji

Need To Know

Rooms

25, including three suites.

Check–out

11am; check-in, 2pm, both flexible subject to availability. Free breakfast and lunch for early arrivals, and lunch for late departures.

Rates

Double rooms from $863.78 (AU$930), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

All-inclusive rates cover à la carte meals, non-alcoholic drinks, kids' club, nanny service (8am–9pm) and Fijian buddies for older children, most resort activities, meet and greet at Nadi and Savusavu domestic airports, and return Savusavu transfers.

Also

Tap into Fiji's healing heritage at the two beachfront, open-air Ocean Spa Bures, where the signature Bobo Massage harnesses generations-old combinations of sweeping hand strokes and tropical nut oils. Daily yoga, and rainforest and waterfall hikes, are also wellbeing boosters.

At the hotel

Bula Club for kids, nannies and buddies, private beach and mini island, four swimming pools, spa, dive shop, marine biologist, watersports, fishing, mountain bikes, tennis and volleyball court, table tennis, trampoline, restaurant, bar, library, TV and video room, board games, boutique, playground, gardens, concierge, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: minibar with free soft drinks and bottled water, fridge, black-out curtain, pillow menu, own-label toiletries, beach bags, umbrella, flowers.

Our favourite rooms

For soothing views of Savusavu Bay, we like the Oceanfront Bures and Suites, which are closer to the beach than the Garden View Bures (pick one of the more private rooms, furthest from reception). For extra seclusion and space, treat yourself to a stay at one of the three split-level Point Reef Bures, or the luxe Villa, which boasts its own walled garden with spa tub and waterfall. Styling is traditional Fijian, with thatched roofs, plantation shutters and bright bedding.

Poolside

The adults-only oceanfront Serenity Pool by the bar is a sleek, infinity-edge number flanked by orange day-beds and a shady pergola for a sociable scene. It only welcomes teens age 13 or over, but younger kids can choose between three dedicated pools, including the Family Pool with a 20-foot waterslide alongside the Bula Club, the Junior Pool or the cascading Water Mushroom Pool for toddlers.

Packing tips

Mossie repellent is always handy in the tropics. Bring your dive certificate if you're a scuba devotee, and your mask set if you prefer to use your own gear. An underwater camera is a must for persuading fish to say 'cheese'.

Also

Three-night minimum stay; five nights from 22 December–5 January inclusive. Smoking is allowed outdoors only, not in rooms or dining areas.

Children

Welcome: babysitting is free from 8am–9pm (then FJ$3 an hour, 9pm–11pm), and the free Bula Club offers endless kids' activities. Baby cots and extra beds for two kids under 13 are provided gratis (for a third child, a bed costs AU$170 a night).

Read more

Eco‐friendly

Marine conservation is key here: the resort has an in-house marine biologist, a reef protection programme and a giant clam-breeding project. As in traditional Fijian villages, buildings are tailored to their tropical environment, with natural, flow-through ventilation, sustainable timber construction and roofs thatched from local reeds. Produce from the organic garden is served in the restaurant, eco-friendly Pure Fiji toiletries are used in the spa, and water is recycled through lotus-dotted lagoons.

Food & Drink

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Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort Hotel — Fiji Islands — Fiji

Hotel Restaurant

Chef Raymond Lee keeps the pans flipping at the open-air restaurant, which stars international and Fijian cuisine that's strong on locally caught fish and seafood, and organic produce from the hotel's garden. Typical dishes on the daily changing menu include New Zealand lamb or chargrilled wahoo with sweet corn and prawn salad. Set under a soaring temple roof, the dining area serves up appetising sea views, too, or you can dine out poolside or in a separate adults-only sanctuary. Musicians may serenade you come evening, and there’s a weekly Lovo Feast, where traditional Fijian food is cooked in an earth oven. Don’t miss the tasty afternoon tea. You can also request a beach or island picnic, or a private barbecue by the pool.

Hotel Bar

Mojitos and margaritas are the order of the day in the poolside bar, which overlooks the ocean and blue-tinged hills beyond. During cocktail hour, expect to be serenaded with tunes from the local 'Beach Boys' band.

Last orders

Breakfast is served at the resort restaurant from 7am–10am, lunch from 11am–2pm and dinner from 6pm–8pm. The bar keeps the cocktails coming from 8am until 11pm, but is at its busiest from 5.30pm–7.30pm.

Room service

Available from 8am–8pm, with dishes from the restaurant menu during meal times, and light snacks at other hours. Free drinks include speciality loose-leaf tea, ice tea, all types of coffee, soft drinks and bottled water.

Smith Insider

Dress code

We feel a kaftan coming on. Bright and breezy should suit this laid-back South Pacific scene.

Top table

Poolside at the restaurant, or opt for romance-revving private dining by lantern light at the pier's end, on seductive ocean decks, or in one of the thatched beachfront bures (all at extra cost).

Local Guide

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Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort Hotel — Fiji Islands — Fiji
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Local restaurants

Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort offers all-inclusive meals, so you'll probably want to eat in, but pretty nearby town Savusavu is just an hour's walk away (or a 15-minute drive) if you fancy checking out some local restaurants and watering-holes.

Dating back to the 1800s, Copra Shed Marina (+679 885 0457; www.coprashed.com) was once a loading bay for the local copra industry (coconut meal used to extract coconut oil), which dominated these parts. It now serves as a hub for tourists and expats, offering flight and ferry bookings, postcards, email, currency exchange, a well-stocked bottle shop (Savusavu Wines & Spirits), and laundry services, hot showers and toilets for yachties. Swing by for the restaurant, the Captain’s Café, which does a good line in pizza and beer. There’s a small historical display and if you’ve arrived by boat you can arrange marina moorings here.

Ideal for a cocktail with a waterside view – we suggest a margarita – or tasty lobster and fillet mignon, Surf ‘n Turf (+679 885 3033) is a respected spot in the Waterfront Building on Savusavu’s main street. It’s owned by Fijian chef Vijendra Kumar who was trained at Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, and is open for lunch, dinner, coffee and drinks. Tasty Fijian meals draw on local vegetables, spices and herbs, with curries and seafood a speciality. The house-made ice-cream comes highly recommended, including delicious coconut and coffee flavours. Service can be erratic, but hey, you’re on Fiji time.

A humble, local Fijian-Indian restaurant with just a scattering of tables, cosy eatery Country Kitchen (+679 927 1372) cooks up a storm. Chicken or fish curry with roti, dahl, rice and split-pea soup is popular with the locals, or opt for a veggie curry if you can’t handle the bones. It’s very affordable, and right across the street from the bus station.

Local bars

The first social club in the South Pacific for European settlers, Planters’ Club (+679 885 0233) is a colonial-era affair at the western end of Savusavu where planters came to drink after bringing in the copra. Once strictly open to members’ only, and their bona fide visitors, you can now ask bar staff to sign you into the register as a guest. You can sense the history in this tropical clapboard space, with vintage photographs on walls of past club presidents and members. Play a spot of pool, order a cold, young coconut at the bar (or throw in some rum) or chow down on curried goat or lamb and puri. Happy hour is 5.30pm–6.30pm, and opening hours are usually 10am–10pm on weekdays, and until 11am and 8pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Yachtie types and expats throng the wharfside bars at the Savusavu Yacht Club (+679 885 0685), at the Copra Shed (open Monday–Saturday, 10am–10pm; Sunday, noon to 10pm), and the nearby Waitui Club (+679 885 0536), upstairs at Waitui Marina, which sports nautical decor and tropical views from its deck (tourists can be temporary members).

Local cafés

With an expansive, open deck on Savusavu’s main street, Decked Out Café (+679 885 2929) is the go-to spot for people-watching over breakfasts, burgers and sandwiches. There are daily specials, and you can wash the whole lot down with fruit smoothies. Sunset views are no slouch either.

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Seaside coconut plantation

Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort

Lesiaceva Point, Savusavu, Vanua Levu

Near the bayside town of Savusavu on the south coast, Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort is strung along the shore of north-easterly Vanua Levu, Fiji's second largest island.

Planes

Fly into Nadi International Airport (www.airportsfiji.com) on Fiji's main island, Viti Levu. From there, it's just under an hour’s shared charter flight north-east to Savusavu Airport on Vanua Levu island with Island Hoppers (www.helicopters.com.fj) – which also offers helicopter rides (75 minutes). Cheaper, but less reliable, domestic airline Pacific Sun (www.fijiairways.com) flights take 70 minutes. Alternatively, Pacific Island Air (www.pacificislandair.com) provides seaplane charters from Nadi Airport to Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort’s jetty. If you’re flying from Fiji’s capital Suva, you’ll usually make a 30-minute pitstop at Nadi before the flight on to Savusavu.

Automobiles

The resort is a 20-minute drive from Savusavu Airport. Free return transfers for the 9km drive are included in rates, and the hotel team meets Pacific Sun flights at Savusavu Airport. There's free parking at Jean-Michel Cousteau, but it's not worth hiring a car unless you plan on exploring the island. Savusavu town is 15 minutes’ drive from the hotel.

Other

Savusavu marina is just 15 minutes away, so private yacht charters are another way to reach Jean-Michel Cousteau. There are also ferry and car-ferry connections to Savusavu from other islands, but Smith recommends flying to save time. Helicopter transfers (www.helicopters.com.fj) and seaplane flights (www.pacificislandair.com) to the resort's dock from Nadi or elsewhere can also be arranged. For help with transfer connections, contact Rosie Holidays (www.rosiefiji.com).

Reviews

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Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort Hotel — Fiji Islands — Fiji

Anonymous review

By Mr & Mrs Smith.

Every hotel is visited personally by members of our team and given the Smith seal of approval. As soon as our anonymous reviewers have returned from a stay at this family-friendly dive destination, a full account of their Fijian holiday will be with you. In the meantime, just to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick postcard from Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort in the Fiji Islands... Read more

Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort

By Mr & Mrs Smith.

Every hotel is visited personally by members of our team and given the Smith seal of approval. As soon as our anonymous reviewers have returned from a stay at this family-friendly dive destination, a full account of their Fijian holiday will be with you. In the meantime, just to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick postcard from Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort in the Fiji Islands...

If the name sounds familiar, that's because this Fijian eco-retreat's moniker is a homage to the son of famous French scuba diver Jacques Cousteau, whose team direct the diving here. If you're into diving or snorkelling, you've come to the right place, with a host of aquatic adventures beckoning in the surrounding, coral-bright seascapes. There's action of the family variety, too, with a buzzing kids' club, four pools, free nanny service and meals for nippers thrown in as part of the all-inclusive rates. Hard-pressed parents will appreciate a relaxing holiday with fun-fuelled child care to ensure some quality time, but singles or couples can also feel romantic here, thanks to nifty separation of the children's club and dedicated adults-only pool and dining.

Set just outside the pretty bayside town of Savusavu, on large north-eastern Vanua Levu island, the resort has a verdant, coastal feel, with lotus-filled lagoons, swaying palms and a slim beach flanking the reef-fringed shore. Rooms are village-style Fijian bures, with fairly trad, simple interiors and bright bed linen, so don't expect city-slick design. You'll find plenty of hammocks to chill out on, though, plus ocean-view dining and spa treatments for extra pampering. Activities, from tennis to watersports and free daily yoga, will keep you entertained, and there's even a charming marine biologist to answer any tricky soft-coral questions.

The Guestbook

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