The adventurous spirit is strong at Como Laucala Island, which makes sense considering this Fijian slice of Eden is owned by Red Bull’s Dietrich Mateschgitz. Rise to the challenge of kite-surfing, jet skiing, wakeboarding, underwater scootering, kayaking, surfing, sailing and submarine trips…we could go on (it’s all included, natch) – or switch adrenaline for a sunlounger instead: this seven-mile-long island has golden beaches a-plenty, plus tropical rainforest, volcanoes, mangroves, coconut plantations and a farm. The hotel prides itself on being self-sustainable, made possible by plants, herbs and spices growing just steps from its three restaurants and poolside bars.
25 residences across four different settings: beach, hilltop, jungle or lagoon.
12 noon; check-in is 2pm.
Double rooms from £5567.03 ($7,020), including tax at 9 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional government tax of 5% per room per night prior to arrival.
Rates include all of your dining and drinks (yes, even the champagne), a daily fruit platter and a 60-minute massage in the Como Shambhala spa for over 18s.
Fiji is a year-round tropical destination: temperatures span a particularly pleasant range of 25–30 degrees. That said, the island is at its hottest in January; and cooling easterly winds dance across the island in July and August.
At the hotel
Three restaurants, two bars, spa with treatment rooms, farm, golf course, catamarans, yachts, tennis courts, gym, babysitting services, kids club and chapel. You’ll also be able to use the Como lounge at Nadi airport between flights. In rooms: WiFi, TV, bluetooth sound system, private pool, daybeds and sun loungers, Nespresso coffee, golf buggies and a minibar that’s replenished daily with wine, local beer and soft drinks. Each residence has a private tau – Fijian for ‘friend’ – so you’ll want for nothing.
Our favourite rooms
Each residence is a self-contained world – one made of Fijian wood, thatch and palm. The distinct settings – beach, hilltop, jungle or lagoon – are reflected in the interiors of the villas, but there are common threads: a private pool, sundeck, outdoor bath and elegant lounge. If we had to pick, we’d go for a plantation residence – there’s little more luxe than your own palm-dotted beach.
If you bore of your bure’s ocean-facing plunger, then make for the luxury lagoon-style swimming pool (it’s so large that there are swim-up-able bijou islands and palm trees inside it) leading to a glass-edged above-ground lap pool.
Not half. Treatments in the Como Shambhala spa feature soils, crystals and stones from the island; native flowers and herbs; and home-grown fruits. There’s all the signature treatments, but we’d opt for one with a particularly Fijian flavour. Try the bombo massage, which focuses on traditional techniques (don’t be surprised to find your therapist using their feet) or the herbal compress facial for Fijian techniques that improve blood circulation. Go the whole hog with the Laucala Island signature: a deep cleansing salt scrub and papaya and banana leaf body wrap. For added privacy, book your massage in one of the treatment villas – each has a hot stone relaxation room and outdoor bathtub. There’s more relaxation to be had post-treatment too: the spa has a garden with tropical flowers, herbs, spices and fruits, and you can use them to create your own soaps and scrubs in the resort distillery.
Divers, if your PADI diving certificate isn’t top of your list, then we haven’t done our job well enough. Those less inclined to spend time under water should bring plenty of aloe vera-spiked after sun (one bottle will not be enough).
Head to the beauty salon for a mid-holiday manicure, pedicure or eyebrow tidy.
Children are welcome on the island, and there’s plenty to keep them busy. The kids club organises dawn-til-dusk outdoor, indoor and educational activities; plus babysitting and nanny services are free.
Being self-sustainable is the dream at Como Laucala Island, made a reality by the 240-acre farm. The hotel grows its own organic fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices; breeds its own poultry and wagyu cattle; and bottles its own honey and volcanic mineral water. The fish and seafood featured in the restaurants are sourced exclusively from local fishermen. The island also organises regular beach clean ups and encourages guests to take part in coral planting and mangrove planting. LED bulbs and energy-efficient systems are used, plus all Como Shambhala products are free of harmful substances and made with eco-friendly ingredients.
A sandy-toed table on the beach under a blanket of stars, please.
Flip-flopped and fancy free (you’re on a private island, so anything goes).
Your stay includes all dining and drinks, so make your way through the menus of all three restaurants on the island. Plantation House is your best bet for fine-dining – dishes change daily depending on that day’s catch – and speciality wines in a grandiose, plantation-style setting. Dine on sustainably-caught lobster, yellowfin tuna maki and teppanyaki-grilled wagyu at the Pan-Asian inspired Seagrass lounge and restaurant (with treetop views to boot). Sundowners and light bites are found at the Rock lounge: the hideaway-style huts are perched high on the cliffs of Seagrass Bay, and face the roaring red Fijian sunsets.
The Pool bar is exactly that – a swim-up shell-like bure serving tropical drinks, once you’re all lapped out. There’s also the Beach bar – a mad, spider-like structure of interwoven thatched roofs that plays host to fresh fish barbeques under golden lantern lighting.
Breakfast is 7–10am; dinner is available until 10pm in all of the restaurants. The Rock Lounge serves drinks until 11pm – after that, it's all about your very well stocked minibar.
In-residence dining is available from 6am to 10pm; simply contact your tau to order.
Como Laucala Island is one of a triplet of small islets in a remote corner of Melanesia, Fiji.
You’ll fly into Nadi airport first (Fiji Airways, Qantas, Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia and Jetstar Korean Air all touch down here), before jumping aboard a connecting flight to Laucala island. Choose from a domestic flight or an eight-seat private charter – both take around 50 minutes from Nadi to Laucala.
Helicopters can plug in the coordinates 179° W, 18° S.
Worth getting out of bed for
Pack your days full of adventure: there are beaches, rainforests, mountains and reefs to explore. With so much to see you might prefer to get around via horseback – or indeed mountain bike – but the island is definitely walkable, if you’re the hiking type. But you’ve likely come to Fiji for the water: surf, jet ski, wake board, kayak and paddleboard within the reef – plus take to the sea on the islands’ catamarans, teak-finished 1970s sailing boat or yacht (a spot of sunset fishing and dolphin spotting is a suitable way to round off the day). So yes, there’s much to do – but if you’d prefer to spend your days by the infinity pool then that’s very much acceptable too.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this self-sustainable hotel in Melanesia and showed off their envy-worthy tans, a full account of their private island break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Como Laucala Island in Fiji…
There’s space in spades at Como Laucala Island, a small-but-mighty slice of celestial Fijian land. Here, the environment is king: the tropical rainforests, blue lagoons, mangroves, coconut plantations and volcanoes issue inspiration for the interiors of each of the 25 residences. Your private bure (a traditional Fijian wood and thatch hut, elevated somewhat on Laucala Island, it must be said) are built with local materials – thatch, twine, wood, shell and palm. Free-flowing lines and soft curves seem to honour the ocean, but you can choose the backdrop of your bure: pick from plantation, seagrass or plateau. No matter the location, you’ll have a private pool, outdoor bath, yoga deck and light-flooded lounge to kick back in; and a calming interior palette of blues, greens and creams, plus occasional coral red accents. If you need anything (and we really do mean anything), then simply let your personal tau know. Fijian for ‘friend’, your tau is on hand to arrange anything from a snorkelling trip, in-villa breakfast, morning manicure or volcanic hike – plus a lift to the beach in a golf buggy, if you’re simply too zen to walk.