Island time awaits: 10 of the best South Pacific resorts

Just across the pond and beyond, our island neighbours are home to some truly unforgettable escapes.

By Chris Ashton, September 1 2022
Island time awaits: 10 of the best South Pacific resorts

Turquoise waters, emerald palm trees, and impossibly-white beaches are all hallmarks of the South Pacific islands. As are the glamorous hotels and resorts found dotted amongst them, each one seemingly more enchanting than the last.

From luxe overwater villas in the shadow of an ancient volcano to beachfront burés where the toughest decision of the day is which champagne to enjoy over breakfast, there’s no shortage of luxury escapes in Fiji, Tahiti, Vanuatu and beyond.

But which are the best?

The Hilltop Estate at COMO Laucala Island is a thing of beauty.
The Hilltop Estate at COMO Laucala Island is a thing of beauty.

In no particular order, and by no means a definitive list, here are ten of the most indulgent luxury hotels and resorts in the South Pacific.

 

The best resorts in the South Pacific

Four Seasons Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Think luxury hotels in the South Pacific, think French Polynesia. And while there are countless five-star resorts scattered throughout, one name often stands out among the rest: Four Seasons Bora Bora. It lives up to the hype too. 

One vista to rule them all. Four Seasons Bora Bora is the island’s premier resort.
One vista to rule them all. Four Seasons Bora Bora is the island’s premier resort.

Set in the shadow of Mount Otemanu, a volcanic peak towering above the forest of Bora Bora, Four Seasons is the quintessential overwater resort, one where all your cares drift away on a warm breeze the moment you arrive.

Arrive in style aboard one of the resort’s custom Andreyale Bateux Taxis.
Arrive in style aboard one of the resort’s custom Andreyale Bateux Taxis.

Unwind in an elegant thatched bungalow gazing out to clear waters, enjoy unobtrusive service and pampering spa treatments, feast on artfully-presented dishes at restaurants such as Arii Moana and Faré Beach bar, and so much more.

Kokomo Private Island, Fiji

A self-described six star hideaway, Kokomo Private Island is an all-inclusive paradise in the southern reaches of Fiji. A blend of classic Fijian and modern design, it’s all about barefoot indulgence, with a deep commitment to sustainability.

Set your watch to island time at the all-inclusive Kokomo Private Island.
Set your watch to island time at the all-inclusive Kokomo Private Island.

Each of its 21 romantic villas comes with its own walled gardens, private pool, and beach access. In addition are five expansive residences, perched on the hilltop and enjoying impressive views, plus a dedicated butler and nanny.

Kokomo offers several bar and dining options, from Walker D’Plank to a chic Wine Cellar.
Kokomo offers several bar and dining options, from Walker D’Plank to a chic Wine Cellar.

As is the case for island escapes, getting there is part of the fun. Yet this resort takes the experience a notch higher, with a dedicated hangar and lounge at Nadi Airport, followed by a private transfer by helicopter or de Havilland Twin Otter.

Pacific Resort Aitutaki, Cook Islands

A slice of heaven in the Cook Islands. On the western shore of a small-yet-beautiful atoll, Pacific Resort Aitutaki is home to just 29 villas and bungalows, each built and styled with Polynesian flair.

Romance is in the air at the adults only Pacific Resort Aitutaki.
Romance is in the air at the adults only Pacific Resort Aitutaki.

Home to just 27 villas and bungalows, it’s a place where you can wake up to the sea lapping on the shore, feast on panoramic views from Rapae Bay Restaurant, stop for a cocktail or three at Black Rock Bar, and then treat yourself at the Tiare day spa. And then do it all over again.

Each villa and bungalow features rich timber furnishings and Polynesian flourishes.
Each villa and bungalow features rich timber furnishings and Polynesian flourishes.

Beyond that, the crystal-clear waters of the Aitutaki Lagoon – brimming with a rainbow of marine life – and famous Cook Islands hospitality will leave an impression long after you leave.

COMO Laucala Island, Fiji

Set amid 3,500 acres near Taveuni, COMO Laucala Island is the quiet achiever of Fiji’s luxury resort scene. Despite being a celebrity magnet and winning numerous awards, it somehow continues to fly under the radar – and that’s exactly why it’s so special.

Guests receive the services of a Tau – Fijian for ‘friend’ – who can assist them during the stay.
Guests receive the services of a Tau – Fijian for ‘friend’ – who can assist them during the stay.

Enveloped by greenery, COMO boasts 25 luxurious residences, each with a private pool, sundeck and outdoor bath. Among its most noteworthy is the Uda Residence, perched on a cliff’s edge with access to a private cove.

The resort's lap and lagoon pools look stunning from every angle.
The resort's lap and lagoon pools look stunning from every angle.

Lazy rounds on the 18-hole championship golf course, horse rides through lapping waves on the beachfront, and hikes through the forest are just a handful of the experiences on offer.

The Havannah, Vanuatu

A long-time favourite for Australian travellers, Vanuatu is a haven of hidden beaches and cascading falls, laidback culture and spectacular diving opportunities. It’s home to some gorgeous hotels too. Chief among them is The Havannah.

The Havannah is nestled in the sunny northwest of Efate, Vanuatu’s main island.
The Havannah is nestled in the sunny northwest of Efate, Vanuatu’s main island.

Just 30 minutes from Vanuatu’s capital Port Vila, the couples only resort sports a mix of waterfront, lagoon pool and garden villas, all set amid lush plantings. Not only that, there’s a pampering spa and restaurant with 270-degree views of the harbour too.

Raise a glass to the sunset in the Waterfront Villa’s private infinity pool.
Raise a glass to the sunset in the Waterfront Villa’s private infinity pool.

Guests can spend their days by the pool, getting to know some of the friendly locals at villages supported by the resort, or exploring the world beneath the waves at some 17 nearby dive sites.

Nanuku Resort, Fiji

A two-hour scenic drive from Nadi will bring you to Nanuku Resort, a beachfront oasis amid 500 private acres at Pacific Harbour. Part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World stable, the highly-acclaimed resort is stunning from every angle.

Nanuku is set along a two-mile stretch of beach, gazing out towards the sea.
Nanuku is set along a two-mile stretch of beach, gazing out towards the sea.

Among its offerings are 13 newly-unveiled one and two-bedroom villas, together with vast one to six-bedroom beachfront residences, and luxury suites. Cliffside feasts, private picnics on the beach, and a bespoke menu high in the treetops are just a few of its dining options.

Dine on the beach, amid the treetops, or at the resort’s Kanavata Restaurant.
Dine on the beach, amid the treetops, or at the resort’s Kanavata Restaurant.

For those looking to leave a lasting positive impact on Fiji, Nanuku offers the Batiwai Project, which encompasses a myriad of sustainable initiatives such as coral planting, reef conservation, mangrove tree planting and shore protection.

The Brando, French Polynesia

Set on the breathtakingly beautiful private island of Tetiaroa – an atoll comprising a dozen small islands surrounded by crystal waters just 30 miles northeast of Tahiti – The Brando is a luxurious five-star resort which opened to huge fanfare less than a decade ago.

The Brando is accessed via a 20-minute scenic flight from Tahiti.. Jeremy Austin
The Brando is accessed via a 20-minute scenic flight from Tahiti.
Jeremy Austin

As you probably guessed, the island and the resort have a connection with Marlon Brando. Once a holiday spot for Tahitian royalty, the atoll was purchased by the legendary actor and became his retreat from the hectic life of Hollywood for many years.

Explore the island by bicycle, or simply relax and soak up the serenity.
Explore the island by bicycle, or simply relax and soak up the serenity.

The resort features 35 gorgeous private villas, each adorned in an island-meets-70s-Hollywood style, plus a tranquil day spa and three fabulous restaurants. In other words, no ordinary resort.

Le Méridien Ile de Pins, New Caledonia

Less than three hours flight from Brisbane and Sydney, New Caledonia is widely hailed as one of the jewels of the South Pacific. Among its 140 emerald islands, Ile de Pins – known for its pencil-straight pines and crystalline waters – is arguably its most precious.

Feast on French cuisine with a delicious tropical twist at La Pirogue restaurant.
Feast on French cuisine with a delicious tropical twist at La Pirogue restaurant.

Hidden on the island’s pristine northeastern shore, Le Méridien Ile de Pins is an idyllic base to discover all it has to offer, combined with ample time lounging by the infinity pool of course.

Le Méridien is set overlooking Oro Bay, 15 minutes stroll from the famous ‘natural pool’.
Le Méridien is set overlooking Oro Bay, 15 minutes stroll from the famous ‘natural pool’.

Rooms are all tastefully furnished in light and bright style with a zesty Parisian twist. However, it’s the beach and bay front bungalows you’ll be wanting to check into. Mere steps from each leads you to the warm, clear waters of Oro Bay.

Vomo Island, Fiji

Just 15 minutes by seaplane or chopper from Nadi, Vomo Island is an architectural masterpiece surrounded by long sandy beaches, swaying palms and vibrant turquoise waters.

It’s consistently ranked among the best luxury hotels in Fiji.

On the eastern side of the island, Mt Vomo offers a majestic view for those who conquer it.
On the eastern side of the island, Mt Vomo offers a majestic view for those who conquer it.

Whether checking into a beachfront villa or private residence staffed by a private butler, the same care and attention to detail has been employed in its design. If we had to pick a favourite though, it would be The Palms four bedroom residence on Yasawa Beach.

Privately owned, Vomo encompasses 225-acres in the beautiful Mamanuca island group.
Privately owned, Vomo encompasses 225-acres in the beautiful Mamanuca island group.

Beyond the rooms guests will find The Reef and The Rocks restaurants, both overseen by Australian executive chef Iain Todd, with the latter catering exclusively to adults.

Motu Nao Nao, French Polynesia

Just 1.5km off Raiatea, also known as the sacred island, lies Motu Nao Nao – one of the newest and most enchanting luxury resorts in French Polynesia. Welcoming just six guests, it’s also one of the most exclusive.

Motu Nao Nao is accessible via a boat or helicopter transfer from Raiatea.
Motu Nao Nao is accessible via a boat or helicopter transfer from Raiatea.

With three luxurious two-person villas amid 74 lush acres, and with staff able to arrange bespoke experiences 24 hours a day, it offers barefoot castaway vibes with a liberal sprinkling of luxury (and no need for a companion named ‘Wilson’).

Each of the three remarkable bungalows were handcrafted by local designer Alain Fleurot.
Each of the three remarkable bungalows were handcrafted by local designer Alain Fleurot.

There’s no need to catch your own fish either, as the resort’s private chef is on hand to create bespoke menus from locally and ethically sourced ingredients. A farm on the island produces eggs, vegetables and spices, while fish are plucked straight from the lagoon.

Looking for something a little closer to home? Perhaps the best resorts in Australia or New Zealand’s top hotels are more your style. 

Getting There

Fiji: National carrier Fiji Airways flies to Nadi from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Adelaide. Virgin Australia offers services from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, while Qantas also jets off from Sydney.

Cook Islands: Jetstar and Air New Zealand regularly jet off to Rarotonga from Auckland. 

Tahiti: Air Tahiti Nui and Air New Zealand fly to Papeete from Auckland.

Vanuatu: Qantas and Air Vanuatu both service Vanuatu’s capital of Port Vila from Sydney.

New Caledonia: Air Calin and Qantas offer regular flights to Noumea from both Sydney and Brisbane.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Mar 2015

Total posts 238

They all look fabulous but one would probably need to take out a Bank Loan to finance a stay.

Would love to stay there but no way possible short of winning Lotto.


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Island time awaits: 10 of the best South Pacific resorts