Late last year, Fiji Airways unveiled the latest additions to its fleet: two brand new Airbus A350 XWB twinjets that would introduce passengers to “Bula Space.” The idea was that the hardest part of going to Fiji is simply getting there, so by providing softer, wider seats and ample leg room, along with additional perks, travelers would consider the long flights part of the luxury travel experience.
Unfortunately, shortly after the aircraft made inaugural flights to Nadi International Airport in early 2020, those birds were grounded. For months, Fiji’s borders were closed as health and government officials worked diligently to keep the South Pacific nation’s number of cases below 30. In that time, though, dream vacations and weddings, honeymoons and anniversaries were postponed and canceled, leaving many people wondering when they’d ever get the chance to finally cross this once-in-a-lifetime destination off their lists.
When Fiji’s reopening plans were announced in late June, following several months of zero reported cases, there was a lot of buzz. Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy as booking a flight on Fiji Airways and snoozing on a foldout bed in business class. (At least not yet.) With borders still closed to travelers from some countries, including the U.S., Fiji’s government has implemented “VIP Lanes” and “Blue Lanes” for air and sea travel, respectively, with guests required to stay at least 14 days.
Not only are private airplanes or yachts required to get there, but visitors need to secure lodging for two weeks or longer. (There’s also the matter of producing a negative Covid-19 test that has been taken within 48 hours of arrival.) That makes a buyout the most ideal choice, and there are no better buyouts in Fiji than these phenomenal luxury experiences.
Vatuvara Private Islands Resort
Before they were just ordinary citizens, Prince Harry and Megan Markle chose Vatuvara Private Islands Resort as the location for their honeymoon. There’s a very good chance you’ve seen one or all of this resort’s villas on some “Best Of” lists, because they’re simply spectacular.
With only one-bedroom each, maximum occupancy for this buyout is just six people, but rest assured the three villas boast amenities that make them feel like sprawling mansions, and there’s something truly unique to each unit that makes it seemingly impossible to choose. The flagship Delana Villa is the height of luxury—literally—as it is set cliffside, looking down at the incredible private beach and offering a heated infinity pool and dining gazebo.
The Vatu Villa also offers a heated infinity pool, but here the theme is unparalleled relaxation, as guests can take advantage of a private massage, yoga and spa bure. And the Saku Villa is perfect for the guest whose focus is solely on the beach; although, there’s also a heated infinity pool here, too.
VOMO Island Fiji
With a maximum occupancy of 100 people and more amenities than a residential community, this Fiji favorite offers buyout options, from the whole shebang (hello, corporate retreat!) to individual residences at the minimum buyout price, which is great for a spontaneous family getaway. After all, VOMO Island Fiji is nothing if not the family-friendliest spot, with three miles of beaches, two infinity pools, a nine-hole pitch-and-putt golf course and much more.
But don’t let the family element fool you. This is a property as stylish as it is welcoming, and that is more than evident in the various beach house residences, starting with the aptly named The Residence, which offers four bedrooms, a very secluded pool and instant beach access. This particular house can sleep up to eight, and best of all it is spread out across three pavilions, so even the closest friends and family can have alone time.
For true style, though, The Palms is an “ultramodern” palace. Also boasting four bedrooms, this house will leave guests speechless with the “live in-live out” layout that basically creates an open-air experience culminating with a dining patio surrounded by the partially covered pool.
Wakaya Club and Spa
If you want a taste of Fiji’s rich culture that A-listers and Hollywood royalty have been flocking to for decades, you want Wakaya Club and Spa. This is one of Fiji’s oldest resorts, but do not think for one second that means it isn’t stylish and modern. If anything, this might be the standard bearer, as Wakaya offers one of the best culinary experiences of anywhere in the region, as well as a great 9-hole golf course, while never losing sight of what matters most: celebrating Fiji’s natural beauty.
From the Garden View Bure to the incredible Sega Na Leqa, this resort offers six types of accommodations with a maximum buyout occupancy of 34 people, making this great for a postponed destination wedding or anniversary celebration. Especially when you consider the aforementioned Sega Na Leqa (pronounced Zenga Na Lenga, which means “No worries”) is easily one of the most astonishing one-bedroom retreats in the world.
At more than 10,000-sq. ft., this kingdom for two features a master wing with an exercise pool, as well as an amazing kitchen and library. There’s even a private guest suite with its own pool in case the in-laws won’t stop reminding everyone who is paying.
Kokomo Private Island
With five luxury residences and 21 beachfront villas, the island buyout at Kokomo Private Island caters to as many as 120 people. So, the key here is to make sure you call dibs on the four-bedroom Dravuni residence, which offers panoramic views and a private infinity pool that seems like it runs right into the gorgeous ocean. Only kidding about calling dibs, though, because there’s no bad choice here, from the one-, two- and three-bedroom villas (each with a private pool) to the six-bedroom Sunset house.
In addition to stylish, luxurious residences, Kokomo also maintains a heavy focus on wellness and sustainability, as evidenced by the farm-to-table dining concept bolstered by a 5.5-acre farm. And the cherry on top is the exclusive adventure that awaits in the Great Astrolabe Reef, as Kokomo spoils guests with access to dive sites that no other resorts can offer.
Laucala Private Island
If you haven’t seen it on our Instagram feed, then you’ve likely learned about the Overwater Villa at Laucala Private Island in just about any article celebrating the most amazing overwater bungalows in the world. From first glance, it looks like Swiss Family Robinson hit the jackpot, as this two-bedroom residence is a celebration of the region’s natural beauty, from the emerald lagoon that it rests over to the relaxing private pool that is carved into the shore’s rocks. But this is just a sample of the breathtaking creativity on display at Laucala.
Known as the “Grand Dame” of Fijian hospitality, this resort can host up to 40 people (beginning in November) in its 25 villas, all of which feature an infinity pool and unique interior designs. They also include a buggy, because there is so much to explore on this seven-mile island and Laucala’s 3,500 acres, including an 18-hole golf course and organic farm.
We also can’t mention Laucala without putting the spotlight on the Hilltop Estate, the “resort within a resort,” which boasts its own large pool that offers panoramic views of the entire island. A main residence is separated from two guest residences, while a private cook awaits everyone at the dining area for family meals of a lifetime. (There’s also a nanny on property for parents who keep the party going long into the night.)
Tavarua Island Resort
From legendary wave-riders to the beginners who aspire to join their ranks, Tavarua Island Resort is Valhalla for surfers of all experience levels. In fact, in any normal year, guests shouldn’t be surprised if Kelly Slater is sitting two stools down at the Kulu Bar. With a maximum occupancy of 36 guests, you could even send an invite to Slater with the hopes that he’ll come stay in one of the bures, but don’t get your hopes up. Instead, just plan to have the surf-themed wedding or family reunion of a lifetime, knowing that Cloudbreak isn’t far away.
Tavarua’s accommodations include the standard Beach Bures, which offer two queen beds and an oceanfront lanai for when guests have spent all day on the gorgeous beaches and simply want to spend the evening staring at it. Two Sunrise Bures each feature a master bedroom and bath, as well as sitting areas with an additional day bed. And larger parties will want to stake claim to the Tavarua Villa, which boasts two wings, each with a king-size bedroom, as well as another sleeping area with three single beds. In all, this villa has three ocean view decks and an observation space, which makes this a fantastic choice for a yoga retreat.
Don’t feel like you have to be experienced on a board to book this resort. Tavarua is located near a variety of breaks that cater to everyone’s comfort level, so guests should never be embarrassed to take it easy and learn a few things at “Kiddie Land.”
Yasawa Island Resort and Spa
Drawing its name from the group of islands in which it is located, Yasawa Island Resort and Spa is all about authenticity and the celebration of the surrounding natural beauty. With 18 beachfront bures, this property can accommodate as many as 38 guests as part of its buyout offering. Palm-thatched roofs, personal hammocks, kava ceremonies, cooking classes based on local cuisines—there’s very little that Yasawa offers that doesn’t incorporate Fiji’s rich culture and history, and guests will certainly benefit from the exclusivity of these classes and experiences in a buyout setting.
This is an especially ideal resort for a destination wedding, as any of the 11 beaches would make for phenomenal settings for exchanging vows, and the Lomalagi Honeymoon Bure is a romantic accommodation fitting for the star couple of an extended family gathering. And with experiences like exploring the Blue Lagoon caves and scuba diving and snorkeling in all of Yasawa’s best sites (the resort offers exclusive access to the islands’ incredible reefs), the honeymoon takes care of itself.