Touching down in a private plane on Laucala Island in Fiji, you may be reminded of the opening credits of the old TV show “Fantasy Island.” The requisite lush hillsides and crystalline azure tides paint a picture of pristine paradise, plus a staff of more than 400 is dedicated to making your vacation dreams come true.
The picturesque old coconut plantation was once Malcolm Forbes’s personal hideaway. Billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz, the Austrian cofounder of Red Bull, purchased the 3,500-acre island from the Forbes estate in 2003 and transformed it into one of the world’s most lavish and exclusive resorts, with only 25 villas.
Depending on your fantasy you can simply lounge by a pool or on a private beach or pack your schedule with activities—which, like your meals and drinks, are included. Rates start at $4,800 a night. A fleet of boats is ready for diving, deep-sea fishing, snorkeling or sunset cruising. A submersible craft and jet skis provide joy rides beneath and above the waves. Other options include tennis, horseback riding and hiking.
The island’s 18-hole golf course is designed in harmony with the natural environment—on the signature 12th hole, a beach doubles as a bunker. You’ll likely have the course to yourself, so there’s no stressing about tee times, and no need to lug your gear either as Laucala has the latest premium equipment, plus an on-call pro who can offer a lesson or simply join you for a round.
Guests typically meet with the concierge upon arrival to chart out their wish lists and make a loose schedule. You can book treatments in the cliff-top spa and meals at five different dining venues ranging from fine dining at the Plantation House to Asian specialties at the Seagrass Lounge and Restaurant, featuring an authentic Japanese tepannyaki table built on the side of a cliff overlooking the sea.
When executive chef Jean Luc Amann arrived in 2016, he discovered a culinary Eden. He cultivates his own ingredients from acres of gardens, a hydroponic center, and a working farm stocked with chickens, pigs and Wagyu cows who munch special grass. Menus capitalize on whatever ingredients are at peak quality, and naturally, there’s abundant seafood from local waters.
After dinner, enjoy a cigar on the porch of the Plantation House, sipping the local rum while overlooking the captivating coconut grove of slender palms swaying with the trade winds.