Luxurious, environmentally friendly resorts in the jewel of the South

333 Islands, 6 national parks, beautiful beaches, stunning marine life, coral reefs, lush rainforests and a rich cultural life, Fiji is one of the jewels in the South Pacific and the essence of tropical island paradise. Rightly protective of its unique environment and natural, unspoilt beauty, Fiji is at the forefront of global ecotourism and is in the process of becoming the first country to implement a national low carbon travel and tourism sector.

A few of Fiji’s resorts are leading the way – many of them fabulously chic, combining ecologically sustainable tourism with the highest luxury.

Fiji has a mild tropical climate throughout the year with mainly dry weather from May to October. Passengers flying from the UK can connect via LA, Hong Kong, Seoul, Australia and New Zealand. The national carrier is Air Pacific in partnership with Quantas, Air New Zealand, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Korean Air. Fiji is just 3 hours flying time North from New Zealand, 4 hours from Australia and 10.5 hours from LA.

New for 2010, Laucala  is an ultra-exclusive, luxurious private island resort in the waters of Vanua Levu in the North East of Fiji. Owned by Dietrick Mateschitz, the reclusive Swiss owner of Red Bull, Laucala is the perfect island escape for those who seeking total privacy. Surrounded by lush tropical vegetation and set on beautiful white sand beach, the resort has just 25 bungalows or bures, all with spectacular views to theopen sea. With up to three bedrooms, each bure has an outdoor pavilion and a private pool, indoor and outdoor showers and stone or wooden baths.

Laucala has a fantastic hilltop spa – each spa suites has open views from the cliff over the sea. At the heart of the spa is a spa garden where youcan learn about one of Fiji’s ?nest collections of tropical ?owers, herbs, spices and fruits, all of which are used in the spa products. You caneven create your own essential oils in Laucala’s distillery from flowers you pick around the garden. The resort also has an 18 Hole Championship Course, yoga, riding, tennis, fishing and watersports.

Dietrick bought the island in 2003 and has since restored and renovated it using eco-friendly architecture based on traditional Fijian building techniques and local materials. Laucala runs on an almost self-sufficient basis. The resort breeds its own livestock and poultry, grows its own fruit vegetables, makes its own honey, bottles pure volcanic mineral water and even hand makes all its own guest and spa products, using the naturalresources from the island. The goal is for the resort to be 85% self-sustainable within two years.

Recently voted Trip Advisor’s No.1 World’s Top Eco Resort, oceanographer and explorer Jean- Michel Cousteau’s Fiji Island Resort this five star resort on the island of Vanua Levu is perfect for romance, honeymoons and weddings: water enthusiasts; and families who want to combine wonderful surroundings with a fantastic range of eco-friendly activities. Son of the late Jacques Cousteau, Jean-Michel is dedicated to sharing his love of land, ocean and culture – and is committed to their preservation. His passion for the indigenous people of Fiji, their culture, traditions, warmth and natural hospitality have led him to create an eco-friendly resort with a unique environmental philosophy.

The resort features 25 spacious bures on 17 acres of a coconut plantation, overlooking Savusavu Bay. Steeped in romance, couples can choose to dine alone at the end of the candlelight pier, surrounded by the waters of the SavuSavu or in one of the adults’ only dining areas. The food at the resort is fantastic, most of the food is home grown and the menu changesdaily.  The resort is also very child-friendly. A nanny comes complimentary with the room rate, while older children get a “buddy” to entertain them.

As the resorts namesake would suggest, the Fiji Island Resort offers superb diving. The PADI dive school has access to some of the World’s most enviable dive sites, Shark Alley, and the more seductive Big Blue. It is the only resort in Fiji to employ a full-time marine biologist – helping visitors appreciate the beauty of the underwater world of Fiji. For non-divers there is a whole array of activities including snorkeling, a “reef walk”, Fijian culture days, rainforest hikes, village excursions and daily yoga.

Fiji Island Resort’s eco sensitive activities include protecting the Namena Marine Reserve, fishing outside the reef in the deep ocean (where fish are plentiful) and environmental efforts through the community and schools – the resort even hosts eye clinics for locals in Savusavu.

Nukubati Resort is an exclusive eco-luxury resort on a remote private island off the North coast of Vanua Levu. The resort has just 7 bures or suites built just metres from the beach, with fantastic views of Nukubati’s sunsets.

Traditionally designed, the bures are elegant and comfortable with luxuriously comfortable beds, fine cotton linen, super soft bath towels and large bathrooms. There are no telephones or televisions to interrupt the tranquility of a stay on Nukubati and in keeping with Nukubati’s carbon neutral policy, the bures have no air-conditioning – instead being designed to take advantage of cool sea and cross breezes. Famous for its food – seafood is the speciality  – fish is freshly caught off the resort and tropical fruits and vegetables are all organically grown in the gardens.

As well as eschewing air conditioning, Nukambati has made the decision not to have swimming pools or Jacuzzis, as they also huge carbon footprints. Instead they will guide you to the big pool surrounding the island, called the South Pacific! And Nukambati is ringed by a spectacular coral reef perfect for diving or snorkeling.

The resort produces all its own electricity, with one of the largest solar power plants in the South Pacific islands. Fresh water is harvested rainwater, filtered and UV treated and hot water is produced from ten solar water heaters. Nukubati is very involved with the local community: they conduct ecology and cultural tours of the local villages and surroundings, support the local school with scholarships and help local villages with infrastructure projects.  

Turtle Island Resort is a romantic, luxurious, all-inclusive resort in the Yasawa Islands. Chosen as the location for the 1970’s movie Blue Lagoon, starring Brooke Shields, the resort has just 14 bures, with a maximum of 28 guests, private beaches, pristine waters, incredible sea life and total seclusion – described as “the most peaceful place on the planet”. On arrival you are even assigned your own “Bure Mama” who is there to make sure your every whim is met!

The first hotel in the world to win the Tourism for Tomorrow award, Turtle Island’s owner Richard Evanson pioneered the eco-hotel when he bought Nanuya Levu, a 500-acre barren, uninhabited island that has been overrun by goats in 1972. He made it his life’s work to rejuvenate the land and build his home. In addition to employing over 120 local Fijians, the following projects have been highly successful in making Turtle Island one of the world’s leading sustainable tourism destinations:

• More than 500,000 trees have been planted over 30 years.
• Mangroves and coconut groves have been preserved.
• Freshwater ponds have been introduced to encourage bird life;
• Establishment of a four-acre hydroponic and organic vegetable garden to
supply fresh produce for guests and staff year around;
• Regular medical and dental clinics to treat children and villagers from
neighboring islands;
• Turtle Release program, which is designed to help save the threatened
Green and Hawksbill turtles;
• Building, carpentry, and woodworking department responsible for making
all furniture on the island, as well as other items for the Gift Shop;
• Operation of a secondary school on the island to educate young people
from seven local villages. More than 50 students attend the school, at
Turtle’s cost.

Tui Tai Expeditions has been named by Conde Nast as one of the “World’s Sexiest Cruise Ships,” and awarded ”Best New Trips in 2009” by National Geographic.

A luxury-adventure ship operating in the Pacific Cultural Triangle, the Tui Tai offers the change to experience Fiji’s remote islands, amazing scenery and fascinating culture in a unique way.  It arranges fascinating day expeditions around the islands whilst making sure you are pampered every step of the way: stop off at the world’s least trodden beach and they will arrange for you to dine right there; hike up to a giant waterfall and the crew will set up spa services for a relaxing massage; kayak up a jungle river and a support boat will carry chilled drinks to refresh your journey. Luxury onboard includes a fantastic array of spa treatments, on deck day beds so you can lie back and enjoy the sunsets, 800-count Egyptian cotton sheets and superb exotic foodTui Tai Adventure Cruises are operated with complete commitment to Ecotourism, fostering partnership and development with indigenous groups. Tui Tai has fully funded new schools, medical supplies and sponsored community development projects. An onboard marine biologist provides daily presentations on efforts to protect Fiji’s reefs and marine environment.

Matava on the island of Kadavu is described as Fiji’s premier Eco Adventure Resort. Winner of the “marine category” of Responsible Travel Awards at the World Travel Market, Matava is set on the remote island of Kadavu and bordered by the Great Astrolabe Reef, the world’s fourth largest barrier reef, Matava is a small and intimate 3 ½ star getaway, designed to blend with its natural environment. 11 traditional thatched Fijian bures nestle in the rainforest  amidst lush tropical surroundings offering privacy, comfort and superb ocean views.

You can also dive with manta rays at Matava – one of the most beautiful diving experiences and an awe-inspiring sight. Manta Rays are frequently seen feeding near the surface at Kadavu as they come to visit the reef’s “cleaning stations”.

As a PADI certified resort Matava offers the perfect environment to scuba dive in Fiji , snorkel, surf , fish, kayak with opportunities to trek, visit villages , bird watch or simply relax and unwind. Matava is a genuine eco-hideaway designed to cause minimal impact on the environment and to promote conservation awareness with the local community.

The initiatives of these resorts are further enhancing Fiji’s efforts at conservation of Marine Protected Areas and also their Plant A Million Tree programme.

Source = Eco Chic Fiji
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