Private Island Pampering – Nanuku Featured in Fiji Airways Magazine
Private Island Pampering
By Rajan Sami
As appeared in Fiji Airways’ in-flight magazine, FIJI TIME
At Nanuku Auberge Resort on Fiji’s Pacific Coast, the ultimate luxury for guests is being whisked away to a small, uninhabited island in the middle of stunning Beqa Lagoon, one of the world’s top dive spots teeming with marine life.
Only a single couple or family at a time get exclusive use of this lush two-acre private island, which has a pristine wrap-around white sand beach with crystal clear turquoise waters.
But while unoccupied islands are a dime a dozen in Fiji and the South Pacific (only a hundred of Fiji’s 333 islands are inhabited), what makes Nanuku’s remote island experience particularly noteworthy is the unabashed and indulgent pampering you’ll receive.
Guests board a small dinghy right from the Nanuku Clubhouse beach, which transfers them to the resort’s luxurious jet boat (christened “Nanuku 1”) docked at the nearby Pearl Marina. From here, it’s a refreshing 25-minute ride on mostly calm, open sea to Nanuku’s private island.
As you explore the idyllic island on foot with your resort “buddy” (guide), the boat captain and crew set about constructing a bamboo sun-hut with fresh coconut palm fronds from the island. They lay out beach mats and towels under its shade and this offers a cool respite between dips in the warm ocean.
The resort staff remain at a comfortable, unobtrusive distance throughout, ready to fetch you another drink, answer questions about the flora and fauna you encounter, or accompany you on an excursion – kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkelling, or jet skiing if you wish. (And yes, they’ll take photos for you. Because there’s no way you aren’t taking at least 100.)
On this glorious paradise, you are like a castaway, yet you have creature comforts like chilled champagne, running water, a flush toilet, and are being waited on hand and foot.
At lunch, guests have the option of making their own meals – fresh shrimp steamed in green bamboo tubes over hot coals on the beach and kokoda (the Fijian version of ceviche) where raw chunks of surface fish are cured in citrus, then bathed in fresh coconut milk and seasoned with tomatoes, onions and chillies.
Four hours can fly by quickly on the remote island, as an adventurous family from New York recently found out. Dan, Hillary and their two children, 8 and 14, loved the secluded island experience so much, they asked the resort if they could stay overnight, a first for Nanuku, which now offers it as an option to guests.
“The private island overnight was one of our most memorable experiences in Fiji,” they said, adding: “You feel like you are the only people on earth. We enjoyed exploring and the solitude. The staff had transformed the island to include tents, a bonfire, tables, and tons of food and beverages. We had a fabulous meal, they brought a guitar and we all sang songs and drank. As the sun went down, we went to watch the fish come in to feed and the hermit crabs scurry about. They taught us how to weave plates out of coconut leaves, how to open a coconut and roast it on a fire. They went spear fishing for dinner, and cooked an amazing meal. We woke to the peaceful sound of waves and a cool morning breeze. We had a breakfast which was just as incredible and fresh as the dinner.”
On the return trip to the mainland, guests are often given a tour of enchanting Lalati Bay and nearby Beqa Island and its thick, undisturbed coast virgin rainforest, which resembles something out of Jurassic Park.
Guests are told tales of cannibals, the arrival of Christianity in the late 1800s, and how warring Fijian spirit gods split Beqa Island (which is known for its customary fire walkers) into two. You become an insider to Fiji’s history.
This remote island experience perfectly captures the essence of Nanuku’s overall offering, which combines luxury, culture, and adventure into soul-enriching experiences you will never forget.
With less than 20 all-suite villas on a sprawling 500-acre beachfront property with its own wide sandy beach, there is a real sense of space – and spaciousness, allowing guests to unwind at their own pace and choose their level of activity.
Each of Nanuku’s enchanting, high-ceilinged beachfront villas is well- appointed and invites the breezy tropics in with architectural inspiration culled from traditional Fijian thatched dwellings. There’s plenty of tribal art and craft on display and each villa comes with its own beachfront plunge pool.
For the ultimate in lavish escapes, try Nanuku’s Owner’s Residence, a sprawling split-level penthouse on the resort’s highest point. (Some staff call it “Vunikau” which means “Treehouse”.) It’s myriad rooms and spaces open onto the crowns of coastal trees and towering bamboo forest with majestic views of volcanic mountains, the expansive Pacific Ocean, and imposing Beqa and Yanuya Islands in the near distance.
Fijians are known to be some of the world’s warmest and friendliest people, and the Nanuku staff are no exception. Given the resort’s smaller size, limited number of villas, and favourable staff-to-guest ratio, the interactions are truly grounded and genuine.
“The staff treats you like family, anticipating your every need, and “no” isn’t part of their vocabulary,” said Dan and Hillary. “In terms of activities, the staff is open to and encourages new adventures. They make you feel like you are a long lost friend instead of short-term guest.”
The Auberge Resorts Collection, who manage the resort, have roots in Napa Valley, California and understandably, a strong food and wine reputation. This is something that carries across all Auberge properties including Nanuku, where a team of local chefs deliver creative, market-driven, fusion menus that change every few days based on what’s in season.
Guests are able to sample exotic island ingredients such as ota (wild fiddlefern), nama (seagrapes) and rourou (taro leaves cooked in coconut cream) to name a few, alongside more classic Western fare. The resort can cater to any food allergies or preferences. It’s all part of the bespoke experience here.
Located in Pacific Harbour on Fiji’s largest island Viti Levu, the highly-lauded boutique resort is a two-hour car ride or 30-minute flight (Nanuku has its own airstrip) from Nadi Airport. The location puts Nanuku in the ideal position to offer an authentic small island experience with all of the conveniences of the mainland just outside the resort gates.
Known as the adventure capital of Fiji, Pacific Harbour is home to a number of adrenalin-inducing thrills such as world-famous shark dives, river rafting through the island’s tropical interior, and ziplining above rainforest canopy to name a few.
This is nature’s playground, and Nanuku Auberge Resort Fiji makes it possible for you to experience it in the most wildly civilised way.
If Visiting Nanuku Isn’t Enough…
Imagine owning your very own beachfront villa at the award-winning Nanuku Auberge Resort Fiji. The pinnacle of inspired island living. In a boutique beachfront sanctuary with gracious hospitality, the finest cuisine, impeccable service, and amenities that capture the essence of Fiji’s soul and culture. FijiTime spoke to Nanuku’s Real Estate Sales Director Sean McLaughlin about what makes purchasing a villa at Nanuku an opportunity not to be missed.
FijiTime: “We hear Nanuku only has a few Auberge Beach Villas left. What’s still available?”
Sean: That’s right. We’ve had great success in selling phase one of our villas, our first real estate release at Nanuku Auberge Resort Fiji. We’re breaking ground this month with occupancy projected in 2018. In fact, we only have a few beachfront opportunities left.
Our one- and two-bedroom beachfront villas start at US$495K, incredible homesites on our wide beach are available from US$260K. Pre-designed homes can be purchased starting at US$1.5 million. These are whole-ownership, not timeshares.
Our villas and homes have been designed by Perth-based Grounds Kent Architects, two-time winners of Conde’ Nast Traveller’s Best Resort Design Award. They focused on indoor/outdoor gathering areas, and incorporating native materials with all the modern conveniences and flair. This results in a style we call “tropical modern”, and people are really into it.
FijiTime: There are resort real estate developments all over the world, what makes Nanuku special?
Sean: Fiji offers an authentic, unspoiled, laid-back island lifestyle and culture, a pristine terrestrial and marine environment, and less than a million people and 300+ islands. You can really “get away” here.
Nowhere in Fiji will you find a development like ours. Our combination of desirable freehold ownership and beautiful sandy beach connected to one of the best resorts in the country (#1 on TripAdvisor on Viti Levu) is unprecedented. Plus Nanuku is only five minutes from Pacific Harbour and 45 minutes from the capital, Suva. So you can easily access any conveniences and needs, but still feel secluded.
FijiTime: Tell us, who is buying so far?
Sean: Our first buyers have come from Australia, America, and Fiji. People from many different countries are responding to our cost-advantageous offering. Many can’t believe the value when compared to other tropical beach locations around the world.
We are in the Adventure Capital of Fiji, and the resort’s ability to cater to all ages with activities and enriching and memorable experiences, draws retirees, young couples, extended families, and those interested in making an investment in a rapidly growing country.
FijiTime: How do interested buyers find out more?
Sean: They can email us at RealEstate@NanukuFiji.com. More detailed information can be seen at NanukuFiji.com as well. We can also create a personalized discovery visit to show off what makes Nanuku so appealing! That’s the best way to truly get a feel for it.
As seen in the Sept/Oct 2017 issue of FIJI TIME, Fiji Airways’ inflight magazine.