Question: what do you do when you own a soft drink company worth billions? Answer: buy yourself a dream island in the South Pacific.
And that's exactly what Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz did, but he went several stages better, first deciding to turn the island into the ultimate billionaire's playground and then opening the doors to a lucky (and deep pocketed) few.
On the subject of deep pockets, all this certainly doesn't come cheap, but in our humble opinion Laucala Island gives the likes of North Island and Mnemba a run for their money in the 'best private island resort in the world' stakes. Even better, virtually everything is included so you needn't worry about your bill getting much steeper.
Arriving on the island is fun enough, with guests whisked through arrivals at the international airport and straight onto one of the resort's private planes for the one hour flight.
From the air it's possible to see the sheer scale of the island - basically, it's huge and a dead ringer for the one in Jurassic Park. The 25 villas are spread out across the island and guests whizz around on souped-up electric golf buggies or, for the remoter parts of the island, in jet black Bond baddie Land Rovers.
The villas themselves are made up of 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom units and are beautifully designed and incredibly tasteful. All have huge bedrooms and living spaces, indoor and outdoor bathrooms, private pools and all manner of facilities such as state of the art sound system, fully stocked fridges (everything is included) and bathroom amenities created on the island.
If the 'normal' villas aren't swish enough, try one of three speciality villas - the Peninsula, an overwater residence and Hilltop, which is the owner's private residence and suitably palatial.
Dining on Laucala Island is taken seriously and there are four main restaurants offering everything from fine dining to bar snacks and everything in between including a teppanyaki grill. Wherever possible the ingredients are local including meat from the island farm with cattle, pigs and even Austrian chickens (which taste better according to the - Austrian - owner).
In terms of what to do while here the list is long. There is a beautiful spa offering a wide range of treatments, a boutique, Fijian cultural village and a library, but this being Red Bull island the emphasis is on activities such as waterskiing, wakeboarding, kayaking, diving, snorkelling, sailing and fishing. Guests can also go mountain biking or horse riding, play tennis or indulge in a spot of golf at the stunning (and very challenging) 18-hole golf course. There are also all manner of boats including sailing boats and even one of the sailing boats that won gold at the Beijing Olympics.
One of the nicest things about all of this is that it is completely on-demand - there is no set schedule for anything and you just call the concierge (from the mobile phone you are given in your room) at any time when you want to do anything.
Why We Love It
Laucala Island is the ultimate private island paradise. Naturally if you have your own private jet, you can land directly on the island and they will fly the customs official over for you so you don't need to go via one of the main Fijian airports. Very thoughtful.
Kokomo Private Island
Part of Fiji's remote Kadavu Island Group, and encircled by a teeming reef, Kokomo Private Island is a real secluded sanctuary. With accommodation scattered amongst four white sandy beaches and a crown of tropical rainforest, it is also absolutely beautiful.
The island has five Luxury Residences which are set amidst the rainforest with especially spectacular views of the pristine lagoon. Sparingly spread across the beachfronts are a further 21 thatched Beachfront Villas, all with direct beach access. Both Residences and Villas come in varying sizes, with between one and six bedroom options available to suit everyone from honeymooners to large groups. The décor throughout is contemporary and stylish but also uses natural stone and timber features as a nod to sustainable and authentic design. Each room also features an outdoor shower, a private tropical garden or decking area, and its own swimming pool.
Utilising fresh and locally sourced produce, largely from the island's own farm, the chefs at Kokomo Private Island offer a range of gourmet cuisine at their three restaurants. Beach Shack offers casual all day dining and is the ideal sunset spot, Walker D'Plank is uniquely situated in a small cove accessed by a 'plank' and serves typical Asian street food dishes, and Pool Cabana offers wood fired pizzas, cheese and charcuterie. For celebrations or romantic evenings, private 'destination dining' in various locations around the island can also be easily arranged.
The tranquil paradise of the island is surrounded by the world's fourth largest barrier reef - Astrolabe Reef- making it the ideal destination for snorkelling and scuba diving. With a fully equipped water sports centre the resort offers a range of activities and, as well as diving, guests can explore the island's beautiful waters with kayaks, paddle boards and sailing boats (among more). The resort also caters for all the family, with a kids club hosting a range of activities and the spa providing a retreat for weary parents. Guests can also explore their surroundings further by following the walking trails around the island or enjoying a day's excursion to the nearby islands.
Why We Love It
Relax on a private island which combines luxury with sustainably and explore the unspoilt beauty of the rainforest and the breathtaking coastline.
Six Senses Fiji
The luxurious Six Senses Fiji is found on Fiji's Malolo Island and boasts white sandy beaches and the crystal clear waters of the Mamanuca Islands archipelago on its doorstep.
As with all of the Six Senses properties, the 24 private Pool Villas and selection of Residences found at the resort are spacious, stylish and offer every amenity you could desire. Both the Pool Villas and Residences come in varying sizes, with between one and five bedrooms. Décor throughout the resort is traditional and features lots of exposed wood and thatch to maintain a real island vibe, however nothing is forgotten and the soft furnishings are all carefully designed to provide maximum luxury and comfort during your stay. All of the rooms also have private pools and sundeck areas to enjoy the stunning views from.
With the aim of bringing world class cuisine to the South Pacific, Six Senses Fiji is offering guests a contemporary take on the traditional Fijian flavours. With their own herb garden and organic farm to utilise, the chefs turn fresh ingredients into a variety of dishes at the resort's five restaurants. Tovolea Restaurant offers healthy all day dining; Rara Café and Bar is the casual central option; the Gourmet Deli provides light refreshments to be enjoyed on the beach or in your villa; Teitei Pizzeria boasts an interactive cooking experience; and Tovolea Bar and Lounge is your go to cocktail spot. Private dining options are also available for special occasions.
With a huge range of both water and land based activities on offer at the resort guests will never be short of things to keep them busy. Head underwater to do some world class diving, keep fit with a surfing lesson or explore your island surroundings in a kayak. Back on land, get involved in a cooking lesson, watch a movie under the stars and get cultural during an authentic Fijian night. Alternatively, or for those looking to explore further afield, local village trips and sunset boat excursions are a great choice, and for those wanting to do very little, perhaps just a massage in the spa?
Why We Love It
Beautiful beaches, friendly Fijian hospitality and the always luxurious Six Senses standard - what's not to love?
A forty minute turboprop flight from Fiji lies the private island retreat that is the Wakaya Club.
This intimate hotel consists of just ten rooms dotted around the lush tropical gardens covering just ten per cent of the island - the rest has been left very much as is, and is home to deer, goats and pigs who occasionally end up on the menu.
The spacious rooms are a study in under-stated elegance, with separate bedroom and sitting room decorated in the traditional Fijian style of high ceilings, woven walls and wooden floors. The bathrooms have a bath and an external shower.
Activities include - of course - diving and snorkelling but there is also a nine-hole golf course, tennis, spa and croquet available.
Why We Love It
One particularly nice touch is that your room is reserved for the days before you arrive and after you leave, so there are no concerns about early check-ins or late check-outs for international flights.