• The Listener
  • North & South
  • Noted
  • RNZ

Three Fiji resorts that turn the concept of a resort on its head

Dolphin Island Fiji.

A new generation of resorts celebrates contemporary design and thoughtful cuisine while embracing Fiji's relaxed way of life. 

Dolphin Island: Escape in style

With 14 acres shared by up to eight guests at a time, Dolphin Island Fiji is a private castaway experience – albeit with some very nice creature comforts. New Zealand-born interior designer Virginia Fisher, who designed the exclusive Huka Lodge in Taupo, has created a haven of relaxation and comfort while simultaneously celebrating Pacific style. Referencing Polynesian colours, textures and patterns, along with an easy, relaxed way of life, this is tropical living at its very best. It’s luxury, lightly worn.

dolphin island
Dolphin Island

Dolphin Island was designed to be small, intimate and totally unique. Guests never have to share the island with anyone they don’t know, and are looked after by local Fijian staff, allowing full immersion into the local culture. There are just four bures at Dolphin – the main bure which runs out to a deck and a pool, along with two guest bures and a hilltop sleep-out bure.

Dolphin Island

The food at Dolphin Island matches its surroundings – fusion style, with a bespoke blend of traditional Fijian flavours and ingredients combined with Indo-Fijian cuisine encompassing seafood, limes, local vegetables and exotic fruit. Manager Dawn Simpson prepares a custom menu for guests, and lets them in on a few secrets. “At Dolphin Island we offer a genuine, authentic relationship with our Fijian culture,” says Dawn. “This is a very real Pacific paradise, where guests enjoy the warm, generous style of hospitality we Fijians are so proud of.”

Dolphin Island Fiji

Kokomo Island: The tastemaker

Dining is taken to the next level at Kokomo Private Island Fiji, which boasts beautifully fresh farm-to-plate produce and cuisine. The menu changes daily at Kokomo, depending on what’s available from the farm and the ocean. At the heart of the menus is the 2.2-hectare farm producing a wide variety of local vegetables, herbs, sprouts, edible flowers and exotic fruit – from zucchini to sweet basil and pineapple.

Kokomo Private Island Fiji.

"My dishes are a fusion of Melanesia, Polynesia, India, China, Rotuma and other Pacific islands. My focus is always on fresh seafood, local fruits and vegetables, wholesome curries, homemade chutneys and cooking on outdoor, wood-fired grills.” Caroline Oakley, Head Chef, Kokomo Island Resort.

Kokomo Private Island Fiji.

But this is no rustic paradise – produce is transformed into stunning, gourmet meals that celebrate the provenance and local traditions of the Island. Head chef Caroline Oakley will poach trout in fresh coconut milk, tomato, lime and chilli and baby fern – a blanched river fern similar to watercress.

Outside the garden, sixteen beehives are home to bees producing delectable local honey, while 170 free range chickens produce all the eggs needed for the Resort. A hydroponics garden supplies fresh lettuce and extra tomatoes, cucumbers and seedlings year-round and there’s a vanilla plantation for fresh vanilla beans.

Combining Fijian tradition with contemporary living isn’t limited to the food on Kokomo – it’s an approach that flows throughout the entire island, which includes 21 beach-front villas and five luxury residences. The resort aimed to create a unique island paradise in keeping with the natural beauty and landscape of the island.

Kokomo Private Island Fiji

Likuliku Lagoon Resort.

“Architecture should encourage the preservation of the natural environment and be a reflection of history, culture and place.” Architects Pacific, Architects for Likuilku Lagoon Resort

Likuliku Lagoon Resort is a wilderness island retreat complete with over-water bures carefully positioned in a protected marine sanctuary. The resort pays homage to traditional Fijian values, with traditionally styled and constructed bures reminiscent of an ancient village when viewed from the water.

The resort interiors feature an exotic mix of natural materials and contemporary elements – the perfect blend of modernity and tradition.

Likuliku Lagoon Resort

Around the corner: Vomo Island

Vomo Island Fiji.
At Vomo Island Fiji, Asian and Pacific Rim flavours mingle beautifully with local Indo-Fijian flavours. Local and international produce can be found in dishes like Fish of the day, wrapped in banana leaf and served with ginger and sesame tossed greens with tomato and coriander salsa, or Crispy duck breast with caramelised shallots, mung bean sprouts, grilled orange, orange sauce and micro greens. It’s contemporary yet understated – as is everything on Vomo.

Vomo Island Fiji

To find out more about Fiji, visit fiji.travel