The tropical paradise once owned by the late Malcolm Forbes has undergone a stunning development that won accolades from the prestigious travel organization.
Across the globe, there are many thousands of resorts, but only a tiny fraction will make onto the prestigious list of the “Leading Hotels of the World”. With just over 430 properties in their portfolio, the group carefully assesses and curates the crème de la crème of hotel and resort destinations.
The latest private island to be given this honor is the relatively-new resort on Laucala, a beautiful Fijian idyll that has a storied history and a bright future. Described by many as a virtual “Garden of Eden”, Laucala sprawls over a vast 3,200 acres, 600 of which were once used as a coconut plantation.
The island has been in private hands since the 19th century, when it was purchased by an adventurous Australian named John Rosa and developed into a farm and plantation.
It remained in this humble state until 1972, when it caught the eye of publishing magnate Malcolm Forbes, and promptly became one of the most glamorous private retreats in the world.
Laucala’s second incarnation – as an ultra-exclusive resort – came in 2003, when it sold to Dietrich Mateschitz, founder of Red Bull Energy Drinks and famed sponsor of Formula 1 racing. He spent years developing a stunning resort that opened its doors for the first time in 2009.
By all accounts, it was well worth the wait. Tucked away in a remote northeastern corner of Taveuni, Fiji’s third-largest island, Laucala has been maintained in a gloriously natural state and employs many local people, embodying all the richness of the country’s beauty, culture and heritage.
Local materials and craftspeople were instrumental in the creation of Laucala’s resort – from organic gardens ripe with native fruits and vegetables to the fragrant botanical essences used in spa treatments, sustainability and responsible development permeates the resort’s ethos.
Even the expertly-design accommodations have a local touch. Traditional Fijian “bures”, or thatched-roof houses, give an earthy feel to the otherwise luxurious experience of staying on Laucala. Each with its own distinctive artwork and character, a mere 25 of these residences are scattered across the island, providing privacy and seclusion for all guests.
According to top island travel firm Vladi Private Islands, bures can be had for rates that vary from from US $3,800 to $8,200 per night. For those seeking a truly exclusive experience, the private ‘Hilltop Residence’ is available for $26,000.
With such a unique provenance, plentiful natural wonders and supreme attention to detail, it’s no wonder that Leading Hotels of the World chose to add Laucala to its list of top destinations. Read more about visiting Laucala: Vladi Private Islands