VATUVARA PRIVATE ISLANDS, FIJI
If Vatuvara looks like a tycoon’s private retreat that’s because it is. The verdant, hilly 324-hectare island of Kaibu and its three neighbouring islands were all bought by Oakley founder James Jan nard back in 2009, and the main villa, Delana, was built very much to his specifications. Although it only has one bedroom, the villa – made with thatch, local timber and stone – is on a mega scale and has a stone-edged infinity pool with views of the other islands and a dark-stone spa-treatment room with a hot tub and twin massage beds (one of the members of staff gives an excellent massage). The interiors are South Seas tropical with lemon-coloured contemporary sofas and stone sculptures of local gods.
There are a further two one- bedroom villas, smaller in scale but similarly done out, and both have private pools. All three can be rented individually or together to create your own island hideaway. Days are spent diving or snorkelling, fishing for wahoo, tuna and marlin, or skimming across to one of the other similarly green and mountainous islands in the owner’s inflatable Naiad (used as the chase boat in the America’s Cup). There’s also a slightly hilly four-hole golf course. Meals are a highlight, with Pacific Rim dishes such as pakapaka, a deep-water snapper steamed with a ginger tamarind emulsion, kokoda (Fijian ceviche), or sashimi. All are served with organic fruit and vegetables grown in manager Lynda Miller’s kitchen garden and orchard.