Hotels

Hotel review: Nanuku Auberge Resort, Fiji

Dan Uglow

Putting new heights to the phrase ‘high end’, Nanuku Auberge Resort is making waves in Australia as Fiji’s ultimate luxury, yet boutique, family-friendly resort.

First impression

They say the journey matters more than the destination – not altogether true with Nanuku Auberge Resort, but the journey can certainly amplify the experience, if done right.

There are two most common ways to get to this luxury resort in Pacific Harbour on Fiji’s main island. One is by road from Nadi where most international flights land – it’s a three-hour drive and while scenic, it’s a chore if done to and from the resort.

The best way is via a charter flight over the mountains, waterfalls, coral reefs and rainforest. The circa-$2,000 price tag might seem steep on first pass, but it’s worth every cent and is every bit as good as a helicopter sightseeing tour (which has a similar cost).

Upon arrival, the traditional Bula welcome is maxed-up. Warriors blow conch shells, others wield clubs, lalis (traditional drums) are beaten, the chief greets guests and explains the resort. It’s quite the spectacle and sure to put a smile on your face, no matter the journey past.

Location

Located on its own private beach on the main island of Fiji, Nanuku Auberge Resort is in Pacific Harbour, not far from the Coral Coast and about 40 minutes from Suva.

Once inside the property’s walls, however, it feels like you’re on a remote island, detached entirely from outside influence.

The reef comes right into the pristine shore, so a sauntery snorkel straight after breakfast is a breeze. Meanwhile, a private uninhabited island is just a short boat ride away for an afternoon of complete isolation.

Nanuku Auberge - Sarah Knight By the Sea with Three (2)

The rooms

This is when the wow factor starts kicking in. Cavernous, luxuriant, opulent, resplendent – superlatives don’t really do them justice. All feature their own private pool and a villa mama who takes care of everything, so you don’t have to.

Set along a three-kilometre stretch of white sand beach on the resort’s eastern edge, one- and two-bedroom villas are 84 to 172 square meters of modern luxury beachfront living.

Meanwhile, the residences scale up from 200 square metres to 500 square metre palaces perched on top of a cliff overlooking paradise.

Nanuku - Hilltop Owners Residence main deck (300D)

Drinking and dining

There is one main restaurant and two bars in the hotel and this, if you’re being picky, could be seen as limiting. But Nanuku specialises in all sorts of other dining experiences to give guests the chance to mix it up.

One night you could be dining in a treehouse overlooking the lagoon, the next day on the beach with a private candlelit table, and the next lunch could be on a remote, desolate island. Whether it’s in the restaurant or out, the food is top-notch resort dining.

Treetop from hillside 4

Hotel features

Fiji is blessed with many luxury resorts set amongst idyllic scenery and featuring great interior design, but what sets Nanuku apart is the resort’s attitude to kids.

Each family is given a buddy and a nanny upon arrival that stays with the family until their departure (that’s on top of the villa mama). They get to know the kids and structure activities around their individual personality and interests.

Nanuku family rafting down river

There’s no set structure, no program of activities – it’s all about the desires of the little grommets. For us, one son was taken off spear fishing, crab trapping and coral planting with a marine biologist, while the other raced (and bet on) hermit crabs in between stints in the pool or on a jet ski.

During our stay, the Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament was on, and the buddy organised a game with the engineering team for our boys to play, such was their feverish excitement.

All of this means your clients – who are paying the bill – get to enjoy the resort’s facilities, pool, spa, bar, jet skis et cetera all to themselves without the rude interruptions of “Daaaad, I’m bored”. It’s heaven.

Verdict: 10/10

Nanuku Auberge Resort has for a long time been the go-to tropical paradise for discerning Americans with high expectations, but now the resort wants to grow Aussie arrivals, and so the profile of this resort is expected increase in this market.

It is without doubt one of the top luxury boutique, family-friendly resorts in Fiji, if not the world. If you have clients that demand the finer things in life, then look no further.

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