Millennium Post

World of the super-rich Laucala

With its dazzling beaches, laid back crowds and inviting weather, Fiji is the preferred playground for the rich and the famous, serving as the backdrop for many luxurious hideaways

Fiji conjures up images of dreamy landscapes, dazzling beaches, salubrious climate and warm, hospitable people. The average Fijian is so friendly that falling in love with this speck of paradise becomes a truly graceful act of conversion, which is far, far removed from the cut-throat jet-setting competitive world.

This island nation comprises of as many as 320 islands, many of which are not yet inhabited. The island of Vitu Levu's capital city Suva interestingly has two names. In the east, the city is referred to as Suva while in the west, as Nadi. Nadi is your point of entry to Fiji as the international airport is located here from where visitors disperse to their chosen islands.

Fiji with a population of 900,000 is an eclectic mix of native Fijians (56 per cent) and Indians (38 per cent). Other races like Europeans, Rotumans, Chinese and Pacific Islanders form the remaining minority, a mixture that makes for a truly diverse racial mix.

If you are an Indian, you will find the senses and aromas of India unmistakable, a literal home away from home. Fiji's India connect has two distinct factions – Bengalis and South Indians.

The average Fijians are of Melanesian origin, with a blend of Polynesian, which is predominant in Eastern Fiji. The spirit of Fijian wanderlust is best epitomised by the fact that families trace their ancestry through 11 generations, invariably starting with alien sea people who sailed to the Fijian shores from far-away lands and gradually settled down in Fiji amid fellow Melanesian populace who already inhabited the gorgeous Fijian landscape.

The dramatic Fijian landscape has lured many rich and famous people to its shores. For instance, Red Bull co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz was so mesmerised by the ethereal charms of Laucala island that he decided to buy the island and develop perhaps one of the world's most outstanding island hideaways.

If history is anything to go by, back in 1972, billionaire business magnate Malcolm Forbes bought this little speck of paradise and transformed Laucala into his private sanctuary. Its present owner, Red Bull mogul Dietrich Mateschitz, has left no stones unturned to fashion a magnificent island hideaway. The result is a top-end luxury that guarantees total privacy. Out here in serene Laucala, each of the 25 villas is all sensational adaptations of time-honoured Fijian residences.

In the words of Dietrich himself– "Our integral philosophy encompasses the whole island, growing our livestock and vegetables, caring for our environment and hand-making all our guest products using the islands natural resources. We have tried to preserve the integrity and history of Laucala in this way".

Laucala is all of 3,500 acres, coconut plantations and green rolling hills, besides off course dreamlike sandy stretches of beaches. Out here, the switch from indoor to outdoor is one of the most harmonious, unmatched by any other island hideaways, largely due to the resort's respect, admiration and commitment for Fijian architecture. No wonder that Condé Nast Traveler has ranked Laucala as a Top 20 Resort in the Australia/Pacific region.

Laucala may be remote, north of the archipelago and surrounded by coral reefs and lush green mangrove forest but it is, therefore, ideal for an escape from civilisation.

Here in Laucala, privacy is of utmost importance, much more than even security. The impeccably appointed residences or "Bures" as they are referred to in the local Fijian parlance, have been rather meticulously crafted. Crafted and not built because the essence of Fijian architecture is the reliance on locally available materials like bamboo, cane, etc.

For the quintessential foodie, Laucala's offerings are simply irresistible and make good use of the island's organic gardens as fruits and vegetables are all sourced from the resort's signature kitchen garden. Apart from a bewildering array of nouveau international cuisines on offer, you would do well to order authentic Fijian delicacies, in keeping with the holiday spirit.

The culinary norm here at Laucala is that all meals are nicely complimented with wines and spirits to match the dining temperament. The in-house wine cellar, well stocked with high-quality wines has been a matter of mystery to the wine connoisseurs.

Sensitive to the guests' spirit of wanderlust and curiosity for things Fijian, Laucala authorities offer truly immersive cultural experiences in their private culture village where traditional Fijian dance, drama and musical performances are performed. The Kava ceremony, in particular, is an outright hit with guests as they partake in the centuries-old traditional drink

of Fiji from the community bowl. For those wanting a spa treatment, the Laucala Wellness Spa has 4 suites, all with shower and change rooms. The best part of the Laucala Spa is that all herbs and flowers are grown in the resort's in-house gardens.

Dietrich's love for Golf meant that the 18-hole Championship golf course at Laucala had to be world-class and so he roped in Scotsman David McLay-Kidd. PGA professionals support golfers at Laucala and what is more, a chauffeur and nanny are on call as well.

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