This Private Island Resort Is One Of The Best New Destinations Of 2022

COMO Hotels and Resorts, the luxury hospitality brand whose portfolio includes show-stopping properties like the Maldives’ COMO Maalifushi and the iconic COMO Shambhala Estate in Bali, has added another dazzler to its burgeoning stable of singular getaways.

On December 15, the company unveiled COMO Laucala Island, its new 5.4-square-mile private island escape in the South Pacific. Surrounded by the crystalline waters of Melanesia in Fiji’s Cakaudrove province, the resort features 25 standalone residences (all with private pools and butler service) strewn among private white-sand beaches, blue lagoons, and verdant hills on the isle’s north shore.

A 45-minute private air charter from the country’s Nadi International Airport, the idyllic refuge—once owned by Malcolm Forbes and later purchased by Red Bull billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz—offers guests exclusive access to Laucala’s unique ecosystem, which encompasses lush rainforests, volcanic mountains, and coconut groves.

COMO’s signature holistic wellness philosophy manifests in myriad aspects of the property. At the wellness center, COMO Shambhala Retreat, Asian-inspired massages and body treatments incorporate the island’s flowers, fruits, and rich volcanic soil; in the garden, guests can peruse tropical flora to create their own soaps and lotions in the resort distillery. In keeping with the brand’s farm-to-table ethos and commitment to sustainability, the island’s five dining options source produce from the resort’s 240-acre farm, which cultivates a wide range of organic crops and livestock including chickens, quail, and wagyu cattle, while local fishermen provide a slew of just-caught seafood. Menus include COMO Shambhala options—flavorful, nutritious, and low in fat and refined sugars.

An impressive array of activities also abound. The David McLay-Kidd-designed, 18-hole championship golf course beckons those eager to hit the links, while anglers can try game fishing from the resort’s yacht. The sailing fleet available for charter includes the Rere Ahi–an elegant teak-finished boat built in 1970, whose name means “flying fire” in Maori—and a Riviera 41 Flybridge yacht with two cabins, designed by renowned naval architect Frank Mulder. World-class snorkeling sites are legion, while back on terra firma, horseback-riding, mountain biking, and nature hikes offer immersive ways to explore the island’s enchanting natural bounty.

COMO Laucala Island’s opening serves as a notable bookend to a banner year for the award-winning lifestyle brand. Having debuted in 1991 with the launch of COMO The Halkin in London’s swanky Belgravia district, the hotelier celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2021, and now numbers 15 international properties worldwide.