Top 10 best beach resorts in the South Pacific

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (July 30, 2018): Top 10 best beach resorts in the South Pacific.

The two words South Pacific get most people instantly daydreaming about tropical  islands, scattered like pearls in the biggest and least explored of our oceans, with turquoise water, idyllic beaches, swaying palm trees, colorful culture, exotic cocktails and, of course, ultraluxe resorts. Whether set in French Polynesia, Australia, Fiji, or the Cook Islands, the following 10 exclusive properties are the most luxurious resorts in the South Pacific and rank among my favorites in this region.

There is more information below the slideshow. Think I missed one? Share your favorite hotel in the South Pacific in the comments section, or take my poll below.

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10. HAYMAN ISLAND, GREAT BARRIER REEF, AUSTRALIA

Hayman Island is a private island resort in the heart of the Whitsunday Islands. The nearest island to the Great Barrier Reef, Hayman Island is ideal for nature based activities and exceptional guest experiences. Featuring 160 guest rooms, suites, villas and penthouses across three main accommodation wings, Hayman Island presents guests the ultimate in barefoot luxury. Restaurants and bars offer an array of local and international cuisines, while the spa and watersports centre complete the island experience. Due to the impact of Tropical Cyclone Debbie, Hayman Island is temporarily closed but will reopen late 2018 as an InterContinental resort.


9. PACIFIC RESORT AITUTAKI, COOK ISLANDS

The stunning beauty of Pacific Resort Aitutaki’s surrounds makes it a natural choice for those in search of romance in South Seas Polynesia. The resort is an intimate collection of 27 spacious beachfront bungalows and suites, each beautifully decorated and appointed with luxury amenities, illustrating why the property is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Here, guests spend lazy days by the pool and on the beach, visit the spa, explore the world-famous lagoon or snorkel the resort’s Aquatic Eco Trail. Sip cocktails poolside, enjoy tantalizing cuisine at Rapae Bay Restaurant overlooking the lagoon or choose a private beach dining experience. You can be sure that you will leave feeling relaxed and rejuvenated with memories of this idyllic paradise.

  • Hotel websitePacific Resort Aitutaki
  • Tip: enjoy free VIP perks at Pacific Resort Aitutaki when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily à la carte breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD spa credit).


8. LIZARD ISLAND, GREAT BARRIER REEF, AUSTRALIA

The only resort located on a 1,013-hectare National Park and literally on the Great Barrier Reef, Lizard Island offers seclusion and natural privacy that you will cherish. With only 40 rooms and villas and 24 private beaches, you can escape to your own private beach for a day exploring the reef, taking in the incredible nature around you and all while never seeing another person. In a world of over 7.5 billion people – this experience is designed for just two. Exploring and experiencing Lizard Island can be enjoyed by taking part in a number of guided tours, either to the inner and outer reefs, the Research Station, or on nature walks and challenging hikes to the top of Cook’s Look. Alternatively, you can explore the island on a self-guided tour, taking in the beauty at your own pace.


7. KOKOMO ISLAND, FIJI

Located on the edge of the celestial Kadavu Island Group and approximately 45 minutes flight from Nadi International Airport, Kokomo Island is a paradise encircled by the famous Great Astrolabe Reef. A world away from the world, this is a place where spectacular white sand beaches will be yours for the taking, where privacy is paramount, and where service is superior. There are 21 one- to three-bedroom beachside villas to choose from, each with its own deck from which you can see the blue of your private infinity pool merge with the aquamarine of the Pacific Ocean. For elevated views, opt for one of the five hilltop residences with an in-house chef, personal butler and nanny, as well as sweeping views of the island’s white-sand beaches, verdant rainforest and picturesque gardens.

  • Hotel websiteKokomo Island
  • Other accolades: Kokomo Island also features in my top 10 list of the best new luxury hotels of 2017.
  • Tip: enjoy free VIP perks at Kokomo Island when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, $100 USD resort credit, and a complimentary in-villa Chef’s BBQ, valued at USD$200 per villa).


6. QUALIA, GREAT BARRIER REEF, AUSTRALIA

Qualia’s distinctive style combined with its intuitive service makes it a luxurious resort on world-class standards. The resort’s sun-drenched and secluded location in the Whitsunday Islands provides the ideal location to appreciate the passing beauty of each day, with a choice of 60 extremely private individual pavilions, many of which have a private plunge pool and natural touches like outdoor showers. Facilities include two serene pools, a fitness centre, a library, private dining room, two bars and fine dining restaurants. Guests may indulge and unwind at the stunning Spa qualia, or play at Australia’s only island championship golf course, the Hamilton Island Golf Club, with stunning 360 degree views of the Whitsunday Islands from every hole.

  • Hotel websiteQualia
  • Other accolades: Qualia features in my top 10 list of the best hotels in Australia.
  • Tip: enjoy free VIP perks at  when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and a sunset cruise).


5. LAUCALA ISLAND, FIJI

Set upon 3,500 exclusive acres Laucala private island resort is set amidst coconut plantations, sandy beaches, rich green mountains and breathtaking natural beauty. True luxury is appreciated in the privacy of the resort’s 25 Fijian-styled villas widely spread on the northern tip of the island. Seamless transition from indoor to outdoor living creates an inspiringly relaxed yet luxurious atmosphere. Laucala shows its most ethereal side in an iridescent kaleidoscope of sporting and cultural activities. Diving in a unique underwater world, rain forest tours, horseback riding, surfing, golfing on the 18-hole championship course, or meeting native artists.


4. THE BRANDO, FRENCH POLYNESIA

The Brando is a unique luxury resort on French Polynesia’s breathtakingly beautiful private island of Tetiaroa – an atoll composed of a dozen small islands surrounding a sparkling lagoon 30 miles (50 km) northeast of Tahiti. The Brando offers carefree luxury in the midst of pristine nature. With access to the island by private plane, the resort features 35 villas on white-sand beaches frequented by sea turtles, manta rays and exotic birds. The resort is designed to reflect Polynesian lifestyles and culture. It was in this natural wonderland that the legendary actor Marlon Brando settled down, and finally found his home. Room rates start at 3000 euro per night for the cheapest room category (one bedroom villa), inclusive of food & beverages.


3. FOUR SEASONS BORA BORA, FRENCH POLYNESIA

Wrapped by majestic views, Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora is surrounded by sand-fringed islets on an outer coral reef that enclose a turquoise lagoon. The resort offers 121 spacious hideaways with 100 over-water bungalows and 7 beachfront villas, all overlooking the lagoon’s crystal clear waters and some with spectacular views of Mount Otemanu. Inspired by local architecture, all guest accommodations offer a restful, airy ambience; complete with traditional teak wood furnishings, high ceilings and thatched roofs made from pandanus leaves. Special touches that accentuate the feel of Polynesia include striking works of art, private pools and sliding doors by deep bathtubs for panoramic fresh-air views of the lagoon.


2. SIX SENSES FIJI

Known for its idyllic crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches, thick tropical forests and excellent climate, Six Senses Fiji is located in a magnificent secluded bay on Fiji’s Malolo Island. The private golden sand beach frontage stretches over 2,100 feet (650 meters) in length. Six Senses Fiji offers 24 spacious pool bures (villa) all with private plunge pools, plus an additional inventory of residences, offering from two to five bedrooms. With several food and beverage outlets serving delicious, locally inspired dishes, watersports including sailing and surfing, Six Senses Spa with a yoga pavilion and Alchemy Bar and a weekly activity schedule taking you on out-of-the-ordinary experiences, there is something for everyone at Six Senses Fiji.


1. ST REGIS BORA BORA, FRENCH POLYNESIA

Reaching out across 44 acres of lush landscaping edged by powdery white sands and a crystalline lagoon, the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort represents the epitome of carefree elegance. Its 100 exquisitely designed accommodations feature the largest over-water villas in the South Seas as well as stunning beach villas, showcases for the warm glow of exotic woods, handwoven fabrics and regional art. Rising in the distance, the towering majesty of Mount Otemanu is an ever-present symbol of the lofty luxury and impressively personalized service that are the hallmarks of St. Regis. There is something for everyone here … endless pleasures set against a backdrop of jaw-dropping beauty.


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