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How to protect paradise: Sustainable travel and luxury in Fiji

The stunning Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort in Savuvu was one of the world's first luxury eco-resorts.

How to protect paradise: Sustainable travel and luxury in Fiji

Ever wondered how you can enjoy a holiday in tropical paradise and look after the environment at the same time? These six stunning resorts in Fiji ensure sustainability and luxury go hand in hand.

How to protect paradise: Sustainable travel and luxury in Fiji

Kokomo Private Island Resort, Kadavu

Kokomo Private Island Resort fully embraces the farm-to-table movement, with its sprawling 5.5-acre farm that practices organic methodologies and produces a variety of local vegetables, fruit and herbs. The resort is also home to 16 beehives that produce honey. There are 170 free-range chickens, and even a vanilla plantation – fresh vanilla beans are used in the pastry kitchen.

The luxurious resort also has close relationships with local suppliers, and launched Fiji’s very first Dock to Dish programme. This top initiative involves supporting and sourcing produce from local fisheries. As a result, the resort now sources its fish from an all-female cooperative of small-scale fishers – the Bussa-fisherwomen of Buliya – who use sustainable harvesting practices.

The resort’s secluded location – south of Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu – has made embracing sustainability a true necessity. Island-grown and locally sourced produce is transformed into gourmet cuisine by the resort’s chefs, who change the menus daily in order to champion fresh and seasonal produce that’s full of flavour.

Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, Savusavu

Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort was one of the world’s first luxury eco-resorts. Owned by environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau, the resort is built on the principles of taking little from the environment and giving back as much as possible. Marine biologists monitor and preserve the resort’s neighbouring marine sanctuary – and guests can get involved with the marine conservation efforts too, as the marine biologists run educational snorkelling trips.

Read more: Top five eco-friendly travel destinations

The resort’s sustainable ethos continues on land, as the luxury bures have been constructed using naturally harvested materials. The resort’s chefs prepare decadent cuisine that makes use of the on-site organic garden, and any produce that is not grown at the resort is sourced directly from local organic farms.

In the spa, pure ingredients such as cold-pressed coconut oil, raw sugar, honey, nuts and spices are blended to create the products used in treatments. In keeping with the resort’s holistic philosophy, all these ingredients are sourced from local plantations and villages, and the resort’s own garden.

Six Senses Fiji, Malolo Island

Built on a philosophy of integrated wellness and sustainability, Six Senses Fiji boasts an organic vegetable garden and a free-range chicken farm – aptly named ‘Cluckingham Palace’. Their kitchen has a zero-waste policy, which means sustainability is considered for everything – right down to cocktails made with tonic syrups and kombucha made from fruit and vegetable cut-offs that would otherwise be thrown away.

The resort is designed to be solar powered using Tesla battery packs – the largest off-grid solar installation in the southern hemisphere. Rainwater is collected at the resort, plus it has its own water refinery, which produces high-quality drinking water without the use of plastic bottles.

Wellness is key to the Six Senses Fiji experience, and the resort focuses on using fresh whole foods. Guests can even choose to start their stay with a personalised ‘wellness screening’, used to provide recommendations on how they can boost their wellness during their stay, whether it’s through a meal plan, personalised exercise programme or sleep improvements.

Nanuku Auberge Resort, Pacific Harbour

Located in Pacific Harbour, commonly recognised as Fiji’s adventure capital, Nanuku Auberge Resort provides the ultimate luxury holiday infused with Fijian culture. Sustainability is integral for the resort, and it is dedicated to improving its environmental footprint and looking after the local community and resort staff.

As part of the resort’s Planet Auberge programme, a full-time marine scientist is on staff to manage ecological sustainability opportunities for the guests – which include planting coral nurseries and reef conservation. Mangroves play a vital role in marine conservation and preventing erosion, so guests are also encouraged to leave Nanuku Auberge Resort lusher than when they arrived by getting involved in the mangrove planting programme. The resort has planted more than 5,000 mangroves over the last two years, and they have a goal of planting 15,000 by the end of 2019.

Many of the resorts will allow you to take part in their ecology initiatives, such as planting new coral nurseries.

Many of the resorts will allow you to take part in their ecological initiatives, such as planting new coral nurseries.

The bountiful land surrounding the resort produces an array of fresh produce, with everything from vanilla pods to wild honey harvested on site. Guests can enjoy a guided medicine walk to explore the gardens and learn about the different plants locals use for cooking and traditional medicine.

Kiwi Oliver Scarf – formerly of The George Hotel in Christchurch – helms the kitchen as executive chef. His farm-to-table ethos means that local and seasonal produce dictate the menu. Guests can also try their skills at creating traditional Fijian fare, with hands-on cooking classes that include the opportunity to hunt and cook mud crabs and prawns.

Royal Davui Island Resort, Beqa Lagoon

If romance is on your agenda, the adults-only Royal Davui Island Resort has long been a favourite for romantic escapes. Located on a private island in Fiji’s Beqa Lagoon, the resort is a great place to escape the stresses of everyday life, with just 16 bures nestled around 10 acres of lush tropical landscape.

Royal Davui Island Resort is set on a beautiful private island.

Royal Davui Island Resort is set on a beautiful private island.

Recognising it operates in a fragile environment, this resort makes a real effort to minimise its footprint. During construction, timber was bought from sustainable plantation stock to reduce the impact on Fiji’s forests. A complete tertiary water treatment plant was installed as well, so all wastewater can be cleaned and reused.

As the resort’s surrounding reef was declared tabu, or sacred in the local Fijian dialect, the reef and marine life within a one-kilometre radius of the island are protected. Not only does this help to conserve the diverse and unique marine environment, but it’s also an ideal spot for guests to explore Fiji’s vibrant underwater world.

Likuliku Lagoon Resort, Malolo Island 

For those in search of an adults-only paradise, Likuliku Lagoon Resort is a must-visit. The breathtaking resort was the first in Fiji to offer overwater bures, in addition to their beautiful bures with private plunge pools located on land.

Restoring the tropical dry forest surrounding the resort and protecting its inhabitants – the Fijian crested iguanas – is a sustainability focus for Likuliku Lagoon. To reinvigorate the forest, the resort runs a tree nursery – which has produced over 3,500 native species that have since been planted throughout the property. The resort’s efforts to preserve the forest have in turn helped to grow the population of the native iguanas.

Providing opportunities to the local people of Malolo Island is also important to Likuliku Lagoon Resort, and it prides itself on being an equal opportunity employer. The resort is built on land that has a 99-year lease, with royalties paid to the landowners to provide them with an income. Educational initiatives, including an education fund, are also provided to the landowners by the resort.

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