Treading lightly on an island paradise

Since Cyclone Winston, Laucala Island has been carefully managed to rejuvenate the landscape as well as refurbishing the resort.

By Freya Purnell 31/05/2017

Austrian billionaire and Red Bull co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz is serious about sustainability, leaving 80 per cent of his privately-owned Laucala Island untouched. So when Tropical Cyclone Winston devastated large swathes of the South Pacific in February 2016, Mateschitz – someone hardly lacking in energy – took his time reopening the exclusive island resort, allowing for the rejuvenation of the landscape as well as a refurbishment of the resort’s buildings.

Since its reopening in July last year, Laucala has also welcomed a new executive chef, Jean-Luc Amann, who cooked for guests such as Princess Diana and King Abdula of Jordan during his stints at The Peninsula Hong Kong and the Al Bustan Palace, Oman. Classically trained in France but with a passion for Asian flavours, Amann has embraced the resort’s paddock-to-plate philosophy.

Eighty per cent of the produce used in the resort’s five restaurants and bars comes from the island, with crops such as vanilla, pepper, teas, fruits and vegetables, and animals including poultry, cows, pigs, quails, Peking ducks and coconut crabs all raised organically on its 240-acre farm. Even the products used in Laucala’s spa are created from flowers, herbs, spices and fruit sourced from its surrounds.

Amann meets with guests individually at the beginning of their stay to discuss their preferences, and the resort’s ‘dine anytime, anywhere, any cuisine’ approach allows them to eat when and where the mood takes them – whether it’s sunset cocktails in the Rock Lounge, a fine-dining experience in the colonial-style Plantation House Restaurant, 2am Teppanyaki, or fish and chips at breakfast, as one recent guest requested.

Accessible only by private jet (either your own or Laucala’s, from its private lounge at Nadi Airport), the island might be small at 12 square kilometres, but still offers guests plenty of opportunities to get active between eating occasions: from the David McLay Kidd-designed 18-hole championship golf course, to horseback riding, tennis, diving and snorkelling in the island’s inner reef, or plunging the depths in Laucala’s private submarine.

Rates for the resort’s 25 luxury villas start from $US6000 (about $A8065) a night, but if you want to step into Mateschitz’s shoes, his Hilltop Estate – with an 11,000 square-metre, three-bedroom residence – can be hired for around $US56,000 ($A75,250) a night. (


Subscribe to the Newsletter

Stay Connected

You may also like.

The New Six Senses Norway Will Be The World’s First Energy-Positive Hotel

The 94-room hotel, which is set to open in 2024, will be completely off-grid and carbon neutral.

By Rachel Cormack


The 8 Best European Summer Destinations For 2022

The sun is high, the beaches are warm, the weather is balmy, the wine is chilled—what’s not to love about summer in Europe?

By Natasha Dragun


The Tiny West African Tropical Getaway You’ve Never Heard Of

The island nation of São Tomé e Príncipe is aiming to become the fashionable getaway of choice for the worldly, eco-conscious traveller.

By Mark Ellwood


PONANT Returns To The Kimberley

The French adventurer announces it’s back in Australia with new departure dates.

By Terry Christodoulou


These Solar-Powered 5-Star Pods Cruise The Sea

The sleek abode is entirely emissions-free, too.

By Rachel Cormack


Buy the Magazine

Subscribe to Robb Report today!

Subscribe today

Stay Connected