There is something special about Likuliku… the people, the calm exotic water, the remote luxury. I spent three days at this tropical paradise and felt truly at home thanks to the stunning but informal five star setting, and the genuine and friendly family of staff.
Your Likuliku experience will start at sea, as you transfer onto the hotel’s small boat and float towards the magical turquoise lagoon. The musicians greet guests on the jetty with a soulful welcome song before serving a cooling glass of chilled passionfruit iced tea. The check-in process is casual and quick so that your holiday can begin as soon as possible.
The resort opened in 2007 and is owned by a Fijian family. Most of the staff are from villages on the island which gives this hotel an authentic and happy Fijian feel. Likuliku is an adults only resort, and is particularly popular with honeymooners. Often couples who once holidayed at Likuliku start a family and then visit the sister property, Malolo Island Resort, on the same island.
There are 45 rooms, including Fiji’s picturesque, only overwater bures. The other rooms all open out onto the beach, and deluxe rooms include a private plunge pool. Carefully designed to replicate the look of a traditional Fijian village, the individual huts are made with natural materials and decorated with unique pieces of furniture and art from the South Pacific. The dark, warm, patterned wood in the bedrooms creates an inviting and cosy sanctuary to rest your head. The bathroom is indulgently large with a duo of sinks complete with personalised his-and-hers toiletries by Pure Fiji. There is a powerful rain shower inside and a second shower outdoors. In the living area an ice bucket with a bottle of champagne awaited our arrival and on the bed there were complimentary branded sarongs and a Likuliku survival kit of essentials (suncream, aftersun, natural insect repellant and lip balm).
The small Tatadra spa offers couples a chance for total relaxation with four treatment rooms looking out to the water. Choose a treatment to sooth sunburn, a brightening facial or a gentle aromatic massage using homemade oils. The softly spoken therapists will remedy any aches and pains, serve hot herbal tea, and encourage you to relax in the sea view lounge.
Fiji is not often praised for its culinary efforts, so I was extremely impressed to taste the superior food at Likuliku’s Fijiana restaurant. Australian Executive Chef, Shane Watson, was with the hotel when it opened and has recently returned to the kitchen. His food is creative and exciting, with a focus on flavour and he utilises any produce he can grow on the island.
As a guest on an isolated island, the options for mealtimes are limited, and so it makes sense that all food is inclusive in the room rate. I found myself looking forward to every meal, to taste Shane’s latest dishes. At breakfast I always indulged with light and fluffy, freshly made buttermilk pancakes with apple & vanilla compote, honeycomb and mascarpone, but the speciality mud crab omelette is also a must try. From the buffet there are numerous appetising treats to choose from including a make-your-own juice bar, assorted pastries and fresh young green coconut juice. Lunch plates were light and tasty, and the recipes often have an Asian twist. My favourite was the charcoal grilled chicken with green papaya, cherry tomatoes and toasted shallots.
There are two bars to choose from, but most guests choose to sit at the jetty to enjoy an evening cocktail, I recommend the refreshing coconut mojito. When the sun begins to set guests sit down for dinner under the stars. The mood is romantic and the staff ensure it always feels like an occasion. My most memorable dishes were: Chargrilled Beef Tenderloin with mushrooms and sauce bordelaise; rich and fragrant Pork Belly Red Curry; and Miso White Chocolate Panna cotta with poached rhubarb. All the ingredients are wonderfully fresh with premium meat, and fish straight out of the sea. Needless to say, it is impossible to eat badly at Likuliku. All meals are accompanied by talented live band playing affecting local tunes and lilting traditional songs.
The hotel is happy to organise activities and excursions within the resort or further afield. I had an unforgettable morning island hopping with Likuliku. The boat picked us up at 7am before zooming off into the sunrise. We visited nearby Modriki island, known best as the island where the Tom Hanks movie ‘Castaway’ was filmed. From 30 metres out we swam to the deserted beach and our dedicated guide Tasi climbed the coconut trees to gather our fresh breakfast. If you prefer to stay on site, take a medicine walk with Joe to learn about the natural remedies, or borrow a snorkeling kit and go out in the beautiful lagoon to see the colourful sealife, you may even spot a friendly reef shark.
Likuliku completely won over my heart. Unlike many Fiji island resorts, this hotel benefits from a quiet and calm lagoon, creating a tranquil and tidy beach. The luxurious offering is unpretentious and immersive, so guests will feel immediately distanced from all the constraints and stresses of normal life. In my opinion this is the perfect desert island to be stranded on.
Thoroughly Modern Milly travelled to Likuliku with South Sea Cruises ferry. Boats run three times a day to Malolo Island. (Between 55-120 minutes from Nadi, dependent on route).
More information and book a stay at Likuliku Lagoon here.