Bora Bora, it would seem, gets most of the attention when it comes to honeymoon destinations that epitomize that paradise island ideal. But its beauty is not actually unmatched. The South Pacific, unsurprisingly, is home to countless more islands that are as spectacular, if not more so—with about a thousand less travelers to boot. Picture mind-boggling coral reefs that butt up to silky sandy beaches lined with coconut palms that give way to the lushest, most verdant green hills. And maybe even a waterfall or two.
Fiji is where this kind of magical sounding landscape is a reality, made even more wondrous by the genuinely warm, smiling, and friendly locals (not to mention talented singers) who more often than not make up the entire staff of a resort. Speaking of, those tend to be on the smaller, much more private side, though not lacking in luxury. The journey to this idyllic land is surprisingly convenient from the U.S., especially the from the West Coast, where there's a nonstop flight on Fiji Airways—their super plush business class seats and super sweet flight attendants are the ultimate way to kickstart a journey across the Pacific. The flight from L.A. to Nadi (their main airport) leaves at night and takes around 11 hours, meaning you wake up on the island and don’t waste any time.
Whereas it’s possible at a big resort in Tahiti to forget where you are, in Fiji you always know—the culture is pervasive, and traditions are strong and shared with everyone. It’s not yet as built up as some of the other Pacific islands by a long shot, and thus there’s an intimacy that seems to allow for greater immersion. And of course, while there's often plenty of sunshine and relaxation, just keep in mind that November to April can be rainy. With more than 300 islands in the South Pacific, there’s a spot for romance that speaks to every type of couple. Here, a few of the sexiest.
For the privacy seekers
For a decade now, Laucala (owned by Red Bull cofounder Dietrich Mateschitz) has been one of the most exclusive, impeccable, and incredible private island resorts in the world. Once you step off your private flight from Nadi it’s clear why: The resort stretches over an entire 3,500-acre island—gorgeously lush and jungle-like—but has just 25 villas, ensuring the most ridiculous amount of personal space you could imagine. Free-form private pools give way to vast private beaches and a multitude of daybeds, lounge chairs, and sitting areas, plus massive bathtubs both inside and out. All-inclusive here means ultimate indulgence: There are more than half a dozen room-service menus (think everything from barbecue to sushi) so you could literally never leave your villa if you wish to laze about naked all day and night. Each villa is fully stocked with a wine fridge containing about a dozen bottles (all included), plus liquor, kombucha, infused water (filtered and bottled in glass on-site from the island’s natural spring), and fresh juices. And a personal golf cart gives you free rein of the island, from the extensive organic farms where produce is grown and Peking ducks are raised to the golf course and horse stable. At Laucala, it’s whatever you want, whenever you want it—there are no closing times for restaurants; they’ll stay open until you’ve eaten. (Don’t miss the ocean-view teppanyaki.) The multitude of experiences available guarantees good times—hop on a jet ski, go fishing, take a five-star surfing trip (complete with jet-ski pickup after you’ve ridden each wave), or jump in the submarine for an otherworldly adventure unmatched anywhere else. A few more must-dos: Visit the verdant spa for therapies that will melt away any remaining post-wedding tension, and pry yourself away from your private pool to have a moment in the clear-sided so-called mermaid pool, which seems to levitate above the lagoon pool. It’s one of the only photo ops that might compete with your wedding portrait.
Kokomo Private Island Fiji
For those who want it all
One of the country’s newest private island resorts is this pure expression of Aussie billionaire Lang Walker’s passion for and love of Fiji. The breathtakingly beautiful arrival, by helicopter or seaplane, is as epic as the all-inclusive experience that awaits. Though the off-the-beaten-path island is well-suited for intergenerational family getaways (there’s a collection of large residences), the 21 beachfront villas seem tailor-made to seduce honeymooners looking for an active yet luxurious getaway. The singing staff welcome might make you smile bigger than on your wedding day and the grinning won’t stop there. Traditionally styled villas with contemporary-meets-Fiji furnishings each have their own pools and massive bathtubs in case you ever tire of the turquoise sea and powdery sand, and the spa is a dream, with treatments such as hot seashell massage. Unlike some all-inclusives, the cuisine here is true five-star, and quite customizable. There’s a fine-dining restaurant serving multicourse dinners by innovative chef Anthony Healy, including one of the signatures of the resort, his preparation of the delicate, sustainable, locally caught bussa fish, part of the Dock to Dish program guests may take part in. A beachfront casual spot, Walker d’Plank serves Asian street-style tapas and whatever is freshest off the boats that day (plus to-die-for pork ribs). Private romantic dinners are, of course, a popular honeymoon perk. Yoga, waterfall treks, village visits, diving and snorkeling, coral garden replanting, surfing, garden tours, fishing and even more round out the total package. The staff, especially, makes each activity one for the books, whether it’s exploring the colorful world that is the Great Astrolabe Reef (one of the world’s largest) with the marine biologist or chatting with guides while hiking about life on the surrounding small islands. The best advice: Stay as long as you can.
Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort
For the adventurous couple
Did you love summer camp? If so, you’ll adore this dreamy eco-resort in Savusavu where the dive shop is run by Jacques Cousteau’s son, Jean-Michel. As his involvement would hint at, this is a place that places a premium on underwater experiences, including diving (and PADI certification courses) at more than a dozen spectacular sites. It’s also big on overwater ones—there are kayaks, paddleboards, a glass-bottom boat, and impressive catamaran, plus a waterfall hike for some fresh water. Basically this is not the resort to visit if you want to sit on a beach all day long; it’s where you come to truly experience and learn about the great outdoors. The on-staff marine biologist is passionate and enthusiastic, and makes every outing a thrilling one. The summer camp vibes extend to the atmosphere, too, since it is a family-friendly property, though there’s a specific kids area and the ocean-view restaurant with a pretty pool in front of it is separated in two sections—one adults only. Lush jungle vibes are pervasive here: There seems to be life everywhere you look. The most epic thatched-roof accommodation for honeymooners is the luxurious Villa, with its own spa tub, waterfall, and walled garden. When you’re not hanging out in your bure (a traditional Fijian wood and straw hut), noshing on fresh, locally caught fish (it’s all-inclusive and delectable dishes are a guarantee, as is an enviable breakfast spread including traditional local wellness shots), enjoying the live music or indulging in the dreamy spa, it’s possible to engage in reef protection efforts and even a giant clam breeding project, both part of the extensive conservation efforts the resort spearheads (there’s also recycled water, eco-friendly toiletries, and an organic garden supplying the restaurant). Natural beauty and pampering aside, this is a place you come to gain understanding about a world beyond our own—it’s an experience that sticks with you long after you’ve been seen off by the sweet staff with a Fijian song.
Six Senses Fiji
For the surfers and spa seekers
Opened in 2018, this paradisiacal resort on Malolo Island is one of the best positioned places to enjoy the acclaimed surfing at the iconic Cloudbreak. Of course there’s so much more to the destination than surfing, but the sport—for both experienced and beginner wave riders—is absolutely a great reason to go. Tropicsurf, renowned for its coaching of beginners to pro-level surfers, is on hand for every level to ensure good times, taking practiced guests out on boats to the famed breaks and sticking to flatter water with newbies. The beaches here are perfect, and there’s nothing wrong with lounging in the sun for days on end—a pursuit that’s rewarded by wonderful service and vast range of impeccable cocktail and cuisine options, delivered, if you wish, to your side. With strong sustainable initiatives and wellness programming, this is a place you can feel good about spending time. Those who really want to reset after the wedding can do so at the furry thatched-roof spa bures, or with more intensive packages that aim to improve on sleep habits and diet, among other complaints. It would seem impossible, though, to have a bad night’s rest in the gorgeous carved-wood bures, which are set around a sandy path like a traditional village. For the utmost privacy, book a residence, which comes with a kitchen where you can cook your own meals (there’s a small market selling fresh produce and other groceries) or have a private chef come treat you to a candlelit dinner by your private pool.
For the non-planners
Are you the type of people who like to keep it simple (especially in the face of so much wedding planning), who would love to make one booking and have the rest be taken care of for you? If so, Namale is your dream come true. At the sprawling resort in Savusavu on Vanua Levu island, all you have to do is show up, and the vivacious staff will ensure your trip is as full of activities or as relaxed as you wish. Ensconced in a wood-clad bure or villa—the Honeymoon Bure is unsurprisingly a top recommendation since it's equipped with gorgeous wooden decks (boasting crazy beautiful ocean views) and private mini plunge pools—in the jungle you’ll feel like you’ve gone back in time to real Fiji, the way was hundreds of years ago. Because it’s all-inclusive, you can basically eat and drink your way through the honeymoon, choosing to nosh on surf and turf in the lodge-like restaurant, order whatever you want from room service whenever you want it, or join the other couples for cocktails and nightly entertainment (elsewhere the concept could be cheesy, but here the cultural performances by local village troupes are vibrant, special, and exciting). Don’t miss the kava ceremony nights! There are also plentiful opportunities for romantic rendezvous removed from other guests: There’s a heart-shaped pool with views of the aquamarine water and blowhole in the reef that can be booked, and even a rushing private waterfall for dining immersed in nature (hiking optional). But from horseback riding to wake boarding to Fiji’s only bowling alley, there’s also tons of activities and even field trips on offer if you’re feeling frisky.