Matangi Island, Fiji

Photo: Matangi Private Island Resort

This is probably the most relaxed you’ve ever felt. You just finished an Earth Sea Salt Scrub in the Ocean Spa. It began with a warm, virgin coconut oil massage. A salt scrub and a rain shower, over a carved mahogany shower table, followed. Then it was back to the massage table again. Now you’re sitting outside on a turquoise-cushioned couch on the over-water relaxation deck. The cushions perfectly match the calm water in front of you.

The Ocean Spa is one of the many reasons that Matangi Private Island Resort is considered one of the most romantic resorts in Fiji. You’ve been pampered since you set foot on the island. After flights to Nadi and Taveuni, a minibus brought you to a dock, where a boat was waiting to transfer you to the remote, rainforest-covered island. The staff, singing a welcome song and bearing gifts, was waiting for you on Horseshoe Bay. You quickly had a garland around your neck, a flower in your hair, and a cocktail in your hand.

After you checked in, you were shown to your oceanfront bure. The traditionally designed hut has bamboo walls and a coconut palm-thatched roof. A daybed hangs on the veranda. Two dark-wood Adirondack chairs sit across from it. But the interior is surprisingly modern. White walls, black accents, and wooden furniture decorate the octagon-shaped room. There are classic sulus (sarongs) with instructions for how to wear them. Pure Fiji products, made with coconut oil and infused with tropical flowers, are in the bathroom. A French press coffee maker and freshly baked cookies sit on the counter. So does a welcoming bottle of wine. This is all just steps from a hammock, sun loungers, the white-sand beach, and that turquoise water.

Photo: Matangi Private Island Resort

Beyond your bure, you found Vale-Ni-Kana. The dining room is decorated with intricately carved poles. Its food is influenced by Fijian heritage and the tropical surroundings. Meals feature taro, tapioca, breadfruit, and freshly caught fish. While herbs from the garden are added to cocktails at the bar. The Ocean Spa, the infinity pool, and the gorgeous beach are beyond that. You can snorkel above the fringing coral reef right off the sand. Stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, and sailboats are ready for you to start exploring. Hiking trails wind around the shoreline, past orange fruit doves and Fiji parrotfinches, and up volcanic paths for views of stunning Horseshoe Bay. Plus countless scuba-diving sites lie within a 20-mile radius of the island.

Matangi Island has been owned by the same family since 1878 when Frederick Mitchell arrived from Australia and built a coconut plantation. More than 100 years later, his descendants decided to turn their idyllic, 240-acre island into a luxury resort. Bures and treehouses are now scattered between cycad palms and fruit trees. Mountain goats, pigs, and wildfowl—their own ancestors kept on the plantation—still roam the island. Fruit bats, in search of bananas and mangoes, fly along the treeline at dusk. While the sunset view from the bay will take your breath away every single night. It doesn’t get more relaxing than this.

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