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Ultimate Private Islands: Fiji: Dolphin Island

Bruce Wallin

If private islands have a downside, it is that they are at times too private—cut off from the communities and cultures that make most destinations worth visiting. Not so at Dolphin Island, a 13-acre Fijian hideaway that is blissfully secluded yet never feels far removed from Fiji.

Set just offshore from a forested peninsula on the main island of Viti Levu, Dolphin is run by a friendly all-Fijian staff and visited daily by local fishermen selling snapper and cod. The eight-year-old resort—which reopened in July following an 18-month renovation—cossets couples in four modern-tropical suites with puka-shell chandeliers and bedside lamps made of sea-green kina shells. Plush beds with hypnotic fans overhead are havens for sleeping, one of the more popular activities on Dolphin Island.

Waking hours are spent lounging around the beach and the resort’s thatch-roofed pavilion, which opens to a wooden deck with a new infinity pool overlooking the Pacific. Kayaks, a catamaran, and snorkeling gear await guests on the beach, whose long wooden pier provides a jumping-off point for swimming with tropical fish or casting a line to catch one for dinner. For a truly traditional experience, have one of Dolphin Island’s staff members show you how to fish like a Fijian—with nothing more than a hand line, a hook, some chopped bait, and, preferably, an ice-cold bottle of Fiji Bitter.

ACCESS A 2.5-hour drive followed by a 20-minute boat trip from the international airport in Nadi; helicopter and floatplane transfers also available.
OVERNIGHT Four striking new suites house a maximum of four couples. Nights can also be spent in an open-air “sleep-out bure”, which faces the rising sun on the opposite side of the island.
FEATURES A library, dining room, and pool deck at the main pavilion; a pier and floating pontoon (good for over-water drinks and dinner) off the main beach.
DIVERSIONS Fishing and snorkeling from the pier; kayaking and sailing; evening bonfires on the beach; and off-island excursions including scuba diving and visits to local communities. Massages available on request.

Dolphin Island, +64.9.308.9824, www.dolphinislandfiji.com; prices from $7,680 per night for two guests to $12,290 per night for eight guests, all-inclusive

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Photo by Janos Grapow