What is it about Kokomo? You feel it the minute you step off the resort’s seaplane. The heat of the sun-bleached jetty is warm enough to put a spring in your barefoot step, yet you can’t help but take your time, soaking up the views of the vibrant lagoon—somehow even bluer than the rest of the South Pacific Ocean—and golden sands. Greetings of “Bula!” ring out every time you arrive in the lobby, which, to be fair, is hardly a lobby at all but rather a breezy, beachy living room where you’re as comfortable in a dripping wet suit, fresh catch in hand (a gift for executive chef Anthony Healy to cook up for lunch), as you are dressed for the nightly five-course tasting menu.
Kokomo is the kind of place where plenty of guests never leave their villa. And who can blame them? Those sparkling infinity pools and soaking tubs are enough reason to keep room service on speed dial (especially when the menu includes the freshest sashimi this side of Japan). But an equally persuasive case can be made for experiencing everything Kokomo has to offer: diving at the Great Astrolabe Reef—the fourth-largest barrier reef in the world—and sipping kava with the local chiefs on a neighboring island. Whatever it is about Kokomo, it’s impossible to replicate—and almost as impossible to leave.