Nukubati Private Island Great Sea Reef – All Inclusive
What We Love
- Run by Fijians and locally owned
- Eco credentials: electricity from solar power; food from the resort’s organic gardens
- Absolute privacy in stand-alone bures
- The spa offers traditional Fijian Bobo massage, a healing treatment passed down through generations
What To Know
- Transfer is via a 40-minute flight, a one-hour drive, then a five-minute boat ride
- Children 12 years old and younger are permitted by special request only
- There’s no TV in guest rooms
- For environmental reasons there’s no ac, but buildings have been designed to catch sea breezes
- Eco friendly
- Free WiFi
- Room Service
Nukubati Private Island offers an authentic Fijian experience compared to the bigger and glitzier resorts. Run by Fijians and locally owned, there are seven beachfront traditional bungalows with verandas, white interiors, wooden floors, rattan furniture, and ceiling fans. There’s no a/c in this environmentally-friendly resort, but properties open up to take advantage of sea breezes. The spa offers traditional Fijian Bobo massage, a healing treatment passed down through generations. This all-inclusive resort’s restaurant and bar is in the central Pavilion where there’s also a library and a gift shop. And should you ever tire of snorkeling, there’s an outdoor tennis court.
In the Area
Nukubati Island’s Vatu Dua Pearl Farm is a small enterprise owned and run by the women of Raviravi village. If you visit at harvest time they’ll show you how the pearls are extracted and cleaned; plus you can buy them if you so choose. Visitors are welcome at the village’s church, where they can hear the Fijian choir. Since the island sits a half-hour boat ride from The Great Sea Reef (the world’s third largest barrier reef), a main activity is rightfully scuba diving.
How to Get There
From the moment you take the internal FijiLink flight to Labasa and are met at the airport, you know you are in for something special. After a short while of travelling along sealed roads, you realise why a four wheel drive is useful. 45 minutes later, you arrive at the jetty and are transported to a true paradise. Not only are you greeted with open-hearted song, but the owners Jenny and Peter - who somehow managed to have the Irish Flag flying for me too! My bhure, complete with writing desk, on the beachfront became my home. For the week I was there, the staff made me feel so very welcome. Nukabati is not just an eco resort with a well deserved repuation, I learnt of its origins, of Jenny and Peter's vision when they first set up some 30+ years ago, of creating a self sufficient, eco-friendly resort, which above all would be sustainable, a source of employment for the surrounding villages. Somewhere where visitors could see first hand the natural landscape, on and off the water. Somewhere to be still and rejuvenate one's soul. Having read the other reviews, I would agree, the food, the service, the company and of course the unique location all make Nukabati what it is. If something isn't easy to get to, the chances are, the journey will be worthwhile - and so it is. What makes it extra special? The people. What makes the people so special apart from their natural warmth? The care and attention given by the owners in training their staff who look after you with such grace and dignity, you cannot fail to feel welcome and loved. For one precious week in time, I really was 'home' - and will I know in time, return. For pleasure and who knows... perhaps take a small group for a leadership retreat...
My partner & I chose Nukubati Private Island for our honeymoon based on the resort being only one of 15 or so hotels in the world to have 10 years straight of 5 star TripAdvisor reviews.
It certainly lived up to our expectation with the resort owners, Jenny & Peter welcoming us with their staff upon arrival via private car transfer from Labasa Airport. Our highlights at Nukubati were the beyond friendly, warm helpful staff, the fishing & snorkelling trips we did to the untouched Great Sea Reef, the massages and on our last night the staff organised a private romantic beach dinner for just the two of us. Simply unforgettable. Oh the cooking class was fantastic as well to learn about just how eco-friendly & sustainable this place is. All inclusive meals were delicious, we have never eaten fish, fruit & vegetables as fresh as what was served to us during our stay.
We shared our stay on Nukubati with other friendly couples, a group of three friends and a Japanese group. However it really did feel we had the place to ourselves the whole time.
If you need a stopover night in Nadi, Nukubati has a sister small boutique hotel a short drive from Nadi International, the Fiji Orchid. We stayed there on our way to Nukubati and loved it - see separate review.
We arrived at Labasa airport to be greeted by the friendly Nukubati Island driver who drove us about an hour through the jungle to the jetty. We were then met by Rucie, our friendly boat captain who took us on the short trip over to the island. On arrival we were greeted with a traditional Fijian welcome song on the beach by the staff. It was very special.
Gordon, one of our amazing hosts, greeted us in the Pavilion with fresh coconut water, and amazing Fijian hospitality. From there we had an amazing lunch served by the beautiful Sarah and Emily. What a treat that was. Food was fresh from their organic farm and farms from local villages. We were then shown to our room which was our home for the next seven nights.
We were a bit concerned before arriving that the island claims 'no to low activities', however there was always something to do. Even if it was lying on our private beach reading a novel from the island library.
Activities we participated in were a fishing trip, a trip to church on Sunday at a local village, snorkeling on the Great Sea Reef, a sand bank picnic, walking around the island, paddling a glass bottom boat kayak, plus a trip to the local school.
Additionally the days were filled with a bit of swimming, happy hour with the hosts of the island, Jenny, Gordon and Lara, around 6.30pm. Amazing meals, a karva night, traditional Fijian BBQ. Plus Pictionary with the other two couples on the island after dinner.
I might add the first night we were on the island we were the only guests. Second night there was one other couple and then third night a third couple arrived. So special to be able to go somewhere without the tourist crowds.
Our seven nights was up way too quickly. When it was time to go we were fair-welled with another traditional song by the staff.
Overall this was an amazing experience. Feel so blessed we were able to meet so many amazing Fijian people and the other two couples were great too. Also loved the values of the owners of the island. They were not only great people, they valued the earth we live in also. Organic farming, employing locals, their own solar farm, and their thoughtfulness towards the environment. This is not a big glitzy resort with all the bells and whistles, but a truly humbling place to go to relax and experience a holiday of true relaxation.
Thank you to everyone on the island that made this experience so special for us.
Where do we start? Everything about this holiday was just perfect for us.
Let's start with getting to the island....We landed at Labasa airport during a torrential downpour but thankfully the airport staff had plenty of umbrellas and they were very good at getting all the luggage to the terminal without it getting soaked, so very pleasantly surprised there. The 4WD trip is about 30 mins on sealed roads and then 30 mins off-road (quite well maintained dirt roads) through local villages. At the end of the track there was a boat with two friendly, big smiled Nukubati staff to greet us and take us across the water to the island.
At the island we were greeted with more beautiful smiles, Fijian song and gorgeous frangipani leis. All the staff there to greet us introduced themselves and Eunice took us up to the pavilion for our yummy coconut drink and to go through a few details before showing us to our Bure.
Our Bure (#6) was amazing! Huge deck, nice big bathroom, louvers all around with insect screens. Very neat and tidy and we loved the foot bath at the bottom of the steps (which was refreshed every day complete with fresh flowers) to wash our feet before coming up the steps to our little home away from home. The Bure was cleaned each morning and fresh flowers beside the bed and in the bathroom and around the Bure...just beautiful. You can get fresh bath towels every day and there's a magic basket in the bathroom that if you put washing into, it comes back clean and folded a few days later ;-). What we particularly loved about the Bure was being able to see the water (and full moon) from bed, hearing the lapping of the little waves, taking less than 10 steps to get from the bottom of the steps to the water and the peace and tranquility of the birdsong.
I know everyone raves about the food, and it is totally warranted. The food at Nukubati is sensational!! So fresh, so flavoursome, beautifully presented, healthy and delicious. Didn't think I'd eat a three course lunch and three course dinner but it was all so delicious that you just had to! The courses are well proportioned so that you don't leave feeling like you ate too much. You have to try the Spicy Paw Paw soup.....best soup ever!! We are seafood eating vegetarians so we ate a LOT of fish the week we were there and would have loved maybe a bit more variety of seafood such as crabs, prawns, lobster but the fish was delicious and we did have lobster one night which was fantastic. We were lucky enough to be there for a Fijian bbq experience which was something very different and really enjoyable.
The first night when we went down to the pavilion for dinner, there were people there having a drink and they greeted us and asked us to join them. It was Jenny and Peter, the owners. They were there every night along with Gordon and we loved the interaction and stories shared each night before dinner. It's the little things like this that make Nukubati so very special. The staff are all so friendly and every staff member you come across gives you a big smile and a welcoming "Bula!" Special mention for Sera...we particularly loved our interaction with her and her beautiful smile, soft voice "you're most welcome" and her infectious laugh xx
Some of the things we recommend you do would be kayaking around the island both at high tide and low tide. At low tide you can pull your kayaks up onto the sandbank around the back side of the island and have a dip and break from the paddling. The walk up to the lookout is easy and the view is spectacular (just watch the mozzies after a rainy night 😉). We would definitely recommend doing the sandbar picnic...that is an amazing experience unlike anything we've done before....such peace, beauty, seclusion....
There was only one other couple there during our stay and they went out diving most days so we had the place to ourselves quite a bit. It would be a different holiday if it was fully booked...not that that would be a bad thing, just different. We were also there the last week before they closed for maintenance and renovations. Some things did need some freshening up and we wish them well with the upgrade.
If you want a romantic, peaceful, laid back, relaxing all inclusive holiday with amazing staff, food, drinks in a gorgeously stunning location then this is the holiday for you. We would (and already have) recommend a Nukubati holiday.
Thank you so much Jenny, Peter, Eunice, Sera, Siri, Cathy, Lottie and all the amazing Nukubati staff for making our first holiday together so fantastically memorable. We would love to come back one day xx
Pete and Di
This was our first time in Fiji, and we were hoping to stay at a place with good food, beautiful beach, and somewhat serene so that we can destress after a long process of wedding planning. This place proved to be that and so much more for us!
The honeymoon bures were not available when we booked, so we stayed in a regular one. I would say that the room could probably use a fresh coat of paint or two, but... it was very clean and comfortable. The bathroom is HUGE! The bed was really comfortable to sleep in, the pillows were great, the sheets were clean and fresh. The staff cleaned our room a few times a day, with a plenty of clean/dry towels and beach towels every day. Our room mostly got cleaned when we went out for meals. We had fresh flowers all over the place, as well as plenty of fresh water and juices stocked in our fridge.
Delicious, freshly prepared with We loved every meal. They bake their own bread, and it was really really good. There was plenty of freshly caught fish to choose from, as well as vegetables and fruits. I never knew coconut sauce could taste so good -- they use it in plenty of dishes, like coconut poached fish and octopus. The meals were well put together, and there were plenty of vegetarian and vegan options to choose from. Deserts were awesome, they make these grilled bananas with butterscotch that were seriously to die for -- we asked for seconds (which, by the way, is totally ok!).
The resort is the only thing on the island (as well as everything it takes to keep it running). The grounds are beautifully kept, very clean, with beautiful flower bushes everywhere. Everyone gets a private little area on the beach where the umbrella and beach chairs are. We also had a hammock by the beach. The main dining area has a lot of couches if you wanted to run away from the heat during the day, as well as board games, puzzles, and magazines to keep you entertained. We were also able to catch some wifi here, to keep up with what was happening with our family and friends back home. The island itself is gorgeous and we explored it many times. We went around it a few times during low tide, and also made a few trips up on the hill to watch the sunset. There are canoes, paddle boards, sail boats, a glass bottom boat, as well as snorkeling gear that we could use during our stay. We snorkeled a ton, and there is so much to see, especially during certain parts of the beach (talk to Lote, she will tell you where the best sights are). We have traveled to Dominican Republic, and also Mexico previously, and the water in Fiji is not as salty as those other parts of the world, and we were pleasantly surprised.
We truly felt like we were a part of one huge happy family. Sara, Siri, and Cathy did an excellent job serving our meals and taking care of us in the dining room. They are polite and pleasant, and we looked forward to seeing them for every meal. They are excellent at what they do, and work very hard from dawn to sunset to have everything perfect for every guest. Eunice was great in that she gave us so much information before coming there, during, and we were happy to see that the place is run with honesty and integrity. Lote is the queen of the sea, she is fun and pleasant and knows the boats and the ocean like the back of her hand. The staff really tries to stay out of your way, and lets you be and do whoever you want... yet they are easy to find in case you need anything. My husband stepped on a coral when we went to the sand bank and cut his foot. They had special serum to help him heal ready for us, with bandages, and they were keeping an eye on him all the time until he healed (everything healed nicely in a few days). I cannot say enough great things about the people of Fiji. They make me want to come back again. It truly takes a big staff to run the resort and a lot of the people just do things behind the scenes and are not heard nor seen. One last thing -- we got free laundry service.... WOW.... our clothes were washed daily, perfectly folded when brought back... That was amazing.
We snorkeled a lot, and had fun doing it. We also went to the sandbank picnic one day, which was awesome -- we did a ton of snorkeling there as well. We also went octopus hunting, and that was a very unique experience that I would highly recommend (if you come during the octopus season). Exploring the island is a must, and also you have to go up on that one hill behind the bures to see the sunset from the top. It's absolutely magical.
We couldn't have found a better spot to honeymoon. I wish I could say that we would return to Nukubati - maybe someday? We love to explore different places every time we go somewhere, so we may try for a different part of Fiji if we ever come back... (it's a loooong trip from New York!!). However, we would HIGHLY recommend the resort to others, especially for those that have not yet been to Fiji at all. This is where you will experience Fiji truly for what Fiji is. It's beautiful, comfortable, and will always stay in our hearts. And the people of the resort as well. Siri, Sarah, Cathy, Lote, and Eunice - we already miss you. Oh, and we miss the champagne and snacks at sunset. A lot. :)