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Almost as soon as the coronavirus began spreading around the world, the ultra-wealthy started staking out private islands where they could cloister themselves away from COVID-carrying plebes.
From the balmy Caribbean to the most remote parts of Europe and the U.S., jetsetters hopped aboard their private planes or mega-yachts and hunkered down for the long haul. One of the South Pacific’s toniest private island resorts is taking the trend one step further and offering a buyout that includes not just exclusive access to your own personal paradise, but also chartered flights aboard Fiji Airways’ new Airbus A350 – so you can satisfy your inner aviation geek while also indulging in one of the world’s most extravagant getaways. The package, which will be available starting 01 November 1, includes a few show-stopping elements sure to wow even the most discerning
Available for groups of up to 20, this special arrangement is open for bookings starting November 1 and will include sole use of Laucala Island and accommodations in a selection of 10 of the resort’s 25 villas. There is a seven-night minimum stay requirement. Flights will only depart from Los Angeles to Nadi on Thursday and Saturday evenings, so travelers will have to plan around that – though timing can be flexible with three weeks’ advanced notice, apparently.
Fiji Airways has canceled all commercial flights at least through March 2021, making this a unique opportunity both to visit Fiji and to have one of the best resorts in the world all to yourself. Before you can, though, you do have to follow some fairly rigorous screening procedures that have been approved by the government of Fiji.
Anyone who hopes to make this trip will have to take a COVID test 14 days prior to departure with negative results, and then repeat the test within 72 hours of departure. They must send the results to Fiji’s COVID Risk Management Taskforce, who will then authorize travel and an entry permit to the country. Finally, a third test will be administered immediately upon landing in Fiji, with results produced within 12-24 hours, during which time guests will have to remain…wait for it…quarantined in their private villa. Sounds awful, right? At least they will have their meals served in-villa, though they will have to forgo housekeeping and laundry service in the meantime. Once the final test returns negative, guests will be free to roam Laucala and enjoy all the island has to offer.
As for the travel arrangements themselves, folks who reserve this will start their journey at P.S. (formerly the Private Suite) at LAX for pre-departure and post-arrival services, meaning they do not have to transit through the airport’s main terminals at all, and will have their security and customs and immigration processing handled privately before being chauffeured out to the plane. From there, they can expect the exclusive use of one of Fiji Airways’ recently delivered Airbus A350s, which feature the airline’s next-generation business-class seats. These Collins Aerospace Super Diamonds are the same roomy, reverse-herringbone fixtures as you’ll find aboard other major carriers like American Airlines and Virgin Australia.
Upon arriving in Nadi, groups will have access to Fiji Airways’ Premier Lounge, where they will go through arrival and departure formalities, and then take a private transfer on Laucala’s own King Air Private Jets to the resort itself. Then comes the villa lockdown, after which they can experience all of Laucala’s charms without worry.
Laucala Island, which was owned by Malcolm Forbes at one time, has been considered one of the world’s most fashionable and luxurious private island getaways since opening nearly a decade ago. While closed during the past eight months, it has also undergone an extensive renovation, so expect the villas and facilities to be fresher and more fabulous than ever.
The resort sits on its own private atoll with 3,500 jungly acres and untouched fringing reefs that have made it a popular playground for the rich and famous. It has just 25 one-, two- and three-bedroom villas total. Stays include all meals (so book your beach picnic and private, candlelit romantic repasts), chauffeurs to cart you around the island, nanny services, housekeeping, laundry and more. The staff are apparently so good at cosseting their charges that many travelers report not even seeing other guests during their stay. While there, though, vacationers can also partake in activities including golf, tennis, horseback riding, mountain biking, surfing, diving and fishing. They can also just relax poolside, with afternoon-long spa treatments, or take a tour of the island’s 240-acre farm, which grows the organic produce used in the hotel’s restaurants.
The price tag for all of this well-managed comfort? A cool US$682,000, which breaks down to just US$4,900 per person, per night at maximum capacity when you do the math. Renting out the entire island clocks in at US$490,000 whether you have two or 20 people. The Fiji Airways flight is US$182,000 for up to 10 passengers, and US$192,000 for between 11 and 20 passengers. Of course, remember all your charters, transfers, meals, activities and services are included. So gather your 19 closest (and richest) pals, settle on some dates, and throw down that Amex Black Card to book this one-of-a-kind expedition. Sure beats the leaf-peeping road trip you probably had on your calendar for this fall.
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