Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort is famous for its premier diving, but there’s so much more.
Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort offers all the luxury nature has to offer. From several thousand feet high, the lush island of Vanua Levu looks like a brilliant emerald floating in the middle of an infinite aquamarine cocktail. Of Fiji’s 330 islands, it is the second largest and an hour flight from Nadi International Airport via a small Fiji Airways commuter plane. The only other way in from the South Pacific country’s transportation hub of Nadi is via ferry—if you have 16 hours and 25 minutes to spare.
Either way, the journey is well worth the unique destination that awaits you in the small town of Savusavu.
Guests can paddleboard from the resort to a private island for lunch and exploration.
Within its sprawling 17 acres of land, Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort has created a perfect balance of luxury and simplicity, privacy and community. And while sustainability is not often associated with comfort or opulence, this resort has achieved all of the above. There are no TVs or phones in the 25 individual bures—thatched bungalows—but you won’t miss them.
Narrow pathways connect the bures and the communal structure that houses the restaurant, gift shop and front desk, creating a village atmosphere. While walking along the paths, you’re likely to come across workers who will greet you with a lively “Bula!” The literal translation is “life,” although locals commonly use it to say hello.
From top: Private bungalows offer an authentic experience in a custom Fijian bure; the kitchen is happy to create dishes using fresh fish caught by guests during the resort’s fishing trips.
The eco-resort offers numerous activities and spa treatments that showcase and leverage its unparalleled natural surroundings. As its namesake would suggest, it’s most known for premier scuba diving sites with the Jean-Michel Cousteau Dive Centre on property. While Cousteau does not have ownership in the resort, his love of the ocean and sustainability made a partnership with its owners, Canyon Equity, a perfect fit. His one condition: the resort educate its guests, particularly children, about ocean conservation.
This requirement is carried out through Bula Club, a complimentary children’s program that features activities such as rock climbing, glass-bottom boat excursions and educational outings led by full-time naturalist and marine biologist Johnny Singh. Each child under the age of 5 is designated their own nanny, leaving parents free to enjoy a day of diving.
If you can’t swim or are afraid of the water, as I have been all my life, this wouldn’t seem like the ideal place for you. Yet it is. The dive staff, led by Australian expat Andy Frazer, specializes in easing people into the water, starting lessons in the swimming pool then eventually into the Savusavu Bay, teeming with colorful sea life and newly planted coral (a project of the resort). My trainer accompanied me with a small whiteboard attached to his gear, writing messages and using hand gestures to help guide me. I was later presented with an official certificate acknowledging my completion of the program—no small feat for someone who’s never even ventured down a waterslide. $800-$3,000 per night
Photography by: Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort