Snezana belevska-bennell and family find paradise with a side of sea life and sustainability at Jean-michel Cousteau Resort.
Snezana Belevska-bennell discovers paradise with a side of sea life and sustainability at Jean-michel Cousteau Resort.
Some places in this world seem just too good to be true. Jean-michel Cousteau Resort, Fiji is one of them. Sitting amid 6.8 hectares of tropical palms in magical Savusavu Bay, this extraordinary, eco-friendly resort is the perfect spot for an adventurous yet indulgent getaway, where time stands still and families can truly reconnect and recharge.
Just steps from the sand and with breathtaking views of Savusavu Bay, Jean-michel Cousteau Resort’s luxurious thatched Fijian bures can accommodate families of up to five (some even sleep six). We enjoy the comfort of a split-level deck and outdoor setting with relaxing chairs and chaises longues. Each bure also offers gorgeous tropical gardens, together with a seaside hammock to complete the picture. From here we watch the sun go down, the kids wiggling into the hammock. For a little more indulgence, book a stay in Villa 25, which offers the additional luxury of its own private spa and infinity pool.
The Bula Kids’ Club
We mums sometimes feel like we need a holiday to recover from a family holiday because it can prove difficult to make time for yourself as well as providing a wonderful experience for the kids. But not, as we discovered, if that getaway is at Jean-michel Cousteau Resort, which offers a real holiday for every member of the family.
The resort’s complimentary Bula Kids’ Club meant that while the kids played, we could enjoy plenty of five-star ‘me’ time. There was no argument from the kids, who absolutely loved the Bula Club’s abundance of fun and games, swimming pools, jungle gym, zipline, tennis court, open-air chill-out lounge and more. Another awesome feature of the Bula Kids’ Club is that each child under five gets a dedicated nanny during their stay, while children aged between six and 12 are placed in small groups with a Fijian ‘buddy’, providing a perfect opportunity for them to make new friends.
School Under the Sea
As part of the Bula Kids’ Club, the kids participated in the resort’s wonderfully educational School Under the Sea program. This incredible immersive experience meant they could enjoy daily hands-on activities and adventures where they learnt about Fijian culture and protecting the environment. This innovative program is perfect for those who want to instil a love of nature and a passion for sustainability into their children. Taught by the resort’s in-house marine biologists,
activities include snorkelling among incredible sea life, planting coral, hiking through rainforest, visiting local schools and villages and, best of all, spending a whole lot of time with the local island kids.
A feast of Fijian delights
Culinary delights await guests at Jean-michel Cousteau Resort. Green and sustainable, the kitchen serves up delicious dishes made from locally sourced ingredients that complement those grown in the resort’s very own organic garden, meaning we could enjoy meals guilt-free.
The location is as fine as the food, with the main open-air dining area overlooking the sparkling pool and the bay beyond. The resort also offers a dedicated family dining area and, if the kids are happy to enjoy their dinner in the Bula Club, the friendly staff can organise a romantic candlelit dinner for two on the pier for mum and dad.
Many of us dream of escaping our humdrum existence and flitting off to our own private island and Jean-michel Cousteau Resort brought the fantasy to life for us. Think white sands, swaying palms and crystal-clear waters all to ourselves on the private island Naviavia, available only for guests of the resort just a short boat ride away, where we enjoyed a day of utter, blissful seclusion.
Activity and adventure
The resort is in such a stunning location and there are so many activities on offer – such as kayaking, diving and day and night snorkelling – that one could be forgiven for wanting to remain on site for your entire holiday. But we also found a feast of fun excursions, including hiking through lush rainforest, swimming in waterfalls, exploring local villages and markets and visiting a local school where the kids could join in class activities and make new friends and pen pals.
But of course, Jean-michel’s biggest attraction is its underwater world. The full-service world-class diving operation offers a variety of once-in-a-lifetime experiences in what is one of the world’s best diving destinations.
The beautiful people of Fiji really make your experience a special one. We met so many friendly locals as we explored the communities and visited local sites, but the friendliest of them all were the super staff at Jean-michel itself. There were tears from some guests at departure because the resort nannies and ‘buddies’ formed such an incredible bond with the children.
And if that’s not enough to fall in love with Jean-michel Cousteau Resort, the wonderful lifelong memories that you and your kids will take home should do the trick.
01 Luka and Saachi rafting at Jean-michel Cousteau Resort, Fiji 02 Saachi contemplates private-island life 03 Coconuts in the villa pool 04 Saachi makes some fishy friends 05 Meeting local kids is a highlight. Images 01–04 © Dave Bennell 03