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Experience the magic of Malolo Island Resort

Boasting golden sand, swaying coconut trees and turquoise water, Fiji’s Malolo Island Resort offers the ultimate tropical getaway.

Long before our water taxi pulls into the jetty at Malolo Island Resort Fiji, we can already hear the welcome song drifting toward us across the sparkling blue ocean.

A large group of staff have assembled to greet us; some playing guitars, others dancing and clapping, but all singing and smiling brightly. They must perform the same greeting several times a day as new guests arrive, but you wouldn’t know it. Their warmth radiates like they are welcoming old friends and family.

As we step off the boat and they place shell necklaces around our necks, they grin, shake our hands, introduce themselves and say, “Bula! Welcome home!” And immediately we do feel right at home.

Off the grid

Fully owned by a local Fijian family and with only 46 bures (the Fijian word for house), Malolo Island Resort feels more like a small village than a holiday resort.

Designed in a colonial style with high-vaulted ceilings, each bure is nestled in lush tropical gardens and just a few footsteps away from the water’s edge. Spacious decks provide the perfect place to relax after a swim, or you can follow my lead and enjoy a nap in one of the many hammocks hanging along the shoreline and throughout the gardens.


The bures have all the modern comforts that you need (air conditioning is a must-have in Fiji’s hot and humid climate), but guests are encouraged to ‘disconnect to reconnect’, which means there’s no TV, radio or wi-fi. For those who do like to stay connected, the cell phone reception is surprisingly good considering the island is located an hour away from the mainland, and complimentary wi-fi is available in the resort’s communal areas.

At first, we don’t even notice that there’s no TV in our bure as we’re too busy experiencing everything that Malolo Island Resort has to offer. Why would we want to stay in and watch Netflix when we can spend our days swimming in crystal clear water and snorkeling with a colorful array of tropical fish and coral just a few meters from the shore?

Children aged four to 12 are welcome to attend the complimentary Tia’s Treehouse Kids Club, where they’re immersed in Fijian island life. As you watch the banter between Tia’s Treehouse staff and the kids, filled with cheeky laughter and genuine delight, it’s immediately evident that this is much more than a babysitting service.


Spacious decks provide the perfect place to relax after a swim, or you can follow my lead and enjoy a nap in one of the many hammocks hanging along the shoreline and throughout the gardens.

The staff know all of the children by name and adore spending time with the young guests and teaching them about Fiji’s environment, culture and history.

Some of the activities on offer for the little ones include Fijian cooking classes, fish feeding, shell necklace making and coconut husking. Older kids can participate in kayak and snorkel safaris. A highlight for all ages is meeting Malolo, a critically endangered Fijian crested iguana who is part of the island’s captive breeding program.

And while the children are happily entertained at kids’ club, parents can retreat to the oasis of the adults-only swimming pool (complete with a swim-up bar) or Leilani’s Spa.

Castaway for a day

While there’s no shortage of activities within Malolo Island Resort, there’s fishing, surfing, snorkeling and village tour excursions on offer for those who would like to venture further afield and explore the idyllic Mamanuca Islands.

We decide on the early morning Island Hopping tour, which takes us on a scenic boat ride past Castaway, Mana Island and Matamanoa islands before we finally drop anchor at Monuriki Island.

Famously known as the filming location for Tom Hanks’ Hollywood blockbuster Cast Away, this tiny uninhabited island actually looks nearly exactly the same as it does in the movie. Although Hanks’ offsider ‘Wilson’ the volleyball is nowhere to be seen, there is still a large ‘HELP ME’ sign on the beach spelt out with coconuts.

Malalo Island Resort

Our tour guide points out some of the island’s key filming locations, such as the rock where Chuck (Hanks) counted his days on the island, the burial ground and the cave, located high up in the sheer rock face where he sought shelter.

After exploring the island and a quick snorkel, we return to the boat for a light breakfast (tea, coffee, fruit and pastries) and continue past Monu, Yanuya, Tokoriki and Tavua islands before stopping off at Mana Sand Bank for another snorkel.

Malolo after dark

Even the nights are jam-packed with fun-filled activities, almost like we’re on a school camp. Wednesday evenings are the perfect opportunity to experience Fijian food and culture. A buffet dinner is cooked in a traditional Fijian lovo (earth oven), accompanied by a variety of other Pacific-inspired dishes.

After dinner, staff perform the meke (traditional dance), joined by young guests from Tia’s Treehouse, dressed up in traditional costumes and eager to show off the dance moves they perfected earlier in the day.

Another night, guests gather at the Beach Bar for the weekly hermit crab race. There’s a buzz of excitement in the air as everyone debates which crab will win. But they’re not just crabs – each one has been given a country and the name of a famous athlete.

Malalo Island

It’s simple pleasures like these that are the real magic of Malolo Island Resort and why so many families keep coming back year after year.

Prior to the big race, frantic bidding takes place as guests attempt to stake their claim on their favorite crab (with the promise of prize money if their crab is first across the finish line).

When the big moment arrives and the whistle is blown, the 10 crabs are all released in the center of a large circle drawn on the ground. Cheering erupts and for a moment I wonder if the crabs will retreat into the safety of their shells, hiding from the noise and the lights. However, they seem to know what to do and immediately all start scuttling in different directions toward the edge of the circle as the crowd cheers for Messi, Bolt and Federer.

I’m not even sure which crab crosses the line first, but the laughter continues as the children from the kids’ club carefully scoop up the contestants, run across the sand and return them safely to the nearby ocean. It’s simple pleasures like these that are the real magic of Malolo Island Resort and why so many families keep coming back year after year. It truly is a home away from home.

How to get to Malolo Island Resort

  • Fiji Airways flies direct to Nadi from the United States, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Vanuatu and the Solomon islands.
  • Rosie Holidays offers transfers from the airport to Port Denarau Marina. From there, guests can catch a short water taxi or catamaran to Malolo Island.
  • For more information or help planning your Fiji holiday, visit Malolo Island Resort or Tourism Fiji.

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