In my palm, I cradled a piece of purple coral that felt like a rock, yet my guide assured me it was very much alive. “In half a year, it’ll grow 6 to 8 inches,” she explained as I attached my sandpapery “seedling” to the rope where it would regenerate. It was hard to believe that this dead-seeming thing could become a vital new part of the nearby reef. But as I stood on the beach at Six Senses Fiji, I was helping it to do just that.
Even before the five-star property opened on Malolo Island last April, Six Senses has been working to restore nearby reefs. Growing and replanting coral is just one facet of the property’s sustainability program, which includes operating on 100 percent solar power and farming many of the fruits, vegetables and eggs that are served at the resort’s three restaurants. Six Senses also employs Jessie Matai, a sustainability officer, who steered me through that morning’s coral-growing project (an activity that’s offered to Six Senses guests upon request).
Vibrant corals and some of the world’s best surf breaks surround Malolo Island, which is relatively easy to reach from Nadi International Airport. After landing, I boarded a shuttle for the 30-minute drive to Port Denarau Marina, then hopped into a speedboat for the 45-minute commute to Six Senses. (Alternatively, guests can take a 10-minute helicopter ride from Nadi to the hotel, at a cost of about $280 per person, each way).
Although I glimpsed boat traffic from Six Senses’ neighboring resorts (which include Likuliku Lagoon Resort and Lomani Island Resort), I felt pleasantly secluded once on property.
Partly, that’s by design. Mud flats once dominated this stretch of coastline, so the resort’s developers constructed everything that the 120-acre property would require: They erected rock walls to shelter the marina’s docks, hauled in sand to make the beach and even built two small islands in the new lagoon. Twenty-four guest villas and 60 residences hug the shore, and behind them, steep, arid hills create a natural fence around the enclave. Guests can choose to rent one of the two- to five-bedroom residences, or stay in one of the smaller one- and two-bedroom villas.