The Koro Sun Resort & Rainforest Spa is in good company on Fiji’s second largest island, Vanau Levu. It’s just down the road from a resort owned by Tony Robbins and another owned by a member of the Cousteau family. (The latter is one of the main supporters of coral gardening.) I spent three blissful nights there on a romantic wedding anniversary trip and we were surrounded by lots of others celebrating a special occasion or on a honeymoon.
After the included transfer from the small local airport, we got a very warm island welcome. Staffers in bright clothing sang a welcome song, put a cool drink in our hands, then said, “Follow me for your foot massage.” That’s certainly a nice way to kick off a resort stay.
Unfortunately most of the resorts on this island were in rebuilding mode this past May, after one of the worst cyclones in history ripped through Fiji. Koro Sun used to have some floating bungalows in a lagoon and they decided to just float on down the coast when the seas rose. The bures facing the water got pummeled and were just getting ready to reopen when we were there after lots of rebuilding work.
Our stay in one of the garden bures was suitably romantic though, with lush vegetation all around and a white picket fence lending the feeling we were in a fairy tale house. These face an open field then the water, meaning we could sit on the porch and watch the sunset change the color of the sky. This is just one of my styles of villages and cottages, but it is equipped with a fridge, safe, air conditioning, a walled patio, and outdoor shower.
Other options on this side of the property are numerous, including a lot of villas with full living room and kitchenette, plus some with two or three bedrooms for families. The larger ones have TVs with DVD player. Some face the mountains backing up to the property, while others are high enough up to have an ocean view. Some have their own plunge pool, including the quirky octagonal Honeymoon Bure on several levels.
There are two types of villas on the water side of the road: multi-bedroom ones that are situated perpendicular to the shore, plus the Edgewater ones with their own small pool surrounded by sand. The former often have full kitchens and some have as much space as your average house. The Edgewater ones are meant for couples and are more private. They have ladders going down into the water for snorkeling at high tide.
Yes, you can go snorkeling right off the shore here and see plenty of fish. The coral will take a while to fully recover from the cyclone, but it’s in better shape than I expected. Also included in the rates are paddleboards, kayaks, and guided activities like jungle hikes, handline fishing, and coconut demos. Cruiser bikes are available to use and the road here is not very busy. (Ignore the part on the website about a golf course though: it’s way too rough and overgrown for actual play. Plus the mongooses running around this area love to dig new holes…)
There’s a PADI dive shop on site and for a fee you can head to deeper waters that don’t require long boat rides. There are also kayaking excursions, a pearl farm visit, and other activities for an additional fee.
There are three swimming pools on site. Two are right by the lobby, with one having a slide and a volleyball net. The best one for lounging is an infinity pool facing the ocean. It has a great view and a swim-up bar that’s staffed if there are enough guests around. The main bar is in the main building, with a happy hour before dinner being the main gathering time and place for guests. Every night there’s some kind of entertainment from a duo or trio singing Fijian songs at happy hour and dinner.
Meals here are not for those who like a wide range of choices on their menu. Breakfast is a small buffet, while lunch and dinner are set meals at set times. You get a few choices that are usually good, but not spectacular. For most guests it makes sense to take the meal plan though—which you can do after arrival for the same rate—since there are no other dining options nearby. You have to bus or cab it into the town of Savusavu to find other restaurants. There’s also no convenience store around, so stock up on snacks while you’re there, though there is an afternoon tea each day and complimentary bites served at happy hour.
The spa is a real standout, in one of the most relaxing environments you can imagine. No sterile man-made lighting or CDs of nature sounds here. The Koro Sun Rainforest Spa is indeed in the rainforest, requiring a walk through the woods under giant raintrees to reach it. The wood buildings are perched on rocks next to a stream and waterfall, so that’s what you’re hearing during your treatment. We got a couples massage and that was great on its own, but then they wrapped up in giant banana leaves after applying a balm of natural botanicals, raw sugar, and coconut oil. While our bodies were absorbing all that in the banana leaves, they gave us a scalp massage. See all the other treatments here.
Be advised that this is not a great place to get work done. Only one or two of the routers on property seem to work at any given time and the signal is iffy. You probably won’t get one in your room. Otherwise, this is a well-run resort with a fun-loving staff that doesn’t let you arrive or depart without a song and lots of fanfare.
Rates start at $340 per night double without the meal plan and $500 with, going up past four digits for the largest multi-bedroom villas. Still, that puts Koro Sun well below many of the higher-end places in Fiji, so it attracts a younger crowd of couples not ready to sink their life savings into their honeymoon or anniversary trip.
See more info and book directly at Koro Sun Resort and Rainforest Spa to get 30% off the regular rates through March of 2017. They also run package deals or you can check online at Expedia and Travelocity.
Review and photos by editor Tim S. Leffel, who won a 3-night stay at Koro Sun Resort after winning a Gold from the North American Travel Journalists Association for his story on Alta Gracia in Costa Rica.