FOR CENTURIES, UGAGA ISLAND, an inconspicuous eight-acre chunk of rock, sand, and coral about 20 miles south of Viti Levu, was little more than a resting place for local fishermen. Today it serves as a refuge of a different sort: Since it opened in November 2004, the Royal Davui has become one of Fiji's most sought-after hideaways. The marble-and-onyx bar feels straight out of a slick L.A. club, giant two-foot clamshells line the walkway to the massage studio, and gnarled century-old tree roots run across the $8.5 million property.
THE GOOD LIFE: Each of the 16 multiroom villas is designed more like a house than a hotel room, with private plunge pools, a titanic Jacuzzi bathtub, and retractable bathroom skylights. Sit down for dinner under the branches of a 100-foot banyan tree and enjoy a four-course meal of mahi-mahi with freshwater mussels or papaya ravioli.
SPORTS ON-SITE: Reef sharks prowl the 25-foot wall drops along the private coral garden circling Ugaga Island. Myriad dive sites sit farther offshore, some of which have never seen a scuba diver.
BEYOND THE SAND: The resort offers tours of Beqa Island, where you can join the village chief of Naceva for a kava ceremony.
THE FINE PRINT: Doubles from $1,013, including all meals; 011-679-330-7090, www.royaldavui.com. Air New Zealand (800-262-1234, www.airnewzealand.com/usa) flies from LAX to Nadi, Fiji, starting at $806 round-trip. Forgo the nearly three-hour car-and-boat transfer to the island and take the helicopter shuttle; from $690 round-trip.