JUST a three-hour flight from Sydney and a short boat ride from New Caledonia’s capital Noumea lies the beautiful L’Escapade Island Resort that sits on a tiny sliver of sand aptly named Îlot Maitre (Island of the Master).
We have said it before and we’ll say it again – the South Pacific is one of the most stunning holiday destinations in the world. The white sand, clear waters, and tropical climate make for an ideal destination for both couples and families.
Throw in some French sophistication and cuisine, and you arrive in New Caledonia. One of the best things about the region is that it’s relatively undiscovered compared to some of its neighbors so you get to explore the place sans the tourist masses.
For Australian travelers, L’Escapade is a resort with overwater bungalows that’s closest to Australia, and is the only resort offering this sort of accommodation in New Caledonia.
The resort offers three types of accommodation: garden, beachfront and overwater bungalows. Sitting on turquoise waters overlooking a 200-hectare natural marine reserve, the bungalows are as close as you’re going to get to the busy marine life of the Pacific.
We enjoyed direct access to the water with steps leading straight from our bungalow terrace to Nemo and his friends. Turtles are no strangers around here and we were lucky enough to welcome one right underneath our deck on the first day as we stepped out to snorkel.
L’Escapade overwater bungalows are spacious and tastefully furnished, with an inviting common area, a comfortable bedroom, and a large bathroom featuring grey marble. All rooms have water views; even from the shower, guests can marvel at the water through lamella windows.
Located on an island just 5km off the coast, L’Escapade offers regular boat service from Port Moselle in Noumea that takes you to your secluded holiday location. The setting lends itself to snorkeling – whose equipment is provided free by the hotel – as well as other water sports.
Those who are feeling active can take advantage of the wakeboard school, jet ski rental or banana boat rides. The aqua cycles may look unusual, but they’re actually really fun; they’re basically big water tricycles you can take out on the lagoon.
On top of that, guests can circle the island on a leisurely stroll in about 30 minutes, enjoy a Thai massage, or simply relax by the pool which features a swim-up bar where you can sip cocktails without leaving the water.
For those ready to ‘say yes’ amidst a tropical backdrop, a chapel is available for wedding ceremonies on the island. A small islet near the overwater bungalows is now offering a wedding spot even closer to the water.
L’Escapade also invites lovers to celebrate their honeymoon at the resort, which naturally comes with marvelous sunsets that are hard to match.
Gourmand guests will love the varied buffet breakfast featuring French croissants, fresh fruit and more. For lunch, you can choose between the buffet or a snack bar on the island for something smaller to keep you going through till the evening.
Do not miss out on the buffet dinner though, as it includes delicious seafood options, little patisserie desserts that allow you to try the lot without loosening your belt, as well as a good choice of French cheeses. The chef is there to take your orders and cook your steak to your liking right in front of you.
L’Escapade is a delightful island getaway with all the trimmings. Whether it’s a wedding, a trip with friends, a honeymoon, or some indulgent me-time, it’s an ideal resort for a taste of the South Pacific.