Islands don’t come more idyllic than New Caledonia, a South Pacific paradise of palm-fringed shorelines alongside a glittering World Heritage listed marine reserve. Nouméa, the French territory’s capital, is often the first (and only) stop for visitors. The natural beauty of this archipelago is magnetic, with pristine beaches and millenia-old rainforests all within driving distance. Our advice? Hire a car and get exploring — there are plenty of pretty places to pull over for a night (or two). Here’s our round up of the best accommodation in Nouméa and beyond.
The best stays in Nouméa
Le Méridien Nouméa Resort & Spa
Occupying one of the only beachfront spots in Nouméa, the relaxed and refined Le Méridien Nouméa Resort & Spa has an unrivalled view over the shimmering waters of Anse Vata Bay. The onsite spa is a destination in itself — in addition to a lengthy, indulgent treatment menu, there’s a spa, hammam, sauna, jacuzzi and an open terrace overlooking a stretch of ocean shaded by the island’s distinctive palms.
DoubleTree by Hilton Nouméa Îlot Maître Resort
A 30-minute boat transfer from Nouméa delivers you to Îlot Maître, a glittering islet exclusive to the DoubleTree by Hilton Nouméa Îlot Maître Resort. Recently refurbished (and rebranded from the former L’Escapade hotel), this breezy resort houses guests in a collection of light-flooded suites surrounded by lush gardens, mere footsteps from an outdoor pool that overlooks the glass-clear water.
It also boasts the only overwater bungalows in New Caledonia – they’re perched directly above the UNESCO Heritage-listed Barrier Reef.
Château Royal Beach Resort & Spa
Just steps from the lagoon’s shore, Nouméa’s Château Royal Beach Resort & Spa is perfect for holiday-makers who don’t fancy being too far from a body of water — or a sun lounger. If you do somehow tire of the ocean or the outdoor pool, the property also houses an onsite spa, two restaurants and two bars, one of which has a swim-up service. Only your bathers are essential.
Sheraton New Caledonia Deva Spa & Golf Resort
A little over two hours drive north of Nouméa is the sprawling Sheraton New Caledonia Deva Spa & Golf Resort, a zen resort shouldered by ocean and ringed by nature reserves. Although there are more standard room options, the Traditional rooms are built like bungalows, with thatched roofs that nod to the local Kanak architecture. From the attached balconies, the hills of nearby Deva Domain Nature Reserve stretch out in full view behind the property’s undulating green hills of the golf course.
Le Méridien Îles de Pins
Îles de Pins seems straight from a postcard. Alongside the island’s namesake spindly pines, the exceptionally clear waters give the “Isle of Pines”, a 20-minute flight from Nouméa, an almost aquamarine glow. At Le Méridien Îles de Pins, on the very edge of Oro Bay, you can admire this natural beauty from practically anywhere onsite. From the spa, the incredible waters peep through the windows, and from Longitude 167, the hotel’s bar, the whole scene is laid out in all its glory while you sip a sundowner.
Oure Lodge Beach Resort
Set at the end of the long sandy stretch of Kanuméra Bay on Îles de Pines, Oure Lodge Beach Resort is the kind of place you’d be happily shipwrecked at. At this castaway-style retreat the room balconies finish on the sand and, despite the remote feel, it’s much more than slim pickings for your meals, with onsite eatery Le Banian serving local lobster during regular lunch service. Keep your eye on the water during your stay: visits from dolphins and dugongs aren’t uncommon.