In the tourist-brochure debates about the exact location of paradise, Fiji has one of the best cases. This South Pacific nation has a multitude of five-star resorts, each on its own private (or all but private) island with 20 or fewer bungalows. Small as they are, you never know who'll turn up. Once, a couple found Robert Redford among their impromptu wedding party, and when Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman broke up, their reservation at a Fiji resort was a bone of contention.
Until recently, the food in Fiji was not part of the draw. The expat chefs never lasted long (blame heat, boredom, unreliable supply shipments), and native chefs had been trained in a so-called international style. Few used local produce; instead, everyone covered up the fabulous fish with complicated sauces. These days, a number of the chefs are Fijians who've trained abroad, often in Sydney's best restaurants. Now, grilled mackerel comes not with a heavy sauce, but with a side of island-fruit salsa, for instance, and bele, a wild Fijian green.