A Man Standing In Water

Luxury is a Feeling


Inspiration 5 minute read

A rare flower that blooms just once a year in Fiji is the beginning of photographer Derek Henderson's inspiration.

A Man Holding A Camera

Derek Henderson

Derek Henderson is a New Zealand-born, Sydney-based photographer whose work in fashion and travel is widely published, from Arena Homme +, to Holiday, i-D, T: The New York Times, and Vogue

Image credit: Richard Brimer

He has also created major independent bodies of work that explore and narrate the rich natural landscapes and communities of Australia and New Zealand. His projects — The Terrible Boredom of Paradise and Mercy Mercer — explore his New Zealand homeland, prompted by memories of his childhood. Both projects have been exhibited internationally and are published in book form.

This is COMO Laucala Island, through his own eyes.

A Tree On A Beach
A View Of A Forest
A Palm Tree With A Blue Bird On It

You can call COMO Laucala Island a luxury bubble, but that would shortchange how it feels to be here. It somehow gives you that space and time we used to have when we were kids.

Palm Trees On A Beach
A View Of A Lake And Trees
A Body Of Water With Trees Around It

It's a place where nature is being protected on an extraordinary scale. It takes about three hours to bike around the island,  taking in the mangroves, beaches, and 'Bird Island' in a sheltered channel. The interior feels like a Jurassic Park: thick forest, wild orchids. No tree is allowed to be felled without the permission of the owner. There are creatures everywhere: ruby-red land crabs, butterflies, frogs and fruit bats, and some of the best diving in the world. 

A Tree With Many Branches

I was completely surprised by it, as I was only expecting luxury, not this mad and beautiful explosion of nature.

A Group Of Red Flowers
A Body Of Water With Trees On The Side

How can one not be moved by the story of a flower that blooms once a year on the neighbouring island of Taveuni, and the fact that you can smell it at dusk in a single spot near the mangroves on Laucala?

A Person Riding A Horse In The Water
A Beach With Trees And A Cloudy Sky
A Body Of Water With Clouds Above It

For this new COMO Collaboration, I took as my inspiration the story of a flower that blooms once a year on the neighbouring island of Taveuni, and which you can smell at dusk in a single spot near the mangroves on Laucala. It's weird — given the blooming flower is many miles away across the water. The story is linked to a kind of princess-in-the-tower Pacific fairytale, about smell and memory.

A Person Posing For A Picture

Let Laucala's islanders tell you the fairytale in person. 

W. COMO Laucala Island  |  E. res.laucalaisland@comohotels.com  |  T. +679 888 0077