Nov 27, 2015
Surrender to “Fiji time” for a holiday of the most languid kind. Here’s where to stay on these enchanting South Pacific isles.
If your idea of a blissed-out holiday includes waking in the morning in a bungalow seemingly rising from a turquoise lagoon, this is the Fijian resort for you. Glass floor panels reveal tropical fish darting below and you can snorkel right off your verandah. Although the resort has been designed in the style of a traditional island village, each bure is fitted with ample mod cons, including air conditioning, wi-fi, a DVD player with flat screen and a music system. It’s hard to beat the thrill of staying in an Over-Water Bure but the Deluxe Beachfront Bures are larger and more secluded and have a personal plunge pool.
Once the private hideaway of a reclusive millionaire and the backdrop to the film The Blue Lagoon (1980), Turtle Island set the standard for exclusive resorts in Fiji and has long drawn the rich and famous. While there are newer, fancier resorts, few can boast the magic of Turtle Island, which has just 14 bures tucked amid palm groves on a white-sand beach.
The all-inclusive price means you can eat and drink to your heart’s content. Your “Bure Mama” will whisk you off in a boat to a private beach for the day, complete with a cooler packed with Champagne and lobster and a two-way radio should you need to replenish supplies. The resort is for couples only, except for the well-run Family Time weeks during school holidays.
This all-inclusive, family-friendly Fijian resort is the very vision of paradise with its secluded bays, sparkling emerald sea and lush tropical rainforest. It even has its own waterfall. A back-to-nature experience of the most luxurious kind, the resort has atmospheric bures and spacious villas built of timber and stone. The cuisine incorporates the freshest fruits, seafood and local produce and the wine cellar is world class.
Founded by life coach and self-help author Tony Robbins, Namale was designed as a journey for the mind, body and soul. At the cliff-top Spa & Sanctuary – one of the best on the Fijian islands – sensational spa treatments are teamed with hydro-aromatherapy so you can soak in a hot tub, sweat it out in the steam room and take a dip in the plunge pool overlooking the ocean.
Those looking for more active pursuits can hit the fully equipped gym, play a game of tennis, hike through the rainforest or dive in the myriad reefs just minutes from the resort. If you can bear to tear yourself away from this tranquil hideaway, head along Hibiscus Highway to the picturesque harbour town of Savusavu for a meal and a spot of sightseeing.
Devastatingly romantic, this boutique Fijian resort is popular with honeymooners. Mediterranean design aesthetics meld with traditional Fijian finishes in the expansive beachfront bures. The Grand Bures, which are the most spacious, have a generous sunken bath tub for two, while the smaller but very private Garden Bures have a rambling deck, high in the treetops, with an ocean panorama.
Though it’s the ideal place to perfect the art of doing nothing, there are also plenty of activities on offer if you grow weary of sprawling in a hammock, hypnotised by the views. Daily snorkelling trips visit spectacular coral reefs inhabited by tropical fish, while village visits give an insight into local life on a remote island.
On a headland on the picturesque Coral Coast, this large, fabulously equipped five-star Fijian resort is ideal for families with its free Kids Club and Teen Activity Program (nominal fee). The Fijians adore children so you can relax by one of the largest pools in the South Pacific, play a round of tennis or go fishing, secure in the knowledge your kids are having a blast. There’s also the “Meimei” nanny service that lets you tailor-make an activities schedule for your child. If you’re after sea views, opt for a spacious Beachfront Bure or a Deluxe Ocean View room (which is some way back from the beach).
Up on Vakalomalagi Hill (Heavenly Hill) the award-winning Bebe Spa, with private balconies overlooking the ocean, offers a lush array of treatments, while the fitness centre is open 24 hours. Snorkelling and diving trips are easily arranged and a Fijian firewalking show takes place once a week. The resort has plenty of restaurants and bars to choose from. Alternatively, wander down to the restaurants in Korotogo or head to the nearby riverside town of Sigatoka to sample Indo-Fijian food.
Set amid landscaped gardens on the seafront, this luxury Fijian resort is close to Nadi International Airport and is a great choice for an easy getaway or a night or two after a trip to the outer islands. Take your pick from four tropical lagoon pools (one is adults only), dine on Fijian, Thai and Italian cuisine, paddle out on a kayak or charter a luxury boat for a snorkelling or fishing trip. The Harmony Retreat Day Spa is just the spot for a little pampering (replenish your skin with the Royal Coconut Milk & Honey Firming Ritual) and the 18-hole Denarau Island Golf & Racquet Club is one of the best in the South Pacific.
Tokoriki is the quintessential Fijian island resort experience with beautifully decorated bures set on a beach of dazzling white sand. If you want to splurge, opt for a Sunset Pool Villa with a large private deck, plunge pool and separate bedroom. The spa is a peaceful haven offering deluxe facials, exotic body scrubs, lavish couples’ treatments and an unlimited massage package.
Sip a piña colada on a deckchair by the oceanfront swimming pool, play a round of tennis or explore the nearby coral reefs. You can also join the staff for a village visit, a guided nature walk or a trip to a traditional handicrafts market. The à la carte menu in the main restaurant changes daily, keeping dining interesting, while lovers of Japanese teppanyaki will enjoy the intimate, highly acclaimed Oishii restaurant.
At this Beqa Lagoon resort, divers are spoilt for choice with more than 100 dive sites in the crystal-clear waters of the vast barrier reef – home to coral-encrusted bommies and pinnacles, vibrant Georgian fans and a plethora of marine life. Snorkellers don’t miss out either, with a lovely house reef just metres from the sand as well as regular reef-hopping trips. The calm waters provide ideal conditions for kayaking, while those in search of adrenaline-soaked adventure can dive with sharks or surf nearby Frigates Passage (aka the “Fiji Pipeline”). Back on land, toast the sunset with a cocktail at the bar or unwind in the serene Loloma Spa.
If romance is on the agenda, the Beachfront Honeymoon Suite of this all-inclusive Fijian resort is a heavenly abode with a secluded setting, private deck and jacuzzi. The deluxe villas offer plenty of space to stretch out, while those on a budget can opt for the comfortable cottages.
Beqa Island is home to Fiji’s famed firewalkers and forested hills with nature trails and breathtaking panoramas. Keep an eye out for dolphins and flying fish on the boat trip over from Pacific Harbour.