spitality as smiling islanders greet them with fragrant leis, coconut drinks and welcoming songs with ukuleles and voices as melodious as nightingales. The Fiji people, who love wearing flowers behind their ears, are blessed with innate musicality; it’s part of their culture. You’re sure to hear singing and strumming everywhere.
“Bula! Welcome to Fiji, the land of Happiness“
And everything is done to ensure a ‘Happy’ stay. The rhythm of life is slow here; you can take the time to kick back and unwind. After spending days or weeks with your sweet Fiji family, it’s hard to leave - especially when you hear the hauntingly beautiful and sad Fijian farewell song, Isa Lei. With many outstanding resorts including the long popular Wakaya and Laucala, here are some of my favorites. Each has its own distinct appeal and charm.
Nanuku Auberge Resort & Spa
The resort gate opens to what looks like a far-off island with coconut palms, a sandy beach and blue sea - leaving the outside world behind. Nanuku, which opened in 2014 on Fiji’s main island Viti Levu, is ideal for activity enthusiasts. You get all the trimmings of a secluded getaway with access to play further afield.
This 5-star beachfront resort boasts 12 exclusive private villas nestled in tropical gardens. Stunning, spacious interiors elegantly decorated come with generous sitting areas and bedrooms, TV, in room wifi and verandas with ocean views. Secluded outdoor areas offer loungers, daybeds and pools. In addition to snorkeling with coral and fish, stand up paddling and sailing, private (meke) dance lessons and fire walking demonstrations can be arranged. Trekking to a waterfall, zip lining and a food safari to local villages and markets are some of the many off site activities. With private butlers, Lomana Spa’s treatments using Pure Fiji oils, outstanding cuisine including tantalizing tuna, and musical combo ‘Nanuku Serenaders’ guests want for nothing.
Royal Davui Island Resort
A member of Virtuoso Hotels and Resorts, this adults only private island retreat off the southwestern coast of Viti Levu delivers an unforgettable, luxurious romantic getaway. Sixteen secluded villas hidden around lush verdant landscape offer splendid South Pacific views. The beautifully appointed villas done in Pacific open-air design feature Jacuzzis, spacious sitting areas and huge wrap around balconies with sun deck, loungers and infinity edged heated private plunge pools.
This gem of a resort has a sandy beach, pool, spa, vivid coral reef right off the property, plus a host of on and off site activities like a kava ceremony and traditional dance performances. Guests enjoy romantic dinners of tasty Pacific fusion cuisine in their villas or under a Banyan tree. The sublime music of ‘The House Group,‘ comprised of the talented staff was unsurpassed. Someone should give them a recording contract. Don’t miss a visit to the nearby Naceva village school to see the most adorable children sing and dance. www.royaldavuifiji.com
Dolphin Island - Exclusive & Private
A Relais & Chateaux property, Dolphin Island is the ultimate designer castaway fantasy. Picture your own private island with palm trees, golden sand, aquamarine water and every amenity. It’s pitch perfect for honeymooners, couples, families and anyone seeking their own private playground away from it all. Four luxurious suites, including two that are brand new, are sold on an exclusive use basis. Each done in earth tones and beige hues with splashes of color, accented with shell and coral adornments, suites contain a king-size bedroom, seating area, private courtyard, and in room wifi.
The incomparable Dawn and staff take care of your every need, including food, drinks and indulgent massages with the remarkable Elizabeth. You can take a dip in the infinity pool, swim or snorkel off the island’s coral reef, kayak or laze however you wish on your own private island.
Just Open - Vatuvara Private Island Resort
This ultra luxurious resort, which debuts September 2015, is tucked away amid nature’s unspoiled beauty in the dreamy Lau Islands. Three posh villas can be booked separately, adults only, or on an exclusive basis. The standout, opulent Delana Villa is done in plush modern décor with native stone, dark wood and bespoke artifacts throughout. It features a huge bedroom, spa room with plunge pool, entertainment room with ample toys, library, TV, wifi and floor to ceiling windows. The extravagant terrace with loungers and infinity pool invites you to relax with a sundowner and spectacular views of the idyllic lagoon.
Guests enjoy their own private beach, Pacific Rim cuisine with fruits and vegetables from the organic garden, a boat for snorkeling, diving, fishing or picnicking at the resort’s nearby island and pampering massages with superb Leba. www.vatuvara.com.fj
For information about Travel to Fiji: www.matai.fiji.travel
Fiji Airways offers daily direct flights from Los Angeles to Fiji and twice weekly from Honolulu. Travel in comfort and style in business class, which makes a difference on long flights. After a Fiji rum cocktail and dinner of tasty shrimp and scallop curry with bok choy by celebrity Chef Lance Seeto, I fell asleep in my comfy lie flat bed and woke up in Paradise. Check out the newly designed business class lounge at LAX. Visit www.fijiair.com