Fiji’s fantasy island awaits
Posted on June 1, 2019
Still trying to decide on a gift for a special June bride and groom? If their honeymoon plans are undecided, suggest Namale in Fiji and offer to contribute to their expenses. Alternatively, you might opt to book your own retreat to the luxurious, all-inclusive, adults-only resort on Vanua Levu, Fiji’s second largest island.
When my husband and I arrived at Namale earlier this year, I felt like I’d been dropped into a tropical garden, where 19 spacious villas and Fijian bures enjoy sea views and myriad recreational options are spread across 525 acres.
What exactly do I mean by “spacious?” Our villa, “Rosi,” was bigger than my first house in La Jolla. In addition, it came with a plunge pool and a hot spa pool nestled amongst lush plants on a perch 30 feet above the Koro Sea. Inside, one sitting area and a four-poster king bed faced the water, another sitting area and a full-size billiard table were on a slightly lower level, and the bathroom was bigger than most corporate boardrooms.
Other lodgings at Namale have their own special features: “Susana” and “Nanise,” two bures near the resort’s reception and dining area, each have mini plunge pools carved into volcanic rock that are connected to the sleeping area by a bridge. Like our Rosi, the two-bedroom “Dream House” has both hot and cold pools, and the two-story villas “Pearl” and “Unity” have full size infinity pools and indoor spa tubs.
Rosi wasn’t close to the main dining area, so when Cyclone Mona brought rain on a couple of nights, we had a choice of dinner in our villa or calling for a cart. We also enjoyed some excellent meals in the resort’s two open-air restaurants. At Namale, all meals and snacks are included in the tariff, as well as all beverages and alcohol.
While meals were a mile away, Namale’s superb 10,000-square-foot spa was right next door to our villa — and wasn’t that handy! On our first day, I relished Meke Totoka, a 90-minute treatment with two therapists. It started with a four-hand coconut oil massage that was positively divine. Next came exfoliation, more massage, hot towels, and the grand finale: an Indian hot oil scalp treatment.
Another day, my husband and I enjoyed the couple’s Moonlight Magic treatment, which included Fijian Bobo massages and 30 minutes exclusive use of the aromatherapy pools, waterfall massage, hot tub, cold plunge, and sauna in the spa’s sybaritic hydrotherapy room. Therapist Mere Sala was critical to the caliber of our spa experiences. She learned traditional Fijian massage from her grandmother, and later the Fijian government gave her a scholarship to study Shiatsu massage, as well as Japanese language and culture in Nagoya.
Fun and Games
I’ve stayed at several other resorts in Fiji and never experienced the range of activities that Namale offers. For this we can thank former Del Mar resident Tony Robbins. The popular life coach and motivational speaker bought this land about 30 years ago, developed the resort, and held seminars here for many years. He still has a home among the tropical gardens on the island, and his team holds seminars at the Wasawasa event center located elsewhere on the property every couple of months.
Because of Robbins, guests at Namale will recognize touches of American culture not found at other Fijian resorts. The first things I noticed were phones in the rooms and ketchup in the restaurant. Then, I saw the basketball court and a bowling alley — the only one in the country. Other activities include golf, tennis, horseback riding, kayaking, paddle boarding, water skiing, snorkeling, diving, practicing on a sophisticated golf simulator, hiking to a waterfall, and enjoying two pools (in addition to the in-villa ones), a beach, and the fitness center.
We had fun on the Salt River Drift, during which we laid back in our inflated vests, floated upstream on an incoming tide, and watched the mangroves go by. Our fellow floaters — all honeymooners — had fun swapping wedding stories along the way.
However, while there are lots of activities at Namale, I think what makes this resort special are the luxurious lodgings and the privacy they afford. This is the perfect place for stressed execs to unwind, couples to reconnect, and honeymooners to start their life together. Namale isn’t about the bowling alley, it’s about cocooning in a beautiful location, staring at the sea, enjoying wonderful spa treatments, and being inspired by the natural surroundings. Elizabeth Hansen
Photography courtesy of Namale