Stephanie & A.J.
Honeymoon Destination: Fiji
On July 1st 2007 we were catamaraned away to our first island destination, Yaqueta, located at the top of the Yasawa Island chain. We were escorted to the resort by water taxi and greeted with flower leis, singing, and freshly blended island juice at the bar. We were then shown to our bure; a traditional looking one bedroom “honeymoon” suite overlooking the bright blue warm Fiji water with a beautifully flowered yard and palm frond roof . On the bed was a flower made heart and message that said “welcome.” In the center of the floor there was a bathtub for two that could be prepared nightly with oil and candles.
The first morning of our stay we were awaken by the sun sneaking into our room, lighting the high ceilings and beckoning us to snorkel in the warm water in front of us. It was the most amazing sunrise over the crystal blue water and we woke up every morning to watch it. The beautiful wood framed glass doors easily rolled open to let in the intoxicating sea air filling us with life and igniting our love.
The dining area was set for exactly the number of guest at the resort, 22 (max 25). The bartender, Noah, offered to bring us drinks while we relaxed and played cards. When it was time for dinner we saw that there was an abundance of choices to choose from. The chef, Ben, a Fijian trained in Australia for French cuisine, created a menu with absolutely phenomenal flavor. The dining service was impeccable; most of the staff trained at the famous Turtle Island resort, but came to work at Navutu Star when it opened.
We chatted briefly with other honeymooners from all over the world at dinner-time and relaxed in child-free serenity. The native Fijians are the kindest most welcoming people we had ever met in our lives. Not the fake “we want your money” kind of nice, but the “welcome to the island, this is my home and you’re welcome here” kind of honest nice that’s rarely found.
On the activities board in the dining room were the events for the next day. Some of the activities that we enjoyed the most while staying at Navutu Star were snorkeling, visiting the neighboring villages, kayaking (free), massages at the spa and basket- making. One activity that we did that was arranged by the Navutu Star staff but not available on the island was scuba diving. There are so many great dives to be had in the area and the rich marine life and knowledgeable dive master will be forever imprinted in my memory.
I would highly recommend this four star resort, with ten star staff and food to couples looking for a child-free, honeymoon rich environment. The cost to fly from Los Angeles was a little less than $1300 round trip. The stay at Navutu Stars was $400.00 + a night for the “honeymoon suite”. Due to the high demand for this popular resort we had a limited stay. As the Fijians were gathered around us singing and saying goodbye I cried because I didn’t want to leave.
But we were off to our next destination, the Malolo Resort in the Mamanuca island chain. We were once again aboard a catamaran zipping along awesome blue green water and excited about what would await us next. We were taken by water taxi to the island of Malolo where Malolo Resort and it’s staff were ready to make us feel welcome. We were greeted with a shell lei and songs and brought to our room where cold champagne and a hand written note welcoming us and wishing us a happy honeymoon were waiting. This hotel was much larger, 45 total rooms and children were welcome. It was more of a family atmosphere than a honeymoon atmosphere, but that made the nightly games all the more entertaining.
The games that we enjoyed most were watermelon cracking and hermit crab racing. My crab won 2nd place and my prize was $50. Other activities that we enjoyed included kayaking, snorkeling and wind surfing. Trips to the village shell market were provided and scuba diving was organized on site. We dove twice, once being a shark dive; it was terrifyingly thrilling. At night the musicians played favorites and the fire lighting ceremony was conducted by Anise, the highly energetic activities coordinator. In addition to the other activities that we enjoyed, the spa at Malolo offers couples massage and a variety of other services. The massage was in a partially outdoor open room and the atmosphere was to die for. We loved the couples massage and would recommend it.
The food at Malolo was great, and there were different eating accommodations including the fine dining roof-top option, family style diner experience or pool and water front bar dining which included pizzas and sandwiches. It was a great variety and all of the menus had many things to please us.
It was a very different experience than Navutu Stars intimate and closeness, but the bustle and fun that Malolo provided keeps it on our lists of recommendations. The staff and people at Malolo were kind and courteous, and we would recommend this resort to those looking for an island close to the “mainland-Nadi” or those who like to be a little more active on their honeymoon. The cost to stay was a little less than $200 a night, meals not included.
Alas, it was time to yet again say goodbye to the kind people at Malolo and truck on to our next destination. (At this point we are both realizing that we really needed to have more vacation time and are trying to figure out ways to prolong the inevitable.) We board the last catamaran back to the main island of Nadi where we would spend our remaining night at Sofitel, a luxury resort on the water. Here the activities and children came together like a mesh of laughter and sun kisses. Geared toward families with children looking for luxury this hotel is equipped with a pool that includes a water slide and volley ball nets. The water activities included wakeboarding and parasailing. We decided to be adventurous and parasail. It was ten minutes of sheer screaming bliss. Lastly, the staff arranged a taxi to take us into town where we shopped for hours in the main market place.
The food at the Sofitel was great, but the service was not as exceptional as the other resorts we had been to. They had a nice patio over looking the water for dinner, a buffet, and a fine dining option as well. Sofitel is a huge resort, with 450 rooms. There was a small shopping mall inside and an art gallery of traditional Fijian art. The white marble floors were polished so well we could see our reflection. The hotel room was absolutely to die for; plush towels, plasma TV, kings size bed with 600 count sheets, plush bathrobes and a shower that shot water from three directions. It had all modern conveniences and champagne waiting for us to celebrate the last days of our honeymoon. Our room overlooked the ocean on the third floor and the view was breathtaking.
We would recommend Sofitel for those staying in Nadi waiting for their flights. For us, it was not the Fijian experience that one should have when visiting the islands due to the commercialization of the island and resort. It was beautiful and fun and the price was extremely reasonable: $150 a night. On the flight home we reminisced about all that we experienced and we can only hope that couples in love would have the same fantastic honeymoon that we did.
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