Tokoriki Island Resort: Where To Stay In Fiji
I am lying on a hammock, enjoying the rays of sunshine hitting my pale skin that is begging to be olive again. I look up and see palm trees rustling against the gentle South Pacific sea breeze and when I turn to my left I see a calm lagoon that boasts all kinds of blue. This is not a dream. I repeat, this is not a dream. This is Tokoriki Island Resort in Fiji.
Located within the idyllic Mamanuca group of islands, the resort is an adults-only (no offence children, but you’ll understand one day) destination that has been awarded by TripAdvisor travellers #1 Best hotel in Fiji, #1 Best Romantic hotel in Fiji and #1 Best Luxury hotel in Fiji for 2015. These accolades and the resort’s infinity pool set against the crystal clear sea were key factors in booking this resort from lastminute.com.au for our much needed getaway.
Glenn and I transferred to Tokoriki Island Resort from Nadi via catamaran (there is a choice of helicopter, seaplane and speed boat) and the moment we stepped onto the soft sand, we were greeted by a Bula Malaya welcome song by the staff who were singing and clapping jubilantly to the musicians. We were instantly transported to tropical paradise and knew we had arrived “home”.
We checked into the beachfront bure (Fijian version of a hut) that lives up to its name – we were a 15-second walk to our own private beach. Glenn and I would wake up to the sounds of waves gently crashing and start the day with an early stretch on the soft sand. The sea starts to shimmer from the morning light and the silhouette of Monuriki Island (this is where Tom Hanks met Wilson in the 2000 film Cast Away) beckons in the distance.
Days are slow at Tokoriki Island Resort – the locals call it Fiji time. There are no TV nor wi-fi in any of the bures except the main reception. The owners of the resort want you to disconnect, recharge and enjoy the natural, sensory pleasures that we have clearly forgotten to appreciate in this golden age.
My initial detachment from the Internet was agonizing and I would seize every opportunity to feed my hunger for social media and read on the latest Tay Tay news. I soon discovered the joys of disengaging from it and spending time on life’s simple pleasures.
The resort hosts a series of activities for its guests such as tennis, spa treatments, water sports, cultural entertainment, nature walks or island hopping for those who wish to explore the surrounding islands. Being the insatiable water lovers that we are, Glenn and I conquered the coral-studded water with stand up paddle boarding, glass-bottom kayaking and snorkelling. We also took the hobie cat out on our own.
While Glenn got used to directing the sail and rudder quite adeptly, my cockiness convinced me that I could accomplish a perfect steer like he did. Of course co-ordination is not my forte and Glenn’s lack of giving proper instructions had me cursing under my breath and eventually yelling “OK, I’M OVER IT. YOU TAKE OVER!” We got over these tiffs quickly and were swanning around the lagoon in our hobie cat again like it was our backyard pool.
A luxury holiday is not complete without a visit to the resort spa and we were treated to a 90-minute pamper package that revitalised our tired backs and faces. We started off with a foot massage before we were led to the twin treatment bure which features gentle falling water over freestanding volcanic rock walls. The sound of cascading water in the room adds an organic dimension where you would usually hear ambient music. We finished off with a back massage and a facial treatment that had us both rejoicing and feeling ten years younger.
It was clear from the moment we arrived that we would take home memories which we would be talking about for years. What makes this time completely unforgettable, aside from the serene tropical landscape is the earnest and joyous staff who remember every guest’s name. We overheard at dinner one night that there was a couple who had returned for their third visit and Glenn and I suddenly understood Tokoriki Island Resort’s saying “arrive as a visitor and leave as a friend”.