Since the first human set foot upon it 5,000 years ago, Fiji has enchanted. Comprised of over 800 jade-hued islands set in the aquamarine waves of the Koro Sea, the day begins not with a clock but the gentle thrum of the lali drum. And nowhere does the magic ensnare you more than at Namale.
Voted the “Best Hotel for Romance in the South Pacific” by Trip Advisor and “One of the Top 50 Most Romantic Places on Earth” by Luxury Magazine, if Namale looks familiar, it should: Ashley Hebert and ABC taped the resort and spa as the backdrop for the 7th season of "The Bachelorette." Happily, opportunities for genuine warm-fuzzies remain intact and abound amid soft white beaches and South Pacific waters. For those who have utterly capitulated to Cupid’s assault, there is even an extensive Valentine’s Day package to drive the romance home.
A lot of that romance is nestled high upon sultry volcanic rock formations, the Tatadra House. Translating to “dream house” in Fijian, this resort within a resort – inspired by the royal dwellings of Fiji’s chiefs – is comprised of two master suites and an extravagantly appointed lounge area complete with well-stocked library, Bose sound system, private cinema, DVD and video components, A/C and Wi-Fi. Double doors open onto an expansive private deck with infinity edge private pool and outdoor shower. Twenty-foot high vaulted ceilings, a full kitchen, dining room and living room grace the interior – it is paradise encapsulated.
And that’s just one aspect of the 525 acres Namale includes. The resort is committed to being a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for guests to get a bona fide Fijian experience, not a pre-packaged “touristy” crowd-pleaser. In keeping with time-honored Fijian traditions of grace and hospitality, visitors can take part in the "Kava Yaqone," a ceremony named for the drink made from the pulverized root of a pepper plant, the yaqona. It is a centerpiece of a Fijian ritual focusing on the art of welcoming visitors (and sealing business deals, casting spells, etc.) to the island, and as guests at Namale, you can expect to be one of the first to drink, forming an everlasting bond between you and this ancient and vibrant nation.
Of course, there are a few non-Fijian imports worth mentioning. Constructed from native palm wood, rock and hand-woven palm thatch, the 10,000-sqare-foot spa tempts one with playful ease to absolute abandon. Walls of windows look out to the ocean or over tropical gardens. Arching bridges span a trickling stream, flowing through the entrance and returning to the forest, which itself beckons with paths and grottos. In the seas beyond, world-class reef diving and dolphin excursions take you to another world beneath crystal waters, while sport fishing await above. Tennis, a gym and 18-hole golf are also all at your fingertips.
But best of all, nothing is set in stone (not the Polynesian way); guests can meet the day, and Fiji itself, as it comes. Walking along the untouched beaches, one can sit back, listen to wind and wave, and imagine those first human settlers who saw the island from a distance and knew, deep in their hearts, they were home.