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Greetings from FijiMarch 31, 2008 By: Stephanie Stephens Travel Agent
Spotlight on two retreats: Myola and Dolphin Island
When Fiji’s Aon Excellence in Tourism Awards were bequeathed in early February, Myola Plantation Fiji owners Karan and Ian Hoskinson walked away with the prized citation for premium accommodation. Myola, a 45-minute drive or 12-minute helicopter flight from Fiji’s Nadi International Airport, occupies some 12 acres of lime and lemon groves on the Coral Coast.
Fiji's breathtaking scenery and weather make it an ultimate vacation choice.
Awards are nice, but a stay at the exclusive Myola is even nicer, promises Rhys Arrowsmith of Black Label Retreats ([email protected]), which represents top-tier properties in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, including Myola. Arrowsmith has seen his share of gorgeous resorts, so for a property to make his grade, “it has to take my breath away, and Myola does just that—it’s absolutely stunning. Put your head in the rainforest and your toes in the Pacific Ocean,” suggests Arrowsmith, who also works with the exclusive Owner’s Cottages at both Huka Lodge and Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand.
Guests can relax poolside at Myola Plantation, which is operated by Black Label Retreats
Agents tell us that their clients thoroughly enjoy spending quality time with the Hoskinsons at Myola. Karan is a fourth-generation Fijian, and husband Ian, of English descent, is now the foremost marine salvage expert for the Asia Pacific region. Discussions of Fijian history and of removing sunken ocean vessels mesmerize American guests, reports Arrowsmith, who says holiday-makers make fast friends with the host owners during an already idyllic trip to Myola.
Situated on Viti Levu, one of 322 Fijian islands, Myola is nestled on a cliff, 125 feet above the crystal Sigatoka Lagoon, accessible by two reasonable flights of stairs: The first takes you down and past the oh-so-lovely infinity pool, the second, to the lagoon. Rosie, head housekeeper and one of the on-site staff of 10, is representative of the warm and genteel Fijians and will accompany your clients to Sigatoka Village for shopping or down to the volcanic reef, where she’ll “point out what to touch and what to avoid, or identify an ideal snorkeling spot or rock pool for wading,” says Arrowsmith. Staff will also arrange for luxurious in-villa massages at additional charge; we liked ours, the sweet Pure Fiji Pineapple Rub.
Clients tell us that the 2-year-old Myola is an ideal haven for those who seek the ultimate in a tropical, personalized vacation. Guests complete a questionnaire prior to arrival and designate menu choices and dining times.
Meals expertly combine Indian and Fijian cuisines with spice-so-nice. Myola’s tariff includes all ground transfers, meals, beverages and guide services.
Secrets To Share
Ocean breezes do a fine job of maintaining comfort, but each of the two villa suites is air-conditioned and features its own spa, outdoor shower, plunge pool—and of course, that to-die-for azure-blue view. During daylight hours, children are looked after by the resort’s nanny, who steers them clear of the scenic, yet treacherous, seaside cliffs.
Insiders insist that your clients take a ride on the adorable “Sugar Train” railway at the base of the property. The train operates at less than three miles per hour and is reminiscent of a “scaled-down version of a Thomas the Tank engine,” says Arrowsmith. The Hoskinsons will arrange for one-of-a-kind weddings at Myola and will “dress up” the Sugar Train with wedding sashes to transport guests from larger, nearby hotels. Myola can easily cater for 45 sitting, 70 standing, at a glorious function.
Myola is perched on the side of a cliff, providing its guests with stunning views.
Rates are fully commissionable, says Arrowsmith, who adds that “if someone is pumping through some good numbers, we’ll increase his or her percentage.” Contact him for all intricate client requests and tailor-made booking arrangements, “to provide what your guest really needs.”
Another perfect choice for the discriminating client bound for the Fijian archipelago is Dolphin Island, says Louise Smythe, sales and marketing director for the new brand The Huka Retreats, which also incorporates the legendary Huka Lodge in Taupo, New Zealand. Both Huka Retreat properties are owned by entrepreneur Alex van Heeren. Book Dolphin Island via [email protected]. Normal commission rates apply, depending upon your method of booking, says Smythe, who is reachable at [email protected].
A Truly Private Escape
Smythe attests that your clients will always be the first to walk on the beach each day at this still mostly-undiscovered enclave on Fiji’s Sunshine Coast. With 13 private acres, all unspoiled and rustic, Dolphin Island is an engaging 2.5-hour drive from Nadi, offering introductions to sugar-cane plantations and charming villages, followed by a 10-minute boat ride from the mainland of Viti Livu.
Open-air bures on Dolphin Island make for breezy, tranquil accommodations.
Clients will embrace the ultimate in barefoot luxury at this captivating resort, which welcomes a maximum of four guests, including children. Again, a host couple ensures a memorable, authentic experience at Dolphin Island, where Smythe encourages guests “to become their own Robinson Crusoes.” At Dolphin’s Fijian haven, visitors chill out or sleep in two nearby bures—one is ideal for dining and relaxing; the other has two double suites with bathrooms. In both, chic furnishings sport rich tones of red, black and white, amidst a plethora of sumptuous textures. Insiders rave about a third bure, two minutes away, which inspires decadence with one wall open to the elements. “You can walk there completely naked,” says Smythe, “then have breakfast brought to you the next morning, when you’re dressed!” Like Myola, Dolphin Island features outdoor showers.
Repeat guests can’t stop talking about the always-in-motion four-poster bed, draped in muslin cloth. Courtesy of attentive staff, “it goes where the sun goes,” says Smythe, “with you in it.” We’re also told aesthetics rate high here overall; at night, candles seem to appear everywhere.
Similar to Myola, the resort’s tariff includes airport and boat transfers, meals and activities, including snorkeling, kayaking and Hobie Cat sailing. Scuba diving or a facial is extra.
If the subject of past internal political unrest in Fiji arises, you may tell your clients that the last activity was in December 2006. Visitors should always use common sense and obviously avoid any large, boisterous gatherings of people—highly unlikely to be found near either of these properties. No signs of strife now, reports Arrowsmith, who relaxes completely with his family while in Fiji and shares this quote, attributed to a Fijian tourism official: “The sea is still sparkling, the sun is still shining, and the Fijian people’s smiles are wider than ever.”
See more of Fiji in the video below:
Myola Plantation Fiji: Priced at $2,100 for up to two guests; three to four guests cost $2,400. Taxes are additional. Minimum stay is two nights.
Dolphin Island: Priced at $2,350 per day for one or two guests. For three to four guests, the cost is $3,000. Taxes are additional. There is a three-night minimum stay.
Contact: Rhys Arrowsmith, Black Label Retreats: 011-64-7-570-2233
Louise Smythe: 011-64-9-308-9824