Thursday, 14 June 2018

Ultimate Barefoot Luxury at Royal Davui Resort, Fiji.

From the moment we arrived on Royal Davui's private island in Fiji, we were in absolute heaven. I've stayed in a lot of incredible hotels over the years, and yet as soon as we arrived I knew this would be one of the very best. With just 24 hours to experience all that Davui had to offer, it was an exciting challenge that Laura and I were more than happy to take on, along with the help of Royal Davui's fabulous owner, Chris Southwick. Our journey to Royal Davui Island began at Fiji's Nadi airport where we were each weighed and then bundled into a teeny tiny airplane - just the two of us and the pilot. Little did we know the journey would be such an adventure...


The 25-minute plane journey took us over the mountains and rainforests of Fiji's main island, Viti Levu, and despite a small amount of turbulence, we arrived safely at a tiny airfield in Pacific Harbour, to then be transported to the dock to board a speed boat.



The speed boat took a little longer, but was welcome sun-tanning time as we both sat in the back of the boat in full sun, the spray from the lagoon cooling us down every time we hit a wave. And then we saw Royal Davui in the distance, the tiny mound of craggy rock sticking out of the ocean like an upturned ship that mother nature had reclaimed.



As we got closer to the island we gasped in awe of the traditional Fijian houses poking out between the ancient trees. Due to the recent cyclone the beach and jetty had been swept away, and so disembarking became an adventurous affair as we clambered out of the boat,squealing and giggling and slipping on the wet rocks and grinning from ear-to-ear with the sun beating onto our backs. Finally with the helping hands of the owner and managers who had come to greet us, we made it to the steps and up to the main house. We were still giggling when we approached the restaurant and stopped abruptly in our tracks. The sound of singing was coming from within the open-air space, and we were presented with a traditional Fijian necklace as a welcome.



We stood and wondered how on earth it seems that every Melanesian and Polynesian is so talented at singing. After the welcome performance Laura and I sat down with Chris to go through our itinerary to ensure we saw the very best of the island in our 24 hours, and then it was time to see our Vale.

We were in a Sunset Pool Suite, and were just blown away by how stunning it was. This really was barefoot luxury at its absolute finest. The luxurious Vale was spacious and had everything you could possible want. From a separate living area and bar overlooking the terrace balcony and ocean, to a private plunge pool and the bathroom with his-and-hers sinks and dressing area, and a skylight that opens so you can stare up at the stars while you lay in the Jacuzzi bath.



The resort is fully eco-friendly, with each Vale constructed in a position that ensured no old growth trees had to be cut down. The Vales fit in to the natural environment and have a minimum impact on the nature surrounding them. The resort do everything they can to be environmentally friendly, from a newly-introduced no-straw policy, to changing the bedding every 3rd day to minimise the amount of detergents that end up the Fiji’s pristine waterways. Even the detergents they do use are biodegradable and meet strict environmental standards.

After dumping our bags and changing into our swimwear, we were taken by boat to Royal Davui's own private sand cay for a picnic lunch. The sand cay is for use of the resort guests only, and is only accessible at low-tide, so it has to be perfectly timed! We ate a luxurious lunch complete with huge umbrella to shield us from the sun, and deck chairs to prevent sandy bottoms (although we got these anyway from laying in the shallows of the water). After a couple of hours lazing about without a care in the world, the boat came back to pick us up just as the tide started coming in and covering the island, making it invisible beneath the water's surface.



Back on the island we were introduced to our massage therapists and escorted to the spa, which has spa rooms overlooking the water. It was blissful staring out at the ocean whilst getting a foot scrub, and the full-body massage that followed put me into such a state of calm I didn't know whether I was asleep or awake. I was caught in the inbetween, dreaming but not quite. So relaxed I felt like every worry and stress had just disappeared, and after the traumatic and emotional few months I had had before the trip, this was a very welcome feeling. It was the best massage I have ever had in my life.

We wandered back to our Vale in a daze, half asleep and still in a trance from the massages. To brighten ourselves up we popped open a bottle of champagne that was in our suite, tucked into the load of homemade banana bread that had been left for us, and then jumped into the heated plunge-pool to watch the sunset. We had an hour or so to relax on the terrace, and then it was time to shower and get ready for dinner!



We met Chris at the bar and had a couple of cocktails while chatting away about Royal Davui and Sydney. Chris grew up in Fiji and is a fifth generation Fijian, but now lives in Sydney and actually knows my old Sydney housemate (it's a small city haha)! The bar at Royal Davui is just below the indoor restaurant area (the entire main Vale is a split-level luxury tree-house as it's centered around a giant ancient Banyan tree) and had a flurry of guests surrounding it all taking full advantage of the expertly crafted cocktails on offer.

After cocktail hour we moved up to the restaurant for dinner with Chris and the two Australian managers of the resort, Kathy and John. What ensued was a lengthy dinner, a feast for the senses, that was so enjoyable I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. Chris, Kathy, and John were all fantastic company, and Laura and I loved every second. From the fresh seafood to the coconut vodka shots and Kava and vodka shots we were given, everything was perfect (although the Kava shot did make me wince). When we thought the night couldn't get any better, we walked out of the restaurant to be faced with millions of stars twinkling above us. Slightly tipsy on the huge amount of alcohol we had consumed, we stumbled back to our Vale and sat on the terrace staring at the stars.



The next morning we awoke bright and early and feeling surprisingly fresh, and made our way down to the beach before breakfast. Luckily only the main beach was washed away during the cyclone, and with the tide it should naturally rebuild over the next couple of months. The little secret beach we found is hidden away inbetween a few of the Vales, and so when we went it was deserted apart from a few crabs scuttling around. We honestly felt like we were in Swiss Family Robinson or Treasure Island or something, the beach was just beautiful and felt so secluded.



Breakfast was an a-la-carte affair, so I chose the tomato, bacon, and eggs on toast with homemade hash browns, and a papaya lassi to sip on. The breakfast menu was impressive, with a decent range of savoury and sweet options, including Eggs Benedict and French Toast. A thundering noise suddenly appeared in the distance, getting louder with each passing second, and then, in-front of our very eyes, our helicopter appeared and landed on the grass just past the main swimming pool (complete with emergency flag system should you run out of cocktails!). Yep. We had been told just the evening before at dinner, that our transfer back to Nadi airport would in-fact be by helicopter! SAY WHAAAT? I mean, I've done a helicopter tour of Montserrat before, but never an actual helicopter transfer!



Our luggage was loaded up, lifebelts were put around our waists, and goodbyes were said. And then it was time for us to fly back to the airport for our flight to Samoa, IN A FREAKING HELICOPTER. Sadly it was a bit cloudy, but we still had incredible views over the island and over Fiji as we flew the 20-minutes or so to the airport. It was such a 'pinch-me' moment, and one Laura and I definitely won't be forgetting in a hurry. Our perfect 24-hours at Royal Davui was over, and we've been screaming in caps lock 'TAKE ME BACK' regularly ever since.



If you want to visit Fiji in luxury, avoid the hotels in Denarau, you really can't do Fiji unless it's on a private island. Book Royal Davui for the experience of a lifetime! I promise you won't regret it. I loved it so much I even took our wooden Vale key home with me...and then had to post is back haha! 

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*Our stay at Royal Davui was complimentary, but all thoughts and words are 100% my own, and it really was just as magical as I describe it. I loved it so much I would actually happily pay the full amount to go back there.


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