1. Travel

Fiji - Namale Resort and Spa Review

Namale Resort and Spa - Fiji Resort for Romance or Escape From Reality


Fiji - The view from a bure at Namale Resort and Spa

Fiji - The view from a bure at Namale Resort and Spa

© 2013 Lois Friedland
Hideaways don't get much better than Fiji's Namale Resort and Spa, where 19 secluded bures (buildings made of native materials with thatched roofs) house just 44 people, tended to by a staff to guest ratio of 3-to-1. It's a popular choice for honeymoons and has won several "most romantic resort in the South Pacific" awards. But, this all-inclusive resort is also for longtime couples and friends who want a luxe base for Fiji adventures.

Expect to be royally spoiled in this dramatic setting. Just ask Ashley Hebert, who stayed here during one of the Bachelorette TV episodes. Or ask - if you can reach them - celebrities from Oprah Winfrey, fashion designer Donna Karan, Russell Crowe, and Sir Anthony Hopkins, who all have stayed here.

Namale Resort is spread among 525 acres on Vanua Levu, Fiji's second largest island, and overlooks the Koro Sea. All of the bures are different in size and interior design. They are tucked into lush landscaping and many cling to the cliff overlooking the Koro sea.

Guestrooms at Namale Resort and Spa

Namale has 19 bures and villas, ranging from intimate "garden" ones tucked into lush foliage to oceanside villas built on lava rocks. The bures are different sizes and shapes. One is a "man cave" with a pool table and an outdoor shower that's built into the side of the cliff. Others have plunge pools or hot tubs overlooking the sea. Dreamhouse has 20-foot-high ceiling and a large living room opening to a three-tiered deck with an infinity pool and a hot tub. The two master bedrooms each have an outdoor shower and a daybed, which is set on a platform overlooking the water. All the bures and villas are situated for personal privacy.

Dining at Namale Resort and Spa

You'll find lots of Indo-Fijian choices, with its colorful curries, spices and imaginative preparations of rice, sweet potatoes and taro. Fresh fish, and vegetables and fruits from local gardens are a integral part of every meal. The menus change constantly, and you can also request special dishes.

The dining bure has a bar and cocktails area and a large space for indoor dining. But, you'll find most of the guests seated at tables on the various porches. Evenings, ask for one of the single tables set on platforms and arrive at sunset.

All-inclusive at Namale means all meals, but you don't have to come to the dining bure to eat. Ask for breakfast in your bure, lunch alongside a waterfall or dinner on your private deck. Premium liquors and a good selection of wines are included.

The Spa at Namale Resort

Namale's 10,000-square-foot spa is constructed from native palm wood, rock and palm thatch. Sitting in one of the pools in the hydro-aromatherapy area, a wall of glass windows draws your eyes to the sea. Every treatment starts with a foot soak and massage designed to move you into an instant "relaxation" mode. (It does.) Try one of the imaginative treatments, from "air Balancing and "earth Balancing" to Balinese and Fijian Bobo Massages.

Activities at Namale Resort and Spa

You'll never be bored, even if you want to be active all of the time. Because most of the accommodations have either a pool, plunge pool or hot tub, the resort's pools are rarely crowded. As one guest said to me, "I just walk a few steps out of my room and I can jump into a pool, where I've never seen anyone else".

Namale has its own quirky golf course, which is a lot of fun to play. There are nine holes set on lush terrain, and once you've played the nine, you can repeat it from different tee boxes to experience a full 18 holes. Climb up the zigzag trail to a tee on the 4th hole, and you've a spectacular view of the resort and the water beyond. Golf clubs are available, but the selection is very sketchy.

On rainy days, head to the Kava Bowl, where there's a massive surround (three-screens) golf simulator, so you can play in almost any famous course in the world. Don't play golf, how about bowling? Another building houses a 1,200-square foot gym.

Every day, a schedule of activities is listed on a big board, so guests can decide if anything sounds appealing. Some are free, such as local hikes, while there's a cost for other activities including diving. I went out on Namale's private boat and there was just one other diver that day.

Nature is the biggest draw here, both on the ground and in the water. Sitting with a cup of coffee outdoors on my day bed at the edge of a cliff one morning, I watched the tide recede. While one part of me was reluctant to leave my luxe lodging, the other part wanted to walk among the tide pools, so I started down the zigzag staircase clinging to the cliffside.

After watching tiny crabs and fish skirt among the lava rocks in the tide pools, I climbed back up, took a dip in my private pool then headed for my outdoor shower.

Namale's Drawbacks

If a sandy beach where you can walk into the water and start swimming is a must, this isn't the resort for you. Fiji has two seasons: wet and dry, and Namale is on the wet side of the island. Best to go during the dry season.

Lovers of riotous nightlife should go elsewhere.

Guests with limited mobility will enjoy the resort, but they may need to rely on the resort's golf-cart transportation service to move among the buildings.

Learn More About Namale Resort and Spa

To learn more, visit Namale Resort and Spa. Fiji Airways has the only non-stop service from Los Angeles to Nadi, Fiji.

Other Scenic Resorts and Places for Adventure Travel

If you enjoy adventure travel, but don't want to go all the way to Fiji, here are some resorts closer to home. Experience mountain-high activities in Vail, Steamboat, or Jackson Hole.

These 12 Adrenaline Rushes will send you to countries around the globe.

As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary services for review purposes. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.