Tiffany Carroll is forced to switch off in Fiji’s stunning Yasawa islands where there’s no one around … and it’s just perfect.
All to yourself
My idea of switching off is turning my phone to silent in a movie or on an aeroplane. I sleep with my phone by my bed and during the day, if it’s not in my hand it’s connected to my smart watch so I can still receive emails and calls.
The thought of staying in a secluded luxury resort where guests are encouraged to switch off is not my dream fantasy. I get that I’m in the minority when it comes to holiday fantasies. So as I packed my bathers and sunscreen, topped up my phone with enough credit to hotspot my laptop if need be and set off for Nadi airport for my flight to Yasawa Island Resort I thought of it as just another work trip … and all the work I’d have to come back to.
The Islander flight from Nadi airport to Yasawa Island Resort’s private airstrip is about a 50 minute flight over Fiji’s most picturesque land and seascapes. Coral reefs and atolls, white sand beaches, volcanic islands and that gorgeous gin-coloured water Fiji is famous for.
Laid back, feet in the sand
The pilot looks around to see the smiling faces on the lucky four guests flying to Yasawa today. He’s ultra laid-back and on arrival at the resort disembarks (or really just jumps down from the cockpit door) to say hello to the resort staff.
Resort owner James McCann is waiting to greet us and he too is pretty casual. We’ve met before and I think the casual hello is due to that, but then the other waiting staff greet me like an old friend too.
There is nothing pretentious about this place – there is simply no need. James and his team know their island resort is a true paradise, they simply relax and let the environment do the talking.
Yasawa Island Resort has just 18 bungalows, all over-sized and with ocean views. They are private, spacious and well appointed but without the extra trimmings some five star properties are tempted to fill a room with.
My room is the honeymoon suite and it’s a 1km walk from the resort along the powder-soft white sand beach, or the resort will send a vehicle to pick you up.
The lounge room is as big as the bedroom which is almost the same size as the indoor/outdoor bathroom. Outside a large infinity pool is surrounded by a private deck and there are steps leading down to the ocean.
A painted coconut is Yasawa’s ‘do not disturb sign’ but I’m assured no one will.
Everything is just perfect. The room is gorgeous, the view is unsurpassed and uninterrupted and I feel completely alone.
“Oh, and there’s no Wifi down here,” James says. It stops me dead in my tracks.
W.T.F. What on earth will I do, I thought to myself.
Forced to do what other holiday makers have done before me, I unpack and change into my bathers. I wander down to my private beach (which is just one of 10 private beaches the resort has access to) and look back at my room.
It is surrounded by a jungle and I can’t for the life of me see another building or person.
The water is warm, I’m sharing the gentle waves with just a school of tiny bait fish and I realise for the first time in my adult life, this is what relaxation is all about. After my swim and shower I walk along the beach to the main resort. The resort spa is a little way along from my room and a couple is having a massage on the open deck.
Eventually I pass a few more bungalows but I can’t peer in to the rooms. The well established gardens make sure of that.
The only sounds are the waves crashing and the odd parrot flying from tree to tree. It’s quiet and I realise I’ve stopped checking my phone for service.
I arrive at the main resort area where there’s a swimming pool with long sun lounges on the timber deck, a bar and restaurant – and Wifi for those who need it.
I’m no longer one of them. The staff ask what my plans are at Yasawa and suggest a boat ride to a private beach is a must.
I almost laugh – how much more privacy could one need? However a boat is arranged, a picnic packed and I’m off, on the bluest, cleanest water I have ever seen.
We pass several beaches, all which have exclusive access for Yasawa Island Resort guests. The sand is bright white and again, there is not another soul around.
My boat driver names all the beaches (Champagne, Lovers, Honeymoon …) and asks which one I’d like to stop at for a picnic – the choice is mine.
I’ve never stayed anywhere where the choice of 10 private beaches is on offer – who really has?
James McCann is rightfully proud of his resort. The Aussie expat with a slight Canadian accent says they have got it right at Yasawa.
“The holiday really starts the moment you board the flight. The journey here is part of the welcome and it’s pretty hard to beat.”
Apart from island hopping, the resort offers many included activities, from kayaking to stand-up paddle boarding. There’s also snorkelling, tennis and guided walks.
Paid activities include SCUBA diving, village visits and a guided trip to the Blue Lagoon cave, where the eponymous movie was filmed.
There’s also fishing, private picnics, private dining and even cooking demonstrations.
And then there’s the food
Speaking of cooking, meals are also included in the room tariff at Yasawa and the in-house pastry chef ensures desserts are not to be missed.
Dining options include the poolside restaurant, on the deck of your room, on the beach, at a private neighbouring beach or simply call for room service.
Cocktails are the house specialty and good espresso is served. Much thought has gone in to the wine list and with local fishermen catching fresh lobster, crab and fish daily, Yasawa is not only a paradise-seekers haven, it’s a foodie haven too.
There are 15 words in the Fijian language that mean heaven, I’m told, and Yasawa is the first.
Packages at Yasawa Island Resort including all meals and many activities start from around FJ$2150 per night. Transfers from Nadi airport are FJ$475 per person.