Tiffany Carroll goes ‘home’ to Vomo where nothing is too much trouble and the word ‘no’ is not in their vocabulary. Blissful!
“When we arrive, our staff will be waiting to greet you with a traditional welcome song,” the boat captain tells me.
“They will finish with a loud ‘BULA!” You must say “BULA!” even louder back, or we won’t let you in,” he winks.
The boat transfer arrives at Vomo’s watersports hut, there’s a young family playing on the water’s edge, the beach is pure white sand and the water is a gorgeous aquamarine.
But there’s no grand entry, no foyer and not many people around.
“Welcome home,” someone says and I look up to see a big friendly Fijian man waiting to greet us.
“Just leave your things here – you’re home. We’ll take care of the rest.”
After washing the sand from our feet we’re guided along some stepping stones to a mini bus hidden behind the lush green garden.
The big Bula welcome
I don’t know where our bags are and there’s not a lot of fanfare. We hop in the bus and are driven a short distance down a path and arrive at the main house.
The promised welcome is already in full song before we get out of the bus and the general manager walks up to greet us.
“Welcome home,” he says.
The song finishes and the staff look at each other then loudly shout “BULA!” We immediately return the gesture and everyone laughs.
Mark Leslie has been at the helm at Vomo for around five years and I would learn over the coming days, he’s one of the short term staff.
The welcome home message is genuine – Mark calls Vomo an extension of your own home and he means it.
“I hate the word no. I don’t want to hear it and neither do our guests.
“If you want to eat at the beach, if you want to picnic on a neighbouring island, if you want to watch a movie, the answer will always be yes at Vomo.”
There’s no paperwork on arrival but I suspect there’s quite a bit in anticipation of all new arrivals. Every staff member knows your name and even for first time visitors, you feel as though you have been here before.
The repeat visitor rate at Vomo is 84% and I immediately wonder what keeps people coming back to this island.
Sure, on first appearances it’s beautiful; the beaches are lovely, the restaurant and pool area relaxed, but it’s just another Pacific island resort, surely?
Simply, no, it’s not.
Vomo is an extension of your home in so much as you can do whatever you please, however whatever you please is made so easy for you, without realising it, you’re having the most relaxing holiday of your life.
For those travelling with children there are Baby Butlers. For those wanting a bit more adventure there’s the watersports team, for those wanting to enjoy Michelin-quality meals, there’s chef Nicholas Samaras and his team to ensure any dietary requirement, any craving is met.
5 star hospitality
You want a massage? Easy – the team is lead by the former spa manager of the Four Seasons in Bali.
After our welcome song and coconut drink on arrival we’re lead to our beachfront bure. Our bags are already there and I still can’t work out how they got from the boat in the first place.
I would come to ask myself similar questions throughout my stay.
“I was just thinking the sun is a bit strong and all of a sudden here is a pool attendant moving my umbrella. Where did he come from?”
This is what sets Vomo apart – the resort has 32 bures and four residences and is often 100% full – but it never feels so.
The staff know when to leave you alone and when to offer a drink, a smile, a new towel or advice on what to do next.
Our first afternoon is spent snorkeling around Vomo’s reefs.
Wise, the boat captain has been at Vomo for 21 years and he is shocked when I asked if he’d ever consider working elsewhere.
‘No! Why would I? This is home. The owners are family, the guests are family, plus I’m wise – so they need me,” he giggles.
Wise (his real name) is one of many long term staff at Vomo. Some have been there so long they recall making milkshakes for guests they are now serving cocktails to as adults.
“The staff know some of our guests so well they genuinely feel like family,” assistant manager Jacques Louw says.
The snorkeling is beautiful and the guides so keen to point out fish and coral unique to the area you can’t help but feel their passion for the resort as well.
After an hour or so we return to the resort and are met by Marilyn Sivo, one of the front ‘office’ staff.
“If you feel like it, how about a drink at the Rocks Bar at 5.30? It is a spectacular sunset up there,” she suggests.
And it sounds perfect to me.
“How do I get there?” I ask.
“Oh, you either come to the front desk and we’ll drive you or you follow the path behind your bure,” she says.
And again I’m struck by the privacy, the intimacy of Vomo. I didn’t even notice the path behind our bure.
In defiance of 2016’s Cyclone Winston, Vomo’s gardens are mature and elegant. Again, as is the theme at Vomo, they’re not formal, rather understated and loved.
The Rocks Bar and soon to be opened adults-only pool and restaurant area offer another dimension to Vomo.
Whilst the resorts caters to families, the Vomo team felt an adults-only retreat would offer another level of comfort and privacy to adults.
The view, as promised is spectacular and the bar area just oozes charm and again, that understated luxury. Superlatives fail me as I think I could spend all day here, watching the dramatic landscape that is the Mamanuca islands, being waited on by discreet yet always available Vomo staff and enjoying delicious cocktails created by F&B Manager Andrew Clarke.
But alas, dinner awaits and after a shared bottle of Billecart Salmon, we’re whisked away to dinner.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included in the room tariff at Vomo, with an extensive à la carte menu which changes daily, guests never leave hungry.
Younger guests may dine with their family, or in the kids’ village nearby. Either way, the expansive grounds and facilities at Vomo ensure your meals are never interrupted.
Vomo’s enviable accommodation includes 32 beachfront and hillside villas, all with large verandahs, deep tubs, separate showers, L’Occitane products, luxury king size or twin beds, WiFi, walk-in robes, patio or sun lounge furniture and a sofa.
For those wanting total privacy, there are four residences, with three or four bedrooms, private pools, full kitchens and a butler.
Guests here can have their meals prepared at home, delivered from the Vomo kitchen or dine in the restaurant.
Vomo’s Kui spa is staffed by Balinese therapists and often booked out days in advance.
The spa is a stroll away from the bures and residences, near the island’s golf course. And if eating, snorkeling, diving, swimming and lounging is not your thing, there’s also a fully equipment gym and 100 acres to explore.
Rates at Vomo start at $FJD2375 per bure, per night.