Cities: Wakaya Club
As we check in at Nadi airport at Air Wakaya we are met by the airport representative of the Wakaya Club and Spa.
David Gilmour created the fantasy island 20 years ago and it has been the resort of choice for many famous and intrepid Americans searching for paradise, since then. Mainly marketed by word of mouth, it has always has the intrigue of something very special.
We flew in their beautifully prepared Cessna Grand Caravan, with plush seating for 45 minutes across the main island of Viti Levu to the North East corner of the Fiji Islands and over the light blue sea to Wakaya Island. We land on the private airstrip and are met by Sal, a local who has been working here for 19 years now. He drives us over the island (it is 5 miles long and 2 miles wide) through some of the lushest vegetation I have ever seen.
We spot some light game on the island, such as fallow deer, wild horses and pigs, as we drive to the club. David created not just the Club but also a farm here and mostly all the produce you consume while here comes from the island, so you know it’s fresh. Large ginger plantations, plenty of papaya (Paw Paw as we Aussie’s call it), bananas, groves of coconuts all make you feel you are in a tropical paradise even before you set foot on the Club grounds.
As we arrive we are met by Willow, the resort General Manager, waiting with a fresh drink in hand. There are no formalities here to check in, you just walk to your bure, which has a clay pot outside with “Ian & Linda” on it, and there it is – the beautiful ocean in front of you with the mainland in the distance.
Each of the 8 garden and ocean view bures are large, spacious and very Fijian. Even though they are now 20 years old, they have so much charm and create your own serenity instantly. Outdoor shower, huge bathroom with his and hers areas, fully air conditioned and fully stocked mini bar. The tariff here includes all food, drinks, scuba and other activities as below.
We immediately sign up for a treatment at Breezes Spa for 4pm, but prior we enjoy lunch in the outdoor terrace (where they serve breakfast and lunch). I of course opt for the Hawaiian Pizza – I can’t resist them.
I set out for a quick 9 holes of golf on the Wakaya Golf Course. It is a short course, set in a coconut grove and when your ball hits a coconut palm, it takes on a new meaning of golfing for you, as it can go anywhere and with the lush grass, the balls do tend to disappear. You just rock up to the small bure that holds the golf clubs, take one, some balls and off you go. Usually there is no one else on the course, so no waiting at all.
4pm comes around and we head to Breeze Spa. Linda has booked a back massage and I opted for a pedicure, which took place in front of the small spa pool overlooking the ocean with curtains blowing in the breeze…wonderful!
Dinner is interesting as you all meet your fellow Wakayan’s at the bar, and Christiana and Leda can mix any type of cocktail you can imagine. After several drinks, we all then separate to our own tables for dinner. The menu is prepared daily and based on what is fresh that day. There’s also a large selection of fine wines.
Next morning we opted for a scuba dive and the reef right off the Club is perfect for diving with great coral, and an abundance of marine life.
The waters surrounding Wakaya were declared a marine park, so no fishing is permitted within a few miles, so there’s an abundance of fish as they can swim safely there.
A very special event on Wakaya is their private picnics. Here they drive you to one of the two private beaches on the island, leave you with coolers filled with drinks, seafood, salad and pasta, a radio and a suggested time for Sal to come back and collect you.
It is like being on your own private island in this pristine part of the world.
Another equally exciting activity is booking two back to back treatments at Breezes Spa before lunch or dinner, and then having your meal served there as you enjoy the entire spa area to yourselves.
The Club also has two larger bures, called Governors and Ambassadors. Governors is a 1 bedroom bure with its own large living area and private spa pool and outdoor massage area. Ambassadors is a 2 bedroom bure, equal size bedrooms and a couples spa treatment area and large indoor pool – very decadent and perfect for 2 couples, or a family. The resort caters to guests 16 years or older except during family week.
When David first bought Wakaya, he built Vale O (amongst the clouds), a 3 bedroom house high on the hill and this is now available to rent. Vale O has everything you want for a secluded retreat, including its own tennis court, swimming pool and bocce ball court. The house comes with its own chef, house manager and driver!
On our last night we were fortunate that Wakaya had planned their Kava Ceremony and Meke. I have tasted kava before and was first in line as they went through the ceremony. Afterwards the Wakaya team presented and shared their Meke celebration with us. It began with their welcome dance by the men, followed by the beautiful singing and interpretation of their ancient past.
Like all people from Polynesia, they tell their history in song and dance. The Band Boys then continued singing throughout dinner with their guitars, ukulele’s and a special bass instrument. I love their sweet voices as they set such a tranquil scene for dinner.
After another hearty breakfast Linda and I bid farewell to our new found family on Wakaya, promising to return soon.
On Wakaya, I believe that you should spend at least 6 or 7 nights to really immerse yourself into their culture, their friendliness and the serenity of this very special place. At Swain we have great value adds when we arrange experiences down here, so call us!