Fiji. It’s the perfect place to pop the big question, or for a romantic escape with your significant other.
Walk down any white sandy beach, turn any frangipani-clad corner, and you’re guaranteed to spot some lucky couple positively radiating with love.
But instead of experiencing the Pacific island as a lover’s paradise, two girlfriends and I decided to leave our boys, babies and responsibilities behind for a weekend away at the stunning InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa.
Located on the west coast of Fiji’s largest island, Viti Levu, the InterContinental sprawls over an impressive 14ha. As we travelled on to the secluded hilltop accommodation, Club InterContinental, we exchanged countless “bulas” with friendly gardeners and housekeepers, before we were shown into the exclusive part of the resort.
Separated from the rest of the hotel and overlooking Natadola Bay, every room has its own outdoor bath, plunge pool, 24-hour butler service and full access to the private Club pool, as well as breakfast, high tea in the afternoon and cocktails every evening.
With potent, but delicious, mango cocktails in hand, we sat for two hours and watched an incredible sunset – a perfect way to start the weekend.
Our mission to relax began as soon as we woke the next day. Though we had left all domestic duties at home, a Masterchef cooking class with chefs from Navo, the resort’s five-star fine dining restaurant, seemed too good to miss.
They were incredibly patient with me, as it transpired my level of expertise was far worse than I thought. The chefs dutifully took me through how to cut an onion properly in an attempt to make kokoda – a traditional Fijian dish of raw fish marinated in lime juice and coconut milk.
After a quick photo to my mum to prove I had made something (even if it required almost no cooking), we headed to the part of the holiday I was looking forward to most: putting my feet up at the spa.
After a half-hour of relaxing – where you have the option of a dip in the spa pool, chilling out on oversized sun lounges or nibbling on honey and sesame seed muesli bars and lemon tea – we went for a traditional Fijian Bobo massage, a 60 minute treatment that combines long strokes and tapping techniques.
Re-energised and glowing, we returned to the Club lounge for an afternoon of sunbathing and reading, before continuing the newly-established tradition of eating and drinking too much at Navo.
With my girlfriends enjoying Yasawa Islands crayfish and Vuda twice-cooked pork belly, I practically inhaled my Colo-i-Suva roulade, a chicken breast stuffed with cream cheese and ota fern, which tastes similar to New Zealand’s pikopiko.
It was here, in these lavish surroundings and with a glass of bubbly, I discovered Fijian wildlife was not to my taste, as a small cane toad hopped along the tiles, perilously close to my jandal-clad feet. It was time to retire to my room!
To my surprise, I arrived to find a Cleopatra bath had been run by two lovely housekeeping ladies, who politely waited as I checked for frogs. Slipping into the petal-strewn water, I felt like a goddess – albeit one who was slightly on edge at every croak.
Our final day was more active, as we went snorkelling through the incredible reefs of Natadola Bay, where we spotted beautiful fish and colourful coral we’d only ever seen in the movies.
Refreshed from a morning of actual activity, we felt it was time for – what else? – more cocktails and food, as we spent the last night watching fire dancers and a Fijian-style haka performance from the resort’s kids’ club.
Leaving InterContinental, the girls agreed we were departing Fiji far more relaxed than when we arrived.
Though it was only two days, it was a perfect trip to get rid of the cobwebs and remind ourselves that we all need a treat once in a while.
Kelly travelled courtesy of Fiji Airways, who fly daily out of Auckland and weekly from Christchurch. Go to fijiairways.com for more information.
For Club information, visit fiji.intercontinental.com.