From mud pools to fresh coconut oil and therapeutic water, Fiji uses its natural resources to offer visitors a wellness experience like no other. By Amrita Das
It’s up with Fiji’s constantly evolving wellness industry. Traditional experiences such as spa treatments, yoga, meditation and detox holidays have been draws of the archipelago for many years now. Even though technology has widened the scope and range of treatments, Fiji steers clear of it to keep things natural. The country continues to harness its natural resources like coconut, textured salts, mineralised earth and pure water in more than one way to enhance its wellness offerings.
While there is no dearth of wellness experiences on Viti Levu, Intercontinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa in Natadola Bay raises the bar. The decade-old hotel houses the exclusive Wai Zone, where water in its many forms is used for therapy. A 30-40 minute session in the Wai Zone takes guests through three stages of water. A rain shower normalises the body before going into a 10-minute steam room, which opens the pores of the skin. The second shower lowers body temperature for the warm plunge pool. The jets here are highly stimulating and work their way to loosen stiff muscles. Thereafter, guests walk through the last rain shower onward to the ice room. Here, ice in small quantities is rubbed on the body to prepare it for the 17° Celsius winter jets. This last session is only for a few seconds, and Kalpana Devi, the spa manager, vouches for the experience. Hydrotherapy in Wai Zone is recommended to all guests before their massages. Devi says, “This relaxes the body and prepares the skin to soak oil better.”
While guests may have to walk to the Wai Zone, those who wish to be pampered in their room can try a bathing ritual. The Queen Cleopatra Ritual is perhaps the most elegant. This honey and milk protein-rich bath is relaxing, healing and indulgent at once. It costs INR 1,940, and guests finish with a traditional cup of tea.
DON’T MISS: Wai Zone’s hydrotherapy can be booked in advance at a nominal INR 1,132 for a 45-minute session. This session is complimentary for guests who opt for a treatment in the spa.
Take a one-hour cruise from Viti Levu’s Port Denarau to Tokoriki, one of the 38 Mamanuca islands. There are only two resorts on this island: Tokoriki Island Resort and Sheraton Tokoriki Resort. The former is an exquisite property with 36 beachfront bures (traditional Fijian thatched-roof huts) and villas surrounded by a lush rainforest. The property harnesses its surrounds to enhance its wellness experiences.
Tokoriki Spa or Senikai Spa, located in the resort, creates a journey for every guest walking through its doors. A short consultation with Ini, the spa manager, is followed by a 10-minute foot ritual. Guests then walk on stone steps through a green grove of bamboos into their cabins for their treatment. These couple cabins are also styled like bures and are separated by man-made waterfalls—the sound acts as a natural, calming barrier.
The bamboo signature massage is a 60-or 90-minute therapy. Short barks of bamboos are rolled on the muscles of the back, legs and upper arms to loosen and relax them. Therapists start with their hands to apply oil and ease the body into the treatment.
Couples can immerse themselves in an exclusive wellness experience here. Tokoriki Spa has a luxurious 30-minute coconut moisturising bath soak in special couple massage bures, before a signature 60-minute massage.
DON’T MISS: Tokoriki Island Resort offers the Unlimited Massage Retreat, where each guest can avail three, four, or five days of unlimited massages for INR 12,614, INR15,849, and INR 19,083, respectively.
A short drive from Nadi International Airport on Fiji’s largest island, Viti Levu, are the family-owned mud pools, Tifajek and Sabeto. Tifajek is owned by the brother while Sabeto is the sister’s business.
Tifajek Mudpool and Hot Springs is touted to be Fiji’s first thermal pool for tourists. The experience begins with a dip in the mud pool, where guests are welcomed to rub the dark earthy silt onto the body. These minerals act like natural exfoliators that nourish skin. Once the mud is sufficiently hard on the skin, a dip into natural thermal water washes off the first layer of the body mask. This thermal pool maintains its temperature naturally between 37° and 42° Celsius. Guests are thereafter encouraged to wash off the residual in a second clear pool. Sabeto follows the same treatment method.
Both natural mud pools are constantly upgrading their services and facilities. Tifajek, for instance, has introduced products like mud scrubs, which it retails. All the therapists are trained by Essence of Fiji’s South Pacific Academy of Beauty Therapy. They also work closely with the community, enabling and training them to become a part of Fiji’s wellness industry.
DON’T MISS: Throw in a 15-minute massage after the mineral body mask to make the skin more supple.
The ‘garden island of Fiji’ or Taveuni is a one-hour flight away from the mainland’s Nausori International Airport in Suva. The land thrives with fruit orchards and lush rainforests. The Somosomo Strait around the island is known for its colourful soft corals and attracts divers from all over the world. And there is nothing like a relaxing kneading therapy after a day of satisfying dives.
“The spa comes to your room,” states Colleen O’Neill, general manager, Taveuni Palms Resort and Spa. It is an intimate space of two villas, which are equipped with multiple decks, pools and Jacuzzis, cabanas and private access to the beach. The personalised service extends to traditional wellness offerings where therapists set up at the guests’ chosen site and time for their treatments.
The Taveuni Palms signature massage employs long strokes with deep pressure points. The complementing fresh coconut oil or exotic oils from Pure Fiji add to this experience. The Tropical Sugar Scrub is ideal for those who have acquired a tan under the strong Fijian sun. This body scrub uses raw sugar along with fruit oils that combine to work on dead cells and lighten the tan. The most rewarding is the dilo wrap therapy for those guests who have parched their skin while exploring Fiji. For this treatment, Pure Fiji’s dilo oil is applied on the entire body, which is then wrapped with banana leaves. While the gel soothes and heals the skin, guests indulge in a scalp massage in the comfort and privacy of their villa.
DON’T MISS: Taveuni Palms’ spa menu is not exactly exceptional. However, to experience a treatment at the deck overlooking the South Pacific Sea as the sun sets is a rare delight.
There are many flights to Fiji’s Nadi International Airport via Singapore and Hong Kong. Fiji Airways has direct flights to Taveuni from the islands. Boats and cruises sail from Port Denarau to Tokoriki Island.
Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa is a five-star hotel with great service, located on Denarau island. Doubles from INR 12,000.
Yatule Resort and Spa is a cosy and comfortable resort with Fiji-style bures in Natadola. Doubles from INR 10,000.
Taveuni Palms is a luxury villa with personalised food and service. Doubles from INR 1,00,000 with a list of inclusions.
Tokoriki Island Resort and Spa is a luxury accommodation with large rooms, attentive service and many dining options. Doubles from INR 45,000.