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Luxury Island Honeymoons At The InterContinental Fiji Resort & Spa

by | Destinations, Honeymoons, Location South Pacific, Real Honeymoons, Reviews

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Polka Dot Bride
1
COMMENT

Intercontinental Fiji View

There are two kinds of people when it comes to travel – the ones who love to hide away, hibernating on a deserted island far away from the world. Then there are those that prefer a more lively escape, one where drinks are free-flowing, the atmosphere is buzzing and there is always something to do and somewhere to be.

Being an introvert on holiday, I’ve discovered I want two very distinct things. I’m happy to be around the action, feel the holiday vibe, get amongst the buzz, but I want a place to escape, to ignore the world and doze the days away. Luckily I’ve found the perfect place to stay and revive both your introverted and extroverted holiday self.

Away from the tourist hustle and bustle. The InterContinental Fiji Resort & Spa sits in Natadola on Vitu Levu’s coral coast. Our 45-minute drive in air-conditioned comfort takes us through Fijian villages and past the hubs of Nadi as we settle for a quieter pace. We have arrived on a steamy afternoon in the peak of Summer, tropical dreams come true with just a three-four hour flight.

We’re welcomed with drums, a sound we will come to hear many times over the next few days, exchanging with each other a knowing smile that a new group of guests have arrived. Our hosts welcome us by name, they ask about our days, they check we’re okay, they give us local tips and share resort knowledge. Not once during our stay do we feel like we are among strangers. Instead this is a place where we feel like we have returned after a long journey.

Intercontinental Fiji Reception

The hotel is nothing if not monolithic as you pull up to the reception. The long hallway alone casts a grand architectural feature in its tropical surroundings. It’s easy to feel daunted by the sheer size (on 30 acres) of the InterContinental . But it’s here that our gold buggy waits to whisk us off to somewhere more private, and it is this luxurious highlight of the resort that really sets it apart.

The Club InterContinental is a steep climb above the main resort much like the arrangement of the nearby village chief’s hut, it is the crowning jewel looking over the rest of the resort.

Intercontinetal Fiji CLub Lounge

Intercontinental Fiji Club Lounge Facilities

Intercontinental Fiji Club Level Lounge

There are 50 suites on Club InterContinental, each filled to the brim with amenities. Our mini bar is replenished every afternoon with complimentary drinks and snacks and every morning we receive the local papers which are hung on our door. Our enormous room is much more like an apartment than hotel suite with it’s six seater dining table, a couch that runs the entire length of the wall, a spacious bedroom with king sized bed and bathroom with marble counter tops, double sinks, Pure Fiji toiletries replenished daily, and decadent shower.

Intercontinental Fiji Slub Level Villa Living Room

Intercontinental Fiji Club Level Villa Photo

Intercontinental Fiji Club Level Bath

Intercontinental Fiji Club Villa Plunge Pool

Intercontinental Fiji Club Level Deck

Intercontinental Fiji Rose Petal bath

It is Fiji of course, so the real attractions lie outdoors – every room at the InterContinental features a Cleopatra style bath on the balcony (complete with thick curtains for a little added privacy). And only on Club level, a select few rooms offer deliciously cool plunge pools and private lawns, overlooking the ocean that become our hideaway from the world. One night we return to our room to find candles lit, towels laid out and the bath filled with a hot milk bath and flower petals, the best way to spend a honeymoon of romantic bliss.

It isn’t just privacy that the Club InterContinental offers though, it’s actually a lot more. Your butlers welcome you by name every time you walk into the adults only Club level lounge, using their local knowledge to recommend the best tours, or arrange gifts from the resort’s shops. Eroni and Josephine were particularly favourites of ours, their warmth and welcoming smiles always welcoming us in from our latest adventure.

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Intercontinental Hotel Lounge AreaIntercontinental Fiji CLub Level Pool Area

Intercontinental Fiji Cocktails

Like most Club Level luxuries, breakfast is included in the lounge area, but guests can also make use of the two other breakfast restaurants (Navo Restaurant and Sanansana buffet) on the property for a little variety.

You may as well skip lunch as Club Lounge guests because the food is laid on all day. Every afternoon you can sit down to a delicious high tea  – and the best part, and the highlight for me – evening serenades at cocktail hour (which includes a menu of free flowing cocktails and platters of canapés served hot and fresh).

Not only do you watch the sun set over the Club InterContinental’s private infinity pool (complete with sun loungers and shady pods) but we’re also swept into the romance of Fiji with our serenading duo Ulaiasi and Timoci on ukulele and guitar.

The Club Level is touted as a resort within the resort, an extra stamp of luxury if you will that sits inside an already beautifully orchestrated band of many.

There are 216 guest rooms at the InterContinental Fiji, starting at garden view and moving to pool view, lagoon view (our pick) and beach view – mere steps away from Natadola’s beach (often ranked as one of Fiji’s best beaches). Each room comes complete with balcony Cleopatra bath, king beds, Pure Fiji toiletries, CD/DVD Player with BOSE sound system. There are the usual guest facilities – a gym, decadent day spa, pools (one adult only and one children friendly) a well equipped kids club, concierge, and tour booking office. The resort providing the best of all worlds for their guests’ styles and needs.

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Intercontinental Fiji Bay

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Intercontinental Fiji Adults Only Pool

Intercontinental Fiji Adults Only Pool

Intercontinental Fiji Pool

Toba bar and grill cocktails

There are five restaurants on the resort. The most casual Toba Bar & Grill sits between the children’s pool and the adults only area. Serving up poolside lunches (our favourite was the wood fired pizzas), cocktails and casual meals it’s a firm favourite for both adults and children alike.

Kama Lounge serves as the hub of the resort, the bar open well into the night and right on the sand, the meeting spot for the nightly fire lighting ceremony and accompanying entertainment of fire dancers. Fijian choirs and live bands play here every night and it’s the place to go if you want a little more action after dark.

Intercontinental Fiji Kama Bar

Intercontinental Fiji Live BandLighting The Fire at Intercontinental Fiji

Intercontinental Fiji Epic Sunset

Fiji Sunset Photo

Sanasana Buffet has a themed menu changing nightly.  We dined on the South Pacific themed evening and filled our bellies with fresh fish, local Fijian curries (local mud crab curry one of my favourites), Ika Vakalolo, made with fish and coconut cream also topped the list, and although I had left no room for dessert, Mr Polka made the most of the ice cream buffet.

Navo Restaurant though is the real treat for honeymooners and my favourite place to eat at the InterContinental . The adults only restaurant overlooks the beach and allows candlelight dining under the stars. For an extra splurge, one of the relaxation by day cabanas becomes a private dining option. The restaurant houses Chef Amitwar Ram who pays homage to Fijian cuisine with lobster kokoda, warm coconut bread served with coconut oil and rock salt and the most amazing surf and turf, complete with enormous lobster tail that we could only help but be talked into. Superb!!  Breakfast here is equally as divine with local mud crab omelette with accompanying beach and palm tree views the perfect combination.

Intercontinental Fiji Navo Restaurant Lawns

Intercontinental Fiji Navo Breakfast

The facility of the resort, of course extends to weddings (so much more on this to come in a future post). It doesn’t get much better as far as tropical weddings goes than the InterContinental’s  glass fronted wedding chapel looking out onto the quintessential tropical island view. Dance away the night on the beach, or dine under the stars and fairy lights with your guests and say your ‘I do’s’ before retreating to your private bathtub sparkling with candlelight and iced champagne.

The in house wedding team, led by the beautiful Jane, makes sure to tick every box and line up every detail for the couples that marry here, even providing discounted accommodation for their wedding guests and endless romantic touches.

Intercontinental Fiji Lomoma

Intercontinental Fiji Wedding Venue

Intercontinental Fiji Beach For Weddings

If lazing by the pool or day isn’t your thing, you can make use of the endless daily schedule of activities. We take a glass bottomed boat tour, stopping to let other guests jump off and be guided through snorkeling. Guests can also visit the nearby award winning golf course, visit the popular markets, take a yoga class, play a game of beach cricket, take a sunset cruise, learn to scuba dive,  surf or head out fishing.

Our favourite though, was the day we drove with Lucoco to the local village. The chief comes to welcome us, along with three tiny children who don’t let go of my hands the entire visit.  The chief guides us through a tour of the village before we sit inside his hut, watching him make kava and indulging in three (or was it four? my tongue got numb and my memory faded) cups of kava as we learn and talk about the local community and traditions.

Intercontinental Fiji Snorkelling Tour

Intercontinental Fiji Natural beach

While all the perks of a big resort are right on your doorstep, what I loved about the InterContinental Fiji was how easy it was to float away. The adult’s only pool reminds guests of quiet, advising that for a rowdier time, the nearby beach might be a better option. Navo Restaurant is all about the romance, and the Club InterContinental lounge? Not a yell or a scrum of noise in sight. Our room may as well have been on a deserted island, our private plunge pool providing welcome relief from the Fiji heat and a place of solitude.

Intercontinental Fiji Beach

Intercontineal Fiji Railway Sanasana

Intercontinental Fiji Frangipani TreeIntercontinental Fiji Totems

Natadola beach

Intercontinental Fiji Navo Lawn View

But equally, it’s easy enough to rejoin the world when you want to. A quick buggy ride down to the hotel and you can catch up for a drink. Walk along the beach or swim in the lagoon. We loved heading down at sunset for a quiet drink as the band played, or curling up in a beach side cabana as the water lapped mere steps away.

The staff here, make InterContinental truly what it is – luxurious touches can only go so far if there is not the service to accompany it. Greeted every day by name, we were guided to a seat in the lounge, Eroni and Josephine always greeting us with a smile, giving us cold drinks to take on our tours and remembering what we had told them earlier in the stay to truly customize our experience. We arrived after our flight to a freshly baked high tea, pre-ordered for our arrival, we’re asked about our day and welcomed every time we walked through the doors with open arms.

Intercontinental Fiji CLub Level Pool At Sunset

Our final night sums up our stay. High up on the Club Level deck overlooking the sea and the rest of the resort, we have cocktails in hand and bellies full of canapés curled up in our poolside eggs chairs as the sun sets.

The acoustic duo of Ulaiasi and Timoci, who we had come to love for their beautiful music move toward us, calling the Club Lounge staff as they go. Soon, we are surrounded with Fijian voices as they sing the traditional farewell song, a song that is later explained, speaks of sadness and disappointment of new family members going away, leaving the clan and leaving Fiji. With their open-hearted, genuine nature, it did not seem contrived, or a marketing ploy to get you to re-book and stay again. As each team member shook our hands, it felt like I truly was leaving not just staff members, but friends.

Intercontinental Fiji Sunset Drinks On Club Level

Polka Dot Bride was flown to Fiji and stayed at The InterContinental Fiji Resort & Spa as a guest of The InterContinental Fiji Resort & Spa for editorial consideration in accordance with our disclosure policy.

Images by Polka Dot Bride.

Kelsey and Dave’s Putah Creek Lodge Destination Wedding

by | Honeymoons, Inspired Destination Weddings, Inspired Weddings, Location USA,

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Polka Dot Bride
5
COMMENTS

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 Kelsey and Dave

It’s not often we feature a destination wedding in the USA , but today’s celebration, planned across country seemed like something a little different.  Kelsey and Dave’s Putah Creek Lodge Destination Wedding was complimented by sweet sunshine yellow, a beautiful venue with sentimental meaning and plenty of handmade touches by the newlyweds. All captured by Heather Elizabeth Photography.

Kelsey tells their story. “We met when I was a grad student and he was a post doc. We fell in love after Dave was finally able to meet my sometimes horribly high standards. :)”

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Kelsey chose a lace wedding gown by Mikaella Bridal.

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David wore a suit from 9tailors, noting, “David felt strongly about wearing a three-piece suit because of the formality of the occasion, but the color took us awhile to settle on. One night we were playing board games with our friends and they had invited another couple along, too.

Their friend is a talented artist whose artwork is showcased around the world; when he heard we were getting married, he contemplated for a bit and then said, “I picture you in a slate gray suit. Lean more toward the gray, but definitely on the blue, not green, side of gray. That would look really good with your coloring.” David, being an artist himself (though a musician), was instantly set on having a slate gray suit. We searched forever to find him one! Finally, he decided to get one custom made from a local Boston shop. We love to say that an artist helped decide our wedding colors!”

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Of her walk down the aisle, Kelsey remembers, “David makes ambient music, so I deferred to his expertise on most musical aspects. He said that whenever he pictured me walking down the aisle, it was always to Andrew Bayer’s “Closing Act.” It’s a gorgeous piece, slow and hopeful and just the right amount of bittersweet so as not to be saccharine. He edited the song so the timing was right for the entire bridal party to walk in to it and when the swell hits at the 3-minute mark that was my cue to begin walking. I still tear up when I’m listening and the swell comes in!”

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The couple chose Putah Creek Lodge, University of California for their wedding venue, noting, “Both my parents work at UCDavis, so I’ve grown up around the campus and have spent countless hours enjoying the Arboretum. When we got engaged and started talking about venues, I thought the Lodge would be great because I already knew I liked it and we didn’t have the luxury of visiting different places since we were planning from across the country. Plus, the Lodge’s ability to host both the ceremony and the reception appealed strongly to us. With guests from Canada, England, and a few other countries, we wanted to keep transport to a minimum and quality time with guests to the maximum (and limit the chances of anyone getting lost)!”

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Reverend Tan officiated the ceremony, “We wanted the ceremony to feel both personal and traditional, so we spent a long time writing the entire thing together using a traditional template as the starting point. It was important to us to emphasize our love and appreciation for our family and friends, and to acknowledge the distances they traveled to be there to support us.

We went back and forth about writing our own vows versus using traditional ones, and ultimately decided that traditional vows were traditional for a reason: they succinctly and sacredly address all the major promises that go into a lifetime of love.

We included three readings to mark the beginning, middle, and end of the ceremony: Sonnet 116 by Shakespeare to bring gravitas and regality to the ceremony (read by David’s father; his British accent worked wonderfully!), an excerpt from “The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams to convey childlike wonder and sweetly define love (read by David’s brother), and a shortened version of “Blessing For a Marriage” by James Dillet Freeman to end the ceremony with hope and positivity (read by my mother).”

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G Rossi styled the flowers, Kelsey telling, “I  loved our florist: when I met her, she instantly understood the look I was going for so I gave her full creative freedom to put together whatever flowers she thought looked best in white and yellow. She was also incredibly sweet and bubbly, and clearly passionate about creating gorgeous arrangements. When she showed up during set-up, the flowers were even more beautiful than I could have imagined! She did exactly what I was picturing in my head but wouldn’t have been able to put into words if I had had to ask her.”

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Kelsey notes, “David and I both agree that the people made our wedding. Our family and friends together in one place, laughing and getting to know each other, was the greatest gift and our fondest memory. Second, we spread out the celebrations: family dinner, rehearsal dinner, wedding, brunch and hanging out at my family’s house the day after, and relaxing with extended family and friends in the days before they left. It felt like a wedding week full of joy, and I’d recommend every couple try to have more than just one day with their guests if they can!”

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Of their photographer, Kelsey notes, “Heather is phenomenal. Her photos are stunning and full of emotion; she has an eye for capturing the perfect photo at the perfect moment. I spent a long time researching wedding photographers in the area that were within our budget and sent David a list of my top ten.

Heather was my number one choice, but she was also the most expensive. David ranked his choices and we compared: we had different rankings for everyone except for Heather, who was the top choice for both of us. Feeling like it was fate, we reached out to her, praying she was available that day and willing to alter her packages to work with our budget. When she was, we booked her immediately – we live across the country, so we couldn’t meet her in person. But her photos speak for themselves and her emails were so pleasant that we felt confident signing from afar. Hiring Heather as our photographer was one of the best decisions we made regarding our wedding… aside from getting married, of course!”

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“Planning a wedding from across the country meant we were restricted to small DIY touches, the size we could carry across the country or get done in the week before the wedding once we were in California. Things like the table numbers, various signs (guest book info, escort card info, etc.), and music paper heart punches for the tables.

My bridesmaids helped, too: one of my maids of honor made the ring bearer pillows, and another bridesmaid made both 30-foot fabric bunting banners. I made my veil over the course of a 6-hour binge-TV-watching session, and a bridesmaid, my mom, and I cut out fabric circles and ribbon to tie around the jam jar favors.

My favorite DIY project, though, was the escort cards. It required the efforts of both sets of parents, various relatives, scouring Facebook pages, and many hours spent deliberating between great photos for great people. Even though it was the most time-consuming DIY, it was also the most personal and most noticeable to guests – and thus absolutely worth all the work! Everyone enjoyed the trip down memory lane, and we now have a fantastic album of photos reminding us of each one of our honored guests. ”

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“Our wedding was special to us because we interspersed tons of personal details: we had people sign records from our favorite music groups, we sprinkled the tables with paper hearts cut out from sheet music of the concert we first attended together, we had a fire pit with s’mores because David proposed to me on the camping trip where I first introduced him to s’mores, I tied a locket to my bouquet containing an inside-joke from our first months of dating, my best friend and maid of honor sewed the ring bearer pillows for us, and so much more. Everything felt so personal and full of love!”

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Of their first dance, Kelsey remembers, “I love blues dancing, so David took blues lessons with me and we practiced in my living room until he felt comfortable leading on his own. Our first dance was free form but influenced by the blues skills David picked up in the lessons. We danced to a cover of “Such Great Heights” by Iron & Wine (originally by The Postal Service).

Before David asked me on a date, we exchanged music every day for a few weeks and he sent me this cover during that period. Months later when I was in Australia for a research trip and missing David like crazy, I sent him this song back because it reminded me of him and our love. We have too many songs to have just one that’s “our song,” but we both agreed this was a lovely, sentimental choice.”

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Spleeny Films were there to capture the day in motion.

Congratulations Kelsey and Dave! Thank you for sharing your story with us! Thank you also to Heather Elizabeth Photography  for sharing today’s wedding!

Photographer: Heather Elizabeth Photography / Cinematographer: Spleeny Films / Bride’s Dress: Mikaella Bridal 1802 / Bride’s Shoes: Seychelles / Bride’s Jewelry: Etsy ShesAccessories / : Etsy poetryjewelry / Groom’s Attire: 9tailors / Bridesmaid Accessories: Kate Spade / Hairstylist: Pomegranate Salon (for bride; done by Noel) / Makeup Artist: Makeup by Chantelle Hartshorne / Flowers: G Rossi / Invitations & Stationery: Bride / Stationery Supplies: Vistaprint / Stationery Supplies: LCI Paper / Venue: Putah Creek Lodge, University of California / Ceremony Officiant: Reverend Tan / Catering: Buckhorn Catering / Cake Baker: Whole Foods / Wedding Rings: Kays Jewellers / Wedding Registry: Debenhams / Wedding Registry: Amazon

A Summer Sojourn In French Polynesia

by | Destinations, Honeymoons, Location South Pacific, Reviews

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anika Reynolds
0
COMMENTS

Moorea Harbour

Palm fringed and pristine, Moorea is the definition of island paradise. A short ferry ride from Papeete, Tahiti, this lush heart-shaped isle is part of French Polynesia’s Society Islands archipelago and is perfect for sun-loving honeymooners.

You could easily spend your whole honeymoon enjoying magical Moorea, or do a spot of island hopping and continue your tropical vacation at its equally idyllic sister island, Bora Bora.

No matter what you decide, you’re bound to fall in love with French Polynesia and its dreamy landscapes, delightful locals, stunning beaches and delicious cuisine; an exotic fusion of French influences and island flavours.

PLAY

Quad Squad: Blessed with breathtaking vistas, waterfalls, luxuriant terrain and rugged mountains, Moorea is a sensory place to explore for intrepid travellers.

Upon arrival, join a quad bike tour with ATV Moorea Tours and set off to discover Moorea! You and your love will zip along the island ring road and pass cute fruit stalls, pastel homes and gardens bursting with frangipani and hibiscus blossoms. There are plenty of stops along the way too; you’ll check out a pineapple plantation, see fruit orchards, say hello to resident wildlife and embrace those epic views from top vantage points.

ATV tour

Flowers

Down Below: Enveloped by a blue lagoon and reef, Moorea’s calm waters are ideal for scuba diving. TopDive Moorea operates out of the InterContinental Resort and Spa Moorea and takes trips to a variety of dive sites depending on your experience. During your dive expect to see coral, inquisitive tropical fish and perhaps even a reef shark or ray!

Scuba Diving

EAT

With fresh produce like pineapples and coconuts growing all over the island, Moorea is all about summer flavours and island-inspired cuisine infused with French sophistication.

Moorea Beach Cafe is a lovely lunch option and a great place to dine come sunset. Set metres from the water, this breezy bistro was created by French chef Bruno Jamais and offers classic French fare, along with woodfired pizzas, dreamy desserts and a great wine list.

MBC1Image via Go Tahiti

Rudy’s Restaurant is another must-visit during your magical Moorea getaway. Known for its steak and seafood, this Moorea mainstay is a charming and authentic choice for hungry honeymooners. Top picks include the entrée of baked mussels, the melt-in-the-mouth parrot fish and the Chocolate Moelleux. Bon appetite!

STAY

You’ll feel like a sun-kissed castaway staying at one of Moorea’s many magnificent accommodation options, which are perfect for honeymooners.

Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa is a standout, with sparkling swimming pool, beautifully appointed garden bungalows with private plunge pools, divine dining options and luxurious overwater bungalows. If you’re after pure relaxation, this is a heavenly choice. Book a couples massage, relax by the pool, stroll through the tropical gardens, or take a nap in the hammocks.

Hilton pool

Sun lounge

Active couples will also love this resort; you can paddle board or kayak on the calm waters, play a round of tennis, or snorkel on shallow coral reefs teeming with curious fish. Food lovers will enjoy the special Polynesian feast (a buffet of traditional dishes plus dancing and fire twirling) and the incredible overwater crêperie!

Hilton overwater bungalows

All images (except Moorea Beach Cafe) by Anika Reynolds

InterContinental Resort & Spa Moorea is another spectacular choice for your Polynesian island experience. Comprising 27 acres of gorgeous gardens, the resort has a variety of exquisitely appointed rooms and bungalows, two pools and several upscale eateries.

Sip cocktails at the swim-up bar, relax in a pool cabana or just cuddle up with your love in fluffy bathrobes and order room service – sigh – honeymoon bliss.

 

Swirl divider

Ms Chinoiserie Says: Beautiful French Polynesia is on my list; perfect for honeymoon bliss!

About Anika: I’m a freelance writer with a love of weddings and creatively styled events. I have a penchant for pretty stationery and perfectly put together cheese plates, and a never-ending sense of wanderlust!

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