The staff came to meet us at the helipad, and a chorus of “Bula!” greeted us as we settled on the ground and the rotor blades slowed on our chopper. It was a grand, ‘show-offy’ entrance after our 10 minute flight over stunning reefs, islands and all shades of blue. But it was worth it! Transfers from the mainland to Tropica Resort, on Malolo Island in Fiji’s Mamanuca group, can be via ferry, private boat, sea plane, or helicopter. We opted for the view (in other words, my partner wanted to check the surf).
There was singing and guitar and smiles and laughter. Hands thrust into ours and a warm “Bula Jacqui”, “Welcome to Tropica”; “Welcome to the family” “I’m…..”. Every one of the staff introduces themselves to the guests and remembers your name. From the maintenance man to the staff at the spa, the bar tender to the tender driver. You have become part of the Tropica family – and the hardest part about your stay will be remembering everyone’s names in return.
We padded along the white sand path (shoes are optional), more introductions, more smiles, more welcomes and we eventually arrive at our bure. Beach front and set into lush tropical gardens, with the requisite hammock out the front, tied between two coconut palms, our own infinity plunge pool with deck chairs and sweeping sunset views from the porch swing. Inside the bure it’s clean and white with tropical accents. The bathroom offers both indoor, and private outdoor shower options.
I was relaxed already.
And you can’t just leave it at that! The most you need to do, is wander up to the restaurant three times a day and enjoy the modern-Fijian fusion cuisine, featuring locally sourced ingredients and created by the chef. Dining at Tropica is the best I have experienced in Fiji – the menu is fresh, exciting, varied and above all, delicious. There is a half-board and full-board meal option meaning you can pay in advance and not give another thought to having all three courses for every dinner.
You can, of course, choose to do more than just relax and dine. The 25 metre infinity pool in front of the restaurant is a start, and at least one poolside cocktail is a must, isn’t it? From your poolside deck chair you may even choose to book in a massage or spa treatment.
But the Mamanuca Islands offer so much more! Our snorkel trip to the sand bar had me squealing with delight – I had never swum with so many fish, so many colours, shapes and sizes! I could have spent all day there with them but the promise of lunch at the resort got me back in the boat. I will know next time to take the ‘Sandbank Picnic’ option.
The following day I snorkelled the dramatic Garden Reef in the morning, marvelling at the coral contrasting against the deep blue of the drop-off, and spent the afternoon exploring above water on a stand up paddleboard. There are also hobie cats and kayaks available for use. Plus, boats to take you fishing, or across to the famous surf breaks of Fiji, such as Cloudbreak and other Restaurants. Each day includes optional extra activities such as cooking demonstrations, Fijian language lessons, walks, basket and hat weaving and so on. You really can do as little or as much as you please.
As an adults-only resort, there is a quiet about Tropica. The gentle strum of a guitar wafts along with the breeze, and the waves gently lap at the sand tinkling small pieces of coral together before the soft whoosh back again. It’s idyllic and serene.
This quiet is broken briefly at 6pm, as the conch signals the start of happy hour, and staff, dressed in traditional grass skirts, run along the shore and light the torches calling “Happy Hour!”. If you choose to, you can break away from your quiet and head to the sunset bar for cocktails with a view. While you may choose a romantic and secluded table to enjoy the evening, friendships are formed here – the resort caters to a maximum of 30 so that a family feel translates to the guests as well.
After dinner, either in the restaurant – or for a truly special experience a private table on the jetty or the beach – you can wander back to your bure to find at turn-down, by your bed, a message has been left in a bottle. Each night the message tells a different Fijian story of love. And with that story, the scent of tropical flowers, and the gentle lapping of waves along the shore, you are rocked to sleep.
Ms Zebra Says: I absolutely LOVE Fiji – however I’ve never heard of this beautiful island?! Thanks Jacqui for not only bringing it our (my) attention, but also for the fabulous insights to your dreamy holiday!
About Jacqui Turner: Photographer behind Running Under the Sprinkler, Jacqui is a photographer and storyteller. She takes any excuse to be travelling and barefoot and thinks it’s even better if it’s with her three kids!
I couldn’t make up my mind on whether I wanted to go to the Maldives, Paris or Dubai for our honeymoon. So my husband made the decision to spend our honeymoon in all three locations!
First up we stayed in the Maldives in an over water bungalow for 4 nights and 5 days at Grand Park Kodhipparu, Maldives. It was absolutely breathtaking! Pictures do not do the island justice and everyone needs to see it for themselves! Everything about the experience was exceptional.
We booked our stay through OVO Holidays and they were very helpful in providing options that suited our budget. We stayed at Grand Park Kodhipparu in an over water bungalow for the entire stay of 4 nights and 5 days. I would recommend booking an all inclusive stay as spending money on the island can become pricey as they trade in USD dollars.
Maldives is the perfect destination for couples! It was the perfect getaway for after the wedding. We were able to relax and sip on cocktails all day long whilst overlooking the Indian Ocean. We cannot wait to go back again to mark an anniversary!
Our second destination was PARIS! I’ve forever wanted to visit Paris and it met all of my expectations! My husband and I were in awe the entire time! It feels as though you are in a real life painting when walking the streets! My husband studied The French Revolution when he was in University, so we were both in our element.
Contrary to what some people might say, Parisian people were very polite and very helpful! If you love cheese, french pastries, wine, and art you need to visit Paris on your honeymoon. There are endless things to do and it is the most romantic destination.
We stayed in the 11th Arrondissement of Paris and we were able to walk and easily take public transport. A cab driver told us we were staying in the perfect location as it was amongst university students which meant the streets were lively with cute bars and good cheap food.
If you’re in Paris, try to make sure you visit all the attractions and especially Versailles! I cannot even describe the Palace of Versailles – but you must see it for yourself. Side note, we have booked to go back next year! Its true what they say…Paris is always a good idea.
We were so glad we ended our trip with a stay in Dubai. We stayed in the breathtaking Atlantis, The Palm and it was worth every single penny! I would without a doubt stay there again.
There is just so much to do at the resort alone, that you don’t want to leave to see other areas of Dubai! The resort boasts endless options of restaurants, aquariums, bars, shopping and even a Starbucks! If you’re looking to chill by day, party by night then you must stay in Dubai. One of the best experiences of our life was partying at the Atlantis the Palm, until the early hours of the morning on the beach and being able to walk back to our room!
All images via Mia
Dubai has so much to offer from amazing food, endless shopping, desert safari, sand boarding, beaches, pools… and so, so much more. Dubai was a great end to our honeymoon and again, we cannot wait to go back!
Which was my favourite honeymoon destination you ask? I loved them all and recommend all of these destinations for a memorable experience.
Eating in amongst the toppling greenery has got to be the most relaxing, tranquil idea I have heard of in a long time – and I knew once I saw this photo, that it was a definite contender to dive into! Meet the magical hotel, Hotel irma.
Hotel Irma is in the middle of Merano, in Italy’s Alpine South Tyrol region.
About the accommodation:
With grand old homestead vibes, this family-run hotel is a little oasis of pampering. Think of a swim in the pool by the open fire, a sunbath on the sun bathing lawn, rooftop drinks on the terrace, a moonlight bath, & a walk around Swan Lake…it’s a pure slice of delicious heaven.
The hotel also includes 86 all-inclusive treats. Sorbet by the pool in Summer, a cheese buffet with 45 kinds of cheese, incredible day spa facilities (including a brine pool) fresh apple strudel for afternoon tea. Plus, Prosecco on arrival & five-course gourmet dinners! The words you’re now looking for are, how soon can we book?
Not to mention, on top of the treats, there are 70 guest rooms spread over the main house and additional buildings throughout the 17,000-acre park.
About that photo:
The hotel’s amazing Mirror Room is so incredibly beautiful it tricks your eyes into believing it goes on forever. The room is set for the feast, allowing guests to experience it over a little bit of lunch or dinner, or for any of the other treats & meals.
The “Tree House” suite, is located above the trees and is exactly what childhood dreams are made of. The beautiful suite comes complete with treetop bathtub and lush bed for a night amongst the trees. So all we can ask is – how soon can we book?!