Fave Five Fiji Spas

Online Editor Monica Poling serves up her favorite spas in the Fijian Islands By: By Monica Poling
Outdoor massage bure // (c) 2010 Jean Michel Costeau Fiji Islands Resort
Outdoor massage bure // (c) 2010 Jean Michel Costeau Fiji Islands Resort

In Pictures

Paradise Taveuni offers 10 
private bungalows. // © 2010 Paradise Taveuni
Paradise Taveuni offers 10 private bungalows. // © 2010 Paradise Taveuni

Mandara Spa at the Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa // (c) 2009
Mandara Spa at the Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa // (c) 2009

Chi Spa at Shangri-La's Fijian Resort & Spa // (c) Shangri-La
Chi Spa at Shangri-La's Fijian Resort & Spa // (c) Shangri-La

Bebe Spa, Outrigger on the Lagoon // (c) Outrigger
Bebe Spa, Outrigger on the Lagoon // (c) Outrigger

Fijian massage traditions date back some 3,000 years and spa treatments are increasingly popular with Fiji’s international travelers. It is rare to find a resort that does not include some type of spa service, and the geniality of the Fijian people mean that no matter where your clients stay, they will find an excellent spa experience.

Paradise Taveuni
In-Room Massage
Consisting of just 10 bures (bungalows), Paradise Taveuni holds space at a premium. Although they do have a bure normally designated as the spa, when the resort is at capacity, guests can enjoy in-room treatments. The resort was completely full during my stay, so I was lucky enough to enjoy this luxury.

My treatment started with a pedicure and foot scrub, performed on the front porch of my bure. I watched the ocean in the distance, while Shelley, my therapist for the day, caught me up on resort gossip and made sure my leather feet were as soft as they have ever been.

After, we went inside my bure, where she had set up a portable massage table in the living area, and decorated the room with candles, flower petals and soft music. Gentle South Pacific breezes floated in through my windows, while Shelley performed deep tissue miracles. Once the massage was done, I only had to stumble a few steps to my bedroom before enjoying my post-massage nap.

Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa
Mandara Spa
During a recent stay in Fiji, particularly inclement weather meant that I had to unexpectedly extend my stay on Denarau Island, Fiji’s largest integrated resort island. With the usual outdoor activities generally off limits, guests were clamoring for the restaurants, bars and the spa. Despite the sudden surge in spa bookings, the spa staff at the Mandara Spa worked diligently to accommodate all the last-minute requests, including mine.

Because Denarau Island serves Fiji’s international airport at Nadi, all the resorts here are larger and busier than some of the quieter getaways on the more remote Fijian Islands, including the Sofitel, so I was somewhat surprised to find that rather than being located in a remote part of the resort, Mandara is situated in the resort’s geographic center. A private entrance and clever landscaping ensures total privacy, even when the hotel is at capacity with an anxious crowd seeking ways to pass the time.

Although gorgeous ocean vistas weren’t on the menu the day I visited, the oceanfront views provide a perfect spa setting, especially since all spa guests are treated to a relaxing foot scrub before being sent off to enjoy their treatments.

The spa includes a line-up of 60 exotic treatments, all featuring Elemis-brand products.

Shangri La Fijian
Chi Spa
It is well known that Fiji is one of the best destinations in the world for families traveling with kids. Nearly every resort offers kids club program with incredibly unique activities, while many even provide nanny service for just dollars a day. In a country where children are welcomed with open arms, the Fijian Resort & Spa is especially recognized as a place for kids to go.

Before my first visit to the Shangri-La, several Fijians had made comments to the extent of, “The Shangri-La? I hope you like kids.” Being a solo traveler, I was somewhat nervous that this might not be the ideal place for me. The resort, however, has been designed to ensure guests without children are not inconvenienced by the energy that can often accompany younger travelers. One quiet haven is the resort’s Chi Spa.

In fact, for a resort known for its children, the Chi Spa provides almost a getaway within a getaway. Adult guests can actually book accommodations in the spa, or just come over for individual treatments. Reportedly featuring some of the largest and most luxurious private spa bures in all of Fiji, the Chi spa has a variety of individual and half-day packages that will keep the most hardcore spa addict, or even the stressed-out parent, very happy.

Outrigger on the Lagoon, Fiji
Bebe Spa
Outrigger’s Bebe (pronounced Behm Beh) Spa, which opened in 2007, sits high atop a hill that locals call “Heavenly Hill.” in Fijian, Bebe translates to butterfly, cocoon or sanctuary, and the resort works diligently to ensure guests feel nurtured. In fact, the spa’s architecture makes guests almost feel like they are floating high above the adjacent Outrigger resort.

The spa features seven treatment rooms with private open-air balconies, all of which capture gorgeous ocean views. All of the balconies feature “showers in the sky” and four balconies have hydrotherapy tubs.

The spa only uses the Pure Fiji product line, so guests know they will enjoy top quality treatments with all natural products that support the local communities. Pure Fiji’s mission is that of sustainability, and the company hires 500 local villagers to hand-produce its oils and packaging.

The spa also features the Kalokalo Bar, so guests can enjoy a pre- or post-treatment snack or cocktail, and the Bure Ni Loloma, Outrigger’s wedding chapel.

Jean Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort
Bobo Massage, Beach Bure
I always think the idea of having a massage alfresco, on the beach, sounds so heavenly. What could be better than ocean breezes and the sound of the beach rolling around me, while a therapist works out the kinks? Inevitably, however, I’m disappointed, especially because when I’m lying face down, I get stressed just from imaging lingering hotel guests trying to sneak a peek at my treatment in action.

The Jean Michel Cousteau Resort, however, provides the perfect solution. Their massage bures, located on the beach, but away from the main public areas, are built with three walls, ensuring that the spa guests can simultaneous enjoy oceanfront views and privacy. The bures even offer petite bathrooms, with showers, so guests can clean up before heading on to the day’s next activity.

In the beach bure, I enjoyed a traditional Fijian Bobo massage, designed to stimulate circulation. Throughout the deep pressure massage I become very familiar with my therapists’ elbows, which provided my muscles a good work out. For spa elitists, who may worry about where their therapists are trained, fear not. All the therapists at the Costeau Resort receive training from therapists at the resort’s sister property, the Post Ranch Inn and Resort in Big Sur.

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