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The 33-room, family-owned Volivoli Beach Resort is nestled on the northernmost tip of Viti Levu island in Fiji, a nearly three-hour drive from Nadi International Airport.
Despite the long ride, the coastal drive is scenic — and the destination is worth the wait. What began as a dormitory for scuba divers is now an award-winning boutique hotel. But it hasn’t forgotten its adventurous roots, according to managing director Nick Darling.
How did Volivoli transition from a dive dormitory to a four-star boutique hotel?Three years ago, we had already decided we wanted to get out of backpacking and go into more mainstream tourism, but we hadn’t yet made a clear line in the sand. Then, Hurricane Winston came and wiped us out. For nine months, we were closed.
Every building's roof was gone, and everything was torn to shreds. When we rebuilt, we decided to upgrade and really target the four-star market. It gave us an opportunity to redefine ourselves. We still cater primarily to divers, but we do have a lot of other things on offer.
What are some of the resort's experiential offerings?We’ve known Soni, our on-site tour coordinator, for 30 years; he even worked as our bartender for 10 years. Then, he started his own tour company, and we told him he could operate his tours out of our resort. He found some of the tours and activities we offer. One such activity is a hike to Savulelele Waterfall and lunch at the local village of Nabalasere, one of the most pristine villages in Fiji. The hike into the waterfall is nice, too, and clients can choose to swim in the pools under the waterfall.
You offer many water activities. What are some of guests' favorites?Guests love snorkeling, the dolphin encounter and the sunset cruises. We do a lot of work with sportsfishing charters, too. We also specialize in "GT Popping," a different type of cast-style fishing that’s huge in Asia. To be able to do it well, you really need to know the reef, its structure and what the currents are doing.
What's unique about Fiji’s dive and snorkel reefs?There are four regions in Fiji for dedicated divers. The reefs haven’t had any bleaching, and the color and vibrancy of the coral is mind-blowing. Explorer Jacques Cousteau dubbed Fiji as “the soft coral capital of the world.”
Certain types of butterflyfish that are endemic to Fiji live here, but people don’t just come to see those. They want to observe the abundance of fish and the health of the reefs and marine life. On our side of the reef, we don’t really have pollution. Guests who have been coming here for 10 years are amazed that the coral is getting better.
The DetailsVolivoli Beach Resortwww.volivoli.com