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I was met knee-deep in shimmering water and welcomed to Fiji with a strand of oversized beads. I also received a lei of sweet smelling flowers and a chorus of island song performed by Tokoriki resort staff.
It was the first time the images in my mind lived up to the reality of a tropical oasis.
I took a moment to admire the gentle waves that lapped the shore. Within moments, my bags were pulled from the boat and taken to my room as I sipped a fruity drink and palms waved in the breeze. This was my postcard vacation. And I had not even checked in yet.
Tokoriki Island Resort is an escape. Located on the northernmost island in the Mamanucas, it is a little more than an hour from Denerau by speedboat and about 15 minutes by seaplane or helicopter.
As I walked the Tokoriki grounds, “bula” (the Fijian hello or welcome) met me at every turn. Within the first hour, every staff member knew my name. I scouted out Tokoriki’s greenhouse of orchids, two restaurants offering both local and Japanese cuisine, kayaks, a Scuba center and even a stone church for Sunday services. Tokoriki’s grounds were well manicured but hopelessly Fijian, with lush island flora everywhere — reminding me that I was in fact very far from home.
Tokoriki is an adults-only resort — making it ideal for honeymooners — with 34 freestanding bures (think wooden villas with thatched roofs) which feature tasteful interiors made up of Fijian and contemporary design, mere steps from the Pacific Ocean. All rooms feature air conditioning, king-size beds, indoor and outdoor showers and a private deck. Savvy agents will remind business-minded travelers that televisions, Internet access and phones are not available in-room.
The resort also hosts a variety of excursions, including boating, fishing, diving, island hopping and a traditional kava ceremony. I opted for a ridiculously good massage at Tokoriki’s excellent spa. I also enjoyed snorkeling above a spectacular reef about half a mile from Tokoriki’s coast, which offered clear views of impressive aquatic life.
Pricing at Tokoriki starts at around $600 with a variety of meal options and wedding packages for the romantically inclined. Agents should note that working with Tokoriki requires an IATA number.
With the official return to Fiji Airways (formerly Air Pacific), travelers out of LAX can expect more daily nonstop flights to Nadi (pronounced Nandi), a brand-new A330 and new opportunities for agents working on the South Pacific.