The Fiji Orchid!
You can see my overall review of Fiji here. I desire to move there, because the people are the kindest I’ve ever met, and for perhaps the first time in my life, I felt like I was where I was meant to be.
While trying to find the location, we took several wrong turns, and ended up at the beach after traveling down a sketchy dirt road. The beach itself is not appealing, with muddy water, and isn’t a place to relax. It seemed to be used mostly for local fishing. There was a very nice ramshackle house along the way, which seemed to belong to some sort of expatriate—I could live that lifestyle, let me tell ya! While looking for the location, I was reminded of my times in central Florida, so even being a bit lost, I felt at home. Lord, I love this island! Thank you for it! And as it turns out, we found Saweni Beach, and had we made a left, a left, and a right, we’d have been at the Orchid….but instead we backtracked to the main highway and tried again.
We only stayed at the Orchid one night, since we were on to the airport shortly the next day for a night departure, which seems a popular thing to do based on the reviews that I’ve seen. The grounds were somewhat difficult for us to find, and I suppose we were early, because the gate was closed and they were surprised that we were there.
- Is this the Orchid? Nope! 2. Looking for it still. 3. Well we found Saweni Beach. About as pretty as Biloxi.
My girlfriend (God bless her, because she’s an amazing woman) hadn’t eaten breakfast, and she would get very angry when she didn’t get good (weird, I know). She was mumbling to me about it during check-in, and in fact for the ENTIRE drive from Rakiraki/Volivoli/Wananavu on over. Somehow, these spectacular Fijians overheard her talking to me and had the chef come and make her a HUGE sandwich plate. For free.
Above: welcome drinks and welcome sandwiches.
And what a sandwich it was, yummy! They got our rooms ready in the meantime, and gave us the best welcome drink I’ve ever had—in fact, I requested the recipe, because it was to die for. The real point here isn’t the non-alcoholic drink, but that they were just as friendly and happy as could be—I felt like family, except actually loved! They were infectious.
They also asked us when we’d like to schedule our dinner, if we were going to eat on-site—if not, that was fine, but when would we be eating? As it turns out, they offer a turn-down service while you’re eating…just another personal touch that makes this place so special to me, and ensures that I’ll be back. (Plus some of the jokes that the staff made were enough to literally make a person laugh out loud, which I guess would be LLOL instead of LOL.)
The bungalows (called bures locally) are each free-standing buildings that are in their own little areas of rainforest, so that you feel as if you’re by yourself in a glass-walled tent. The beds are part of an open-sitting area with curtains all the way around the interior which can be drawn if desired; an additional curtain can completely surround the bed for extra privacy. We were given a wifi code for our bungalow; each one seems to operate on its own router, and the wifi was zippy.
The bathroom was amazing, with a private, wood-walled area, but also views into the surrounding rainforest. I felt like I was showering in the outdoors, though privacy is 100% guaranteed at all times—unless an island cat tromps out of the underbrush, though I didn’t experience that!
Being Raymond Burr’s old property, the garden on-site is great, and the paths to the bungalows are likewise so beautiful. I’d never been anywhere like this. It was so pleasant to stroll through dense forest and come upon your own little hideaway in the trees.
The bungalow buildings themselves are very modular, as I mentioned above, so you can see outside as little or as much as you want, and when it rains, the sound just puts you right to sleep. Plus the bedding was great, as well as the shower, and water pressure was fantastic. The toiletries were imports from New Zealand and were “all natural,” but smelled like ginger and honey. I wasn’t married, but I can see this being a very romantic retreat had I been.
Now on to other carnal concerns: we ate on site, and the dining area was very pretty, the cooking fast and tasty, and the staff outgoing. Again, I felt like I was surrounded by family, and man were they happy family. The staff were very funny and even said that they liked that we prayed before eating. How incredible is that? Call the ACLU and shut these people down!
My favorite line, however, was one of the kitchen workers who told us to have “sweet nightmares!”
Turndown service, delicious food, controllable lights, and of course the wonderful IGA!
That said, this is not a place to go for activities on-site. I would gladly use it for going to and from the airport, though, or if I had activities booked in Nadi, as the drive there is incredibly short. For example, we booked through Cruisin’ Fiji to go out to the islands, and were staying east of Sigatoka. If I could redo it, I would have stayed at the Fiji Orchid and booked the cruise. Live and learn.
However, if you want to go snorkeling, swimming, or anything other than visiting the nearby Garden of the Sleeping Giant, don’t stay here, as it’s not designed for that. Quick note: we did visit the garden, but since it was Burrian, it was a duplicate of the Fiji Orchid, but with ATVs, which we didn’t need. The Fiji Orchid’s on-site garden is gorgeous and plenty enough!
Conclusion and Rating
- (4.5 stars)
- My scientific rating system. It doesn’t exactly apply to resorts, but you can get the gist. I’d LOVE to go back to the Fiji Orchid, but it’s not always the very best thing to do on Fiji, as it’s designed for a specific clientele.
- Beauty. The grounds proper are spectacular. While the Dreamview Villas gave me an overview of the amazing South Pacific ocean from a mountain, and de Vos the Private Residence gave me unparalleled, private access to the Coral Coast, the Fiji Orchid felt like my private, secret garden. Had I been married, this would have been an experience for a lifetime. It’s truly unique, private, and caring.
- Lodging. I’m not well traveled, but this type of boutique lodging is right up my alley. It rained at night, and my girlfriend and I slept so peacefully on the wonderful beds. The all-glass bathing area is surrounded by the rainforest, so you can shower in the privacy of the wilderness. (Or be more romantic while still feeling like you’re in a jungle.)
- Crowds. It was very quiet.
- Location. This is quite close to the airport, though I recommend booking it with the travel lounge, which is detailed elsewhere. Don’t book this if you want to have adventures on site. It’s really customized more for transit customers.
With love, always,