Coming Home to Turtle Island Fiji
By Angela Fairhurst
When your seaplane gently touches down at Turtle Island, you are welcomed “home” by the open and friendly Fijian culture, an island serenade, and a tall, cool drink made from the local rum.
There are 14 Bures on the resort. Bure is the Fijian word for a wood-and-straw hut, somewhat similar to a cabin. The path to the Bure is paved, and much of the property is decorated with octagonal cement blocks that have people’s names etched in them, memorializing guests’ stays. Hanging at your door is a welcome plaque with your names and the date of your stay carved into it; a souvenir to take with you. On the patio of each Bure is a shower with a tiled foot bath so that one can rinse any sand off the feet before entering home. There is a cozy double bed on the porch for a welcome nap or a breakfast-in-bed experience. To insure complete privacy there is a Lako Tani, a coconut head on a stand. When placed in the pathway leading to the Bure, it means DO NOT DISTURB. Inside, the rooms are understated. The authentic Fijian thatched roofs and natural Fijian woods give it a homey feel.
The best feature is the two-person shower with two shower heads side-by-side in a big space for dual showering. Out on the beach in front of each Bure is a hammock, a pair of lounge chairs and a table and chairs for quiet time as a couple.
Every one of the Bure’s has it’s own Mama (attendant) to take care of your every need: keeping the room clean; doing your laundry; and photographing your stay for a special album. The Mama’s arrange most of your activities while on the island. Each couple receives a walkie-talkie to have easy access to your attendant, especially when in a remote setting. There is 3:1 service with 64 employees serving a maximum adult guest load of 28 people.
Turtle Island is a leader in Eco sustainability. With the use of solar panels, they generate 100% of the necessary electricity and they collect all their own non-potable water on the island. It’s one of the reasons why you don’t mind the low water pressure in your shower.
Nothing is better or fresher than the food served at Turtle which comes from their own gardens or is fished from the surrounding sea. The selection of wines from neighboring Australia and New Zealand are also a welcome pleasure.
The communal experience is unique to other resorts. Meals are served at one large table. The idea is not as off-putting as private people would expect. Because Turtle Island is home to its employees who stay here and return home only for breaks, it’s the Fijian way of life for people to share a meal and this experience extends to the guest table. When you get right down to it, it’s the people who make the place what it is…not the place that makes the people.
Turtle Island was made for relaxation from the moment one’s feet touch the white sand. Bula bula.