We were looking for a place to stay that wasn't expensive or overun by other tourists, something low-key, simple, quiet, beautiful, back to nature and above all somewhere that you could relax and unwind and forget the crazy world we live in. Todranisiga was all of that and more! The photos we saw on the www.homeaway.com website sold us instantly. We weren't interested in a large resort but something small, with a private, and personal touch. Our first contact via email with May Goulding, the owner, was so pleasant and friendly, we could feel the Fijian charm & warmth already!
Arriving at the beautiful island of Taveuni, we were met & driven to "Todra", only a few mintues from the airport. May & her staff were there to greet us and show us to our gorgeous Bure. Which was simple but very stylish, in traditional Fijian thatch. Frangipani & hibiscus flowers covering the bed, large vase of flowers in the main bedroom, a view from the bed to absolutely die for, overlooking the gorgeous and everchanging Somosomo Strait.
The deck in front of the house was the place we spent most of our time, with beautiful touches such as the poles plaited with coconut palm fronds, and coconut plam front baskets hanging from the roof, swaying in the warm breeze. A huge bowl of fruit, which was daily refilled sat on the table of the deck, with delicious tropical delights from May's garden, bananas, pineapples, passionfruit, pawpaw & coconuts to name a few.
May's house sits a the top of a 5 acre porperty surrounded with a myriad of plants - gingers, coconut palms, frangipani & banana trees. A grassy hill drops away to 2 Bures, nestled amongst lush vegetation, sitting a the top of a cliff of more overgrown jungle. The vista beyond this is blue blue ocean. Directly opposite are the mountains of Vanua Levu, sitting on the other side of the Somosomo Strait.
Our Bure had one large bedroom, with daybed, another large room next to the bedroom with wardrobe and bathroom/kitchen and seperate toilet. A huge outdoor shower outside this with an amazing view (totally private) also overlooking the Somosomo Strait - stunning way to shower at the end of the day. Don't forget to watch out for the dolphins which swim past the bay in the mornings!
There is a private beach at the bottom of the cliff, accessed by the steps of the neighbouring property. Make sure you take goggles and a snorkel - to make the most of the amazing sealife & corals right on your doorstep!
Afternoons were spent back at the Bure, I still can't get over the view. Took several books along to read, but the view kept distracting me.. maybe read half a book in the whole 6 days we were there. This is one place that you can take off your watch, and live in the moment. No TV, no radio, just you and nature. This is as close to what i imagine Paradise to have been!
May's breakfasts were the highlight of the morning, every day something different and delicious and beautifully presented. The scrambled eggs were a taste senstation. May also provided us with a few evening meals - all part of the accommodation price, ridiculously cheap at that!
The room was tidied daily by Mays gorgeous staff, fresh flowers on the bed and new fruit in the bowl. If we needed to go anywhere, May would organize pick-up, dinners booked at local restaurants, tour guides etc...
Great Bar up the road called Tromonto, where you can hang out with the locals and other tourists. Tromonto overlooks a nearby beach, perched on top of a hill, with awesome 180 degree views out over the ocean. Great place to have a drink & something to eat, and admire the view. Make sure you take a torch with you for the walk home at night, only about 10 minutes from Todra. And make sure you look skywards, to see the beautiful fireflys flashing in the canopy of the trees - magical!
There's lots to do around Tavenui, but make sure you take a trip down West Coast to Garden Island Resort - and take a boat out to Korolevu Island - some of the most amazing snorkelling I have ever done - Somsomo Strait has some of the most fertile waters on the planet - the varities of fish, corals, and sealife was incredible - take a picnic and make a day of it, you won't be sorry!
Get a massage from Jemima, who will come to your Bure and give you the most relaxing massage you will ever have, right on the deck. I chose the "Vudi Pamper Wrap Pack", where you will be massaged with fresh grated coconut milk, followed by wrap with vudi (banana) leaves. She also does energy work, if you are into that. Highly recommended!
The last evening we were there we had a cyclone warning, not uncommon for the time of year we were there. We packed up our Bure and spent the night at May's place with her and her staff, Leki the dog and Heshe the cat. The cyclone was meant to come straight in on the property, and our Bure being at the bottom of the property wasn't the safest place to stay. We had a great afternoon and night with May, talking and having a few drinks to while away the time. Cathy (one of the staff) cooked a delicious curry for dinner which we all ate, sitting on the floor Fijian style. Had to say it was hard to sleep that night with the high winds and the anticiptation that it could turn worse. Buy luckily the storm turned at the last minute, and the next morning you would never have known that anything had happened, apart from a few extra frangapani flowers littering the grounds. Again May's hospitality created a fun evening amongst all the drama!
I cannot recommend Todranisiga enough. It is like stepping into Paradise! The Island itself permeates a tangilbe energy that is both relaxing and rejuvenating at the same time. I forgot to mention the water! OMG the water out of the tap is some of the best water I have ever drunk. Fresh, pure, alive and hydrating, filtered down through layers of volcanic rock, no chemicals added! Some of the best water on the planet! Couldn't get enought of it! This is one of the only holidays (and I have travelled the world), where I have gotten home, totally happy, relaxed, and batteries recharged. If you are looking for a holiday which is back to nature and elemental, look no further. The Fijian's are beautful people and incredibly friendly, even tho most of them are very poor. Forget the resorts, the Treasure Islands, the hords of people. Taveuni is a jewel, and one that I hope to return to this year. Once you get there you will wonder why you waited so long!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Three "bures" (cottages) located on five acres of ground filled with gardens, palms, trees and flowers, offering you all the privacy that you deserve on your honeymoon or relaxation getaway. ... more less