I’m picky, I’m particular and I have extremely high standards. I knew Taveuni Palms would be an incredible experience but EVERY aspect of our holiday FAR exceeded ALL of my expectations.
Arrival: As soon as we landed our driver, Babu, greeted us by name, loaded our bags (I have no idea how he knew which ones were ours) and whisked us around the corner to Taveuni Palms. When we arrived the staff were singing, clapping and smiling. Kelly was there to meet us and gave us a giant hug and a lovely refreshing coconut drink was placed in our hands and flowers around our necks. It was such a lovely warm welcome. Kelly walked us to our villa where chilled champagne and gorgeous flowers were waiting for us.
The Accommodation: We stayed in both the upper and lower villas and toured the Grand Villa (unfortunately it was booked otherwise we would have spent a few nights there too). All of the villas are lovely and the Grand Villa is truly … well… grand! And the views from the Grand Villa are breathtaking. If you are getting married in Taveuni do it at the Grand Villa but book it early, as it is understandably very popular.
All of the villas are extremely private and you would never know that other guests were even on the property because you never hear or see them. Each of the villas has their advantages but we preferred the lower villa to the upper because of the grass lawn, the bigger pool and the larger private beach which has very easy access. If you like the beach note that the beach is a bit of a hike from the Grand Villa (that is really its only downside). The upper villa has its own open-air spa for massages, which is lovely and the pool is right outside the villa doors. But regardless of which villa you stay in they are all lovely and they are immaculate.
I am a bit of a “germaphobe” and often find even the top hotels don’t always do a great cleaning job. That is certainly not the case here! I'm sure the floors must be cleaned, swept or washed multiple times a day. There was never any sand, debris, spots, or dust bunnies on the floor and there wasn’t any dust on the baseboards or corners, no cobwebs and no yuck in the grout in the bathroom or kitchen. The entire villa was spotless! The gardens were equally spotless. They were immaculately groomed – no dead leaves, cobwebs or “yuck” at the base of the bushes. It was simply perfection.
I loved the nightly turn down service. I won’t spoil the surprise but it was always a treat to see what the staff did to make the bedrooms and bathrooms special each evening.
The Food: The food was as amazing, delicious and varied as all of the previous reviews indicated. Teila’s Fijian fish curry (which I had 4 times!), the lobster and the coconut crab were my favorite main courses. All of the desserts were delicious but my favorites were the lemon tart and the coconut lovo cake. We ate like little pigs and I gained 6 pounds in 8 days! I didn’t even know that was possible! But it was so worth it as the food was so fresh and delicious and I live in California where everything is fresh, organic and produced locally. Kelly and Tony have an organic farm on the island and all the meat and poultry is sourced locally. They also have a fruit garden/orchard on site and at their home. Any seafood that is served has been caught just before it is being served to you. Unbelievably the food is relatively low calorie and low fat. Kelly gladly shares her recipes, which are also, unbelievably, very easy to make. If you have the time and the inclination, do take them up on the cooking lessons. We had so much fun learning how to make papaya soup (it sounds disgusting but words can’t describe how delicious it is), cassava chips and Teila’s Fijian fish curry (which is, seriously, to die for!) in our kitchen in the villa.
The Service: The service is truly what sets Taveuni Palms apart from any other 5 star resorts. The staff is available when you need them, but are very careful to give you all the privacy you want or need. Teila was our service manager and she was truly a ray of sunshine. Seeing her beautiful smiling face every morning saying, “Bula” was a highlight every day. Shortly after we arrived she sat down with us to discuss what excursions and activities we wanted to do so she could plan the best day and times. Take her advice, she’s been doing this a long time and has it down perfectly. Of course, being typical Americans we wanted to do everything! She was lovely and accommodating and has a wonderful spirit akin to a loving, caring mother.
The service staff was pleasant, kind and attentive and it is clear that Kelly and Tony love their staff like their family as they are all smiling and happy, have a genuine love of their jobs and really want to please their guests. It was the details that made such an impression, coming back from an outing and being met by Robert or Teila holding refreshing ice cold lime water, the multiple perfectly situated dining locations with beautiful table settings which in and of themselves were works of art, the fresh flowers and giant flower arrangements, the presentation of the food, the lanterns and candles, how the service staff was there but “not there”, the housekeeping fairies whom you never saw but did an amazing job as with the gardeners (I never saw them or heard them – except when Teila asked one of the gardeners to climb a coconut tree so I could try fresh coconut water - but the property was immaculately groomed), the endless supply of freshly baked coconut cookies (this was key as I had my teenage son with me who devoured tin after tin of the cookies and the cookie fairies continually replenished them). I could go on….
If you have a dietary restriction you can rest assured that it will be well taken care of. My son has a severe peanut allergy and we felt completely comfortable that it was seriously addressed. Kelly even researched the massage oils and the Pure Fiji bath products to ensure they had not been processed in a factory that contained peanuts. Again, Taveuni Palms is all about the details!
The Excursions: There is plenty to do or nothing to do on this island. You could spend your entire visit just at the villa and have a lovely time. We went on at least one excursion or trip away from the villa a day. You can guarantee that Kelly will choose the best vendor on the island and it will be entertaining, educational and fun! Lavena Falls is a must do. If you only do one excursion do this one. We did the kayaking to the falls and a combo of the motorboat and walk back. It is pretty much a full day excursion and despite being fit we were exhausted at the end of the day. Bouma falls was lovely but if you lack time it is miss able. The island excursion/date line, natural waterslide, church was well worth trip and the lovo night at Sera’s home was delightful. We went on numerous scuba diving trips with Julie and Wayne at Nakia Dive and went surfing with them as well. Nakia is a first rate operation – I’ll post a separate review. All of the excursions are good fun and are very inexpensive. It was a treat to have Babu pick us up in the nicely air-conditioned vehicle and Teila always made sure towels, cold water and snacks were packed for us for each trip – again, it’s the details.
The highlight of the trip for my son was going fishing with Tony. They caught tuna, which Tony had the chef marinate, spice and sear and serve to us for part of our dinner. It was SO delicious! Tony is such a kind and thoughtful man and my son had “the best time” and looked so happy when he was holding up his “bounty”.
One of the many highlights of the trip for me was the visit to Claude’s Pearl Farm. We were fortunate enough to be there during the harvest. Claude opened 10 oysters, 6 of which had beautiful, large pearls. He explained the entire farming process to us which is very interesting. Make sure to budget to purchase some of his pearls. They are unique to Fiji and the colors are spectacular! Additionally, I asked Teila if she could find some Fijian handmade fans for me as the handicraft stores we visited in town had a dismal (and expensive) selection of arts and crafts. Teila had her mum and grandmother make a bunch of fans for me to take back as souvenirs and gifts for friends. They were beautiful! And my friends and family loved them!
If you have any hesitation about booking this trip, don’t. If you are thinking about booking elsewhere on the island, don’t. Taveuni Palms is worth every penny and I can assure you, you will be planning your return before your trip is even over!
Many thanks, Kelly, Tony and your beautiful staff! This was our best trip ever!!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Your ultimate private, luxury Fiji resort awaits. The perfect honeymoon, wedding or vacation of a lifetime in your South Pacific Paradise. Voted as the "Best Boutique Honeymoon Resort in the World" Taveuni Palms Resort combines an unparalleled luxury resort with the lush oasis of Fiji's Taveuni Island. Unspoiled white sand beaches, warm turquoise ocean, world class diving and snorkeling - welcome to paradise. Each villa sits on its own private acre and offers its own private pool, beach, 5 private dining locations and a personal staff of seven. Taveuni Palms resort has been voted by the World Travel Awards as "Australasia's Leading Boutique Resort", "Australasia's Leading Villa's" and "Fiji's Leading Resort" and won the "Luxury Villa Resort" category for Fiji at the World Luxury Hotel Awards. Taveuni Palms also won "Best Honeymoon Resort in the World" at the Boutique Hotel Awards and has been listed by FORBES as one of the most luxurious honeymoon destinations in the world. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Taveuni Palms Hotel Taveuni Island
- Taveuni Island Palms Hotel
- Taveuni Island Palms Resort