Fiji always thrills me with its azure blue seas filled with colourful coral reefs. A sense of serenity envelopes me from the moment I reach its pretty palm fringed beaches flanked by gentle South Pacific sea breezes. The Mamanuca Islands are more frequently than not my go to destination when it comes to a relaxing Fiji getaway spliced with fun outdoor activities – there’s just so many excellent dive sites, surf breaks and snorkel spots here. I’d heard many wonderful things about Malolo Island Resort before visiting but what sparked my interest the most (asides from its prized location of course) was that the dining venues here are renown for their world class menu offerings. As a travel writer with a penchant for innovative Pacific Rim cuisine its not surprising that I would book my Malolo Island Resort stay asap.
Head Chef, Mr Ryan Ward is an extremely talented Australian Chef who switched his most recent city kitchen residency at the award winning GOMA Resturant (located at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art) for a culturally immersive and tropical lifestyle change here at Malolo Island Resort. I for one commend his move to the South Pacific and after sampling his snazzy yet sustainably practical menu I am confident you will too.
The guest that finds himself seated at Treetops Restaurant with a Mai Tai in one hand and the daily catch of sweet Coral Trout plated elegantly before them with surely count themselves as very lucky. The restaurant space is architecturally pleasing too with its high plantation style ceilings and a series of white shutters framed by moonlit palm fronds – accidentally creating a shadow play version of one of natures finest paintings.
The charming open air balcony is perfect for a romantic evening while the larger tables inside are highly suitable for intimate group celebrations. On one night I ordered a Cape Grim beef steak (sourced from Tasmania) that was delivered in total harmony with sides of local spinach, baked taro and a moreish black garlic puree whilst my companion enthusiastically devoured their Vuda Pork Belly accompanied by an array of fresh produce courtesy of the resorts bountiful garden.
Note: this eco-friendly garden of lovely tropical fruits, seasonal vegetables and and zesty herbs is a shared resource with the islands sister property the 5 star adults only Likuliku Lagoon Resort – I’ll be posting a detailed review of that exclusive vacation enclave soon. Back to Treetop’s Restaurant where you can expect desert to succeed any pre conceived notions of a standard tropical island sweets and aim to experince excellence by way of their delightful selection, many of which sing with hints of vanilla, coffee & chocolate all sourced from the Fijian Highlands. Lydia, Malolo’s young yet very professional Fijian pastry chef, who hails from the mainland really excels at producing amazing pastries under Ryan’s astute yet relaxed direction.
Seafood afficaiando’s will be delighted to know that local village folk free dive for lobster at night (outside of the protetected Marine reserve) and deliver their daily catch, as do the friendly fishermen to Ryan at dawn. Hence, the daily specials often feature a creative spin on modern seafood dishes elevated by South Pacific flavours. Keep in mind that Treetops Restaurant is available to non in-house guests upon request but, its best to phone and reserve you space plenty of time ahead.
Welcome to a tranquil yet family friendly eatery, spacious designed so it rarely (if ever) feels crowded, even if the resort is at capacity. An inviting yet open planned dining set-up always garners bonus points from me when traveling (for nothing kills a special leisurely breakfast quicker then mass tourism vibes).
The Terrace restaurant overlooks the exotic swimming pool area and bar and is open for breakfast, lunch & dinner. It’s Malolo Island Resort’s family friendly zone and is conveniently located adjacent to the kid’s club should parents choose to dine alone.
Is an island resort allowed to operated in Fiji without an atmospheric beach bar location? I think not. Malolo’s Beach Bar ticks all the boxes when it comes to casual seaside dining with its fresh & filling menu choices (think gourmet burgers after an ocean dip), zinging happy hour cocktails and fantastic views of the dazzling Mamanuca Island group. Hint: the dive shop is just a few steps away which makes the Beach Bar a great place to down your morning coffee before grabbing some snorkel gear and exploring the intricate reef system here.
Upon arrival to Malolo Island Resort the scene that greets you is somewhat reminiscent of regal yet colonial style build. I’d imagine it would make a glamorous yet pared back Gatsby island hideout if your vision leans that way. In any case, its a flattering aesthetic that blends magically with selected traditional Fijian furnishings and modern interior fittings. Couples will appreciate the privacy of the resorts deluxe ocean view bure’s just steps away from a pristine white sand beach.
Larger groups would be wise to gravitate to the Family Bure’s – these are comprised of 2 x bedrooms, each with a king sized bed and can be configured with an additional 3 x single beds (suitable for children) located in the spacious living area.
MALOLO ISLAND RESORT ACTIVITIES
Guests are encouraged to choose activities that align will their holiday mood. Here to unwind and recharge? Perfect, why not head straight to Leilani’s spa for an indulging treatment under a verdant canopy of tropical island trees. In fact any of the following low effort activities may appeal such as; hand line fishing, sunset cruises complete with savoury snacks and serenades, a private picnic at Mociu private island (a short yet scenic boat trip from Malolo), a spot of table tennis, ample snorkeling expeditions and informative culturally themed excursions to the local village.
Keen to up the action ante? Perhaps solidify a bucket list tick while holidaying in paradise? Then the following marine activities are ideal for you!
- Jet Ski Tours.
- Surfing Charters.
- Scuba Diving.
- Touch Football & Volleyball.
LEILANI’S DAY SPA
Do not miss this rejuvenating experience! Book in quick for a session of well deserved pampering. Leilani’s is nestled within a beachy rainforest setting and the energy here truly is heavenly. Select an exotic oil blend (all spa products are Pure Fiji brand) based on your favoured scent preferences (I went with coconut and orange blossom) then give yourself over to a skilled therapist for an indulgent full body massage. Bliss!
Facials, body wraps, manicure’s and pedicures all feature on the spa menu too. Fact; Leilani’s Spa is one of the most scenic spaces to enjoy an outdoor massage in the entire South Pacific.
Malolo Island Resort is a total hit with the little ones, this is more than evident by the big bula smiles that kids are sporting as they explore their wondrous surrounds. Each day at the kids club aka Tia’s Treehouse children are treated to a bunch of interactive activities, each with an underpinned with a special Fijian theme.
One day might be dedicated to marine environment activities, which in turn gifts children a unique place to learn about the diverse marine species here and take part fun fish feeding expeditions. Other days may incorporate natural environment orientated activities such as; Iguana presentations, herbal medicine tours and a range of fun outdoor games.
Tip; older children will like the ‘teenagers retreat’ which reminds me of a cool pool house vibe that might feature in a Hollywood film.
To be honest, I’m so happy that the Fiji dining scene has improved dramatically in recent years. Malolo Island Resort is a definite front runner when it comes to finding a holiday that combines a boutique seaside stay with delicious dining. The resort would make an incredibly romantic escape too – the couples I passed seemed to be enchanted by the natural ambience and, of course, each other.
In summary, I’ll confidently say that I cannot fault the stunning Mamanuca Island group and in particular my time spent at Malolo. I challenge anyone to prove me otherwise, such is my unwavering affinity for the Fijian islands.
Book Direct: http://maloloisland.com/rates
Island Transfer Info: http://maloloisland.com/island-transfers/
By Roxanne Williams