• Extraordinarily friendly and helpful staff
• Great snorkeling
• Very personal and intimate experience
• Moderate mosquito/bug problem
• No true entertainment
• Unpredictable weather (at least in mid-March) can lead to cancellation of scheduled activities (though it did not otherwise interfere with our magnificent experience at the resort)
Bottom line: Highly recommended for a relaxing and intimate getaway, and a few tips can help make the most of the experience.
We stayed at Namale for one week as an early anniversary trip and were thoroughly pleased with our stay. The resort provides an intimate atmosphere (only about 20 rooms and a maximum of about 40 guests at any one time served by a staff of about 150). This leads to an experience that feels very personal: all of the staff greeted us by name and knew our drink and food preferences, there were plenty of opportunities for private dining at various areas of the resort (e.g. near waterfalls and caves or on private decks overlooking the water), and we rarely encountered other guests except on group outings such as tours and snorkeling trips. We also received a personal tour on arrival. Overall, the resort does an excellent job of making each couple feel like special guests.
The staff at Namale are truly exceptional. They are always friendly and eager to help. For example, although the weather conditions were occasionally poor for scheduled snorkeling trips, the dive shop team always went out of their way to find something for us to do, whether it was swimming in lagoon or finding a different snorkeling spot on the other side of the island with better conditions. The food and beverage service were also excellent (though we would occasionally drink down the water faster than they could refill our glasses on particularly warm days). The spa staff is also friendly and the massages, although a bit pricey, were the best that we have ever had, overlooking the water and including a complimentary foot wash and scrub.
We took four snorkeling trips at three different locations while at Namale and saw beautiful sea life and coral every time. The staff also brought bread to feed the fish on two of our trips, which created great photo opportunities and created a cool experience of being surrounded by schools of fish. Note that even if you don’t see snorkeling on the list of scheduled events for the day, there is almost always a snorkeling trip planned (or available), generally sometime between 2:00 and 2:30. We also saw great sea life on the beaches and reefs that surround the property, including lots of crabs, starfish, and sea slugs/worms.
Entertainment was provided nightly at 6:30pm and ranged from traditional dancing to choirs. The performances are from local villagers, which is absolutely awesome, but if you’re looking for professional entertainment, then you should recalibrate your expectations. Also, it appears as though they wait for all of the guests to arrive before starting the entertainment. We were late a few times due to just puttering around the bure, showed up at 7:15 and hadn’t missed the entertainment – so keep that in mind.
One of the most fun and memorable parts of the trip was making a stone on our last day. Each couple gets a blank, wet concrete paver to etch something into and they use that stone in the planters or walkways around the island; it’s a great way to remember your trip and incentivize your return.
Now for a few tips. First, be sure to schedule your “dine outs” early in your stay (or possibly even before you arrive) as they book up quickly. We first spoke to the staff about scheduling some special meals halfway through our stay, at which point only one dinner location was available (on our last evening) and one breakfast location was available (on our second to last day). Our breakfast was ultimately cancelled due to a morning rainstorm, so we only had one meal outside the main dining bure (in a “cave” near the beach), but we know that many couples ate several meals out, including sunrise breakfasts on private decks and romantic dinners near a waterfall. We were also told that we might want to schedule our massages before we arrived as well, but we did not have any trouble setting those up after we arrived.
Also, note that the weather on the island can be somewhat unpredictable (at least in March, when we stayed there), with unexpected rainstorms or strong wind causing interference with scheduled activities (such as our breakfast and a planned snorkeling/dolphin-and-shark-watching excursion). In fact, the weather can vary even at different places on the resort, drizzling on one end, sunny and cloudless in the middle, and raining heavily on the other side (it’s a resort of hundreds of acres). Overall, however, the weather was beautiful for most of our stay – temperatures in the high 80s and fairly humid.
Another thing to keep in mind when considering Namale is the only real problem with the resort (or, perhaps more fairly, with the Fiji area). It did not appear that Namale fogs the resort (likely, because most of their produce is grown fresh on the property). As a result, we suffered quite a few mosquito bites for much of our stay, even though we have generally not had such problems in the past when traveling. The resort does provide complementary insect repellant, which seemed to help some, and mosquito netting in all of the bures.
The bug problem also crept into our bure; there always seemed to be a couple of bugs in the room no matter how careful we were about keeping doors and windows closed. And, after one afternoon enjoying the property, we returned to the less than pleasant surprise of a large black spider in the bure (seriously, it was 3 inches across). Fortunately, the resort also provides complementary insect killer, which we put to good use on the spider.
Also, be aware that the beaches on the resort (and elsewhere on the island) are not quite what you would expect at other island destinations. The beaches in Fiji are generally surrounded by reefs and rocks, with few, if any, areas to walk straight from the sand into the water without reef shoes. This situation does make for awesome reef walks, however, so you can make the most of it.
The Kava Bowl (activity center with bowling, ping pong, air hockey, golf simulator, music, and movies all available) is a bit of a hidden gem, despite being included in the arrival tour. We never saw anyone there (much like the rest of the resort), and we only used it on our final day. We had a great time and probably would have enjoyed using it more throughout our stay.
Finally, be sure to let the staff know if you are interested in any tours, activities, food, or anything else that you don’t see specifically offered. They really go out of their way to satisfy you. However, if you express interest in a specially scheduled activity, don’t be shy about checking in about whether it has been scheduled. In our experience, the staff sometimes forgot to let us know when something that we had expressed interest in had been scheduled, and we ended up missing the activity.
Thank you, Namale, for sharing your family, your culture, and your beautiful resort with us. Without a doubt, we would recommend it to anyone.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Situated at the edge of the Koro Sea on volcanic uplifts is the luxuriously all-inclusive boutique Namale Resort & Spa. Located 10 minutes outside of Savusavu Town on the northern fringes of the Fiji Islands, paradise is within your reach. Namale is nestled among 525 acres of lush tropical flora and offers an authentically Fijian experience to its guests. Namale’s 19 units of luxurious accommodation feature traditional Fijian architecture with modern influences and are each unique unto themselves. Dining is never a dull experience at Namale with its many private dining decks and outdoor locales including the base of Namale’s privately owned waterfall. Namale houses a one-of-a-kind indoor entertainment centre and a fully-equipped fitness centre which are complimentary for guests’ use. Namale also offers an array of activities for guests to enjoy including horseback riding, kayaking, snorkeling, knee-boarding, nature excursions, Fijian village visits and so much more! Guests are also able to access two world-renowned diving sites; the Namena Reserve and Somosomo Strait. The jewel of Namale is its award-winning Spa & Sanctuary. Noted as the "#1 Spa in Fiji" by Luxury Spa Finder Magazine, the Spa features a hydrotherapy room housing 7 different treatment pools including aromatherapy tubs, a waterfall massage pool, hot tub and plunge pool. The hydrotherapy room has ceiling to floor glass walls that take in breathtaking views of the Koro Sea and Pacific Ocean beyond. All bures feature cordless intercom phones, spacious clothing & luggage storage, mini-safes, souvenir Namale sarongs, fully stocked mini-bars, tea and coffee making facilities, Pure Fiji amenities, hairdryers, mini hi-fi players with I-Pod docking, iron/ironing board, complimentary wi-fi internet access and full air-conditioning. “Namale was a place for us like no other. My wife, daughter and I will treasure (our stay here) for the rest of our lives. The staff, the resort, and the breezes at night are unique and very special”- Ken Nolan, Motion Picture Screenwriter – Blackhawk Down*Namale Resort & Spa does not hold a minimum night stay policy and is able to accommodate children 12 years of age and above. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Namale The Fiji Islands Hotel Savusavu
- Namale The Fiji Islands Resort And Spa
- Namale Hotel Savusavu
- Namale The Fiji Islands Resort & Spa Savusavu