There are two ways of getting to Fiji’s glorious private island resort of Vomo. You could fly in on a helicopter or seaplane from nearby Nadi like a total celebrity, or like me, you could find yourself clinging dearly to a shitty dinghy praying to God your children live to see the mainland.
It started beautifully, it must be said. A seamless ferry journey took all of 40 minutes to reach the waters of Vomo and just as we were began relaxing with our feet up, magazine in lap, we suddenly found ourselves being hoisted off onto the dinghy to take us to in to shore. Now, this would totally be cool if it was just little old me and say – half a Clarks rubber store, but on the dinghy with me is my five year old who is renowned as the World’s Most Crap Swimmer, and still strapped into the pram rocking perilously as the waves slap against the sides, is baby Ivy, (then) four months old. There are no life jackets and I’m convinced we’re all going to die.”Oh no, don’t worry, one of the staffers tells me. “We’ve never had an incident.”
Happily, we do not have ‘an incident’, and after what feels like fifty hours but is probably only five minutes later, our feet and wheels touch the sand and a team of Vomo staffers approach with ukuleles, song and a tray of cooling cocktails.
And then the glory of Vomo unfolds before me and all is forgotten. A tiny private island sheltered by clear turquoise waters and dotted with pure white sandy beaches, it would be easy to pass Vomo off as an island more geared towards honeymooners. And if I got married again tomorrow, I would definitely head here for a leg of my honeymoon, but like almost everywhere else in Fiji, they also love children and warmly welcome them without outwardly advertising themselves as a ‘family resort’.
See here’s the thing. Although there are plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained – the island’s coral reefs are ideal for water sports such as snorkeling and kayaking, and there’s a 9-hole pitch and putt golf course and tennis courts – Vomo encourages families to spend time together by opting out of distractions and the usual adult/children divisions within the resort. There are no TVs in the 30 romantic beachside huts and there is only one pool and one restaurant. For a private island resort charging from $1120 a night for a garden view, that might seem a bit rich, however, I can’t help but notice that everywhere I look I see families actively enjoying each other’s company in a serene environment.
We check into our beachfront villa, positioned only steps away from the sand. To my utter joy, I find I am given two interconnecting villas, one for me and the other for the kids and the thought of being able to sit up late reading or singing in the bath in my own time without disturbing the kids makes me grin from ear to ear (cheap thrills people) The rooms themselves are rustically beautiful in that way that only island suites can be – all dark wood and white, flowing fabrics. I note the Jacuzzi in the bathroom (I’ll be seeing you later!), welcome bottle of wine and fruit, air-conditioning and ceiling fans (a hit with the kids in this humid heat), mini bar and refrigerator. In one corner of the suite, they’ve set up a cot for baby Ivy and laid out a mini Vomo Resort t-shirt for her to vomit all over. A matching shirt in a larger size is laid out on her sister’s bed and she squeals with pleasure as she models it around the suite.
I know I touched on the price for the garden suite (it’s $1478 a night for the beach suite) but it must be said prices include all daily meals and non-alcoholic beverages in the mini bar, restaurant or bar. It also includes sunset canapés at The Rocks Bar, a nearby bar which overlooks the sea, WiFi, use of all non-motorised water sports and activities.
Of course you can always go all out and rent out The Residence, a spectacular bungalow which is set on the beach across three whole pavilions. Among some of its features is a 24-hour butler, a full kitchen for onsite catering (why anyone would do this at a resort where all meals are included at the restaurant is beyond me, however), entertainments system that extends far beyond the CD player that’s available in the rest of the bungalows (should you want to stage your own dance party), and various indoor/outdoor dining areas. It’s priced at $3317 a night for up to four people, and $5428 for up to eight.
Or perhaps you’d prefer the Royal Villa? It has three ensuite bedrooms, a separate living area with entertainment system and expansive outdoor area with private pool and poolside shower. Yours for $3468.
I head outside to where my hammock is gently swaying between the trees and am just about to plonk myself on it when a housekeeper appears and asks me whether I have any urgent laundry that needs attention. I cast my mind back to my Sydney home with the overflowing baskets, but I suspect as personable as their service is, they’re not going to fly over and assist me. No, it turns out Vomo has a rather genius laundry service where you leave out your dirty laundry for them in a basket on your deck and somehow, it magically comes back by 3pm all clean, ironed, folded and smelling of lavender. Spectacular!
Kids are catered for on so many levels – there’s the kids club which has not only a wealth of activities, but what could be the best dress-up cupboard in the South Pacific, there’s a turtle sanctuary where they can get up and close with the wrinkly ones, and oh yes, if you’re the kind of person who likes to spa together, the resort’s Senikai Spa has Kidzspa, spa services for your little one. My daughter opts for a foot massage and hair braids).
Obviously I love that there are facilities geared towards kids but what I appreciate most about the property is how it gives us the opportunity to spend lots of quality time together. Over the course of the week, my daughters and I sit in the restaurant and eat until we all feel ill (the kid’s menu is to die for), we swim in the pool and go for walks in the late afternoon, watching the sun set over the Rocks Bar. And when we go back to our bungalow, there is no technological distractions. There’s just a couple of books, a hammock and a canopy of stars. It’s perfect.
But just as we’ve settled into the flow of island life, just as rudely we’re cast out and once again, we’re on a private speedboat transfer back to reality. And it certainly beat the dinghy.
Need to Know
Where: Vomo Island Resort, Lautoka, Fiji Islands
Cost: Prices start from $1120 a night, inclusive of meals, non-alcoholic beverages and activities.
Room: Our beach suite had folding doors which separated the bed from the living room which was welcome once the kids went to bed. The jacuzzi was noisy but oh-so-effective, and the laundry fairy? Best idea ever.
Pool: One pool located in dining area. Not heated but warm regardless. No spa.
Meals: The kids menu is so good, it’s popular with adults who are happy with smaller portions.
Going up: The turtle sanctuary is popular with children and adults alike, and surprisingly, so is tech-free living.
Going down: They need to reconsider their dinghy transfers.
For further information visit www.vomofiji.com
*All prices quoted are in Australian Dollars (AUD) and prices are correct at time of posting.
Selected images ©Vomo Island Fiji
DISCLAIMER: The writer was a guest of Vomo Island Resort