RENOWNED MO­TI­VA­TIONAL SPEAKER AN­THONY ROB­BINS’S TROP­I­CAL RE­TREAT IN FIJI

NAMALE THE PLACE WHERE THE PRI­VATE ROB­BINS—AS OP­POSED TO ROB­BINS THE INFOMERCIAL SPOKESPER­SON WHO AP­PEARS ON THE AIR­WAVES SOME­WHERE IN AMERICA EV­ERY 30 MIN­UTES—UNWINDS, SOME­TIMES IN THE COM­PANY OF FEL­LOW CELEBRI­TIES LIKE QUINCY JONES AND AN­THONY HOP­KINS

Fiji Sun - - Big Story - AR­CHI­TEC­TURAL DESIGN Feed­back: jy­otip@fi­jisun.com.fj

To ex­pe­ri­ence life at the peak. To ac­quire “the edge.” To mas­ter the art of ful­fill­ment. To be to­tally juiced. To live the life you imag­ine. To have the whole en­chi­lada.

Mil­lions seek­ing per­fec­tion and self-trans­for­ma­tion have turned to the au­dio­tapes, books and “life­mak­ing” mega-events pro­duced by An­thony Rob­bins. He is the peak-per­for­mance guru and life coach who has coun­selled rock stars, movie moguls, CEOs, pres­i­dents and mem­bers of two royal fam­i­lies and whose pat­terned strate­gies for suc­cess were in­spired by Nel­son Man­dela and Mother Teresa. But when Rob­bins him­self needs to be re­juiced, reen­er­gised and trans­formed, he knows ex­actly what to do. He goes to Fiji. Namale Re­sort and Spa, the haunt­ingly beau­ti­ful re­treat he has cre­ated on Vanua Levu, the coun­try’s sec­ond largest is­land, does not fit in with the hy­per­bolic Rob­bins phi­los­o­phy of CANI!, or Con­stant and Never-End­ing Im­prove­ment. It is per­fec­tion it­self. The re­sort is about an hour’s flight from Suva, the cap­i­tal city on Viti Levu, and a short drive from Savusavu. A former co­conut plan­ta­tion built on lime­stone and lava out­crop­pings over the Koro Sea, Namale is at once oth­er­worldly and dis­tinctly Fi­jian. “You can talk about bal­ance,” says Rob­bins, who ought to know, hav­ing made mil­lions pro­mot­ing it. “Or you can ex­pe­ri­ence it.” Blessed with its own blow­hole and views out to co­ral reefs, where spin­ner dol­phins, bat­fish and hun­dreds of other ma­rine crea­tures await reef walk­ers and scuba divers, the in­ti­mate re­sort, where Rob­bins lives two to three months a year, is as en­chant­ing as the meke, the dance with which Fi­jians wel­come vis­i­tors. Robert Trown, the Aspen, Colorado-based ar­chi­tect who de­signed Namale with the help of a con­struc­tion com­pany in Savusavu and nu­mer­ous is­lan­ders, calls the re­sort’s style “luxe in the boonies.” Sit­u­ated amid lush veg­e­ta­tion—gi­ant ferns and mango, co­conut and bread­fruit trees and tow­er­ing banyans—Namale is built in Fi­jian bure style. These tra­di­tional thatched dwellings typ­ify the is­lands. The 16 bures and vil­las, some with 270-de­gree views of the sea, are linked by a se­ries of wood decks sus­pended over crags and crevices, lead­ing to path­ways that wend their way to ro­man­tic din­ing spots hid­den in the rocks. The bures were all con­structed by hand, by a team of 40 crafts­men, whose only power tools were drills to bore through the vol­canic rock. In the main bure, the re­sort’s cen­tral gath­er­ing spot, tim­ber beams are wrapped with pat­terned co­conut-fiber rope, known lo­cally as magi magi, while the roof is thatched with soga, a folded flat leaf. Trown wanted a Fi­jian feel, but he also wanted to avoid clichés. He drew on the is­lands’ dis­tinc­tive blend of cul­tures, mix­ing fur­ni­ture and tex­tiles from In­dia, In­done­sia, Africa and Bali. Fi­jians, he ob­serves, are nat­u­ral de­sign­ers. “They don’t put down a salt shaker with­out a dec­o­ra­tive leaf un­der it,” the ar­chi­tect says. “The charm is the peo­ple. Men still wear hibis­cus flow­ers be­hind their ears, on one side if they’re mar­ried, on the other if not. Even the po­lice wear su­lus, the tra­di­tional skirts. Ev­ery­thing they do is de­signed.” Af­ter a hike to nearby wa­ter­falls—the guide hack­ing through the jun­gle with a ma­chete—deep-sea fish­ing for walu (king mack­erel) and saga (jack crevalle), or hav­ing a Fi­jian bobo mas­sage, ex­e­cuted with arm and el­bow, or gaz­ing at the blow­hole from the whirlpool, it is nice to un­wind in an en­vi­ron­ment Rob­bins aptly calls “killer plush.” He dis­cov­ered Fiji years ago. He was sit­ting on the beach with the tide com­ing in, look­ing at the stars, and re­alised this was it. “For me the qual­ity of life changed when I went there,” he says.

“I shut off all the stim­u­lus of CNN, the mil­lion phone calls. I went deeper. I was lis­ten­ing to the whis­pers of des­tiny.”

Oc­ca­sion­ally, Rob­bins, fa­mous for his abil­ity to get peo­ple to walk across hot coals, holds sem­i­nars at the re­sort, where clients lis­ten to his whis­pers and dis­cover what they are fully ca­pa­ble of. But more im­por­tant, Namale is the place where the pri­vate Rob­bins—as op­posed to Rob­bins the infomercial spokesper­son who ap­pears on the air­waves some­where in America ev­ery 30 min­utes—unwinds, some­times in the com­pany of fel­low celebri­ties like Quincy Jones and An­thony Hop­kins.

It is the re­treat to which he es­capes to be with his fam­ily, “to climb in the rain for­est and re­lax, write and cre­ate,” he says. He has ex­panded the orig­i­nal 125 acres of his Fi­jian re­sort to 300, in keep­ing with his own laws of suc­cess. “I wanted a place where peo­ple could ex­pe­ri­ence seren­ity and free­dom, and be nur­tured,” he ex­plains. “I brought my friends here and thought, I don’t have to say squat. I can just sit here and watch them trans­form.” Put another way, Namale Re­sort and Spa is a place where “vi­tal breath­ing,” “in­can­ta­tions done with emo­tional in­ten­sity” and other Rob­bins steps to ac­quir­ing the life ad­van­tage are com­pletely un­nec­es­sary.

En­veloped by trop­i­cal breezes, “peo­ple don’t re­ally need to change them­selves, but to be them­selves,” he ob­serves. “In this en­vi­ron­ment, you don’t have to try to be any­thing. The real you shows up.”

The 10,000-square-foot spa, which opened in 2003, “has a higher level of so­phis­ti­ca­tion and a dif­fer­ent colour scheme,” says Trown. The stone wall be­hind the re­cep­tion desk “in­cludes a wa­ter­fall that hints at the spec­tac­u­lar ocean views from the treat­ment rooms.”

An­thony Rob­bins’s 300-acre re­treat on Vanua Levu, in Fiji, which he ren­o­vated.

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