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
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.