TUR­TLE IS­LAND

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Tur­tle Is­land will need no in­tro­duc­tion to any­one who’s con­sid­ered an up­mar­ket Fi­jian hol­i­day over the past 35 years – or who saw the movie Blue La­goon, which was shot there. Over the years the re­sort has won nu­mer­ous awards, from Most Bliss­ful Beach Re­sort and World’s Best Ser­vice to this year’s Cer­tifi­cate of Ex­cel­lence from Tri­pad­vi­sor. In 1970, a burnt-out Amer­i­can mil­lion­aire, Richard Evan­son, bought the bar­ren, goat-rav­aged Nanuya Levu is­land in the Ya­sawas and made it his life’s work to re­new the land and build him­self a home. He em­ployed lo­cal vil­lagers to plant hun­dreds of thou­sands of trees and fi­nally re­named his prop­erty Tur­tle Is­land. In the late 70s the is­land was used as the lo­ca­tion for the re­make of the 1949 Blue La­goon film that was also shot there. Af­ter play­ing host to cast and crew, Evan­son re­alised how much he en­joyed hav­ing guests and opened Tur­tle Is­land as a re­sort in 1980, lim­it­ing the num­ber of guests to pre­serve the Is­land’s bio­di­ver­sity. To­day Tur­tle Is­land is home to 14 eco-friendly pri­vate bu­res over­look­ing the Blue La­goon. Each bure has a king-size bed, spa­cious dress­ing area, walk-in dou­ble shower, hot tub, out­door shower and a ve­randa with a queen-size day bed. Guests are looked af­ter by their own ded­i­cated “Bure Mama”. The pre­mium bure is Vonu Point, set high above the beach with spec­tac­u­lar la­goon views. The re­sort’s all-in­clu­sive tar­iff means that once you ar­rive you can put away your credit card: even bot­tles of bub­bly, beach pic­nics, mas­sages and scuba dives are in­cluded. Renowned French-born chef Jac­ques Reymond is Tur­tle Is­land’s culi­nary ad­vi­sor and de­scribes the food there as “Pa­cific-fresh”, in­cor­po­rat­ing in­flu­ences from Con­tem­po­rary Pa­cific cui­sine “adapted to take ad­van­tage of the is­land’s fresh in­gre­di­ents”. The is­land is sur­rounded by pow­der-soft beaches, some quite iso­lated and per­fect for cou­ples, who can re­serve one for the day – along with a pic­nic lunch of lob­ster and cham­pagne – and work on their all-over tans.

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