Russell writing... (because Katie is currently asleep!)
No sooner had we left the Taveuni Island airport in Tony's truck than we arrived at the Taveuni Palms resort where we would stay for the next three days. Quite literally, the airport and resort are within easy walking distance of one another, but this fact is not anywhere close to being an annoyance. The aircraft that fly to the island are all small prop planes, and only a few arrive each day.
As soon as we entered the Taveuni Palms property, we were greeted by a most beautiful sight. Finely manicured grass and other landscaping, as well as the property's buildings, all are situated on a hill. And at the base of the hill is a standalone reception hut, outside of which stood about 10 of the resort's employees singing and dancing upon our arrival. After exiting the truck, we were given leis made of gorgeous, recently picked flowers, and some freshly made fruit smoothies served in hollowed out coconut shells.
There were introductions between us and the staff, and we then were escorted to our villa. Taveuni Palms is made of two villas, one on the upper part of the hill and one on the lower (although, a third, bigger villa has just recently been built at the very top of the hill). If it so happens that a group reserves both villas, then it is set up so that people can walk freely between them. Otherwise, as is the case for our stay, there is a bamboo wall that is put up to separate the two structures and provide ample privacy.
As we walked up to our "room", we noticed all the effort that had gone in to making a strong first impression. Freshly cut flowers were precisely laid on every possible strategic place. Also, we were amazed at how many areas there were for us to use: a private pool; a covered day bed; a "bula" deck; a main deck outside of the villa equipped with a hanging chair, a hammock, and lounge chairs; and much more. Inside the villa itself, there is a living area, dining table, well-equipped kitchen, 2 bedrooms (one of which has it's own private balcony), 2 bathrooms, and 2 outdoor private showers. Heaven on earth!
If that setup weren't enough already, we also discovered we had access to a dedicated personal staff of 7! Cooks, housekeepers, errand runners, a driver, etc., all at our disposal. It's a little awkward to receive so much attention, but we've found that when people happen to be as nice and thoughtful as those we've met at Taveuni Palms it's a pleasure!
Anyway, for the rest of our first day we decided to take it easy. We arrived at around 7:00am so we helped ourselves to a small breakfast of fresh fruit (delish!), and then simply lounged about our many decks for the remainder of the day. Oh, and we received complimentary 1-hr massages upon arrival to help us recover from the trip (actually, all of our spa treatments have been complimentary); we both fell asleep during this unwinding process and apparently snored as well. Not a bad way to recuperate! Also, one additional comment: the food here is simply outstanding (for breakfast and lunch there is a menu to choose from, while dinner is a pre-fixed selection that changes each day)! For lunch I had a Fijian style pizza while Katie enjoyed the fish tacos, which were amazing and wonderfully FRESH. For dinner, we both enjoyed Wahoo served atop some exquisitely seasoned spinach stuffed with... well, I don't remember what. But I do know it was good. Katie and I are both big "foodies", which is actually one of the things that attracted me to Taveuni Palms when I was looking at honeymoon options. Turns out that was a good decision!
One other thing to point out from out first day. The staff is incredible... and somewhat sneaky! We'll be by the pool or something for just a few minutes, and when we go back to the villa everything has been redecorated with new flowers or something. Or the bed will be turned down for the night. Or the path to the bedroom will be paved with flower petals. There are a dozen more examples I could use, but needless to say, attention to detail here is nothing short of amazing.
By the time night arrived on our first day in Taveuni, Katie and I immediately crashed! The sun sets fairly early, just before six. As soon as 7:00 hit, Katie was snoring and I followed in kind shortly thereafter. A perfect beginning to what has turned out to be a perfect vacation on Fiji's "jungle island".