Likuliku means "calm waters" and it's fair to say that the limpid seas beneath Fiji's Likuliku Lagoon Resort can have a soothing efect on one's soul.
From fussing over work and school commitments back home, I find it oh-so easy to slip into island mode the moment I hear the floral-shirted singers' serenade upon my arrival. Resort manager Tulia Seru is on hand, accompanied by a canine companion wearing sunglasses. Coco, the resort's resident golden labrador, wags her tail furiously, perhaps excited by the knowledge of what lays ahead.
At the adults-only resort – on Malolo Island, 25 kilometres west of Nadi – there's a choice of staying in 45 traditional-design garden, beachside or overwater bures. There are 10 overwater bures, complete with glass floors for observing the tapestry of coral and colourful reef fish found in the waters below one's feet. They're even floodlit at night, so you can watch shy creatures, such as octopus and shellfish, venture out from their hidey-holes to feed. Each overwater bure also has its own ladder so guests can lower themselves into the water to swim or snorkel.
I'm assigned a deluxe beachside bure on the opposite side of the bay from the overwater bures. While it doesn't have glass floors, and it's not suspended above coral reefs, it is shaded by towering fig trees and pandanus leaves and has its own plunge pool. The pool is an accessory I'm determined to make the most of and one which I find is best enjoyed with a fruit cocktail or glass of chilled bubbly, sipped slowly while reading my novel on a private sun bed.
I soon realise that my room's lavish accoutrements quell my natural instinct to rush around doing everything the resort has on offer. Kayak across the lagoon? That can wait. Hike up to Yadra Vula ridge? Not today, thanks. Snorkel? Uh-uh.
Instead, after lunching on a delicious coral lobster accompanied by baby fennel, red chard and a dill and mustard vinaigrette, followed by a dessert of bush lemon tart, Fijian vanilla and citrus creme, I'm content to laze beside my pool and allow that island vibe so many talk about when visiting Fiji, to weave its beautiful spell.
I read a bit. I swim in my pool. I read a bit more. Then I nap. And before I know it, it's time to eat again. I order seared mangrove jack this time, then a sweet Musket Cove mango, pineapple, mint and blueberry bavarois.
But by day two, I feel sufficiently energised to begin explorations of the surrounding Mamanuca Islands by boat, including setting foot on Monuriki Island, the dramatic location for the movie, Cast Away starring Tom Hanks. I also learn about the preservation efforts the resort has made to benefit the critically endangered Fijian crested iguana, an endemic, emerald-speckled reptile that was thought to have been extinct until one was spotted, in the bushes just outside my room, nine years ago.
Early birds are rewarded with stunning sunrises and the sunsets are something special, too. None are better than those witnessed from the top of nearby Mociu, or Honeymoon, Island. The resort runs cultural tours to neighbouring villages, to where many staff members return home each day. And I'm practically comatose after my massage therapy at Tatadra Spa.
But there's an invigorating solution for such torpor back at my bure, it involves immersing myself in my plunge pool. If I could, I'd be wagging my tail at the thought of that.
Mark Daffey was a guest of Likuliku Lagoon Resort courtesy of Ahura Resorts.
Fiji Airways, Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia all fly direct to Fiji's Nadi International Airport from east coast hubs. Transfer to Likuliku Lagoon Resort by fast catamaran, private speedboat or helicopter.
Likuliku Lagoon Resort's accommodation tariffs start at $1300 a night for two adults. Meals, welcome refreshments, free Wi-Fi and use of non-motorised water sports equipment and snorkelling gear are included. See likulikulagoon.com