Our luggage comes to us wet. It’s just a bit of tropical rain to welcome us in Fiji along with Bula song played live at the airport, leaking roof right above custom officer and everyone’s smiles.
– You need to know a few things about Fiji to enjoy your time here – says our driver, during 2h trip from the airport to the resort. – We do everything in “fiji time”. There is no rush, everything will be done, just on fiji time. If we’re late – we’re not late, we’re on fiji time. Do you understand?
We’re driving along the coast, looking at the damage from Cyclon Evan that smashed the area just a week earlier. Some people are repairing roofs, some cleaning around their households, it’s amazing how quickly they recovered. If I didn’t know there was an ugly cyclone I wouldn’t be able to tell.
– You need to know 3 words, bula, vinaka and moce (hello/cheers, thank you and goodbye). If you know them you’re a friend. You come as a tourist, you leave as a friend. That’s how it is in Fiji.
– And you obviously don’t have any road rules. – was crossing my mind, when we were having our ride 120km/h, even in the heaviest rain. Overtaking in dangerous places wasn’t also any issue for him. That’s how it is in Fiji…
Middle of nowhere
From the main road to a dirt road, 4km up the hill and a bit down the jungle. Welcome to Wellesley Resort, your home for the next 7 days.
Set in 100 acres of lush tropical rainforest and garden, the Wellesley is a great place to switch off and relax as well as go a bit active with the options of snorkelling, kayaking easily accessible.
Villas are set on a hill, with walkways surrounded by lots of plants and flowers, the walk down to the beach is a pleasant experience.
And the beach itself is small, but sandy and very photogenic. Looks like one of those place that you always see on postcards or travel catalogues and I never believed they exist. Here’s the proof, they do:
Calm lagoon, seaweed and coral are perfect for snorkelling. Even unexperienced person (like me) can see some amazing colourful fishes in there. When the tide is low you can walk far into the water and it’s still only ankle deep. And it’s better to go for a walk then – beach isn’t wide, but long – there is a village and the next resort at the other end of the beach.
I probably spent most of my time under palm trees, on a deck right next to the beach. Shaded area with a lovely breeze from the ocean was good not only for relax, but also quiet enough to do some reading.
Wellesley Resort has a nice, cleaned daily, pool. The downside is lack of maintenance, lounges and umbrellas there need replacement and someone to take care of them.
Our room wasn’t the prettiest, but good enough considering we weren’t spending there much time. The so much needed air condition didn’t seem to be working properly, it was just making a lot of noise instead of cooling. Bed, even though it was big, and pillows were some of the worst I’ve slept on – lacking softness and cleanness. And talking about cleanness, that’s the weakest point of Wellesley Resort. During our 7 day stay towels and sheets weren’t changed even once, which was the biggest letdown.
There is also not that much privacy as I expected, you always share at least one wall with other room. And on our last night we had a perfect example how annoying it could be, with saxophone-jazz music and loud conversation in other room, when we tried to sleep.
Another letdown was the food. You can imagine how I felt not being able to eat good for a whole week. Same breakfast every day, same limited choice for lunch (which was still probably the strongest point of their menu) and different dishes for dinner each day. Food was bland, with usually overcooked meat and not enough local dishes. After few days I missed even good junk food (if such a thing exists…).
Drinks were not bad, available all day and there was a lot to choose from. They were lacking some love, fun and creativity but in comparison to the food they were winning.
What brought me here if it wasn’t the taste this time? Need of serenity, silence and peace. Yes, I relaxed like never before, no running from one tourist attraction to the other was the key and palms, lagoon and rainforest a nice addition. I have some amazing photos, I was the farthest ever from my home country and I saw places from postcards are real. But would I come back? No. Food and cleanness are too important for me.
- bring your own beach towels – it seemed some rooms had them, but not all
- insect repellent is your best friend, buy a big one
- do not trust water provided in jars, drink only bottled one – everyone in the resort spent one day very sick and it wasn’t the only time (if you look for reviews some of them mention being sick there)
- bring shower gel, Wellesley provides only small soap bar and 2 small bottles of shampoo and conditioner
- if you like to snack on something during day (or night), stock before coming to the resort, restaurant is not open all day
Note: My stay and review is not sponsored by anyone. All opinions are my own.