Fiji

Beckoned back to VOMO

Tristan Barns finds Vomo’s delights are just as tantalising now as they were ten years ago, in spite of having kids in tow.

May 31, 2019
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Rebecca Murphy

Rebecca Murphy

May 31, 2019

It’s funny how life changes your perspective. Things that were a priority a decade ago are today’s afterthoughts. Same with holidays. A dream vacation for a 20-something couple isn’t possible with toddlers in tow, is it? Relaxation and romance is a distant holiday memory, sacrificed on the altar of early dinners and high chair battles… isn’t it. Or is it?

We first came to Vomo about 10 years ago as a young(ish) couple. We were taken by the beauty, tranquility and luxury of the island, which is part of the Mamanuca group, a short boat, helicopter or seaplane ride from Nadi airport.

We lazed on beaches, snorkelled on sparkling reefs straight out from our bure, indulged in massages, dined on exquisite food, watched the sun blaze into night from the Rocks Bar… it was romantic tropical bliss.

If you’d asked us then if we’d be back 10 years later with kids we would’ve laughed you off the island.

And yet Vomo is one of those very rare places which beckons you back, whatever your priorities might be.

Travelling with children made all too easy at Vomo.

We answered the siren song, but we came with our 8-month-old daughter; we didn’t quite know what to expect but we had a wonderfully relaxing and memorable break. So much so that, fast forward another year and we are back with our nearly 2-year-old. We are joined by several other families with pre-school children, but also by honeymooners, babymooners, retirees, larger families with teenage kids, holidaying siblings and roaming internationalists. This is an island which effortlessly accommodates everyone.

Set in a secluded bay nestled against a high hill, Vomo is one of Fiji’s most exclusive and luxurious island getaways. It is a tropical paradise ringed by white sandy beaches surrounded by colourful reefs and abundant sea life. The resort has grown over the years, but has maintained its unique, friendly, relaxed yet luxurious vibe.

It takes a couple of days to ease back into island time. Your mission is complete when you’ve forgotten what day of the week it is, and you don’t care. It will happen. The Vomo team will help you find the pace. Service is always attentive, friendly and anticipatory, but it’s also relaxed. The staff want you to ease off the throttle and escape the frenetic pace of everyday life. Who needs a watch? You’ll know when you’re hungry and the food will be there. Time is tracked by the sun in the sky, not by the demanding hands of a clock. Steps slow down, gazes linger, focus softens and the mind relaxes.

That’s not to say this island is rustic. The pace might be relaxed but the standard is high.

Executive chef Michael Fosbender hits the right note with light cuisine with a clear South Pacific origin but with broader Pacific and Asian touches. Michael has spent the best part of a decade on islands in the South Pacific and this experience is reflected in the way his menu encompasses the balmy tropical days on Vomo, aided by the unmistakable Cambodian and Laotian influence of Chef de Cuisine Thushan Iranga.

Dining with dreamy seaside views.

Sparkling flavours and clever textural touches combine with the freshest local produce and the best the Pacific Rim has to offer. Dining is largely à la carte, with a few low-key themed nights thrown in if you wish to join in. But dining here is very much as you wish. Want three courses of gourmet food and excellent wines? No problem. Dine on the adjacent island of Vomo Lailai? Of course, your boat awaits. Or just chill with the same delicious food delivered to your villa? Yep that’s fine too. Vinaka.

While everything on Vomo is a matter of choice, make sure you join in for Fiji Night. It is a genuine welcome to the culture, traditions and history of the Vomo family. And there is kava if you dare!

Kids are not just welcome here, they’re welcomed with open arms. Literally. Many of the staff remember our daughter from our previous visit and greet her with a heartfelt hug. We also meet her ‘baby butler’ for the week, Lani, at Vomo’s exceptional kids club, which boasts an array of toys, playgrounds and activities which puts most kindergartens to shame. Older kids also have a daily smorgasbord of activities ranging from fish feeding to kite making to Fijian drumming lessons. Kids are as well fed as the adults here too. Do yourself a favour and order the cheesy pasta from the kids’ menu. Trust me.

But enough about the kids. They’re well and truly looked after here. What about the parents? Glad you asked. For the adults there’s plenty to do or there’s nothing to do. It’s your choice. You don’t feel like you have to do anything, but you can do pretty much anything. And if you choose to do nothing you don’t feel like you’re missing out. No FOMO at Vomo.

Daily activities on offer.

There are daily activities if you wish to partake – some for the active (yoga on the yoga deck which faces the ocean, training sessions in the well equipped gym) some for the adventurous (diving, snorkelling, sailing), and a seriously good day spa for just blissing out.

And for the really relaxed, there are hammocks shaded by coconut palms and fanned by gentle sea breezes, with icy drinks always on hand – hydration is important.

Accommodation is luxe but relaxed, spanning hillside villas, beachfront bures and stand-alone havens, through to the three bedroom ‘Residence’. All are private and comfortable, with secluded indoor and outdoor areas for relaxation. Beachfront rooms are a short stroll to a hammock or a beach chair. 

And here’s the thing – just as Vomo has adapted to the needs of family vacations, it’s also now responding to the requirements of families as they grow, and to parents who want to sleep in or get some ‘us time’ by providing additional ‘adults only’ spaces like the newly opened pool and beach club area at the Rocks Bar. This brilliant concept boasts a generously sized infinity edge pool with inbuilt seating and poolside daybeds – all prime locations for viewing the blazing Pacific sunsets over the water, framed by Vomo Lailai. Additional beachfront accommodation is also under construction nearby, including a huge five bedroom villa.

Vomo continues to grow and adapt but the most special part of this place is its heart, and how welcome and special it makes you feel. Our daughter mentions to a staff member that she’s about to turn two. Unbeknown to us, the team organises a birthday party for her, complete with a cake and a choir to sing happy birthday. A very special memory for us all.

The same choir sings us a heartfelt farewell song as we leave paradise to return to reality.

Vinaka Vomo, you were amazing.

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