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February 8, 2006

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WHERE'S JOHNNY JET?                                         Namale Resort (1)
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Gíday mate! From that greeting you know my dad and I didnít go home as planned. Instead we traveled to Australia, after I surprised him with last minute (Iím talking REAL last minute) tickets to the country he has always wanted to visit. But before we fly to OZ we close out our incredible trip to Fiji in style, as we check into the Namale Fiji Islands Resort & Spa (Anthony Robbins owns it). Make sure to scroll all the way to the bottom, where youíll find a 2-minute video of our Fijian trip from beginning to end.

NAMALE
I have wanted to stay at Namale ever since my brother dragged me to a Tony Robbins Seminar (thatís a whole other story). For those who arenít familiar with the name: Tony is a famous self help guru/motivational speaker. Toward the end of the seminar Tony talked about the advanced classes that take place at his incredible Fijian resort. After realizing we shared passionate feelings about the island, I wanted to see what he has done as a hotelier to make his property unique. Now I had my chance.

ARRIVAL
Security was much tighter than at other resorts. The guard double-checked to see if our name was on the list before he opened the gates. Like many Fijian resorts Namale doesnít allow outsiders to come stroll around and check it out Ė you have to be a guest. That makes it that much more intriguing. Once inside and driving on the short dirt road, I felt like I was on an African safari Ė minus the animals. The road led us to the best Fijian welcome reception I have ever encountered. Twenty workers wearing big, bright smiles either clapped or played guitars. With beautiful voices, they greeted us singing a traditional Fijian welcome song.

ABOUT THE RESORT
The resort encompasses 325 acres, yet there are only 16 bures. Their slogan "Separate yourself from the rest of the worldÖ" is very accurate. I have never been to a place that is so large with so few guests, yet is perfectly manicured. My first impression of Namale felt like a mix between Jurassic Park and the Flintstones movie. It was surreal.

TONY AND HIS RESORT
Tony Robbins has a gated house on the property, and he visits at least couple of times a year. Guests wouldnít know Tony owned the place unless they heard it beforehand. The staff doesnít talk about him much, and you have to look real hard to find his name on the hotelís website and brochures. However, if you do ask the staff (like I did) what kind of person he is, they will tell you he is a great man. They were very appreciative that he pays for the education of every staff memberís child (about $7,000 FJD per child per year). The only visible evidence of Tonyís influence was the rock next to our front door that read "Step Up!" (one of Tonyís famous lines), and a sign near a water cooler by the conference center that read "Remember to drink at least half your weight in ounces" (thatís something Tony would say). I know, a conference center doesnít seem to fit the profile of a Fijian resort. And while weíre on the subject of buildings, there were a couple of other that donít seem appropriate for a Fijian getaway. But as you will see, they make nice additions for travelers who want an Americanized exotic vacation.

KAVA BOWL
One of the buildings is the workout center. Few resorts in Fiji have a workout facility, and Iím guessing Namale has the best one in the country. They not only offer all the equipment anyone needs, but there is also a huge (Iím talking humongous) screen with cable TV. When I walked in, CNN was on. TVs are rare in Fiji resorts, and CNN is even rarer. Another building Ė my favorite, and what made me feel like I was in a real-life Flintstones movie -- was the 2,000-square foot Kava Bowl. Inside is every kid-at-heartís fantasy (it had to be, because children under 13 are not allowed at the resort). Thereís foosball, darts, air hockey, billiards, full-swing golf (a video game so real that you hit the ball at a screen using real clubs and balls), free high-speed internet, a fully stocked bar, leopard-themed wall-to-wall carpeting, and a two-lane regulation bowling alley. Bowling in Fiji! Where else can you bowl with bare feet? Gotta love it! To top it all off, a pull- down screen comes over the alleys to make your own private movie theatre, with hundreds of DVDs to choose from.

ACTIVITIES
If thatís not enough to keep you busy for a month, the resort has two freshwater pools, Jacuzzis, volleyball, lawn croquet, tennis, and indoor/outdoor basketball courts. Thatís not a typo. The indoor basketball can be found in the conference center Ė thatís where Tony leads his exclusive Fijians seminars a couple of times a year. The conference center is also where my dad and I took an 8 a.m. yoga class, led by a beautiful instructor named Willow. The fun doesnít stop Ė the property also contains both a putt-putt golf course and a Frisbee golf course. Is that insane? There is also hiking and mountain biking, plus visits to a Fijian village. If you just want to relax, visit the 10,000-square foot spa. Unfortunately, the $120 price for the Swedish hour massage was NOT in Fijian dollars (converts to $70 USD); otherwise it would have been more reasonable.

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*Please tell us what you think of this week's newsletter!

Pictures From

The Trip

 

Namale Gate

 

Welcome Song

 

Arrival

 

Manicured Grounds

 

Kava Bowl

 

Internet

 

Namale Gym

 

Pool

 

Basketball

 

Yoga

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