Now, I’m not Richard Branson and so the chances of me owning my own Huka Retreats style luxury private paradise island are pretty remote. However, I find that whole ‘modern-day Robinson Crusoe’ holiday vibe irresistible. I mean, who hasn’t occasionally longed to escape the modern world for a while to an unspoilt, sun-kissed, deserted island and experience extraordinary luxury?
Dolphin Island The Infinity Pool – Fiji
That’s exactly the premise offered by the romantically-named Dolphin Island in Fiji; one of the three ‘Huka Retreats’ owned by entrepreneur Alex van Heeren. Like its sister retreats – New Zealand’s exquisite Huka Lodge and the Grande Provence Heritage Wine Estate in Franschhoek, South Africa – Dolphin Island offers guests an unforgettable slice of paradise.
Dolphin Island part of the Huka Retreats portfolio
I’ve had the good fortune to travel extensively and I’ve stayed in some truly remarkable places, but few experiences can compare with a stay on Dolphin Island. Landing at the island’s wooden jetty, which stretches out into the shimmering crystal waters of the South Pacific, you soon realise that you’ve arrived somewhere that is both exclusive and extraordinary.
Resisting the urge to flop onto an upholstered lounger beneath the palms which fringe immaculate talcum-white beaches, you’ll stroll to the main pavilion, where very comfortable Huka Retreats Dolphin Island’s bures (traditional Fijian huts of wood and straw) are found. Don’t be fooled – the bure suites on Dolphin Island are so luxurious that they put the average five-star hotel to shame. There are only four bures – Dolphin Island really is exclusive – and each feature stunning décor, wood-panelled walls, air conditioning, sumptuous king-sized beds and fabulous bathrooms. Each bure enjoys views of the fourteen-acre island’s beautiful gardens, which are romantically lit by oil lanterns each evening. One special bure stands apart from the main pavilion, however. Perched on a rise overlooking the sea, this open-air dwelling features a romantic four-poster bed from which you can watch the sun rise for an unforgettably romantic experience.
Dolphin Island – Dawn at the Hilltop Sleepout Bure – Fiji
Behind the scenes of the exclusive Huka Retreats Dolphin Island team are discreet and courteous staff who’ll ensure your stay is as pleasurable as possible. Not only do they wait on you hand and foot as required, provide every item of recreational equipment you might need from sea kayaks to board games, and to sun-loungers and beach towels, they also keep your bure and the rest of the island immaculate.
Dolphin Island Guest Bure Suite – perfection!
Dawn Simpson is both your Island host and ‘super chef’. Enjoy the best Fiji has to offer with what she calls their unique ‘Fijian Fusion’ – a unique blend of traditional Fijian flavours and ingredients combined with elements of ‘Indo-Fijian’ cuisine creating a fabulous array of taste sensations. Spices, chillies, coconut, seafood, fresh fish, limes, indigenous vegetables and exotic tropical fruits all feature on the menu. Every day, as one of the local fishermen returns to port with his catch, he calls into Dolphin Island where the guests are encouraged to select fish and seafood to eat later that day. Dawn is also happy to generously share the secrets of her kitchen with guests during their stay and to take them to the local market where she goes to carefully select her produce.
Dolphin island dining Elegant Pacific Style
All of which means that a stay on Dolphin Island is about as carefree and pleasurable as any experience you can imagine. For me, just soaking up the sun on a pristine beach with warm waves caressing my toes, or reclining by (or in!) the pavilion’s stunning freshwater infinity pool with a cool drink at hand is my idea of holiday heaven. If you prefer, however, there are plenty of activities to enjoy including sailing and kayaking, snorkelling and diving and fishing. You can even venture away from your private paradise for a while for a spot of cultural island-hopping and sightseeing around the Fijian archipelago.
Building upon the success of Huka Lodge
The addition of Dolphin Island to the exclusive Huka Retreats portfolio was made possible by the outstanding success of the first of these remarkable luxury accommodations: Huka Lodge. Situated on the bank of the Waikato River near Taupo on New Zealand’s north island, this historic fishing lodge enjoys a setting of unparalleled natural beauty in its own private seventeen-acre grounds.
Classic Huka Lodge where luxury meets nature
Over the years countless guests, ranging from the world’s royal families to A-list Hollywood celebrities, have enjoyed the indulgent luxury and impeccable service and hospitality that Huka Lode offers. No expense has been spared to ensure that the lodge’s nineteen suites and two cottages offer the ultimate experience in style, comfort and relaxation. As with Dolphin Island, the lodge’s staff contribute significantly to the magic of a stay here ensuring that the needs of every guest are individually catered for.
The stunning Huka Lodge owners cottage
The beauty of a stay at Huka Lodge is that it really is possible to create the holiday of your dreams here; you can do as little or as much as you desire. The beautiful grounds and gardens naturally lend themselves to walking, bird-watching and wildlife spotting, but you also have opportunities for fly-fishing, horse riding and tennis, whilst two world-class golf courses are just a short ride away. And, of course, the abundant attractions of Taupo itself are virtually on the lodge’s doorstep.
Huka Lodge’s winning formula of world-class luxury lodgings and service set in a stunning location has been repeated a third time at the historic Grande Provence heritage wine estate in Franschhoek, South Africa. An absolute must-stay for wine connoisseurs, this award-winning accommodation is at least as stunning as the magnificent Franschhoek Valley and distant mountains that surround it.
Grande Provence, S. Africa – part of the Huka Retreat portfolio
As you might expect, a break at one of the outstanding Huka Retreats is no ‘bargain-basement’ affair, but the price reflects the fact that what you will enjoy is not your everyday run-of-the-mill holiday but a truly exclusive, unforgettable and life-affirming experience. And if you ask me, such rare and extraordinary experiences and the lifetime of cherished memories they provide are worth every penny.
Lake Taupo’s Huka Lodge Alan Pye Luxury Cottage – perfect for families or Royalty!
Contact Jerry Bridge & his team for further advice and recommendations.
For Reservations, please contact London based New Zealand specialists Bridge & Wickers for a tailor-made itinerary and booking on 020 36427962 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can email Huka Lodge directly: email@example.com Address: Huka Lodge, 271 Huka Falls Road, Taupo 3377, New Zealand. Telephone: +64 7 378 5791
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