Karen Walker | June 29th, 2012
Dolphin Island is less of a holiday resort and more of an elegant beach home. Not just because on our weekend there we’re the only guests but because Dawn, the island’s manager is actually more of surrogate Mum. As soon as our little dinghy pulls up at the island’s pier Dawn is embracing and kissing us, welcoming us “home”.
Throughout our weekend Dawn continues to hug and squeeze us and attend to our every little desire, ably assisted by her wonderful team. Every wish is pre-empted. As we emerge from our villa on Saturday morning (after a mammoth 13 and half hour sleep!) there’s someone standing by on the terrace with fresh tea. No sooner do we wander onto the pontoon to jump into the clear blue water for our pre-breakfast swim than Dawn’s team are heading out to us with table, chairs and a the most perfect of tropical breakfasts. And, at lunch later that day, two of her team stand by our table under the palms on the beach waving large, tropical leaves lest a bug come near our food. Talk about attentiveness. Yet, at no time is the service over-bearing. It always retains a charming friendliness, casualness even, that fits perfectly with the barefoot luxuriousness of the place.
The way the buildings function and look is so nice too. They reference beautifully that one’s in Fiji. Squat and with high, thatched roofs and exterior walls that open away to nothing. Fijian carving, ropework and tapa elegantly juxtaposed against homeliness in the form of oversized sofas, golden lighting and rows of orange and white Penguin classics that make you want to read, read, read. There’s not a tatty, old, left-behind Dan Brown in sight! The central building is essentially the living room of the island. Somewhere to chill out when the tropical rains descend. Its kitchen open and homely, available to all to hang out in and chat. The terrace extends into an outdoor dining and seating area and on to a beautiful black plunge pool and the most elegant of loungers. On either side of the living area are matching, squat, thatched bungalows. Both beautifully designed, all cream and woody with lovely coral touches in the form of chandeliers, mirrors and lamps, outdoor showers, his and hers bathing and dressing areas and large doors that open away completely to lead you into the garden and the sea.
The island’s tiny, only 3 acres, which means you can walk to the other side in about 5 minutes. We wander around after lunch on Sunday and discover the most elegant and beautifully-crafted of open-air sleep-outs on an incline above the sea facing out to open water and Viti Levu. With the chicness of the main villas but sans walls and electricity this sleep-out, complete with bed, couches, shower and loo, is very tempting for a nocturnal adventure but instead we settle in for a post lunch power-nap with the sea-breeze on our faces.
The walk back to the main buildings in through bush rich with tropical flowers and their heavy with their scent. The planting around the main buildings, and stretching out from them to the water’s-edge, is also delightful and one of the most striking things about Dolphin. The palms and figs look decades old and there are so many of them that the grounds are positively park-like. Lying on any of the many days beds one can look up into palm fronds and branches way overhead and enjoy the dappled sunlight playing on your skin.
The little beach, again, positively laden with palms, has that coral whiteness that one associates so with Fiji. The sand course and massaging and super clean. No cigarette butts or bottle tops on this beach.
Dolphin Island only accommodates 8 guests, which is a big part of what makes it so luxurious. This takes an intimate holiday to a whole new level. On our weekend though, being the only guests on the island, this was amplified event further. The best thing of all about being the only guests was the utter serenity. The only sounds are the birds, the crickets, the gentlest of breezes rustling the palm fronds towering over us and occasionally the sound of chopping coming from the open kitchen. No chatter, no music, no-one’s kids (my own included) fighting over inflatable pool toys. Heaven.
Click here to book your trip to Dolphin Island.