Q&A with Wakaya’s legendary dive master, Meli!

Scuba diving in Wakaya is a truly unique and euphoric experience. The reefs surrounding Wakaya are one of a select few protected Marine Reserves in Fiji. The team of Wakaya has been designated as wardens of this Reserve. This honor ensures we protect the reefs and marine life, in order to minimize traffic and maintain its unique natural beauty.

To learn more about the enchanting waters and brilliant sealife surrounding Wakaya, we sat down with the island’s legendary dive master, Meli, to tell us more…

 

How long have you been diving in Wakaya?

A: I have been diving around Wakaya for over 10 years, however, I started diving 25 years ago. Diving is my life and my passion.

 

How do the reefs in Wakaya compare to other diving locations in the South Pacific?

A: Wakaya has eleven identified dive locations. The best way to describe the dives around Wakaya is the abundance of colors, the health of the corals and the diversity of the ocean life.

 

What kind of ocean-life do typically sea around Wakaya?

A: Wakaya is well known for the number of turtles, coral trout, sponges, lionfish, blue ribbon eels, hammerhead and gray reef sharks, barracuda, and anemones. We sometimes get lucky enough to swim with manta rays!

 

How experienced a diver should you be to dive around Wakaya?

A: Our guests come and dive with an array of experience, from avid divers to first-timers. Everyone will need to be PADI certified, which you can either do before arriving, or we will gladly arrange for you to get certified in Wakaya.  

 

What do you like to be sure guests experience while out on a dive?

A: What is most important for me is to ensure our divers feel safe and enjoy each dive. There is nothing I love more than seeing their faces when they discover the beauty of all of the different colors of coral.

 

What is the best time of year to scuba dive in Wakaya?

A: I particularly recommend the winter months June, July, and August because the water is a bit colder (between 72-79 degrees) and clearer, and there is a higher likelihood of seeing manta rays.

 

How deep are you able to dive off of the reef?

A: We can dive up to 60 feet around the reefs of Wakaya

 

Do you offer boat dives or shore dives?

A: All of Wakaya’s dive sites are only a few minutes away by boat.

 

What all is included in the Wakaya dive package?

A: The package includes diving with dive instructors with a vast knowledge of the local reefs, up to date dive equipment, and of course the beautiful scenic boat ride. In addition, if you would like a customized package including visiting a private beach for a picnic lunch or anything you can imagine, please inquire!

 

Do you offer night dives?

A: Yes, we offer night dive, which are a magical experience, however, you must be an advanced open water diver.

 

Do you provide an underwater photography service?

A: We encourage guests to bring their go-pro or any other equipment they might want and myself or fellow divers can take pictures, however, we can also bring a professional photographer upon request.

 

What’s the rarest fish that guests could possibly see during a dive?

A: The rarest fish in our waters is the Ghost Pipefish


Photo by Steven Childs, via flickr, Creative Commons License.

 

Celebrate Our New Beginnings With Us—We’re Ready for You!

Wakaya Club & Spa Receives a Full Renovation Makeover

 

Come discover the private Island of Wakaya, A new leadership team has brought the iconic Wakaya Spa and Club back to life with elegance, luxury and sophistication through its redesign, cuisine and amenities.

 

After Fiji experienced a tropical storm in 2016 and a change in the management of the Island, we decided to seize the opportunity to do extensive renovations to the iconic resort. We focused on improving our accommodations, dining options, and grounds, and broadening our list of activities.

Today, Wakaya Club & Spa offers a one of a kind private island experience surrounded by some of the most pristine beauty nature has to offer, a rich culture embraced by our warm-hearted community, exquisite cuisine and an abundance of luxury providing the ultimate sanctuary for our guests.

Embracing a Unique Opportunity

Among the most eye-catching of the resort’s renovations is the redesigned landscaping, which incorporates a series of verdant Fijian gardens and dense groves of native plant life. In addition to providing colorful beauty and aroma, the landscaping provides privacy to our guest bures (freestanding Fijian structures), offering our guest suites both a private garden down to the beach and a private rear reading garden.

Each of our newly renovated bures provide an indoor-outdoor experience embracing the beauty of Fiji’s natural environment as well as ensuring all of the lavish comforts of the indoors. Each bure boasts cathedral ceilings, King-size beds with 100% cotton sheets, open-air lava rock showers, separate living rooms and relaxing decks on either side.

Many updated touches are showcased in our two deluxe bures: The Governor’s Bure, a 2,400-square-foot villa with a Jacuzzi bathtub, fine Italian sheets, and a secluded garden with a waterfall; and the Ambassador’s Bure, a two-bedroom oceanfront retreat with a full kitchen, living room and a private two-room spa outfitted with a lanai and a plunge pool.

In addition to our bures, we are proud to offer two private homes: Vale’O “House in the Clouds”, a lavish 12,000-square-foot, three bedroom home which sits on 16 lush acres and offers a host of luxuries: splendid ocean views, a rock-rimmed pool with a waterfall and a Jacuzzi, a night-lit tennis court, and the services of a personal chef and an on-call driver.

Finally, for those times when extraordinary luxury is a must, we’re proud to offer Seqa Na Leqa villa, with a state-of-the-art kitchen, ample living space, a master wing, with separate his and her bathrooms, dressing rooms and massage rooms joined by a spa pool. Also included is a private guest suite and a one hundred foot infinity-edge pool on the ocean’s edge.

We owe our nature-inspired look to Mexican designer Bibiana Huber, who helped us incorporate timber from trees downed by the cyclone and volcanic rock from around the island into the architectural elements and furniture. We spared no expense on the upgrade—throughout our resort, guests will notice elegant details and modern touches. The transformation is truly remarkable.

Breathing New Life Into Our Slice of Paradise

It’s not just the accommodations and grounds at Wakaya Club & Spa that have gotten a facelift. Our restaurant’s menu has also been reinvigorated, thanks to the efforts of award-winning Executive Chef Marielle Hajj. With extensive culinary expertise and multicultural roots, Marielle takes our menu to the next level, always pushing epicurean boundaries with the freshest, most delectable creations.

Fun activities are a must on any relaxing getaway, so we’ve added even more options to the list. Previous guests know the thrill of snorkeling or scuba diving in the healthy reefs just offshore, but now they can also make use of paddleboards, Hobie Cats, clear-bottom kayaks and pedal boats. Even our recreation room offers an upgraded experience, as it’s now outfitted with new books, games, and a flat-screen TV.

Active types will enjoy our professionally designed golf course, our fully equipped gymnasium, and our hiking and running trails. To help guests experience the splendor of the surrounding landscape, we can arrange day trips such as helicopter tours, fishing trips, day trips to nearby islands, and more.

And, of course, we highly recommend that all of our guests make time to savor our private island’s jaw-dropping beaches, with diamond-white sand and water as warm as a bath. Wander in any direction and you’ll come to a pristine stretch of coast you can claim for a day of carefree sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling, or simply relaxing in the shade.

Celebrate Our New Beginnings With Us—We’re Ready for You!

We’re immensely proud of our restoration, and we like to think our resort’s rebirth is a testament to the resilience, dedication, and generosity of our local staff and our Fijian neighbors.

Let us show you why Wakaya Club & Spa is regarded as one of the most exclusive and prestigious resorts in the world. Come visit us soon!

Q&A with resort manager Antonio Aja

Part of the appeal here at Wakaya is the charismatic and generous staff who ensures your vacation at our resort is truly unforgettable. One of these remarkable people is Antonio…

Antonio Aja is the General Manager of the iconic Wakaya Club and Spa. Antonio has been working in the hospitality industry for 20 years and has brought his worldly expertise to Wakaya island. Antonio, a native to Mexico, attended university in Mexico City before moving to London for his masters in management. After graduating, he moved to New York to work in publishing but ultimately found his way into the catering industry. Antonio went on to start his own catering company and several successful restaurants in Mexico City. In 2016, Antonio and his family moved to Wakaya Island to find their piece of paradise.

We wanted to find out what drew Antonio to Wakaya, learn more about his experiences on the island and understand why the newly renovated resort is so special, so we asked him a few questions.

Tell us about the first time that you saw the resort. How did it make you feel and when did you know that this was something you wanted to be a part of?

From the moment I spotted the island from the airplane, I felt that it was a place my family and I could call home. Then once I landed and experienced the warmth and kindness of the Fijian people, I was certain of it.

–Antonio

Throughout the years what have you brought to the resort? What efforts have you made to ensure guests have a one-of-a-kind utopian experience?

A: If there is something that we know how to do well in Wakaya, it is caring for our guests and making sure their experience on the island greatly surpasses their expectations. Most of our clientele have had the opportunity to visit the best luxury hotels and restaurants in the world so it is important for us to keep the bar set high for customer satisfaction. Fortunately, we have found that the island’s size, beauty, and culture, allow us to create unique and long-lasting experiences for all of our guests.

What are some of the new renovations?

A: We completely redesigned the landscape surrounding the resort which compliments what we consider one of the greatest changes; opening up all of the bures and homes with floor to ceiling glass windows and doors. In addition we have outfitted the entire resort with the highest quality furnishings, and incorporated natural materials, even using some of the wood from fallen trees around the Island. Our objective was to integrates modern luxury and really highlight the Islands beautiful natural surroundings.

To compliment the bures, we also redesigned the pools of Vale O (one of our private villas) and the resort itself. We wanted all of our common spaces to match our overall design goals. We hope our guests will feel we met and surpassed our goals!

What are you most excited for new guests and returning guests to experience?

A: The landscape and our beaches! As well as our renovated rooms, and to experience our cuisine; Chef Marielle Hajj has created an exquisite menu combining the local products with worldly techniques! Overall, we have created more dining and leisure locations throughout the island for our guests to have many unforgettable experiences!

Is the resort offering any new amenities or services?

A: Yes, we increased the number of water activities! We offer paddle boarding, Hobie Cats, kayaks, pedal boats, and of course scuba diving and snorkeling gear. We also upgraded the recreation room with a large flat screen television and added new games and books. One of the things we are also excited about is our Spa’s collaboration with Pure Fiji (Fiji’s leading brand in luxury body care as well as skin and hair products).

Do you think that you were able to recapture the original magic of the resort?

A: Wakaya is certainly still a magical place! The beauty, elegance and privacy are the foundation upon which the resort was build and why it was regarded as one of the most unique and exceptional places in the world to visit. We believe we have embraced and maintained, and hopefully brought out more of, these qualities. Ultimately our guests will be the judges!

What does the future hold for the Wakaya Club & Spa? What are you most looking forward to in 2019?

A: Our entire team is excited and ready to assist our guests in what we hope will be an experience of a lifetime. We are excited to see returning guests visit and rediscover Wakaya Club & Spa all over again, and for our new guests to fall in love with this island many call paradise!