I arrived at the resort within an hour of landing in Fiji, and was handed the keys to a golf buggy. A cheerful man called Keli hopped into a cart in front of me, signalling for me to follow him. Despite a comical car chase, reminiscent of the dodgem ride at the Easter Show, we arrived at my private bure in the Chi Spa Village unscathed.
Nothing ever surpasses the serenity of waking up to waves caressing a white sand beach and the ocean breeze massaging your shoulders, except perhaps opening the door to your private beachfront bure and having a butler waiting to grant your every wish.
Everyone had been telling me about the local "delicacy" of kava — a drink brewed from the roots of a tree, which relaxes, sedates and washes all your cares away. It's not alcohol and it's not a drug, but you apparently feel like there's nothing else on earth but you and the moment you're relaxing in.
Imagine a spa experience where you're bathed, scrubbed, steamed, showered, massaged, and then left alone in a private beachfront bure to eat and sleep, before the experience repeats. Welcome to the Shangri-la Chi Spa Dusk 'til Dawn treatment.
I easily could have slept on the white sand beach all day, but snorkelling on the stunning coral reef lay ahead of me. As the boat took my group out to the vast reef, I learned about the local coral farming programs. Climate change and overfishing has left the reefs of the Pacific Islands depleted.
That night, I had the Fijian fire dancing show to look forward to. Murmurs of kava were still teasing me, but all thoughts of its absence flew out of my mind when I walked into the most sumptuous buffet of island food I've ever seen.