We are so thankful to Fiji Guide for their continued support and glowing review of Tavola Villa. Back in 2019, travel journalist Rob Kay came to stay with us. He captured the vibrant energy of our boutique resort in very kind words on his travel blog Fiji Guide. Most recently, Rob interviewed our proprietor Monica Laurence in his article Experiencing a Different Fiji in Savusavu to highlight Fiji’s reopening in 2022 and new local happenings that should not be missed during your visit to Savusavu. As we welcome international travelers again, Monica reflected on Savusavu’s resilience. “At the outset of the pandemic, we packed meals and delivered them to local families, along with notes of hope and encouragement,” Monica remembered. “We feel most fortunate to live in our tight-knit and supportive community. This is a place of resilient and good-hearted people.” Savusavu is truly a special community indeed, and we extend another heart-felt thank you to our friends and guests from overseas who supported this initiative for local families in Savusavu. Your kindness is appreciated.
As for what’s new at Tavola, Monica shared, “As we found ourselves without the option to welcome international guests, we thought it the perfect time to tackle some projects and further enhance our guest experience.” Those villa enhancements include:
- Creating an organic herb and veggie garden, including fresh tomatoes, green onions, mint, eggplant, cucumbers, lemongrass.
- Styling our menus with creativity, adding more dishes inspired by international chef Yotam Ottolenghi and a bit of playfulness like the morning “Pop-mosa”, a spin on the mimosa, but with an icy popsicle dunked in champagne.
- Upgrading our pizza oven and perfected thin crust pizzas inspired by a trip to Rome.
- Refinishing the hardwoods and decks in the villa, stripping, sanding and returning the natural and gorgeous luster.
- Refurbishing our fiberglass long boat, so it’s sparkling and ready for fishing and snorkeling excursions with guests.
And last, but not least, we teamed with a local conservation initiative to plant coral nurseries, making this unique underwater experience available to our guests. Some of our guests still find us through Rob’s original recommendation and we’re happy to share it again here. Rob, it was a pleasure to share Tavola with you! Visit us again soon.
Fiji Guide features Tavola Villa
This article is updated for accuracy. Read the original article by Rob Kay here.
Tavola Fiji was recently purchased by Monica Laurence, an American with a creative flair. In essence, she’s turned a property that was formerly ignored into a very appealing boutique hotel. The magic that she’s pulled off sounds simple, but it’s not easy to achieve.
She’s transformed her hotel into something that feels like a home. (The moniker Tavola honors the medicinal Tavola tree of Fiji, as well as the Italian phrase “a tavola” meaning “family table”).
Located on eight acres, with panoramic views of Savusavu Bay, Tavola is about 2km from “downtown” Savusavu but feels far off the beaten path. The property stretches from the seaside, up a hill to a playing field-sized plateau that serves as a helicopter pad.
The vista from the front deck, and just about everywhere on Tavola, is stunning.
The property is perched on a hill overlooking Savusavu Bay. The estate, which she describes as a villa, consists of seven buildings on two levels. The upper level consists of a kitchen/dining room, a lounge (complete with a library), and a separate master bungalow and sun deck with an infinity pool. The bungalow is inordinately spacious with dual sinks, dual closets, and no less than two showers (indoor and outdoor). You’re not going to feel claustrophobic in this unit. Another nice touch is the outdoor dining table and several hammocks.
The resort was designed by Australian architect Madeleine Blanchfield and it was constructed with an abundance of local hardwoods which gives the place a sort of opulent minimalism. It looks like someone built it to last. Someone with the taste — who could obviously afford a decent architect. It’s classy and ideal for wellness or yoga retreats, coaching retreats or hired out for family reunions.
The lower level consists of two bungalows each with a bedroom, lounge, and bath. Each bath has a rain bath shower and separate toilet. As the website says, “the lounge is perfect for your creative endeavors” or can be configured for sleeping. So essentially each bungalow can be configured as a sort of suite, with either two single beds or a king-size bed. The bungalows open to an ocean-view private veranda.
The villa can accommodate 6, or 10 if you decide to turn the bungalow lounges into bedrooms.
The food is top-notch and very healthy. We had fish on a regular basis but cooked in several different ways as well as a number of salads. The local chef incorporates local touches by cooking Fijian vegetables such as taro leaves (toro) or making Kokoda, Fijian style ceviche (with coconut cream). Desserts were great too and we often had cookies. I would say the cuisine here is as good or better than the 5-star properties.
Activities include infinity pool, kayaks and snorkeling, hiking, bocce ball and croquet, flying fox, and rope swings. What really impressed me, as a yoga practitioner, was an ample supply of yoga mats and blocks. Excursions to local places of interest such as the KokoMana cocoa plantation, or diving at the nearby Cousteau resort can also be arranged.
The owner Monica had the good fortune of having an uncle who owned a hotel in Fiji where she spent a great deal of time as a youngster. She feels that this experience has helped her understand what it takes to run a resort in Fiji.
The property occupies an interesting little niche in the spectrum of Vanua Levu establishments. It inhabits a space between the very expensive hotels such as Namale and the more modest end of the spectrum such as Daku. There’s an intimacy at Tavola that you won’t find in a large resort and that’s one of the reasons I find it so attractive.