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Fiji Orchid - Make Perry Mason's former home your South Pacific getaway in the Fiji Islands

Fiji Orchid guest house on Viti Levu Fiji Islands - copyright Jerome Shaw / www.JeromeShaw.com
The garden bures at the Fiji Orchid have a efficient modern 
design and each are situated on the property to afford 
maximum privacy for all guests.
Photo:  copyright Jerome Shaw 2011 / www.jeromeshaw.com
The actor Raymond Burr of Perry Mason and Ironside fame fell in love with the Fiji Islands back in the 60’s. He set up housekeeping at the edge of the Nausori Highlands on the main island of Viti Levu just north of Nadi. He also owned Naitauba Island, a private island in Fiji’s northern Lau island group but it is here on Viti Levu’s northwest coast that his reverence for Fiji and tropical plants still bears fruit. Burr’s love of botanicals, especially orchids, was one of the main reasons for his retreat to Fiji whenever his television and moviemaking pursuits allowed him time away from Hollywood.
Burr’s former residence on Viti Levu has been recently transformed into a unique guesthouse for discerning travelers seeking a sample of the calm that Burr found in his many visits to Fiji. The Fiji Orchid is often billed as a shortstop upon your arrival at Nadi International Airport before continuing your journey to the outlying islands and as such they offer special dayroom rates and schedules perfectly suited to just such use. The Fiji Orchid is perfect for shaking the “dust” off one’s brain after a long flight or for regrouping and repacking for a return flight home but it is also a great base of operations to explore Nadi and Viti Levu. And, maybe it is an even better place to just relax and explore your own inner realm.

One of Burr’s original homes has been converted to the reception and operations area. It is here that you will be greeted by the staff upon your arrival and served a refreshingly tart drink made with fresh-squeezed lime juice and ice water sweetened with brown sugar and garnished with a slice of cucumber and mint leaves. Gordon Leewai, the general manager of the property has assembled a staff of trusted friends and family. I was treated like a friend at every turn during my stay. I did not feel so much like a traveler spending only a night or two here, but like a guest that returned after a long absence that they expected to see again and again. This feeling began the moment I arrived and never left me.
Kelera, Raijeli, Melania and Ana, the staff at the Fiji Orchid on the main island of Viti Levu in Fiji. - copyright Jerome Shaw / www.JeromeShaw.com
Kelera, Raijeli, Melania and Ana, the staff at the Fiji Orchid on the 
main island of Viti Levu in Fiji. 
Photo:  copyright Jerome Shaw 2011 / www.jeromeshaw.com
The peaceful calm that pervades The Fiji Orchid is one of the best reasons for considering it as more than just a jumping-off spot on your way somewhere else. Slow down and unwind here for a few days and enjoy the serenity of the verdant surroundings splashed with tropical colors.

There are 6 garden bures spread across the peaceful 5-acre grounds that are a continuing testament to Burr’s love of orchids and tropical gardens. It seems a shame to only spend a few hours here in this tranquility-inducing environment enveloped by the sounds of birds and the scents of flowers. The bures are canvas, glass and teakwood structures with clean modern lines. They are situated along a path that runs back from the main houses and are sited in such a way as to afford privacy to each bure.

The larger house in now a gathering spot and the home of a small bar, the restaurant, 2 guest rooms for short stays, a meeting room that seats 10 and a full length veranda with travertine tile floors. You can grab a book from their collection on Raymond Burr and gain some insight into why he so loved Fiji or refresh your memory about his character in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 classic thriller, Rear Window that also featured Jimmy Stewart & Grace Kelly.

A large sunbathing and pool area wrapped by the lush gardens that are the signature of this tranquil getaway is between the main house and your bure. If you still feeling a bit stressed you can make an appointment for a Bobo (pronounced bom Bo) massage. This traditional Fijian massage is for those that like firm pressure.

Mango sundae at the Fiji Orchid  Fiji Islands - copyright Jerome Shaw / www.JeromeShaw.com
Mango sundae at the Fiji Orchid are just one of the treats 
available from the kitchen. Breakfast is outstanding. 
photo copyright Jerome Shaw 2011/ www.JeromeShaw.com
The food at The Fiji Orchid is excellent, showcasing local produce, meats and fish. The variety of dishes and quality of preparation and presentation far exceeds what is standard at small property. Breakfast is not to be missed.

If you are not a beach person you may never want to leave The Fiji Orchid but if you do there is lots explore. Saweni Beach is nearby as is The Garden of the Sleeping Giant, founded by Burr, but more on that in a future article. You are only a 45 minutes (15 miles/25km) drive from Nadi’s town market, a wonderful open-air market where you can buy everything from fresh crabs to eggplant to kava. The colorful Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple is in Nadi. Viseisel, the legendary first village in Fiji, is located between Nadi and Laukota and makes a great afternoon outing. Lautoka is 15 minutes (5 miles/8km) away by car. The Fiji Orchid is a great spot to base your explorations of Viti Levu.









Jerome's other stories on Fiji:

FYI: The Fiji Orchid and The Likuliki Lagoon Resort offer a special combination package named the “The Sanctuary.” Enjoy two of Fiji’s most unique luxury resort with 2 nights at The Fiji Orchid, including breakfast and return airport ground transfers and 4 nights at Likuliku Lagoon Resort, including all meals and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Champagne on arrival. Contact each resort and use the booking code: LLRORCHID.

Also consider a Nukbati Island visit using The Fiji Orchid as your first and last night of accommodation. More on Nukabati Island in a future post.


This trip was sponsored in part by the following:
Fox Global Communications

Photography and text copyright Jerome Shaw 2011 / www.jeromeshaw.com. This article and photos may not be reposted or reproduced without prior written permission from the author. Please contact Jerome on Twitter at @JeromeShaw or find him on Facebook.


Jerome Shaw, Denver International Travel Examiner
Jerome Shaw is a writer, photographer, traveler and teacher based in Denver, Colorado. Jerome has been traveling since his first taste of adventure while working on ski films in Aspen. He teaches photography classes and workshops in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, & Cuba and is planning a new tour to Bali in 2014.





2 comments :

  1. Looks beautiful ! I would love to go to Fiji one day

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fiji is indeed a beautiful. It is certainly one of my favorite island holidays. If it weren't so far I'd go more often and stay longer.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      Delete

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