Vacation Recap from Oprah’s Favorite Things Winners Mr. & Mrs. Ellington

In the Fall of 2012,  Namale, Fiji’s #1 Resort & Spa was honored to be selected as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things 2012 and amazed with the journey along with 30 military spouses who, little did they know, were selected as the recipients of Oprah’s Favorite Things.

On November 18th, Oprah’s Favorite Things 2012 aired and the 30 deserving military spouses were not only surprised with all of Oprah’s Favorite Things but also the grand finale surprise of a trip to Oprah’s Favorite…Namale, Fiji’s #1 Resort and Spa!

We could not be more honored to continue celebrating these military spouses over the last year and to be able to reward them with a much deserved relaxing stay in our paradise. As each of the couple continues to make the trip to Namale, we hope to share with you their experience, including images showcasing their amazing time with us in the beautiful South Pacific.

So without further adieu, we would like to introduce Mr. & Mrs. Ellington and share with you their trip of a lifetime to Namale, Fiji’s #1 Resort and Spa! We thank you both for sharing so many of your personal photos, thoughts and memories. We loved having you and look forward to seeing you again soon!

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Magnificent! Serene! Gorgeous! These are just a few of the words that my husband Delwin and I would use to describe our experience at Namale Resort & Spa. To say our 5 night stay was relaxing and life changing, would be an understatement.

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Receiving the gift of this vacation from Oprah Winfrey and Tony Robbins, meant the world to my husband and I. As a military family, we rarely get the opportunity to go on vacation away from our children. Mainly because a lot of the time, we aren’t stationed in places close to family and friends. Ours is a lifestyle where we literally live each day as if it were our last together, so we have always loved and chosen to focus on our family time together when deciding to go on vacations. Getting a chance to spend alone time as a couple, was such a refreshing change for us and a chance we were so grateful for. So, if there’s a couple looking for the best, most romantic place to visit, you will find that and much more at Namale Resort & Spa.

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From the time we arrived on the property, we received a welcome fit for royalty. The friendly staff greeted us with a lovely welcome song and fresh squeezed mixed fruit juice (which was divine by the way). 

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We couldn’t help but to feel comfortable and at home with this marvelous group of people. We knew from the start that this vacation would be like none we’ve ever experienced before. We were given a tour of the property which led to nothing but “Ooos and Ahhhs” from Delwin and I. We couldn’t believe the amount of detail and special attention this all-inclusive resort put into each Bure, entertaining room, dining spot and the grounds itself. It felt as though we were walking around in a fairytale.

We were then taken to our room and we were in awe of how breathtakingly beautiful our bure was. We were greeted with a welcome sign spelled out in rose petals. No detail was ever overlooked. I was especially pleased with all the snacks and goodies we had in our mini bar, despite having the option to grab a snack or meal in the dining hall whenever we liked. How awesome is that!

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Namale must’ve searched out and found the best chefs, and bartenders in the world because the food was superb and the cocktails were divine! Each course and drink was meticulously prepared and presented to us. After our first meal, we were hooked and looked forward to our daily meals and drinks. For someone who LOVES to eat, it was definitely one of my favorite parts of this trip.

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If you’re looking for the most romantic ways to have a meal no matter what time of day it is, Namale has some of the most romantic and strikingly beautiful dining spots. We absolutely loved all the dining out spots but a few of them left a huge impact on us. One of our favorites was the “Namale Waterfalls.” We decided to have our lunch there one day. We were surrounded by all of God’s glory and we loved every second of it. Listening to the waterfalls and birds chirping while we ate in the middle of this gorgeous forest was incredible. Besides our meal being terrific, we were then able to take a dip in the water. I chickened out because it was too cold for me, but Delwin took full advantage of it and found the water very refreshing.

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Another dining out spot that had me hooked, was the “Blow Hole.” We had breakfast there and it was by far the best breakfast spot anyone can experience. The weather was perfect, the scenery was unbeatable and the food was outstanding. We would have loved to stay there all day. The “Lover’s Deck” also left an impression on us. We had a delectable dinner there and it was so romantic and sweet.

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The first night we retired to our room, we were pleasantly surprised that the staff had set up our beds for us and left us a personalized “Coconut telegraph” (note) of our schedule for the next day with all the options we had throughout the day in the event we wanted to make changes. We were amazed with how gracious and thorough Namale’s staff was. We were even more pleased to know that this is all part of the normal routine for Namale’s guests.

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On our third day of our trip, we were surprised with an upgrade to an ocean view room. We absolutely loved our garden bure but we were amazed by the exquisiteness of our new room. We especially loved the fact that we could fall asleep and wake up to the delightful sounds of the ocean and enjoy the amazing views of the trees and the ocean at the same time.

One of the things we loved to do each night was take a stroll around the property. We also loved to make use of the various entertainment rooms Namale had to offer. We really loved spending time in the “Kava Bowl.” This place was amazing! We had so many options to have a good time. If you didn’t feel up to bowling, you could play darts, foosball, ping pong, air hockey, pool, simulated golf, surf the net all while enjoying the goodies in the mini bar and jamming out to your own selection of music. I told Delwin that I’d like a “Kava Bowl” in our house. It was so cozy and so fun that we couldn’t help but to have a great time in there.

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Another place that was simply incredible was the “Indoor basketball court/media room.” We were able to watch a movie with views of the ocean and beautiful greenery as our backdrop. It was the perfect set up for “dinner and a movie.” We also LOVED the tranquility and peaceful ambience of Namale’s spa. We made great use of the hydrotherapy room which had remarkable ocean views.

Even though we could do as little or as much as we wanted during our stay, we decided that we would take advantage of the activities they had available. Although we didn’t do every activity, we were able to do some water activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, and swimming in the pristine waters of the Savusavu bay. Practically every activity we did was a special highlight for us but I was especially fond of the horseback riding. We were able to ride on the shores of the bay surrounding Namale and through the gorgeous paths of the property. Namale has to have the best horseback riding paths ever! It was like riding in a scene from a book or movie, the beauty of the grounds was astounding.

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Another favorite activity of ours was the village and the town tour. We’re always interested in learning about other cultures. Delwin and I were pleasantly surprised to learn that Fiji had a lot of similarities to our homeland of Jamaica. Both countries were ruled by England so we saw stores, supermarket products, schools, and even spellings that were the same or somewhat similar to those in Jamaica. Just another thing that made us feel right at home. During the village tour, we learned so much about the various villages and their customs. Their backgrounds and practices were remarkable and intriguing to us. They left us wanting to learn more.

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While we can rave about the property, food, drinks and views all day long, we can’t forget to mention the people of Namale. The staff was by far some of the friendliest people we’ve ever met. No matter where we were on the property we were always greeted with grins, smiles and lots of “Bulas.” We actually noticed this about everyone in Fiji whether we were in town, on the village tour or at Namale. I think it’s the Kava (a traditional drink in Fiji used to bring people together for storytelling and socializing). ;) It was so refreshing to experience that. There is no way possible anyone can have a bad day if you live in Fiji. I know for sure that no one who goes to Namale will ever have a bad day because the staff went above and beyond making sure every need was met and everyone was comfortable and happy.

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We grew very fond of the staff. We loved our daily trips in the Bula carts because a Fijian story or language lesson was always included and very much appreciated. We’re so honored to be able to call Namale’s staff, our friends. Our last day at Namale was very sad. We literally got to leave our mark at Namale when we were asked to write a message in a cement stone that will be placed somewhere on the property. Just another thing that will tie us to Namale forever. After completing our stone, the staff sang us the farewell song and I literally fought back tears. It was so touching and heart felt.

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While we initially went to Namale for a romantic, relaxing getaway, we got so much more than that from this trip. We learned that family, love and community seems to be the driving forces for this stunning island. We also met some amazing friends while exploring this small, but mighty island. I’m proud to say that Namale Resort & Spa has a special place in our hearts. We miss it dearly and will visit again in the future.

Words can’t begin to express the gratitude we have for Oprah and Tony Robbins for this incredible opportunity. If it weren’t for Tony’s generosity in opening up his slice of heaven to us and for Oprah’s unbelievably huge heart and compassionate soul, we probably would’ve never gotten the chance to experience the true bliss we experienced at Namale. 

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