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Wellness treatments have almost become de rigueur for luxury resorts. But as JON UNDERWOOD discovers, one Fijian property is doing things a little differently.

IN THE highly competitive hotel market, anything that gives you an edge over your rivals could be a potential money-spinner.

One luxury resort is taking the health and wellness of its guests to intriguing new levels.

I recently visited Six Senses Fiji on Malolo Island, the largest of the Mamanuca Islands and a simple 30-minute boat ride from Denarau Harbour on Viti Levu. The property was the brand’s first in the South Pacific but only recently re-opened on April 1 after the pandemic.

As we approach the jetty, the sound of music fills the air. Fijians love to sing and why not as they are really good at it. They’ll serenade you when you arrive and again when you leave.

It’s genuine, it’s heart-warming and it is why Fiji remains such a popular destination for Australians.

Once safely ashore we are ushered into the main reception area and given a welcoming drink. As we take in our surroundings there’s an air of understated luxury about the place and I’m immediately disappointed that we won’t be staying at least one night to really get to know the place.

Australia is the number one market for Six Senses Fiji and demand has been strong post-COVID.

“We weren’t sure when we were doing our budgets just how it would look for 2023,” says Mark Kitchen, the erudite and well-travelled General Manager as we chat over lunch.

“We thought Australians would just be testing Fiji coming out of lockdown and maybe go to Europe this year instead, but they’ve come back and we’ve continued to have a really strong year in terms of occupancy and demand.”

The resort has 24 pool villas plus several large residences with three- to six- bedrooms. While we didn’t get to view the latter, the room we were shown was suitably opulent and just a few paces from the secluded beach, where guests can indulge in all kinds of water-related activities.

Sadly, we weren’t here to lounge around. It was off to the Alchemy Bar for a quick lesson in how to make all-natural, 100 per cent organic body scrubs with our instructor, Lani.

The concept is simple. Take locally grown, fresh and seasonal produce and with a bit of mixing, pounding and stirring, hey presto you’ve got your own hydrating or detoxifying, chemical-free products.

I decided detox was the way to go (it had been a hectic couple of days!) so blended an intriguing mixture of coffee, lemongrass, ginger and lime juice. Other options included coconut flakes, honey, avocado, papaya, carrot and bananas (apparently, it’s bad form to eat your ingredients while blending!).

It’s unlikely L’Oreal will be too concerned about the scrub I created but it smelt good and when I rubbed it onto my skin, I could almost feel the toxins in my body heading for the nearest exit…

Whether it worked or not, sitting in a jungle clearing, wearing aprons and mixing potions around a giant wooden bench like a throwback kindergarten class was a great way to spend a Sunday morning.

And so, smelling lovely and thoroughly rejuvenated, we headed off to our next appointment.

Now when someone says “spa treatment” you automatically imagine massage, scented oils and soothing music, right? What I wasn’t expecting was Dr. Aju and an “integrated wellness screening”.

Dr. Aju (pictured below) is an Ayurvedic health and wellness consultant from Kerala. He is one of the resort’s visiting practitioners as part of the extensive wellness program offered to guests, which includes such things as sleep and sound therapy, yoga and fitness.

As I’m shown into his consulting room, I’m suddenly aware that this is going to be an altogether different kind of “hands-on” treatment.

Having measured my height, weight and noted my age, Dr. Aju places padded electrodes on my head and a finger oximeter on my hand to measure my heart rate, oxygen levels and other biological data. So far, so good.

He asks about my lifestyle choices. I instantly halve my weekly alcohol content and confirm that I don’t smoke or take illicit substances.

Eventually he asks to take my pulse and in doing so appears to go into some kind of trance, humming gently to himself. Not really sure where this is going now…

Suddenly, he’s back in the room. Having assessed all the data, he gives me an interesting recipe of fruit, cow’s milk and various spices that I’m supposed to take for 13 days for the next seven months to restore my inner balance and wellbeing. Clearly my body is in need of a serious tune-up and oil change!

Truth be told, it was all a little “hippy dippy” for my tastes, but I could see that many guests would appreciate Dr Aju’s consultation, given how popular an authentic, holistic approach is becoming these days.

“I think people are definitely looking to reconnect more. What happened during COVID was such an intense time and people were separated from family and there was a lot of stress,” adds Mark.

“That’s kind of our mantra. Reconnecting with yourself and with others and the world around you.”

SOUND THERAPIST Ashley Tan will be hosting an exclusive wellness package at Six Senses Fiji from September 5 to October 8.

SOUND THERAPIST Ashley Tan will be hosting an exclusive wellness package at Six Senses Fiji from September 5 to October 8.

Entitled “A Journey Through the Senses”, the experience promises to take guests on a profound exploration of sound and consciousness.

Ashley uses singing bowls, gongs, tuning forks and crystal bowls to create a symphony of healing, melting away tension and restoring balance throughout the body, mind and spirit.

She will guide guests on a transformative three-night journey to achieve deep relaxation and rejuvenation through the power of sound.

Rates start from $FJ9,645 (approx. $AU6,500) for two guests, covering a three-night stay in a Hideaway pool villa.

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