Tavola Treasure | Artisanal Style

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Aerial View of Tavola Villa Fiji in Savusavu

“A perfect martini should be made by filling a glass with gin and then waving it in the general direction of Italy.” — Noël Coward

I rather enjoy a gin martini, and Noël Coward’s quote makes me smile. My preferred gin is Blue Turtle gin, a locally distilled Fijian spirit. As Tavola was named for the Italian word tavola, meaning family table, you don’t have to go far to wave your martini towards Italy when you’re at Tavola Villa! Noël Coward was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance and what Time magazine called “a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise”. How magical it would have been to have dinner with him, overlooking Savusavu Bay. Gathering with friends and family is so very special. And telling stories and laughing together are among our most precious moments. I always feel that Tavola herself is happiest when we have guests in house. Even her walls seem to smile. As if she is grateful and fulfilled that all of her loved ones have come home. Have a special occasion coming up? Consider celebrating with your family and friends at Tavola! Monica

Local Libations For Your Custom-stocked Bar


Experience The Delectable Offerings Of Artisanal Distilleries
Image: Experience The Delectable Offerings Of Artisanal Distilleries

Experience The Delectable Offerings Of Artisanal Distilleries: When you stay at Tavola, you can order your bar custom-stocked prior to your arrival. We proudly feature local spirits and beers in our curated cellar. The Blue Turtle Gin and the Bati Coffee Rum are two of my personal favorites. 🍸

  • Blue Turtle Gin: A new world gin that balances unique botanicals and innovative yet traditional herbs of kava, native ginger, ugly lemon and fresh curry leaf. A refreshing island-inspired gin with juniper notes overlaid with hints of pepper, spice and citrus. A house favorite.
  • Bati White Rum: Award winning white rum aged for 2 years in white oak vats has fresh citrus notes with soft vanilla aroma. Distilled from hand-cut sugar cane cultivated in rich volcanic soil and pure island water, then filtered through coconut shell carbon to bottle the essence of Fiji.
  • Bati Ratu Signature Dark Rum: Soft enough to sip straight or on the rocks, with notes of cocoa and dried fruit. Distilled on the island of Viti Levu and aged for 5 years in red oak ex-bourbon barrels.
  • Bati Coffee Rum: A Fijian white rum with aromas of freshly ground coffee beans and a soft and smooth mocha finish.
  • Fiji Bitter beer: A uniquely sharp beer.
  • Fiji Gold beer: A pale lager popular in Fiji and the go-to beer for Tavola guests.
  • Vonu beer: Handcrafted Fijian lager with delicate light hop aroma and fruity notes for a refreshing beer.

The Traditional Fijian Art of Masi


Asenaca pictured here is an artist. Hand stenciled fabric crafted from bark
Image: Asenaca, pictured here, is an artist. Hand-stenciled fabric crafted from bark

Asenaca, pictured here, is an artist. You can find her crafts at the Savusavu market located near the water’s edge in town. Asenaca joined us at Tavola to share the traditional art of masi. This is a fabric hand-crafted from the bark of the paper mulberry tree. The tradition is carried on by women who gather and pound the bark, often for hours, beating it until it becomes thin and pliable. As you might imagine, many stories are exchanged as the bark becomes masi.

Once it is transformed to barkcloth, color is applied, often as stencils. While many island nations in the South Pacific share the tradition of crafting tapa, the use of stencils is unique to Fiji. And the art of masi has been elevated in Fiji with the adaptation of many different techniques.

The dyes are natural. The brown stain is from the roots of the mangroves. Mangroves line our shores, protecting the land from harsh seas and nurturing sea life as a nursery. The deep, rich color of the mangroves is reflected in the stained masi. The black dye comes from the charcoal of the home fires in Fijian villages.

Masi is important in Fijian culture. It is designed for important life events and community ceremonies.

Inspiring Fijian Style And Design


Inspiring Fijian Style And Design
Image: Inspiring Fijian Style And Design

In December newlyweds Meme and Joe came by Tavola for a visit. For me, this was a very special and moving occasion. Meme and Joe work together at Turtle Island, the private island resort my uncle founded in 1972. Turtle Island is located in the Yasawas in Fiji. And I’m in the Northern Islands, a flight away! I’ve known and loved Meme for over a decade. Her effervescent spirit is absolutely infectious. And her husband Joe is a kind and honorable man. Welcoming them to Tavola was having long-treasured family arrive. I adore them.

Earlier in the year Meme and Joe were married in the tiny Catholic church located in the village of Vuaki, on the island of Matacawalevu, Joe’s home. Raised Catholic myself, I’ve attended mass many times in that humble church, often with my beloved, now-passed mother. Gathering with the villagers of Vuaki offers a powerful sense of belonging and gratitude.

For their wedding, Meme and Joe wore spectacular garments crafted from masi. Joe is wearing the traditional man’s wedding attire, called the Masi Kuvui with the color representing his Bati — his tribe in the village as the bodyguards of the village chief. And Meme’s masi gown is a gorgeous melding of tradition and haute couture. It was designed by Vuya Raratabu of Tabuadrau Designs. Both Meme and Joe are wearing garlands called Salusalu Sisi adorned with native flowers. Simply stunning.

Meme and Joe, we wish you a lifetime of happiness and abundant blessings for you and your families

Love Notes From Our Guests

What a pleasure it is to welcome them to our shores. And they often leave us love notes, like this one from Fatima who took a respite from her demanding role in Australia to join us for rest and relaxation.

❤️ Views and Serenity: I spent 5 nights at Tavola and I had an immensely relaxing and rejuvenating stay at this very special villa in Savusavu. The villa is incredibly beautiful with so many stunning vantage points over the bay. I stayed in the master bedroom and enjoyed the outdoor shower, the luxurious bathtub, falling asleep with the fans spinning overhead and waking up with views of the sunrise over the beautiful bay.

All of the activities were fantastic – kayaking, boating and snorkelling with Jack; the massages at the villa; the private chef; diving at the Cousteau resort; the jungle hikes and waterfall swims; relaxing in the hammocks; swimming the pool. It was so rejuvenating to spend time in the abundance of nature in and around Tavola.

Monica was a gracious and generous host, who helped with all aspects of booking my trip and activities, and made the process so easy, seamless and personalised. I really appreciate the individualised approach to my stay at the villa, it made the experience very special. It was truly such a treat. The staff were delightful and the meals were delicious, and I am so appreciative for such a wonderful stay.

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