GTHQ Jaunt Journal – Hotel: Hilton Fiji Beach Resort and Spa – Nadi, Fiji
Location: Denarau Island, Nadi, Fiji
On an award trip that took us to Taiwan, China and the Philippines, we decided to finish off with a side trip to Fiji 😉 After looking at the different hotel options available we decided on The Hilton Fiji Beach Resort and Spa which is a Hilton Category 7 property.
We happened to be there on December 31st and had a very late dinner on the beach while the hotel set off a fireworks show. We were able to experience “Island Time” for about a week while being able to work in a lot of water sports and activities.
Every room offers a private beachfront terrace or balcony and we booked a studio beachfront that has a balcony overlooking the beach and ocean. There was a large balcony with floor-to-ceiling windows. The bedroom contained a king-size bed which had a spectacular view of the sunset.
The bathroom has a separate shower and bathtub and is immediately to the left upon entering. There are Crabtree and Evelyn Amenities.
One complaint was that the Wifi was spotty and quite slow.
The property is located on the beachfront (as one would expect) and has 1.5 km of private beach – nice for those early morning jogs.
There are also various restaurants on the property and some shops and convenience stores to buy items such as towels, swimsuits, sunscreen and souvenirs. In fact, the staff recommends buying alcohol in the shops rather than buying it through the restaurants. That’s very kind of them to help save guests money but I’m not sure how management would feel about that if they find out…
The hotel complex offers seven separate pools and there are separate adult, kids and family pools. The pool staff does a decent job of coming by regularly to offer drinks and snacks but is not at all overly aggressive. They also have a good assortment of activities for the kids – beach games, treasure hunts and fun activities at The Kids Club.
The gym was very small with very limited equipment. Only a few cardio bike/treadmills and a few weight lifting machines and free weights. Also the air conditioning was kept freezing cold which shocks the system when going from 31 c (88 F) to 16 C (61 F).
There’s quite a good range of water sports – fishing, jet skiing, snorkeling, power snorkeling, diving, catamaran tours, etc. Some can be booked at the hotel’s recreation and tour desks while others need to be booked at the Sheraton nearby. Additionally, you can play a game of tennis or a round of golf at Denarau Golf and Racquet Club, located just 5 minutes away.
There are 3 restaurants on the property. The first was the open-air Nuku restaurant where breakfast was served and is located by the main pools. We appreciated that the breakfast buffet spread was quite large and that there were many gluten free options. The local birds provided some entertainment as they constantly tried to take some starched goodies from our plates. Service was prompt as the staff tried to keep up with the constant in and out flow of guests. Dinner was a completely different ordeal. The first time we ate there, service was extremely slow and the meals were average. The 2nd experience was better but it was probably due to there being a local Fijian show being performed while dinner was served. 3 out 5 stars because breakfast was quite good.
The second restaurant was Maravu with a mix of Southeast Asian cuisine. The meals here were much better presented and the taste was fantastic. The atmosphere is more relaxed and you can choose between seating at a table or on beanbags and cushions. The only negative is that the portions were quite small. We enjoyed the fireworks show from this ocean facing property. I would rate it 4 out of 5 stars.
The 3rd dining option is L’Epicier which is more of a bakery. You can get croissants and other pastries as well as coffee. However, they also make pizzas and gluten free pizzas as well. Both were quite good and can be delivered to your room.
The Spa (creative name!) has multiple beauty treatments, bath and rituals for singles or couples to choose from. They have seven private treatment rooms or you can choose to have the massage outside at the Poolside Spa Pavilion or in your room. Menu here and prices here.
The culture is quite relaxed and friendly. Most of the staff carries this South Pacific “Island Time” mentality and as soon as you accept the mindset you’ll enjoy the atmosphere much more. Don’t expect speedy service but expect it in a reasonable amount of time.
The beach itself is disappointing as it’s a mix of mud and sand due to the reclamation process and clearing of mangroves which originally lined this area. If you want the pristine views of turquoise water and white sand beach then head off the island to smaller islands that are short boat rides away. Alternatively, you can rent a jet ski and shoot across the sea for about 30 minutes to other islands. It was a nice experience to see sea turtles in the open ocean from our jet skis. Just be careful not to get caught in a storm as it can get quite choppy on the open waters.
There’s a shopping center about a 5 minute drive from the hotel which has a good number of shops and restaurants. We had the second best lobster (only beat by the fresh lobster market in Panama) at Cardo’s that’s located here. We savored the fresh coconuts and mixed fresh fruit drinks which are common but never grow old.
The Good: Atmosphere and sports diversity Normal cost: USD$2898 Our cost: USD$0 + 249,000 Hilton Points
The Bad: Wifi was spotty
The Ugly: Beach was muddy reclaimed land