Leaving Los Angeles abroad Fiji Airways’ new A330-200 airbus late Monday night, my group and I touched down at Nadi International Airport Wednesday morning around 5:30 a.m. Fijian time. I was in economy class with about four others in my group and I was a bit nervous about how I would handle a (my first) 10-hour flight. And would I get enough sleep?
I did get to rest successfully, and enjoyed the inflight entertainment. The A330 sports Panasonic’s state-of-the-art eX2 entertainment system provides on demand video and audio. My list of choices ranged from recently-release movies and episodes from American and UK television programs, to video games and album playlists. It was also great to be able to keep my iPhone charged thanks to a USB outlet next to the center’s flat screen. Also, if needed, there was a power outlet around my seat.
Although it can be tough to sleep comfortably in economy class during overnight flights, the A330’s seat design helps. Its economy seats have more of an extended angle for reclining and the width of the armrest has been reduced to give back a little extra personal space. I discovered my seat had a pullout headrest which helped make my sleeping position more comfortable.
Sheraton Fiji Resort and Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa
Being greeted and escorted by Fiji Tourism, we spent our first evening on Denarau Island, which is about a 20-minute ride from Nadi International Airport. Each half of our group stayed at one of two properties at Starwood Hotels and Resorts’ five-star integrated resort complex: the Sheraton Fiji Resort and Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa.
My second-level ocean view room at the five-star Sheraton Fiji Resort had a great outdoor patio for just sitting out on the deck and gazing at the water. The bathroom was well sized with a walk-in shower and dual vanities. It was also nice to be staying directly near the beach area and I just literally had to walk around the corner to get there.
In addition to having 264 guest rooms with views of either the ocean or tropic gardens, this Sheraton property fits both vacationers and families, particularly with activities suited for young guests. For families, there are designated children’s play areas, a family-friendly lagoon and a “Lai Lai Kids Club” for youngsters. With rooms, there are ones that interconnect so parents and children can go from one to the other.
Dining selections range in taste and choice from Feast, a specialty breakfast and dinner buffet restaurant overlooking a swimming pool, to Flying Fish Restaurant, with an international menu offering a wide selection of seafood dishes and a nice waterside view. The Pantry provides “grab and go” options, Chime serves up tropical cocktails in its lounge setting, and Ports O’ Call specializes in fine dining.
About a five-minute walk from the Sheraton Fiji Resort, the 271-guest room Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa offers similar options for indoor and outdoor activities with children’s playgrounds, a spa jacuzzi, a fitness center and swimming/lap pools. Its signature Heavenly Spa by Westin is set in 1350 m2 of meditation gardens, complete with 10 open-air therapy rooms and two suites to replicate a traditional Fijian bure (a home).
For your morning meal, Ocean Terrace centers on Continental and American breakfast with a lookout view of Nadi Bay. At night, Ocean Terrace becomes the setting for Zing, which offers Asian-inspired cuisine. STEAKHOUSE by Peter Kuruvita has a beach and poolside location, with a wine bar. In addition to a specialty steak menu, other choices include fresh seafood, pork, duck, and vegetarian dishes.
Also found on the Starwood property, the Sheraton Denarau Villas consist of two bedroom villas and three bedroom seafront villas. Guests at all three locations can use the facilities at their neighboring accomodations. And for those who play golf or tennis, the Denarau Golf & Racquet Club features an 18-hole course designed by Eiichi Motohasi, six natural lawn and four floodlight all weather tennis courses, and a clubhouse with pro-shop, bar, and locker rooms.
As Denarau Island is graced with a number of resort options, I found the Starwood Hotel & Resorts Fiji properties as a good option for a first-time visit to Fiji!