Category Archives: Resorts

Final Day on Fiji’s Coral Coast

The final place of stay during our media trip was at Outrigger on the Lagoon Fiji in Sigatoka, on the Coral Coast region in Southern Viti Levu. Opened in 2005, the Outrigger is a beachside complex designed to replicate a Fijian village. Around the property, accommodations include 254 hotel rooms, suites and differently placed sets of bure bungalows. And just recently, this AAA five-star accredited resort opened an adults-only Vahavu swimming pool, bistro and banquet pavilion.


I enjoyed my stay inside my oceanview suite, yet I think one of the resort’s best scenic views, in my opinion, can be found at reception, on the upper level of the property’s main building. This facility also contains shops, conferences and meeting rooms, and a “grab and go” eatery. Head to the ground level to exit and follow walkways leading to the resort’s restaurants, cafes and bars and pool area.


Dining options include Ivi Restaurant for fine dining; Sundowner Bar & Grill, with an extensive steak and seafood menu; Baravi Restaurant and accompanying bar, for eating by the pool lounge or bar side with Asian-inspired cuisine options; and Vale Ni Kana, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner inside a bure. And get before dinner drinks or a nightcap at the Vakavanua Lounge. A tennis court, fitness center and golf driving range (accessible by a underground tunnel) are also offered.

Guests receive personalized service called “Talai Touch.” As the Fijian word talai means “to serve,” among the Talai butlers’ deliveries is a nightly offering: a complimentary pairing of canapes and champagne (or other choice of beverage) right to your door.


On Sunday afternoon, I went for my spa appointment at Bebe Spa. You are escorted to this spa (Bebe is the Fijian word for butterfly) by car, as the sanctuary is based on a mountain ridge above the resort. Its high-hill location provides lovely views of the South Pacific’s ocean waters and also ties in with the notion of providing a sense of getting away. With the picturesque scenery, it’s surprising yet understandable to have a wedding chapel called Bure ni Loloma on the grounds as well as a Kalokalo Bar for perhaps a cocktail after your service is completed.


Spa services extend to specialty facials, body wraps, exfoliations and hands and feet treatments. With massages, offerings include ones that incorporate Fijian and other South Pacific techniques such as a Fijian Bobo massage that centers on using fluid strokes from the hands, elbows and forearms. As for me, I opted to get a Dilo and Cucumber Body Wrap, which is tailored to sunburned skin (which, due to being fair skinned, I had gotten a bit of). The wrap contains dilo and coconut oils to restore moisture to the skin and cucumber helps with cooling.

Around 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, our group went to a village called Korotogo — a short drive from Outrigger — to attend a morning church service. Arriving early, we were able to take a quick walk and met and talked to older and younger residents who also were on their way to church. Dressed in their Sunday best, a group of small children walked back with us and sat near us for the roughly two-hour service. When the service ended, we got to enjoy a photo op with the children, who were very good in church!

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In the early evening, we packed up again and returned to Nadi for our Fiji Airways flight back to Los Angeles. Moce (goodbye) and Vinaka (thank you), Fiji!


Maintaining Responsible Luxury: Royal Davui Island Resort

For Thursday, July 11, my group departed to the next place on our Fijian itinerary for one night’s stay and a good amount of time in the early afternoon to explore the property. This time, we headed off to Royal Davui Island Resort, arriving to this waterside location by speedboat.


On an island called Ugaga, off the southwestern coast of Viti Levu, Royal Davui Island Resort is a private Fijian paradise whose owners maintains a healthy philosophy in providing “responsible luxury” to guests. Established as a partnership between Grahame Southwick, his wife, Margaret, and their friend, Keith Watkins, the land in which Royal Davui now stands on had been a place where the three friends often went for picnicking.

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Sharing an interest in opening a resort, these friends decided to go in on developing the five and a half-acre property, which opened in 2005 after a two-long construction period.

Presently, Royal Davui’s layout consists of 15 villas (a mix of Vales and Suites) slightly varying in features but all have ocean side views of Southern Beach and Western Beach (which is said to be best for snorkeling) and even the Davui Marine Sanctuary. One villa presently serves as the temporary location for Spa Davui. A permanent home for this spa, which uses Pure Fiji products, is set for completion by the end of this year.

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In keeping its eco-setting in mind, each vale and suite was constructed from timber directly coming from sustainable plantation stock . All depict South Pacific living as well. For both air ventilation and energy conservation, they contain a Vengola, a retracting set of ceiling blinds that guests can use in place of turning on AC units, or also open their patio doors. Bedding gets changed every third day to lessen the amount of detergents – biodegradable cleaners are used – that get into the waterways. Water purifiers are also found inside each villa.

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In my island plunge pool vale, number 6, I had two patio choices, leading from either by bedroom or front room, for sitting out and taking in the South Pacific scenery. A stone plunge pool was adjacent to both decks. The bathroom included a Jacuzzi, dual vanity sinks, stand-up shower and closet. A flashlight is kept in the closet so guests can walk back to their suites at night along well-kept pathways.

Near reception, there is an entertainment room, a fitness room, and Banyan Restaurant & Bar. Wi-Fi is only accessible in the restaurant, which has a daily changing menu, and the reception room. However a strong mix of complimentary and charged activity options would encourage guests to step away from laptops and smartphones.

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Guests can do just about any water or outdoor interest from stand up paddle boarding and snorkeling to nearby hiking and scuba diving. Dive sites are about within 15-45 minutes of the resort. The property also contains a swimming pool, and a Marine Centre, where activity bookings take place, and guides accompany guests on excursions such as Hobie Cat Sailing and an island snorkeling tour.

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As an adult’s only resort, the resort’s lush and remote setting is fitting as the setting for special occasions for couples ranging from honeymoons to anniversaries. Even weddings can be held there; guests can opt to have Fijian ceremonies performed. To make a couple’s stay extra special, guests can opt to purchase time in a private dining hut nicknamed the “Love Shack” to enjoy a meal for two.


As Fijians are noted for their warm, welcoming nature, it’s present here. And in song. All visitors receive a warm melodic greeting. With each guest’s arrival and departure, the resort staff gathers in unison to welcome or bid guests adieu, as a chorus presenting traditional Fijian songs such as a farewell song called Isa Lei.

Transportation options to Royal Davui Island Resort include by seaplane, helicopter or speedboat.

Goodbye LAX, Bula Fiji!

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?

photo(47)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!