After a week at Paradise Taveuni it was time to head back to the main Island and into the second half of our holiday. We had picked up a good deal for 5 nights at the very posh Fiji Beach Resort and Spa which is managed by the Hilton and is located in Denarau. It’s not normally the sort of place we stay, a big resort with lots of guests and a ton of kids!. We tend to like smaller places but we were looking for different after our week in the very small and very remote Paradise resort. We also wanted something with a beach for Astrid and with short travel times to and from the Nadi airport. When this deal came up we grabbed it as it is a highly rated resort and was a lot cheaper than the normal rack rates.
We were leaving Paradise resort in the afternoon so spent the morning relaxing and swimming. Astrid managed to go down for an early nap and we grabbed our last lunch at the resort before the long trip back to Nadi. First was the very long car trip back to Matei airport. Astrid wasn’t feeling all that well and we had to stop a few times on the 1.5 hour long trip back to let her out of the car for a stretch and then she got car sick from all the bumpy roads and that delayed us further. Our driver was fantastic dealing with a grumpy and pukey almost 2 year old and got us to the airport half an hour before our flight was due to leave. We did manage to get a few snaps of Taveuni on the drive back to the airport. It’s a very scenic island, even though the day was grey it was still quite picturesque.
Once we were all weighed again, along with the bags and toddler, the pilot decided we might as well leave, since there were only 7 of us on the flight and we were all there and waiting. We jumped aboard the tiny plane and since it’s a tiny airport with not much traffic promptly took off 20 mins before our scheduled departure time. Sydney airport, eat your heart out, that was some efficient service! It was again a very scenic flight on the twin otter plane but Astrid still wasn’t feeling well and we avoided more puke but she needed a fair bit of entertaining. Normally she a great flyer but was a bit out sorts that day. We had a spectacular entry to Nadi airport flying low through some very large mountains and disembarked our plane about 30 mins before we were due to land! Bags were collected (along with my parents passports that they had left behind accidentally on our way out of Nadi) and we decided the cheapest and most efficient option was a couple of cabs to get to our hotel.
It was only about a 25 min taxi ride to the Hilton in Denarau but Astrid was obviously not feeling well and fell asleep in my arms during the taxi ride. Sadly no carseats available but it was a much smoother ride than the trip from Paradise to Matei and we arrived at the hotel with any incident. Once we arrived at the Hilton Astrid awoke and was excited by the ‘new hotel’ and we checked in and found our rooms. We were several blocks apart from my parents which Astrid wasn’t impressed about as she was used to being able to knock on their door from our room. Nevertheless the rooms were very nice. We were in a studio garden view which was plenty big enough with a separate living area, a verandah and big bedroom (with very comfy bed) and a huge bathroom with bath in the middle of the room. My parents were in the regular studio room which was similar but without the separate living area. We had gotten the extra space so that we had more room for Astrid and the living area came in handy as we could close the doors after she went to sleep and it became card playing central.
Unlike Paradise resort there was TV, radio and internet here but we didn’t actually watch much TV. It was weird being back in civilisation though as we had no idea what had been going on in the world for the past week! Many of the resort rooms were 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments and were bigger than ours (with kitchens) but the space was more than sufficient for 5 days. Each block had about 8 studios/apartments in it and we were on the ground floor and most of the way down one end of the resort. My parents were on the first floor, with a beach view and closer to the restaurant area. The resort stretched out one block wide along the beach front so it could take awhile to walk from one end to the other. There was a buggy service for when you had luggage (or were being lazy) but we were happy to walk. Here are a few pics of the outside of the resort blocks.
The resort boasts 7 pools. Three are ‘adults’ only and the other 4 are family friendly (i.e. over-run by small children). All the pools are located near the main restaurant complex and are in fact one giant pool that is separated into various sections by walls and waterfalls. Still there is plenty of space. Lots of chairs and umbrellas around the pools, and plenty of area for the kids to play in. It was during all Australian school terms while we were there so while it was busy, most of the kids were under 5’s and we didn’t notice it being too busy or noisy.
In the mornings when we’d head down to breaky the pools were really quiet, although people would already have staked out their sun baking spots! It certainly wasn’t hard looking at this while we enjoyed our buffet breakfast at the central restaurant……..
Speaking of restaurants, the resort had the main restaurant ‘Nuku’ which is where we ate breakfast as our daily buffet breakfast was included in our resort deal. Lucky too, since it was hideously expensive if you were paying for it separately, but would have been a pain to go elsewhere for breaky every day. It was a quite impressive buffet selection and we loved the egg station chef who by the second day knew every guests egg order without even asking! She also made excellent omelette’s and poached eggs with hollandaise (or anything you wanted really). Plenty of yummy hot and cold selections, a good array of pastries, pancakes, waffles etc and lots of kiddy options too. We stuffed ourselves silly every morning. It opened at 7am and due to the early rising munchkin we were normally down there not long after that. It was pleasant sitting out on the deck around the water eating before it got too busy. By 8am all the other kids in the resort had arrived and it was getting a bit manic.
Having already decided that we weren’t going to be paying the resort prices for lunch we ‘procured’ additional snack items from the breakfast buffet like some muffins and croissants (and the odd bit of cheese, ham and fruit). My mum has had years of practice of this behaviour while travelling with kids and while it’s normally frowned upon by resorts we kept getting asked by staff if we wanted help ‘wrapping’ things up to take back to our room. We noticed pretty much everyone else with kids doing the exact same thing so stopped feeling guilty about it after the first day.
There was an ‘adults only’ breakfast at the Maravu restaurant, which looked lovely for those without kids. Both restaurants did lunches and dinners although the prices were a bit over the top for us. We did eat at Nuku the first night as it was late by the time we had checked in. It was a lovely meal in a lovely location but not cheap so we had already scoped out other possible dining options for later in the week (more on that in the next post).
There is also a deli/pizzeria L’epicier which did nice looking sandwiches, pizzas and pastries. The prices were insane though so we didn’t eat there at all. Anto and I had quite a few coffees there and used their complimentary wifi but we were way too cheap to buy any of their food (as nice as it looked)!. Based on our breakies and the one dinner we had at the resort the food did seem to be very good, but it would have gotten expensive fast if you ate every meal there.
After our lovely dinner the first night we retired to our respective rooms for a good nights sleep. We can attest that although we were hardly roughing it at our previous resort, the 5 star luxury was nice. We took advantage of the huge showers, big bath and very comfy beds and had a good nights sleep.
More about what we got up to (and what we ate!) in my next post………