Rosie’s has taken personal space to a new level. There are three of us riding shotgun in a bus that caters for 30 as we cruise down windy roads with our Rosie's driver, Hoot Holidays’ ground operator, rattling off facts and place names to his three bright-eyed passengers.
We’re trying to soak in every word, but of course, only the kooky facts stick. Like how the Fijians call the animals that run alongside the road ‘highway patrol’ and how ‘tourist kava’ is very different from the real stuff.
We’re launching headfirst into a whirlwind trip tackling four Coral Coast resorts in nine days, and we’re pumped.
I am with a cinematographer and photographer – let’s call them shooter and snapper – and the first port of call is the Shangri-La.
Shangri-La Fijian Resort and Spa
It’s dark when we arrive, so we can only judge the beer and the rooms. Rooms are beautiful – super clean and the bathroom is stunning. As for the Fiji Bitter – not a bad brew at all, but we later learn a Vonu is the way to go. It’s a handcrafted Fijian lager brewed with tropical Fijian water and tastes super crisp and refreshing.
We rise before the sun on day two and finally see the prime position we are in – totally beachfront with coconut trees skirting the water’s edge. We instantly wish we were 10 years old so we could tackle the huge inflatable waterpark on the lagoon. Who are we kidding; we’ll give it a crack later anyway.
The eating areas are designed with views in mind because everywhere you sit, you’re granted access to a stunning outlook across the water where you can sip a cocktail and watch surfers struggle with the monster-long paddle out to the reef. There is also a brand-spanking new adults-only wing which is super impressive – it boasts an adults-only pool, club lounge, restaurant plus your own check-in, too!
The Shangri-la Fiji is a great place for kids – the 25x25 metre waterpark is an instant drawcard being the only waterpark on Fiji’s Coral Coast. Yes, we gave it a crack, and yes, we were incredibly uncoordinated compared to the young whippersnappers. The Little Chiefs Club has a packed schedule of kiddie fun too, like tie-dying shirts, and every afternoon in the pool is the most hilarious aqua aerobics you won’t want to miss. They crank the tunes and about six staff members bust out a choreographed routine poolside, and the kids (and big kids) copy them from within the pool. Pure gold.
There is an adults-only restaurant for those wanting a little quiet time over breakfast or dinner and there are heaps of activities to do like kayaking and snorkelling, but overall, this place has Fiji family holiday written all over it.
The Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort
Get me to the spa. Perched on top of a massive hill above the resort, the Bebe Spa is exactly where I want to be. I immediately book in treatment for the next day. We take a stroll through the resort and are impressed with how ‘Fijian’ it looks. Everything is bamboo and palm leaves and the pool weaves around a bar/restaurant which gives the ultimate island vibe. Shooter is thinking about his poor wife at home with three young boys while he’s soaking in the island life, I can’t divert my gaze from the spa treatment menu, and Snapper is asking where he can get his hands on some kava – and not the tourist stuff.
The spa is definitely a drawcard for the adults, as is the adults-only pool and bar area and the beachfront bures, which are exactly how you’d imagine. There are heaps for the kids too with a great kids club and Mei Mei nanny service – of which there are about 120 nannies! The Sundowner Restaurant and Bar is beautiful, and great to catch the sunset while chowing down on some great pizza. It’s a great place for couples, friends and families.
The Naviti Resort
Driving into the Naviti, the golf-course instantly grabs the guys’ attention. I’m more interested in the beautifully-presented Chinese restaurant a chef recommended. Spoiler alert – we ate there on day six of our trip and it was better than we could have imagined. Can recommend the braised whole fish.
The Naviti Resort Fiji is the place for kids. The all-inclusive holiday packages mean you pay once and then drink and eat as much as you possibly can for the whole holiday – now that’s a holiday. Every night is like a child’s birthday party with dancing, limbo, games and all sorts of fun to entertain the kids (and the big kids).
The rooftop bar is the first thing that steals our hearts. What a view. Shooter is eyeing off a Mojito, I’m following suit and Snapper is still asking about kava. Our suites overlook the adults-only pool and white sandy beach with water peppered in dark and light blue patches showing off the shallow reef. This place is gorgeous.
You can easily tailor this place to suit your holiday needs. If you want peace and quiet and no kids, there is a whole adults-only wing, or if you want family fun, there is plenty of that too. The Wicked Walu restaurant on an island bure is fantastic – the seafood platter will rock your world. This would be my favourite of the four resorts, but if I am totally honest, all four have totally exceeded expectations. I’ll be back.
No matter which resort gets your pick for your next holiday, you can’t go wrong with any of the above. Get in touch with Hoot Holidays to organise your Fiji holiday.