Fiji Beach Resort & Spa Managed by Hilton – Nadi, Fiji – ☆☆☆☆
Date of Travel: April 2010
On our way home from a trip to Australia and New Zealand, we had a 20 hour stopover in Nadi, Fiji. We were excited to visit Fiji for the first time, and when we arrived in Nadi, we asked if the airline they could change our ticket to send us home in 3 or 4 days, instead of our flight booked early the next morning. The airline was very cooperative and gave us the option to stay with no change fee if we chose. We then picked up our Hertz rental car, and made our way to the ‘Fiji Beach Resort and Spa Managed by Hilton’. Obviously we wanted to see the accommodation for ourselves and check availability before committing to the later flight.
Driving to the hotel is pretty confusing as the street signage is scarce, and the directions we were given made little sense. Somewhat of an adventure though.
Checking in at the hotel was a little chaotic, but the staff were very pleasant and welcoming once we were able to dodge past the parade of tourist children strewn across the lobby/check-in area. We inquired as to whether they would be able to accommodate for the additional few nights we were hoping to stay, and they confirmed that our room was indeed available should we choose to extend.
As we made our way up to our second story room (#707), pink and blue tricycles, winnie the pooh playpen and sand buckets littered our entrance area. Once in the room, we observed the nice contemporary/modern interior design we had seen on the website, however, there were distinct signs of wear and tear that suggested a need for renovation; especially in the toilet, shower and balcony areas. Should you decide to forego a poolside cabana on one of Fiji’s not too uncommon rainy days, high-definition television is obviously not available to compliment the 42″ in-room flat screen. Strangely, my husband found an open close pin when he pulled back the bed covers. We kicked ourselves for not booking a ground floor room so we could have walked directly out the door to the beach front area.
Once settled in, we decided to go down and relax by the pool. We knew there were children at the resort, but had no idea that we were massively outnumbered! The pool was at capacity with children of all ages, but mostly in the 1 to 6 age range. The photos on the website looked so beautiful, but in reality, the poolside furniture and decor was a little tired. The adult only pool was full of teenagers throwing footballs and playing water polo. We fled the scene as quickly as possible and found 2 available beach side chairs a ways down from the spongebob squarepants water park (that’s the vibe I got anyway.) The ocean water was pretty dirty compared to my sapphire seas of Hawai’i, so we just kept to our sunbathing.
When we made our way over to the Maravu restaurant for lunch, we discovered that it had been rented out for a private mad hatter’s themed birthday party for 6 year olds. So basically we had to go to the poolside restaurant ‘Nuku‘ to eat. Excessively slow service, offensively overpriced cocktails and the boisterous screaming and crying of rogue babes made for a comical lunch experience. On a positive note, the food wasn’t awful.. not great though.
The deli/espresso/gelato bar ‘L’Epicier‘ was open during a renovation, but the gelato had clearly experienced a few power outages since it had been melted and re-frozen. The convenience store near the lobby has a good selection of sundries. An array of baby items adorned a vast majority of the shelves. Yet another indicator as to the hotels primary demographic.
Once back at our room I called the restaurant that we were told was the only establishment on site that served fine dining (Maravu). I asked to make a reservation, and the woman asked if we would like beach front, or indoor seating. I made the obvious choice (beach front), as we were on an island after all. The tone in the woman’s voice suddenly became ecstatic and asked if it was a special occasion. She wanted to know if she could make a special card or have a particular bottle of wine waiting for us at the table. Thinking nothing of it, I said, “no special occasion, just dinner.” She happily exclaimed that she would prepare the table special for us, and see you at 6:30! The enthusiasm was a little unexpected, but I just figured she was a pleasant natured woman.
When we arrived at Maravu for dinner, oddly, the front desk woman did not have our reservation down. I found that very strange, as the woman I had spoken with earlier clearly had put us down for 2 at that time. Maybe they had sent me to the wrong phone extension when I booked? Quite confused since we had been informed that this was the only dinner restaurant, we asked her to check again. I also asked if perhaps there was another restaurant we might have made the booking at. The woman didn’t seem to listen and said she could seat us immediately, we tried to argue, but she wouldn’t have it. She took us directly to a table which was on the outside porch overlooking the beach area. I said, “if there is another restaurant, can you please cancel our booking, because they are expecting us.” I think she said “I’ll take care of it” in broken english, so we just settled in and evaluated the menu. Again, rampant, naked children running a muck, crawling under our table at one point. Adorable.. just not when you’re spending 300.00 USD for the night.
Once our order was placed, we looked over in the near distance at the Nuku (where we had eaten lunch). The sun had just gone down, and the pool area was finally peaceful and quiet. We assumed it was that restaurant where we had made the reservation, since clearly it was open for dinner. Once it got completely dark, (about 30 minutes later) we could see amply spaced torches lining the waterfront on the sand out in front of the Nuku. Between them were candlelit dinner tables for 2, steps from the white wash. Due to lack of communication and a little ignorance, we were stuck at the Disneyland restaurant instead of enjoying our reserved table by the sea. Another 10 minutes went by and our food finally arrived. We would have much rather eaten mediocre food in a beautiful kid free beach setting. Oh well. We probably saved a couple bucks. Beach front would have been worth it though.
Back at the room we checked rates at adult only resorts on some of the outer Fijian islands, but 1200.00 USD per night just would have been too much of a stretch. That evening we made the decision to take our original flight home at 7:30am the next morning.
At 6am we arrived at the Nuku poolside restaurant for a beautiful, plentiful buffet breakfast. At this hour, the contrast was astounding. The silence and peaceful serenity would have made for a great photo-op. We’re just glad we got on our way before all the little ones woke up!
I wish I would have taken some photos for you, but it was such a short trip.. Sorry! ;^)