Fiji is a long-haul flight for Americans. Ten hours direct from Los Angeles and even longer for those on the East Coast, and yet it continues to be on the bucket list for many travelers. It’s not hard to see why: beautiful beaches, clear blue water, top-notch resorts and amazing Fijian hospitality.
And now there’s even more reason to make the trip with Fiji Airways’ new planes, plus club-level service at some of the island’s top resorts. Here’s why there’s never been a better time to visit this South Pacific island.
Comfort in the Sky
Fiji’s national airline, Fiji Airways, has two new Airbus A350 XWB airplanes, which means if you’re lucky enough to fly business class, you’ll be sleeping in fully flat beds. The 33 business class seats have direct aisle-access, a 17-inch inflight entertainment screen (which has a variety of movies, TV shows, documentaries and a live camera so you can see what’s going on outside the plane) and plenty of personal space. The best feature, in our opinion, is the soft mattress pad and large duvet—which make it ideal for sleeping on the 10-hour flight.
But even if you’re flying economy, those seats are ranked among the most comfortable long-haul economy seats on the market. These new planes are also among the quietest in the sky.
They are eco-efficient which means lower noise and emissions at every stage of the journey. It has a 40 percent noise footprint reduction and 25 percent lower CO2 emissions versus previous generation aircraft. Not only is it quieter, but it’s also better for the environment.
Plus, for those who feel claustrophobic on long-haul flights, travelers will appreciate that the aircraft has the highest ceilings (95-inches) in the industry and the largest overhead luggage bins on the market. Lastly, you’ll notice a difference in air quality, since the air in the entire cabin is renewed every 2 to 3 minutes.
Now that you’ve flown here in comfort, where should you stay? While there are many really nice resorts on Fiji—this island nation is comprised of over 300 islands (although only about a third are inhabited)—three properties in particular offer club-level service that goes above and beyond the normal luxe experience.
At the Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, a separate adults-only wing, called the Waitui Beach Club, means you’re whisked away at check-in to a separate area for club guests. Think of it as the first-class section of the resort. From there, you’ll get a room in the adults-only wing, enjoy the beautiful adults-only infinity pool and have access to drinks and meals at the adults-only restaurant (are you seeing a theme here?).
As a member of the Waitui club, you can use all the facilities at the regular resort—including eating at the Bazaar Kitchen and Bar which has an expansive breakfast buffet—but the truth is, you won’t want to. The Waitui wing is such a respite—calm, tranquil and kid-free—that you won’t want to leave. It’s ideal for honeymooners or couples looking for a romantic getaway.
The Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa overlooks the Coral Coast on one side and a private beach and lagoon on the other. The resort is located on the private Yanuca Island and is connected by causeway to the mainland. For the ultimate in luxury, stay at the Reef Bures, of which there are six. These bures, which resemble standalone villas, are located on the beachfront with a private pathway leading down to the beach, an outdoor rain shower and spacious accommodations in a private and secluded part of the island.
Another option is a room in the adults-only Reef Wing. Both the Reef Bures and the Reef Wing rooms offer access to the adults only infinity pool, a lunchtime dining venue that overlooks that pool and complimentary canapés and cocktails each night at 5 pm.
CHI, The Spa is a secluded spa village nestled away from the main resort in its own private enclave and is well worth a visit. Indulge in their new Dusk Til Dawn package which allows travelers to stay overnight in the spa bure, eat their meals there and indulge in treatments. It is pampering at its best.
A source of great pride for the resort is that the culinary offering. More than 75 percent of all meat, seafood and produce is locally sourced. The Takali Asian Kitchen is Asian fusion and the dishes are paired with the resort’s 21 international gins, as well as an extensive wine list. The Golden Cowrie Coastal Italian is a favorite not only for its fresh seafood and pasta dishes, but its stunning views of the lagoon. Spirit enthusiasts will enjoy indulging at the The Black Marlin Tropical Bar, which carries more than 100 rums sourced from around the world.
InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa is located on the western coast of Viti Levu and boasts one of the nicest beaches—Natadola Beach—on the island.
The Club InterContinental, unlike the club level at the other two resorts, is open to families. Families can stay in the club-level rooms and utilize the club-level pool (however, there is an adults-only pool as well as a family pool at the main resort). The club level lounge really pulls out all the stops—a beautiful buffet and à la carte breakfast is included each morning (guests can have breakfast at two other restaurants as part of the club package); afternoon tea is complimentary and served daily at 3 pm (options include scones, sweets and little sandwiches); and happy hour canapes and drinks are served nightly at 5pm (cheese platters, fruits and hot and cold appetizers).
Club InterContinental is a resort within a resort and includes butler service—your butler can pack/unpack your suitcases, arrange excursions and perform a variety of other services. The club rooms also have a designated staff, plunge pools for rooms on ground floor suites and oversize balconies with bathtubs on second level suites. There are 50 one- and two-bedroom suites available; the two-bedrooms are well-suited for families.
For adults looking for a little R&R, the The Spa InterContinental is a combination of Asian, Eastern and Western treatment methods. Don’t be surprised to find yourself spending a lot of time in the hydrotherapy area, the “Wai” zone, which has a hot tub Jacuzzi, a steam room, an ice room and a rainforest shower. Be sure to get the Fijian massage and scrub (you can learn how to make your own scrub using local Fijian products like coconut oil and sugar cane).
When you’re ready to explore the island, have your butler book you on one of the many water activities the resort offers. We strongly recommend the jet ski tour, which includes a guided excursion, snorkeling at the reef and a visit to Robinson Crusoe Island. Other tours, including parasailing, snorkeling, deep-sea fishing, complimentary “learn to scuba” class and surfing can be arranged.
Don’t leave without having a private dinner “Under the Stars” on the beach or a secluded meal at one of the beachside cabanas. If the weather is not cooperating, book the private room at the Navo restaurant and indulge in a food and wine culinary pairing.