By Allison Mitchell By Allison Mitchell | May 17, 2023 | Culture Lifestyle
Escape to the exotic South Pacific, where the five-star Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa offers romance, adventure and plenty of fun in the sun.
A look at the new adults-only Watui Beach Club at Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa
It’s all about the island life in beautiful Fiji, an archipelago of more than 330 islands that lie roughly 1,600 miles north of New Zealand. Warm year-round, temperatures swing between a refreshing 68 degrees and a balmy 87 degrees, with peak travel season from June through September—an ideal window for travelers looking to explore this enchanting region.
As for where to stay, Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, located on the picturesque Denarau Island, is a dream. Begin your journey aboard Fiji Airways in the comfort of its new business class pods, where lie-flat seats ensure a restful night’s sleep; nonstop flight time from LAX to Nadi International Airport clocks in around 10 and a half hours. While the 20-hour time difference from the West Coast may seem daunting, a red-eye and the hospitable staff aboard Fiji Airways—who are ready to toast your voyage with Champagne and brand-new cuisine offerings by executive chef Richard Cross—make the transition to paradise a celebratory and smooth process. After passing through customs, a less-than-30-minute car ride with the Sofitel concierge brings you to Sofitel Fiji, a 26-acre property equipped with 298 ocean-view rooms and suites.
Views of the beautiful Nadi Bay abound from Sofi tel Fiji Resort & Spa’s ocean-facing guest rooms
Opened in 2005, the five-star hotel completed a $50 million renovation in May 2022, a project three years in the making. “We are thrilled to unveil this renovation and welcome guests back to Fiji so they can discover our new and stylish resort,” shares general manager Vincent Macquet. “The property has been completely reimagined to exceed today’s luxury standards while still maintaining the gracious and heartfelt warmth of our Fijian spirit.” Highlights for travelers include the adults-only Watui Beach Club, an ideal spot for soaking up rays along Nadi Bay and grabbing a bite. An ocean-facing infinity pool, luxury cabanas and a swim-up bar are teamed with the poolside Watui Bar & Grill, an outdoor restaurant led by executive chef Stephane Postoyan. Expect fresh locally caught fish— like the South Pacific paka paka snapper— paired with steaks and other carnivorous favorites sourced from nearby New Zealand and Australia.
The adults-only side of the property features accommodations that include the Luxury Watui King Room, where a private balcony takes advantage of the stunning surroundings.
With its abundance of lush landscaping and nearby islands, Denarau is top-notch for guests with a sense of adventure. Charter a private boat through Sofitel Fiji, as its staff will come along for the ride to provide cuisine, massages and sporting equipment, and head to the famous Monuriki Island. The setting of the 2000 film Castaway starring Tom Hanks, the 100-acre site remains untouched, aside from coconuts spelling out “help me” in homage to his character’s stranded island experience. Enjoy a massage on the sand or explore the open water with guided jet skiing, paddleboarding and snorkeling. From there, set sail for Mana Sandbank, an exquisite stretch of sand where you can enjoy lunch for two—without a soul in sight. Nearby, the world’s first beach club located on its very own island is also a must-see, and Malamala Beach Club is ready to welcome you for revelry or relaxation with an infinity pool and plenty of tropical libations.
Fijian performers entertain guests by night at the poolside Watui Bar & Grill
Finally, immerse yourself in the magic of Fijian culture with a day trip down the Sigatoka River. Led by Sigatoka River Safari, guests will board a high-speed jet boat (complete with splashy 360-degree spins) to visit an authentic Fijian village and experience a traditional kava ceremony. The drink, made from the root of the native kava plant, is steeped in Fijian history and calms its imbibers with a mild sense of euphoria. Continue your Fijian exploration at Sabeto Hot Spring and Mud Pool, where you and your partner will coat one another in healing mud before taking a dip in natural hot springs that bubble at varying temperatures to promote detoxification and relaxation.
Back on-site, let the Sofitel team wine and dine you after a day of activities with your own private feast on the sand, illuminated by the flicker of tiki torches and the sound of the rolling South Pacific waves. Yes, you’re certainly on island time, and Sofitel is here to lead the way.
Photography by: PHOTOS COURTESY OF SOFITEL FIJI RESORT & SPA