FIJIAN re­gen­er­a­tion

Fiji is the home of hap­pi­ness, writes ALANA SRUBAR -VER­NON . There are 333 is­lands that make up the Repub­lic of Fiji and this is a re­view of fam­ily time re­lax­ing and re­gen­er­at­ing on the largest – Viti Levu.

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With a rich Pa­cific her­itage and strong In­dian in­flu­ences, Fiji is un­like other Pa­cific is­lands. Driv­ing around Viti Levu is an ex­pe­ri­ence not to be missed. With a range of car hire op­tions avail­able, it’s worth tak­ing time and ex­plor­ing the dif­fer­ent ge­og­ra­phy and lo­cal cul­ture of the is­land. Tak­ing in a wider ar­ray of hos­pi­tal­ity is also a fan­tas­tic idea to ex­pe­ri­ence dif­fer­ent as­pects of Fiji.

We started our jour­ney ex­pe­ri­enc­ing Fiji on the beau­ti­ful Coral Coast. Famed for its ex­pan­sive coral la­goon, trop­i­cal fish are abound mak­ing water based ac­tiv­i­ties a must-do. The War­wick Ho­tel Fiji, of­fers trav­ellers a place to hole up and re­lax. There re­ally is no need to leave the re­sort, with mul­ti­ple restau­rant op­tions and stores should you need any sup­plies that may have been for­got­ten (or want a me­mento of your time in Fiji). Rooms are well kept and those with ocean views can en­joy watch­ing sun­sets from their bal­cony over the la­goon. Of course the aptly named Sun­set Bar is ide­ally suited to en­joy the sun dance its way down the hori­zon and is one of seven bars. There are five restau­rants on site for sat­is­fy­ing hun­gry bel­lies. The break­fast buf­fet at Bula Brasserie leaves you so con­tented – it’s usu­ally only the ice cream bar that is needed for lunch.

In be­tween treat­ing your­self to de­li­cious food, time can be spent join­ing in with the ac­tiv­i­ties on of­fer. There is a kids’ club that keeps the lit­tle ones en­ter­tained from ages three to 12 from 9am to 9pm. Adults can join in the fam­ily based ac­tiv­i­ties and there is an adults-only area and pool.

For those trav­el­ling with­out kids there is also an adults-only wing to the ho­tel that is ide­ally placed next to the spa – op­ti­mis­ing the re­lax­ation process.

We rel­ished the water ac­ti­vates on of­fer and highly rec­om­mend kayak­ing or snorkelling on the la­goon. There is an abun­dance of sea life not seen (by us) else­where on Viti Levu. With such va­ri­ety of trop­i­cal fish and sea slugs / cu­cum­bers, hours can lit­er­ally be spent en­joy­ing the ocean. We even man­aged to see the docile black and white banded sea snake as we hur­ried the other way (de­spite be­ing docile they are highly ven­omous).

Con­tin­u­ing on from the Coral Coast, Suva is the cap­i­tal of Fiji. Suva is a must-do for any one trav­el­ling to Fiji and when do­ing so stay­ing at the Grand Pa­cific Ho­tel is def­i­nitely the best choice. As you ar­rive its grand façade beck­ons trav­ellers in­side to en­joy the royal treat­ment that awaits dur­ing your stay here. Orig­i­nally built in 1914 and run­ning for 50 (now op­er­at­ing for over 100) years, the ob­ject was to pro­vide first class ac­com­mo­da­tion, with the ho­tel run like a lux­ury ship, with rooms like state­rooms on a ves­sel. In 2014, the Grand Pa­cific Ho­tel re­opened its doors, pro­vid­ing pa­trons with an op­u­lent ho­tel ex­pe­ri­ence. The rooms re­tain their lux­u­ri­ous and am­ple pre­sen­ta­tion, with in­di­vid­ual bal­conies to en­joy the spec­tac­u­lar views from very large bath­rooms.

De­spite hav­ing such deca­dent rooms to en­joy, your room is not the best way to en­joy the ho­tel. There is an on­site spa of­fer­ing a range of treat­ments. I en­joyed a re­lax­ing and tra­di­tional Fijian Bobo mas­sage, en­hanced with tech­niques from the globe. The masseur was so good that I must have been trans­ported through a time warp, as time went by so quickly and too soon it was fin­ished. For the fit­ness fans, there is a com­pli­men­tary air con­di­tioned gym avail­able for use. The Grand Pa­cific Ho­tel is also well set up for fam­i­lies with a large pool that has a kids sec­tion. Note­wor­thy at­trac­tions like the Na­tional Mu­seum and Par­lia­ment build­ing are nearby. Walk­ing along the sea­side side­walk is a lovely way to see lo­cals go­ing about their day and pro­vides great views.

Food­ies are spoilt for choice at the Grand Pa­cific. Break­fast buf­fets of­fer a range of de­lights and eggs are made freshly upon

your ar­rival to your pref­er­ence (French toast and pan­cakes are also made upon your ar­rival should you de­sire). Fresh juice is made to or­der with trop­i­cal fruits and veg­eta­bles and there is a wait­ress bring­ing you, your se­lec­tion of hot bev­er­age. Din­ner cour­ses of­fer five-star taste bud sen­sa­tions, which change ev­ery night. There is in­door din­ing avail­able for ev­ery meal, but the best din­ing op­tion is to sit out­side soak­ing in the views and colo­nial at­mos­phere.

Com­plet­ing a cir­cle around the is­land takes you along the Kings Road – the re­mote north­ern reaches. The sense of iso­la­tion here, cou­pled with the truly typ­i­cal Fijian vil­lages makes you feel like you are re­ally scratched a bit more of the sur­face in un­der­stand­ing Fiji. Af­ter com­plet­ing the cir­cle back to Nadi, it’s time to be spoilt and re­lax at Radis­son Blu Re­sort, on De­na­rau Is­land. Joined to Viti Levu by a short cause­way, the pri­vate is­land is fa­mous as a re­sort haven. Radis­son Blu stands out as be­ing top notch and has been voted num­ber one fam­ily re­sort in the South Pa­cific. Not only is there a babysit­ting ser­vice and kids’ club for the younger trav­ellers to en­joy, but through­out the day, ac­tiv­i­ties are put on for all to par­take in as a fam­ily.

The ho­tel has a range of rooms to suit, but the one-bed­room suite is per­fect for a small fam­ily. With all rooms able to be sep­a­rated you can re­lax in the evenings, get­ting room ser­vice and en­joy­ing your bal­cony, all whilst watch­ing over the lit­tle ones. Be­ing self-cat­er­able, some pres­sure can be taken off keep­ing with restau­rant times if needy tum­mies re­quire ear­lier at­ten­tion. Our par­tic­u­lar high­light was the va­ri­ety of cli­mate con­trolled pools avail­able to take the edge off the heat. The fam­ily pool with its wa­ter­slide was a great way to delight our lit­tle guy. Join­ing in some of the ac­tiv­i­ties is an­other way to bond as a fam­ily – my painted sarong will be a trea­sured mem­ory of our stay at Radis­son Blu. Adrenalin Water Sports, lo­cated at the beach front, or­gan­ises a mul­ti­tude of water sports to suit the laid back re­laxer to adrenalin junkie.

There are four restau­rants on­site that pro­vide dif­fer­ent cuisines to suit all tastes. Chan­tara Thai is the num­ber one restau­rant on the is­land (rated on Trip Ad­vi­sor) and our taste buds were re­warded when sam­pling their de­lights. Nep­tunes and Blu Brasserie are great for fam­i­lies and we spent most of our food hours in­dulging here. For a bit more el­e­gance Sig­na­ture Blu is the place to go.

Other places that are of note on Viti Levu to en­joy dur­ing your stay are: Leleu­via Is­land Re­sort and also one of the many op­tions at Pa­cific Har­bour.

Leleu­via Re­sort is just a tiny emerald clad gem, rimmed with golden sand. Guests are al­lowed to ex­pe­ri­ence a desert is­land ex­pe­ri­ence while in­dulging in a Fijian ex­pe­ri­ence en­joy­ing the tra­di­tional bu­res, right on the water. The is­land is sur­rounded by a 2sq km marine re­serve, with amaz­ing snorkelling within 25 me­tres of the beach. Be­ing wedged be­tween two cul­tur­ally sig­nif­i­cant his­tor­i­cal is­lands, tours can also be ar­ranged.

Pa­cific Har­bour is fa­mous for its shark ex­pe­ri­ences. But for a less ex­treme, Pa­cific Har­bour Ex­cur­sions of­fer a range of ex­cur­sions from spearfish­ing to Bucks ‘n Hens fun.

Fiji is fun for all, no mat­ter what the oc­ca­sion and def­i­nitely the home of hap­pi­ness.

The Grand Pa­cific Ho­tel has re­opened its doors with an air of op­u­lence.

The main cli­mate con­trolled pool and beach­front (left), at Radis­son Blu Re­sort, plus hav­ing fun (be­low) at the Kids Koro Club.

Leleu­via Re­sort guests en­joy outrig­ger ca­noe­ing.

Swim-up re­fresh­ments at the War­wick Fiji pool bar.

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