The ‘Sofitel Denarau Island’ is named as such because it is located on its own tourist specific island – a private green province that is home to most of the big name hotels and luxury real-estate, putting an emphasis and friendly focus on hospitality – a theme here that, like the hibiscus flowers modelled by most of the staff, readily permeates the air.
The key attractions for most at this family-friendly resort, popular with Australians, Canadians and U.S citizens are its varied dining options, enviable location in proximity to the islands, and the Mamara spa – a tangible piece of Fijian-influenced heaven.
Relaxing treatments take place in one of nine beach-side bures followed up by time well spent in the jacuzzi or sauna afterwards.
The fringes of the spa provide home to the tranquillity zone – an area reserved solely for over 18s where the music from the spa floats around, lulling couples and those seeking further respite into yet more ‘Fiji time’.
Cocktails of the month are served at both the breeze bar where you can listen to decent live music (the_korners are a local three piece who beat-strum songs with real Fijian soul) and Latitude 17, adjacent to the hotel’s V restaurant.
The latter is Sofitel Fiji’s party piece, offering classic French cuisine accompanied by fine wines and attentive service. Award-winning, alfresco ‘Salt’ is also a highlight: an inviting, more informal restaurant praised for its concerted efforts to use Fijian products in preference to those imported.
When weather permits, a la carte champagne breakfasts are served here for adults only and come well recommended.
The hotel’s landscaped grounds and gardens capture a pretty pocket of Fiji’s diverse flora including subtle but helpful labels that sit beneath the more iconic shrubs and trees. A charming white chapel to the left hand side of the property can also be found on site.
Out on the beach, which despite not being the very best that Fiji has to offer still scores points on the view out to the Mamunaca islands, you can take to the water on jet skis, kayaks (complimentary hire) or take your chances on a paddle board.
Snorkelling throughout Fiji is first rate but if you want to get closer to the fish then the hotel also boasts its own dive shop where you can become PADI certified.
The nature of the resort means that there’s structured opportunity to explore the local culture through organised activities including but not limited to a Fijian cultural evening where guests are welcome to try Kava – the local tongue numbing drink.
The true treasure of Fiji and its islands lies in its people; staff who serenade you with songs and smiles prove testimony to this. Even under dark skies when the heavens open above you and frogs leap about beneath your feet, on a short stay there is a fine balance here of everything you need for a few nights in French-infused Fijian comfort.
Concierge’s tip: Ask for a Fijian Bobo Massage at the spa to remind you why it is you came away.