BULA! Something you would hear 1000 times a day from the friendly locals if you…
Fiji with a baby part 2
Where is it, what room type, what facilities will I need?
This will hopefully help in giving all Mums (and Dads) the tools to decide the where, what and how when booking their next Fiji Holiday. But first, remind yourself of the first article in the very popular series here.
Lets start with Denarau and Sonaisali Island
These areas are best if you want virtually zero travel time after the flight to the airport. Denarau has the best array of 5 star resorts and they welcome visitors from surrounding resorts for dinner or use of the bar/Pool. The big drawcard is that you can move easily between resorts on the ‘Bula Bus’ and it gives you some variety.
Denarau is only 15mins from the airport so it’s the perfect spot to come if you think the flight with kids is going to be challenging.
The downside is that Denarau is probably not the Fiji you envisioned from all the posters and advertising in Fiji. There are NO (Wait, What?) white sandy beaches. So if you are going there to lay on the sand you may find yourself horribly disappointed with the black sand.
Sonaisali Island is only a short distance further and is accessible by car (around 40 mins from the airport.) They have a new Doubletree by Hilton there and it is often overlooked when travelers come to stay in this part of Fiji.
I love it for its beachfront location and brilliant rates year round but as a new resort it has had some teething problems with service and consistency.
Again at Sonaisali the black sand is still an issue but not as prevalent as Denarau.
For the resorts, the thing I get asked about most frequently is the room types. Most family travelers or at least the ones who have experienced everyone to a room insist on a separate bedroom… no one likes lights out at 7:30!!!. The best resorts that offer the separate sleeping and living area are below:
Radisson Blu offer a 1 and 2 bedroom suits with fully equipped kitchens making bottle prep and baby food as easy as being at home.
Kids club is available for 4-12 year olds and charge is payable direct. There are also babysitting facilities at an added charge.
Hilton Fiji Beach and Spa have the lagoon Guestroom with lounge, several options in the 1 bedroom beachfront with kitchenette and laundry(gardenview, beachfront and deluxe beachfront), they also have these options in the 2 bedroom and 3 bedroom.
Kids club here is Free of Charge for 3-12 yr olds and babysitting is available for a minimum 3 hrs payable direct
Sofitel Resort and spa have a family room but beware the beds for the kids are bunks and this doesn’t suit everyone. Also there is no door that closes for the kids room, it’s more like a nook.
Kids club is available for 2-12yr olds $10FJD payable per child per day excluding lunch, babysitting available at an added charge
They offer interconnecting rooms. Please be aware that interconnecting is not guaranteed unless the resort is willing to put it into writing on booking! This can potentially ruin a trip with you and partner being split into separate rooms that may not even be on the same floor.
Sheraton doesn’t have their own kids club and use the Westin Kids club- available for ages 4-12 and is complimentary with babysitting available at an added charge
There is an Evening Kids club program available at a cost.
One of the best parts of staying at Denarau is the proximity to the port, this gives you the option of making your visit to Fiji extra special by joining a Captain Cook Cruise. They are an amazing way to see the less commercial side of Fiji that most miss when they spend it in a resort. The best part is that you get to be adventurous and take your hotel with you!!! Packages are all inclusive and can cater to families with children as young as 5 yrs old in their spacious Family suites.
Image courtesy of Captain Cook Cruises Fiji
There are one day cruise options that depart daily (no age restrictions)or 3,4,7 and 11 day cruises dependent on your needs.
This would easily be my favorite and most memorable way to see Fiji as there is not a dull moment…lovely balance between relaxing and adventure and you can do the 3-4 day cruise and still fit in a 5 star resort accommodation stay as well.
Group child minding is also available on board between certain hours.
All Cruises Include:
* Welcome drink on arrival
*All meals ( breakfast lunch & dinner – buffet and al la carte)
* Guided Island, village & school tours
* Snorkelling& glass bottom boat tours
* Use of snorkelling equipment Tropical island lovo feast &
*Kava (Yaqona) ceremony
* Transfers from the ship to most Nadi/Denarau Hotels
*Complimentary 24 hour Tea/coffee
* Use of all shipboard facilities, including mini gym, Jacuzzi, swimming pool, sauna, guest library
* Free WIFI located in Tabua Suites, Yasawa lounge, Pool deck and on the sun deck.
Image courtesy of Captain Cook Cruises Fiji
Now as far as a stay on land goes in Fiji, when you venture to the coral coast this would be the first tier to seeing the beautiful beaches side to Fiji. White sandy beaches and clear blue water right on your doorstep with most resorts having private access to some of the nicest ones.
Weather I plan on beach swimming or not, having a beautiful beach there at the resort makes a big difference to the overall feel of the holiday.
Image courtesy of Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort
I have chosen just a few of the better known resorts who have a consistent stay on offer. By this I mean plenty of activities, room types or all meals offer to appease the masses and I’ll start with the lower star rates ones first.
This is a spectacular 3.5 star resort on the beach that has the relaxed stay style. Not so fancy and no one will look twice if you cut loose so to speak, and with their all- inclusive packages you may well be dancing on the tables! They also have a spa and golf facilities…you can even get married here or renew your vows!
All inclusive packages cover all meals and alcohol(house only, but also includes soft drinks and non-alcoholic cocktails), Activities, Kids club and nightly entertainment during your stay and this ensures that you will not have an added spend on checkout as most resorts will charge back to your room.
This resort offer a guaranteed interconnecting room type facility on several different classed rooms along with a 1 and 2 bedroom option(these are the connected rooms new names by the way and not an entirely new room)
Garden view and ocean view rooms interconnect along with the one bedroom villa and studio also can interconnect.
Age for Kids Club is- 4-12 years of age and free of charge with babysitting also available for a fee.
This is the Naviti’s big sister and has just undergone a renovation so should be looking really good about now!
They are considered a 4.5 star resort with a beautiful private beach just for you to enjoy.
They boast 5 restaurants and 7 bars and have a kids eat free policy in the Bula Brasserie.
They don’t offer a 1 or 2 bedroom option but do have interconnecting rooms on request. Be aware that dependent on where you purchase your holiday package can decide if this is on a guaranteed basis or not.
Garden view and ocean view rooms only are able to interconnect
Kids Club is free for ages 3-12 years old and babysitting is available at an added charge
Cots are free of charge but must be requested at time of booking
Shangri-La is in my top 3 favourite coral coast resorts. It is located on Yanuca Island and is connected to the mainland via a bridge giving it that island feel without the island price tag. The resort is enormous and is the only one on the island. It has one of the loveliest and protected beaches. With its big sprawling family pools almost on the sand you truly feel like you are on holiday from the moment you arrive. The adults only pool and restaurant is a must so that you can take advantage of the kids club and nanny service and enjoy a swim and sun bake or a dinner out.
Saying that this resort is enormous is nearly an understatement as to really explore you should probably make use of the bike rentals to see it all.
They have a PADI dive centre on the island and offer introductory dives plus reef adventures or a simple snorkelling trip.
There are quite a few variations here to suit but again dependant on where you book the rooms may not be guaranteed interconnecting and these room types have the most options.
This resort offer blackout curtains so a day nap is easily achieved.
The Superior ground floor Ocean view rooms (interconnected) are fab for the families with tiny babies who want to sleep during the day. These rooms face the ocean and don’t have a main thoroughfare in front of them. An added bonus of no balcony to worry about if bubba is mobile makes all the difference. Just open the doors and they can crawl for miles.
Superior Lagoon Family (ground floor)
This room is amazing- with the playground behind you and the park then pool in front (just off your patio) you can sit and watch the kids play games with the kids club group who gather there daily.
There are only a limited number of these rooms so you must be quick to secure them
Be aware that these are the noisiest rooms in the resort with all the families congregating there.
This one is extremely popular with families.
Since my last stay they’ve added an adults-only pool, swim-up-bar and bistro which I hear is great for parents who want some alone time. The Kids Club (complimentary) and Meimei Nanny service has been expanded and they have won numerous awards for best dining experience and best Deluxe accommodation at the most recent Fiji Tourism Awards.
Another new offering is their community tourism project which enables guests to book an excursion to visit a remote school in the Sigatoka Valley to help build new classrooms and interact with local children. Previous projects include construction of a community bure (meeting hall) and kindergarten. This is a particularly great cultural experience for families with school-aged children.
Another upside is that they are managed under the same brand as Castaway (island resort) and often run specials for a half/half stay at both resorts. Being that availability and cost may be a factor, this can be the answer to all your budget (but still 5 star) dreams!
Image Courtesy of Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort
Cheapest resort room is the Superior and can sleep 2 adults and 2 kids under 13 but is just a hotel room so it can be a little cramped.
Deluxe Ocean view rooms can interconnect to give you some added room to move, as can the family suite connect with superior resort view, giving you 2 bedrooms lounge and 2 baths
At this resort there is an amazing kids pool with lots of different areas for children to play and swim depending on their age and ability. Being located on a tidal, sandy lagoon, there’s also lots of water-sports options.
During your stay the kids eat free.
Kids club have 2 different groups, firstly the little Riggers club for 3-7 year olds and then the beach Rigger club for 8-12 yrs.
They also have a nanny service and the best kept secret is…..they often run specials offering 5 hrs of free babysitting!!
This is the most 5 of the 5 stars on the coral coast. It has that real feel of luxury and indulgence and of late hasn’t had the enormous price tag it has had in the past. Though the food is still way overpriced, it is returned in quality and service.
I love this place but felt it was more enjoyable pre kids and the Lux is lost on the dribblers.
Connecting rooms are the garden view and lagoon +Garden view. Also the beachfront and garden view can connect to make a larger suite.
Baby cots are complimentary and babysitting is available at a cost.
Kids club is available for 4-12yr olds and a surcharge will apply
Ohhhh this one is the best- Just ask anyone who has been. In all my years in travel, the only complaint I have received is “You didn’t book us there for long enough- it was heaven” (actual customer response!)
They have that great mix of Remote island, Ah-May-Zing food, outstanding childcare and Luxury without feeling soulless.
All inclusive options are available; this is Breakfast Lunch and dinner with lower level spirits and wine, giving you the added benefit of a pre purchase saving along with the go ahead to really enjoy without worrying about the bill at the end. (Breakfast, dinner options and just breakfast options are also available)
Currently they have a special running from 30th August 2017 to the 22nd March 2018 called the Summer Celebration
*Full buffet breakfast daily 2 adults
* 2 Children eat for free
*FJ$ 100 Resort credit per bure per day
*2 x 30 minute “Lailai” massage per stay
* 4 hours babysitting per stay
* Romantic beach dinner ‘setup’ for 2 adults once during stay
* 1 x Shell village tour for 2 adults and 2 children per stay
You need to be quick and book well in advance as this resort is well known for being booked out!
Island bure and the beach Bure are the first 2 room types at this resort (with the beach bure being right on the beachfront)
They are free standing Bure’s and offer a king bed in the bedroom and 2 x singles in the lounge. There is a sliding screen to separate the bed and the lounge areas.
Next room type is the Family Bure- it is HUGE!
This room type sleeps 2 adults and 6 children or 10 adults. They are located on the north end of the beach
The most grand of their rooms is aptly named the Grand Room, it sleeps 2 adults and 2 children and features 2 oversized bathrooms beds and veranda. It is also the most costly of their room types.
Kids club here is outstanding and available complimentary for children aged 3-12 years old. They offer cots on request and also a great nanny service.
Kids eat free!
Mana is such an amazing Island with an outstanding beach and great choice of room types and styles but like Shangri-la, in need of some lovin. They were hit quite hard in the Hurricane and closed to repair but are back on their feet.
Of late I have had a few customer reviews saying that it had become dated but never a complaint about the amazing staff or services. Don’t expect a 5 star and you won’t be disappointed.
They are closed from the 29th of March to the 15th of July for a film shoot and again from the 26th to the 28th of December.
The Island bure and ocean view bures have the capacity to interconnect but this is on a request basis only.
Oceanfront suite – great split level accommodation but stairs need to be taken into consideration if you have crawlers or toddlers.
Cots are only able to be added in the oceanfront and island bures at no charge
Kids club is 3-12 with a 1 time registration fee of 30FJD per child payable direct and babysitting available at an added charge
Family friendly special- 5hrs babysitting for 3 and under. Kids eat for free and on a min 5 night stay and play free.
For travel 7 July -25 Dec- no free babysitting over Xmas
This is a real 5 star Luxury resort at SavuSavu. There are no words to adequately explain how amazing this property is. Being such a lover of the sea and all things nature from my years of diving, this one really ticks all the boxes for me.
Introduce your children to what a complete different lifestyle awaits outside the hustle and busle of cities and the distraction of playstations and ipads…discover your family in this spectacular oasis.
To get here you will need a seaplane and transfer from Savusavu port to the resort are complimentary
Oceanview standard bure is split level so not great if you have a crawler
Oceanfront 2 bed bure-
*All meals included
* Boat snorkel trips with marine biologist
*4 offsite excursions included on a weekly basis
*Exclusive nanny available for children under 6 years old free of charge
Kids club is also free of charge and is available for ages 6-13
Babysitting avail for additional cost
No tv’s or phones so get ready to really get back to family time!
There are so many more choices in mainland and island resorts BUT….I would need to put chapters in this article to list them all.
All travel information and advice in this agency is free, so don’t hesitate to call if you just want some pointers or a little more than what I have listed here as there are some amazing properties that I just didn’t have the space to include. We are available 7 days a week and can be contacted via email [email protected] or on 02) 8739 6996.
I also offer 24hr assist to any of our travelers. If you or your family member is sick and you need to know what do while away, if your flight is delayed or if you just need to change a flight.
We are here to make it feel like you are never far from help and that nothing is an inconvenience.
Now in conclusion, I’d like to make one last, but not least mention of a hidden gem…
Yatule Resort and Spa is located on the coral coast, Natadola Beach. It is in close proximity to the Intercontinental (so that you can place the area and what is around)
This is the island feel without the pricetag.
This feels like a holiday! From the moment you walk in the door you start to relax. The beautiful surrounding, exceptional service and beach that looks like it’s from a movie set.
This resort really delivers.
They offer guaranteed interconnecting rooms, a spa that is what dreams are made of along with loads of activities to keep you entertained.
Though they don’t have a dedicated kids club, they do offer babysitting at an added charge.
Thanks to our very good friends at Select Vacations, we are so happy to offer the Northern Beaches Mums, a “Family and Friends special offer”.
If you would like to book the Yatule Resort and Spa before the 30th July 2017 they can offer you
*Return Economy Airfares from Sydney to Nadi for 2 adults and 2 children (aged between 2-11 years)
*Return transfers between the Airport and Resort at the beginning and end of your stay
*5 nights accommodation at the Yatule Resort and Spa in a Family Bure with a plated breakfast for 4 daily, welcome drink and cold towels on arrival and complimentary Lei.
– Full breakfast daily for 2 adults + 2 children 12 years and under
– A Yatule Welcome Pack
– Up to 2 children under 12 years dine FREE from the kids menu when dining with parents
– FREE use of kayaks & snorkelling gear*
– FREE use of Wi-Fi around the public areas ( lobby, restaurant & bar )
– A FREE F$200 food + beverage credit per family Bure
Extra Bonus Offers :
Book & Stay for 6 nights or more and receive :
- An additional F$100 food + beverage credit per family Bure
- 50% discount off all 30 minute Spa Vishala Massages (Tropical , Relax & Restore Aromatherapy Massages ).
* Special conditions apply
Total cost only $6271.00 (subject to availability at the time of booking )
-Travel from : Sydney to Nadi –Sale available now to: 30 July 2017
-Travel from now to 31 March 2018
-Black out dates: 17-20 Aug 2017 & 20 Dec 17 – 05 Jan 2018
-International Departure taxes included -*Conditions apply
Please consider, while you are on holidays, the beautiful people of Fiji. They are in need of so much and you can participate in ‘pack for a purpose’ and really make a difference next time you travel here and to other destinations around the world. Visit https://www.packforpurpose.org/ for more details
Gemma El Kazzi is a friendly, dedicated Travel Manager who works tirelessly around the needs of her clients, the majority of who are Mum’s. After being immersed in the Tourism Industry for over 12 Years, working within a range of large blue-chip travel brands – Gemma had a hankering to create a travel experience like no other and has since launched her own Independent travel service under the iTravel umbrella.
Gemma prides herself on spending genuine time and care on every booking – from the beginning, to the very end. Phone calls from stranded travellers at all hours of the day are standard, as is the knowledge that when you book with Gemma you have hired your very own personal, committed travel manager that will provide you with no-less than an exceptional travel experience.
Gemma manages a wide range of travel bookings, both personal and corporate. She can create a trip to appease a busy family needing time-out, a couple seeking adventure – to a corporate team looking to outsource an event or conference itinerary. Every trip Gemma manages is unique and she prides herself on her innate ability to create itineraries that will surprise and delight, promptly and to budget.
Contact Gemma: 0414 818 795 – [email protected]