Happy New Year, I can’t believe it’s already nearly the end of January. The kids go back to school next week and just between you, me and the kitchen sink, I’m a little tiny bit excited! I think they’re as sick of me as I am of them mind you. A bit of structure and disciple (that doesn’t involve me screaming at them) will do them the world of good.
Now, whilst I can hang onto not being in a routine for a wee bit longer I thought I’d talk about one of my fav places to travel to (with kids). Fiji.
Prior to having kids I had no interest in going here – it was just for families, but after having kids and being there a number of times now I love the place. And not just for the facilities and amazing people that live there (babysitting Au$3 an hour!).
When I was pregnant with my second child, my husband got invited to a conference at the Sofitel Denarau. Having a 1 year old with us at the time I wanted an apartment with a separate bedroom so we could still have space to ourselves whilst she slept. The Sofitel couldn’t do that, but right next door no more than 50m away (depending on what end of the resort you’re at) was the Fiji Beach Resort and Spa by Hilton. Now don’t let the name fool you – it’s MANGED by Hilton, it’s not actually a Hilton resort….. but it’s new(ish) and about as good as it gets in Fiji.
We arrived late one evening and got golf buggied to our room after a super quick tour around the main resort area. Facilities are close to the main reception – but the rooms if you’re not aware, are stretched over 1.5kms. So if you have kids, you have to request something closer to reception, otherwise in that heat, you’ll have feral kids. Check out trip advisor.com for more tips like this.
The resort always updates on their website that they’re undergoing the final stages of their development, however they ran out of money some time ago and this has never been done. But it won’t matter, they’ve been saying that for years and the resort is still absolutely fine the way it is.
They boast 7 odd pools, they’re all square and just at different levels, most joining together so I wouldn’t exactly say there’s 7 large resort pools or anything. But they do have two kids pools at each end and toys and games for the kids in each of those during the day. There’s always a list of activities to be done each day to keep young and old entertained.
The kids club used to be free from 4yrs upwards, but a while ago we took our 3 year old and they had no drama’s – not sure if that’s changed though so don’t quote me on that one. Mind you babysitters are $3/hr so if you need one – get one! You won’t regret it. We used to get one from about 4pm every afternoon, she’d come have dinner with the kids and we’d have a cocktail, then we’d leave her to put the kids to bed and we’d go out for dinner. Loved it! The kids club is fabulous too, toys were a bit old back when we went, and they have a small slide and play equipment which is fine, nothing flash but the kids enjoy it. They take them to feed the fish, do paintings, treasure hunts etc etc – usual kids club stuff.
If you do get a babysitter in Fiji – I’d recommend taking over old toys/dolls that can be given to them. Most are mothers or grandmothers themselves, and especially school supplies can be hard to come by so passing on something to them saves you having to take it home and really benefited by the community.
Food – Fiji isn’t known for it’s cuisine, so don’t have any pre-conceived notion you’re going to get a 5 star meal. But the food at the FBRS is quite good. Nuku is the main restaurant situated in-between the pools and is where you’ll have breaky, lunch and a fairly nice dinner. Up the way a bit is their pan-asian restaurant Maravu, which is quite yummy, kids can play on the beach beside you at sunset, they do kids meals, and everyone has a great time. There’s a bar in Nuku if you want to kick on, but it’s fairly basic – we didn’t go there ourselves though but seemed to have lots of couples enjoying it at times. We stocked up on duty free and spent most evening out the front of our room frog spotting and mozzie slapping.
The best bit about all Denarau hotels is that you can jump on the Bula bus (little tram type thatched roof bus) and go into the Port where there are many restaurants to chose from. You can always go around the loop to other resorts with equally lovely restaurants. (Our fav is Moo Moo at the Westin). So there’s no limit to what you can experience and you don’t get stuck in a rut with food choices. There’s also a deli at the FBRS for sambo’s and drinks, which is always a nice quick choice or when it’s time for an ice cream.
The rooms are a great size. They have a lot of variety too. The ones that are further away from the facilities are newer and really quite lovely, beautiful stand alone baths and good quality fittings, the ones closer (which we’ve always stayed in) are older, but you can’t have everything! Last trip we upgraded and got a plunge pool with our room – there’s not many of those rooms so you need to book early. The pool is shared by the other ground floor 2 bedroom apartment but we had a fabulous Melbourne family with 3 boys to share with so we were lucky. Some rooms are a true two bedroom – some are 2 x 1 bedroom, but the split ones are sometimes better as they are larger and have two living areas instead of just one.
Tips – take loads of suncream and essentials if you can – things can be quite dear over there if you’re on a budget. But they certainly do have everything and the Sheraton has a great little supermarket as does the Port have a larger one.
So as you can tell I’m a huge fan, if I’ve left anything out or you want to know more – just ask!