I spent seven weeks in Fiji and yearn to return. Nadi is definetly a tourist trap but the Royal Sheraton and the Sheraton Fiji, both located on Denarau Island are definitely worth while. If you are on a budget then you may not want to stay there but Happy Hour is your best bet to check it out. If you are looking for quality accommodations then check them out. We found the rooms at the Royal to be much more comfortable, with a true Fijian flare. The swim-up bar at the Royal is a great option as are the free excursions to the adjacent island which are available daily to hotel guests. Snorkeling is below average to non-existent but the resorts are very well manicured, beautiful grounds, tennis courts and the best golf Fiji has to offer. The Hamacho Japanese Resturant is AMAZING, be sure to dine if you enjoy true sashimi. The"Magic of the South Seas" offered at the Sheraton Fiji is Vegas with Fiji flare, Bruno is definitely entertaining!! Denaru is truly one of the finer places in Fiji.
Natandola Beach Club is very exclusive with a limited number of guests. Very nice grounds with subtle hints of Fiji. All furnishings are from Pacific Green, Fijis leading furniture manufacturer. The club is very intimate and ideal for romance. Be sure to ask IN ADVANCE to dine on Natandola beach at sunset, truly unforgettable. Diner and drinks here are probably the most expensive anywhere in Fiji so be sure to ask if you are concerned about money. The beach is amazing, see if you can figure out how to walk on water, you have to swim first but it's a short walk back!! Natandola is truly worth while. The surf here is usually OK but probably better off bodysurfing, unless you can access the outer breaks. Camping on the beach is permitted which is a great option for the budget conscious but watch your stuff. Only guests of the club are allowed to use the facilities but the beach is good to go!!
Working down the Coral Coast is very easy, the next place that deserves attention is the Shangri-La's Fijian Resort. Large and VERY family oriented. Nice grounds with a great pool and beach front. Activity oriented, snorkeling is OK, the food is average yet expensive in comparison to much better food available elsewhere for the same price, if not less. You are definitely paying for the resort atmosphere, but well suited for families. Down the Coral Coast is very scenic and dotted with places to stay on a modest budget, there are some modest places but nothing that high-end until you reach Pacific Harbour.
The Centra is nice but nothing compared to the places mentioned above. Pacific Harbour has potential but never really took off. It rained there the entire time we were in Fiji, despite the rest of Viti Levu suffering from drought. There is some shopping in Pacific Harbour but nothing spectacular. The diner across from the Centra is terrible, probably the worst food I had in Fiji despite offering is simplest menu...BEWARE. The Happy Hour at the Centra is good for laughs, so check it out but I suggest you knock off a couple and continue driving!!
As you continue down the coast you will pass a variety of entertainment ranging from roadside venders, school buses loaded with screaming children to harmless men carrying machetes!! When you reach Suva be prepared to learn defensive driving skills because you are suddenly thrown back into "civilization"!! There are several clean places to stay in Suva... The Centra is the most notable. It offers buffet style meals and a nice pool side that will make you forget that you are in Suva. Be sure to check out the bar during the day in order to take advantage of pool side. The Tradewinds is also a nice place to stay in Lami, just outside of Suva. Rates vary so beware. Suva offers some great food if you know where to look. JJ's serves up some mouth watering sashimi along with their friendly service. Tiko's is a charter boat which has been converted into a restaurant/bar and is worth while. They serve great seafood along with a fantastic wine list that compliments the excellent service and atmosphere. Tiko's offers live music while you eat, very Fiji Style. Venture down below once you have finished diner for a couple of Fiji Bitters with the local boys.
The floating restaurant at the Tradewinds offers some good specials in a relaxed atmosphere. Great ambiance considering you are in Suva. The bar at the Tradewinds is nice during the day... very open. The Bula Cafe offers very authentic Indian food at unbeatable prices, a vegetarians dream. The Bula Cafe is the ideal place for a quick lunch. Cardo's SteakHouse is THE best place for anything from the grill. Great food and wine hence the wait, be sure to make reservations. There are several other places to eat but take my advice... you can't judge a book by its cover, but you can judge a restaurant by its kitchen!!!
The night life in Suva is the best on any island, there is an assortment of bars ranging from dark and dingy to rather groovy so check them out and then stop by the Republic of Cappacino the following day to work off the Bounty from the night before.
If you are truly into a little sun, fun and no R&R then head on over to Beachcomber Island where the rum flows aplenty. If you are on a budget then the dorms are available but the bures are worthwhile if you are traveling with your other half. The dorms offer no privacy but are the best meeting place in all of Fiji!!! One thing to remember when travelling to any of the outer islands is that once you are there you have to rely on the resort for everything... so don't forget to bring your sunscreen, favorite snacks and a bottle or two. A little preparation will increase your stay by a few days if not a week or two, its up to you!!
Jason Bailey CANADA