Pacific & New Zealand

08 Sep 2017

Doubletree by Hilton, Sonaisali Island – A hidden Gem

Recently we travelled to Fiji for a family celebration. My father was turning 60 and our family of ten decided we would have this celebration in Fiji!

Fiji is in the South Pacific Ocean and consists of more than 300 islands but more than 100 are inhabited. There are two main Islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. Capital is Suva and the main airport is in Nadi, Viti Levu. Fiji is known for its friendliness and stunningly beautiful weather all year round but recently, they have added a gold medal to this by the fantastic win by The Rugby Seven’s in the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Both V Australia and Fiji Airways fly direct to Nadi from Melbourne. Qantas offer direct flights also but from Sydney. We travelled on V Australia this time and the flight was very comfortable, however, on the return flight from Nadi, it was disappointing that the airline had run out of hot food options by the time they got to us. I would recommend booking a fare that includes meals when travelling on V Australia on all short-haul flights.

After much research on where to stay, we found an amazing resort located on a remote island, just minutes from the mainland, Doubletree by Hilton, Sonaisali Island is located approx. 20 minutes by car from Nadi Airport towards the Coral Coast. You can easily get a private transfer through a wholesaler or rent a car, we chose to rent a car, and this allowed us to venture out when required. There are a range of rental car companies at Nadi Airport, including Avis and Hertz.

A friendly Fijian was waiting at the jetty to take guests to the island on a small boat. The boat trip is no more than a few minutes and was a great experience, especially for children. The pathway from the island’s jetty to reception is filled with beautiful palm trees, the greenery is just beautiful. When we arrived, we were greeted with a hot cookie, a little peculiar for a hot day, but we enjoyed them anyway!

The Resort consists of 32 beachfront hotel rooms and 88 beachfront Bures. All hotel room and bures have balconies overlooking the South Pacific Ocean. When we first arrived, we were shown to our hotel room, unfortunately the air conditioning was not working, the hotel management was amazing and changed our room immediately…we were even upgraded to a Bure! The Bure was much larger in size than the hotel room and featured a huge balcony just meters from the ocean front. We were very pleased. Doubletree by Hilton, Sonaisali Island has also been given a “Certificate of Excellence” by Trip Advisor. This is only given to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently receive great reviews from travellers.

The amenities at the resort are varied, an Infinity Swimming Pool, Beauty Salon & Spa, 24 Hour Fitness Gym, ATM, Kids Club and two Restaurants – Vulani Restaurant and Tavu Bar and Grill. The breakfast at Vulani Restaurant is quite nice with a great selection of hot options and sweet and fresh fruit, the pineapples were my personal favourite. Dinner at Tavu Bar and Grill is also a must try, the Duck Curry, Seafood Platter, Chicken Caesar Salad, and Butter Chicken were to die for.

There are lots of things to do if you are in the mood for some activities, the resort offers a fishing, hiking/walking/jogging tour, horse rides, water sports such as snorkelling, sailing, kayaking, and jet skiing, or you can simply have a game of tennis or paintball. There is an indoor games room which has a table tennis and pool table. I noticed a board outside the games room one night and was pleasantly surprised with the sorts of activities the Kids Club offered. Fish feeding, Fijian language lesson, Tug of War, Frog Hunt & Race, basket weaving and a sunset horse ride just to name a few! This range was quite extensive, I have not seen this elsewhere.

My kids had a wonderful time here when they needed a break from the swimming pool. The resort also has a great playground for the younger children, it also participates in cultural activities where you can learn to sew or knit with a local Fijian lady.

Our stay of 5 nights was extremely comfortable. I would recommend Doubletree by Hilton, Sonaisali Island if you are wanting to stay somewhere remote and just want to enjoy some peace and quiet but in a resort, that has a lot to offer.