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BULA! Such a beautiful relaxing holiday full of calmness and special memories.
Fiji Airways & South Sea Cruises transfers:
An early start this morning departing Sydney at 0615 Fiji bound. Our flight was on the 737-800 with a seat configuration of 3/3. I found the aircraft to be comfortable & modern with tasteful décor and offered great inflight entertainment with an array of movies and tv programs as well as online games. We were able to experience a brand new aircraft on the return flight with beautiful leather seats and were fortunate enough to have 3 seats to ourselves. The breakfast on the outbound flight and the dinner on the return leg were both tasty and satisfying. The service from the staff was extremely friendly and professional. On arrival in to Nadi we were welcomed by traditional Fijian music and warm welcoming smiles. We were met by a representative from Serenity Island guiding us to our taxi driver to take us to Port Denarau for our launch transfer. Arriving in the tropical rain and the humidity we had to wait for about 20 minutes for our driver which unfortunately caused our delay getting to Port Denarau and missing the 1230pm launch departure for our island destination. This is when we knew we’re on “Fiji time” but so happy to be here. After learning that we had to wait for another 3 hours until the next one at 330pm we took the opportunity to check out Port Denarau shopping and have some lunch and refreshing beverages. Finally boarding the transfer on South Sea Cruises we were on our way although instead of our island being the first stop and only having a 30 minute travelling time had we had gotten the earlier boat we were now going to be the 2nd last stop so we were on the boat for 2 hours before arriving Serenity Island.
Albeit a long trip on the water it was very relaxing and worthwhile seeing the other islands as we dropped fellow passengers off to their resorts. Finally our time came to disembark and to get on the small boat to take us to Serenity Island. By this time it was pouring with rain and the seas were pretty choppy. As we approached the island even with the grey skies and the wet weather the island was beautiful, lush and tropical. I was going to be extremely happy to be calling this place home for the next 7 nights.
7 nights – Serenity Island
After our welcome drink on arrival at Serenity we were shown to our garden bure amongst the palm trees and frangipanis. Although set back in the gardens the view of the water was still amazing and only a minute’s walk to the sand. There are only 23 bures on Serenity Island as it is a private island of 48 acres all tastefully decorated with a king size bed, mini bar, fridge, tea/coffee making, room safe, bathroom, air conditioning and a furnished terrace.
The following morning we were awakened by magnificent blue skies and a hot sun which remained with us for the entire week. There were an array of activities offered on the island including volleyball, kava ceremonies, baby turtle feeding, fishing tours, snorkelling, kayaking or you could just completely relax on one of the lounges scattered along the beachfront or around the pool with a cocktail. The walk around the whole island on the pristine white sandy beach took about 40 minutes. The dining experience was friendly with great service and the meals were delicious in a tropical casual setting overlooking the beach.
During our time there we especially enjoyed feeding the baby turtles that were living in 3 different sized pools during their growing period. Dedicated staff on Serenity Island would protect the turtles from birth until 11 months of age at which that time are released safely and in a protected environment. The snorkelling just out the front of the resort was a memorable experience with the island being surrounded by protected Marine Sanctuary boasting many colourful tropical fish.
Through the week we became friends with many of the staff and learnt from them that Serenity Island will actually be undergoing major renovations and shall in the near future have 200 bures on the island with brand new restaurants, pools and 5 star facilities. I believe it will be a place that a lot more people will visit in the future but I really enjoyed and felt privileged to experience the serenity and the intimacy that this island offers.
7 nights – Sofitel Resort Denarau
Our next stop for a week was The Sofitel Resort at Denarau. Back to the mainland to experience a totally different atmosphere at a much larger resort. We were looking forward to an array of various activities and to be able to go out and about to see Fiji and the local culture.
We arrived at the resort earlier than the usual check in time and waited for our room to be allocated to us. We were finally escorted to our room which was in a quiet area of the resort with views of the garden but seemed that we were upgraded to a room that was on the higher floor so we were also able to see the ocean! The rooms were comfortable and tastefully decorated boasting all the facilities you would need.
I could however tell from the bathroom that they had put us in an accessible room. After a shower that evening the floor was flooded and extremely slippery creating an unsafe area for guests that had mobility. Although our room was lovely and we had a great location we felt that we had to mention to the staff about the unsafety factor and we wouldn’t have been able to enjoy our stay there for a whole week without having a bathroom more suitable for us.
The following morning we inquired as to why we had an accessible room and explained that we had concerns of safety when there were clearly a lot of availability still in the resort and unfortunately we weren’t given an explanation. After several hours of waiting in our room so the manager could contact us we were told that they had found another room for us. The manager personally escorted us to our new room “The Prestige Suite” located right on the beachfront and was one of their top rooms. We were by no means expecting this at all & we were told that the mix up of the rooms in the first place shouldn’t have happened when other people would have required the accessible room. We were beyond delighted and extremely appreciated that The Sofitel went to such endeavours to make sure their guests were satisfied.
Over the next week we experienced many wonderful activities and thoroughly enjoyed all the facilities The Sofitel had to offer including the pool, gym, beauty salon & water sports. We had pre-paid for the buffet breakfast which consisted of a wide variety of scrumptious food and the lunches & dinners were delicious. We could choose from several different restaurants for our lunch/dinner and being Accor members we received 50% off our meals which was a welcomes saving and a fantastic deal that Accor offered their loyal guests.
We arranged a private day tour with Alpha Tours visiting an authentic Fijian village with over 900 people living there, experiencing and learning about a Hindu Temple and spending some time at a traditional market with some of the friendly locals. Our entire Fijian trip was truly a special and memorable holiday mixed with both adventure and relaxation Fiji style. We will be back!
Bula Vinaka Fiji!