When it comes to luxurious islands around the world, Fiji is certainly near the top for very good reason. But the million dollar question when you visit an island like Fiji is…where do you stay?
While we are under no illusions that there are a plethora of places that could argue otherwise, in our opinion the best place to stay in Fiji is the Hilton Fiji Resort and Spa located on Denarau Island.
Before I write anything else, I want to reiterate that there are certainly other destinations and resorts across the archipelago of Fijian islands that are likely equally spectacular but we want to share our personal experiences and why we feel the Hilton is the perfect spot for a luxury getaway.
Fiji – Best Island Choice?
Places such as Mauritius, Bora Bora, Seychelles, the Maldives and of course, Fiji, are islands that are frequently on the listicles of “luxury getaway destinations”, given their abundance of spectacular resorts, breathtaking white, sandy beaches, turquoise waters and everything that epitomizes a luxury getaway.
Why did we choose Fiji? Well, a couple of reasons. Firstly, with well over 300 islands, this archipelago is a unique collection in the Pacific Ocean that offers so much intrigue and inspires us to explore. Secondly, if you have any desire to explore Australia or New Zealand, Fiji is the perfect place to break up the flight (for American travelers) and spend a few days relaxing before heading on to either of these destinations.
We are under no illusions that the other luxurious islands of the world are not equally breathtaking but we want to focus on Fiji and inspire others to visit this beautiful part of the world.
Best Place to Stay in Fiji
Ok, so we have established that a trip to a luxury island is generally about the following – pristine sandy beaches, perfect turquoise water, high-end luxury resorts and perhaps if you are really lucky, those over the water bungalows! Although the majority of these characteristics can be found across a number of high-profile resorts in the Fijian islands, we would argue there is a better alternative out there.
While the Hilton Fiji Resort and Spa doesn’t lay claim to having all of this, there are many characteristics and features to this location that we think outweigh having the immediate access to perfect beaches.
Visitors to Fiji may think that traveling across the world to this remote set of islands should result in luxurious perfection, our philosophy is that you still want to have access to a variety of experiences, excursions, activities, local cuisine and much more. The Hilton Fiji Resort and Spa accomplishes all of this and much more.
Let’s take a look at why we are convinced that by reading the rest of this post, you may be tempted to book a trip here sooner rather than later.
Hilton Fiji Resort and Spa
Aside from being loyal Hilton members and wanting to utilize our Diamond status for any available perks, what are the other reasons why we chose this location as our preferred accommodation while visiting Fiji for 5 days?
Let’s start with ease of access. The majority of flights into Fiji will arrive at Nadi International Airport on Viti Levu, the largest island in the archipelago. While many will venture off to one of the smaller islands to enjoy the luxury resorts available there, the Hilton Fiji Resort and Spa is located a short 20 minute taxi ride from the airport on the luxury man-made Denarau Island.
In terms of convenience, any of the resorts on Denarau Island are the ideal place to stay given their proximity to Nadi Airport. As you take the short drive from the airport, you will likely pass through the downtown area of the city, offering a realistic perspective on how much of Fijian daily life is like.
Although this post is focused on a luxury resort, I want to emphasize that while staying in Fiji, you should take some time to head to the downtown area of Nadi to experience the cultural differences and difficulties that locals face on a day to day basis. As you enter Denarau Island, you are transformed into a luxury lifestyle with a plethora of hotel chains choosing this as their preferred spot for their resort.
Hilton Fiji Suites and Rooms
Whether you prefer to take in tropical garden views or expansive scenes across the ocean, there are a variety of rooms and suites available to satisfy your needs. The variety of one, two or three bedroom suites are a great option dependent on how many you have in your party. We stayed in a one bedroom beachfront suite which was the perfect location for our four nights in Fiji.
With plenty of space to relax, a separate living area and kitchen, and a patio area overlooking the ocean, our suite was everything we could wish for while staying in Fiji. If you are really looking to enhance your experience, the three bedroom beachfront residence with private pool may be too tempting to resist.
Given that we were just a few steps from the adults only private pool at Koro, it was close enough for us to feel like we had access to our very own pool.
The only downside in our suite was the furniture in the living room which was a little dated and could use either a serious clean or replacing with new pieces. The outdoor area is a great place to catch up on work or read your favorite book as you watch the Fiji sunset drop over the ocean.
Relax at the Swimming Pools
If the luxury resort you are visiting doesn’t have immediate beach access, it certainly makes it imperative that the collection of swimming pools on offer are high quality. You don’t have to worry about anything at the Hilton Fiji property as there are 7 different pools for guests to enjoy. Regardless of which room or suite you are staying, you will only be a short walk from the nearest pool.
Our favorite pool was the adults only pool at the Koro restaurant. This “infinity” style pool is directly in front of the restaurant and is the perfect place to enjoy the breakfast buffet (more on that later) by the poolside, before heading over to relax in one of the sun loungers overlooking the ocean.
It won’t be long before you are tempted to head into the pool and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere with music playing in the background and your favorite chilled beverage waiting for you at the poolside bar. If the thought of lounging around in the pool is too appealing to resist, why not enjoy the best of both and enjoy the loungers that are inside the smaller pool. Now this is what we call ultimate relaxation!
For those staying at the other end of the Hilton property, the large open-air pool beside Nuku is another popular spot and this is one that all the family can enjoy. There are actually two different pools here, one with a canopy over it to protect you from the Fiji sun (trust us when we say, you will be thankful for this because the sun is strong here!) and the other a larger pool that is another infinity style pool overlooking the ocean.
Indulge in Luxury Cuisine
Hilton Fiji is home to three luxury restaurants, each of which offers an eclectic menu of dining options throughout the day. Let’s start with our favorite and the newest of the restaurants at the resort – KORO.
Enjoy a widespread breakfast buffet here while seated poolside by the infinity pool. Everything from traditional breakfast items (eggs, sausage, bacon etc.) to local Fijian cuisine options are available every morning between 7:30 – 10:30AM.
If you are looking to sample alternative cuisine, head to Nuku for another breakfast option or if you need a quick bite to eat, the Deli is a great choice especially if you want to sample the handcrafted espresso beverages available here.
Both Nuku and KORO are available for lunch and dinner, while the Asian inspired Maravu offers specialty oriental dishes at dinner for those who wish to enjoy a beachfront sunset while indulging in delicious luxury cuisine.
As mentioned, the Deli is the quickest option and definitely a great place to enjoy a stereotypical Australian meat pie, sandwich or one of the many fresh pastry options available for purchase. Regardless of your preference, the Hilton Fiji has all budgets and tastebuds accounted for with the selection of restaurants available throughout the day.
Enjoy Variety of Amenities
Fine dining and relaxing at the various pools may sound like an appealing way to enjoy your Fiji vacation but if this isn’t sufficient, there are plenty of other on-site amenities to keep all the family occupied. Head over to one of the massage tables to ease any muscle tension or perhaps you want to take advantage of the spa and poolside spa pavilion to rejuvenate your body with a plethora of packages to choose from.
Beauty treatments, body rituals, individual and couple massages, and much more are all available and dependent on your budget, there is something from a short 30 minute massage to full day packages to satisfy your needs.
If you are looking to get a little exercise, either take a stroll along the beach or head over to the gym to take advantage of the various machines available.
Table tennis tables are available at the pools near KORO and Nuku, while you can test your chess skills at the full size chess board. If you need a little retail therapy and don’t want to leave the resort, there are a few shops available near the lobby and the kids in your group can head over to the “Kid’s Club” to enjoy a few hours while the adults relax.
Fiji Islands Day Cruises
Ok, so you may have established by now that the Hilton Fiji resort is a great option if you just want to relax at the property but at the same time, why would you want to choose this over one of the many alternatives on the breathtaking plethora of Fijian islands?
In our opinion, the main disadvantage of being located on one of these other properties on the remote islands is the remoteness. Yes, that can be a benefit but you are also restricted to what you can experience. Why not stay on Denarau Island and then experience the remote Yasawa and Mamanuca Islands during a day cruise? Booking multiple day cruises will likely give you a better deal and take advantage of some great discounts!
There are an abundance of day cruise options available, ranging from those that will take you to a private beach where you can enjoy the full day relaxing on those perfect sands and crystal clear, turquoise waters to those where you can spend a few hours there before exploring the rest of the islands via the comfort of the cruise.
We strongly recommend South Sea Cruises, but there are several other cruise operators available. Our top tip is to head to Port Denarau Marina and explore all of the options and be prepared to negotiate to get the best price possible.
We opted for the South Sea Cruises “combo” package which included spending the morning on their very own South Sea Island and then cruising over to explore the inherent beauty of the Mamanuca Island group.
Explore Port Denarau Marina
Hop on the Bula Bus that stops outside the Hilton Fiji and head over to Port Denarau to not only enjoy a day cruise but also experience a myriad of shops, restaurants and bars. The Bula Bus runs daily until 11:30PM and for only 8 FJD, you can enjoy hop on, hop off experiences throughout the day. Port Denarau is the perfect place to enjoy dinner if you are wanting something different than the hotel options.
With a Hard Rock restaurant to satisfy those looking for a traditional chain establishment and a variety of local spots to choose from, there are certainly options for every preference. Our favorite spot was Lulu Bar and Cafe, not only because of the delicious fish and chips but also because of the daily happy hour where you can enjoy 15% local Fiji beer (Fiji Gold is a great, cheap choice!) and cocktails.
Port Denarau is also a great spot to hop inside Yees Xpressmart to purchase food and drink for your suite back at the Hilton Fiji resort. Given that you have access to a full kitchen if you are staying in a suite, you will want to stock your refrigerator with drinks and food options.
When you look at the best luxury resorts in Fiji, the Hilton Fiji resort may not be the first place you think about visiting. However, after staying here for four nights during our first time to the gorgeous South Pacific islands, we would well and truly attest that this is a place well worth staying if you want to experience everything there is to love about Fiji.
The Hilton Fiji is perfectly located on the luxurious, albeit man-made, Denarau Island and offers an ideal location to experience relaxation while also offering the opportunity to explore the breathtaking archipelago of islands with day cruises. We look forward to having the opportunity to return to Fiji in the near future and would 100% stay at the Hilton Fiji again to take advantage of everything there is to love about the Hilton brand!
I want to emphasize that we were in no way compensated and paid our own way to stay at the Hilton Fiji.