In early January we (mum,dad, 16 & 12 yr old) stayed at the Shangri-la for 8 nights. Having stayed on Matamanoa (2 adults) and at The Naviti (all 4) before, we thought we would try the Shangri-la after hearing so many good reports about it.
After previous experience we had pre-booked private transport from the airport to our resort at AUD$78 each way. This meant we arrived about one hour earlier than those booked on the coach and meant that we did not have to wait for those very important people who think that the whole bus load of weary travellers can wait while they shop before coming to the bus.
After reading many reviews, we had booked an Ocean View Family Room (ground floor). My sister, husband and 10 month old baby had an Ocean View Executive Suite on the first floor just nearby. They had a huge ensuite with a sliding door to close off the bedroom plus a 2nd bathroom. Tried to upgrade but the only available exec.suite was down in the lagoon wing ... no thank you. Small bar fridge in each room, king size beds, kids had singles, in room safe, room service 24 hrs.
We chose the full breakfast option for all of us and ate at the Takali Restaurant (closest to Ocean Wing) which was much quieter and smaller than the main buffet restaurant. Breakfast consisted of a vaiety of cereals, pastries, breads, fruit, yogurt, pancakes, bacon (actually ham), sauteed potatoes, sausages, backed beans, stir fried vegies, fried rice, eggs - scrambled, fried, boiled, poached and omlettes. Dont expect great coffee - the Coral Cafe sells capuccino etc but they are nothing to write home about because of the UHT milk, but you can get your caffeine hit. From memory 2 coffees cost FJ$10.98 inlcuding tax which is just over AUD$8 at the current exchange rate.
Eating a late breakfast meant we really only needed at light snack in the afternoon. Sandwiches, pies etc available at the adults pool bar. Lagoon (family) pool kiosk had 'take away' type options and icecreams. Coral Cafe was good value with wedges $7, fries $6, wraps $12, caesar salads etc. The little general store has water, soft drink, chips etc at reasonable prices or you can take a local taxi into Sigatoka and go to the supermarket for snack items.
Dinner at Coral Cafe was magnificent - catch of the day, steaks, pasta etc. plus salad bar, desert bar for FJ $34 + tax which is AU$29. Good Value. The Takali Restaurant had an asian inspired menu with mains around FJ$22 - $28 (AU$18 - $23 inc tax). The kids (and some adults) enjoyed the beautiful gelato from the vendor near the shops (FJ$4). The Beach Bar did both lunch & dinner and was pretty reasonably priced but some of our meals were overdone - a bit cheaper than the other options - prepare for mozzies tho !
Fine dining at the Kalevu (?) restaurant was very impressive. By far the best meal and presentation - magnificent steak ! pork fillet, lamb - expemplary service - 3 piece band and dancefloor. in a word - wonderful ! BUT a word of warning - dont think that you can just arrive and get a table - even if it looks empty !!! - you MUST book !
Wines on the whole were a little more expensive than you would pay at home but ... you are in a resort. If you have your 'duty free' drinks on your balcony/patio before dinner you dont mind paying a little more for your wine. Fiji beers are reasonaby priced at $5 in the restaurants.
The kids games room was a hit - ping pong tables are free - other games are $1 or $2. There is also a tv room for the under 12s which shows appropriate movies each night. The hotel movies are apparently about FJ$20 to purchase.
Tennis is free - but you have to rent the racquets FJ$20 for 2. Golf was FJ$24 each for nine holes, club hire $9 each and a few $ for balls and tees. We were also provided with a caddy. (They are paid next to nothing so a tip is appreciated but not expected.) Sailing, kyaks are free. Snorkeling costs about FJ$23 for adults and $14 but whilst we were there the boat couldn't go out because of poor visability. We did take our own masks/snorkles and just went in off the beach. Whilst there wasn't any coral, we saw lots of fish, kelp etc and 12 yr old enjoyed it alot. Also very safe, not deep - we even watched him from our patio. Diving was available as they went out to deeper waters I guess.
The Chi Spa is brand new and very elegant ! and it would want to be - it is extremely overpriced - FJ$120 - $200 for a massage ! On the advice of many reviewers we went across the causeway and visited Antie Viri in the 'grey hut'. Auntie Viri worked at the resort for many years and started the beach massage service there. She has a simple set up for massage, hair braiding and manicure/pedicure which is less than half the price of the beach massage hut at the resort. FJ$50 for a full hour as compared with FJ$34 for 15 minutes. Be aware that the staff at the resort are on minimum wages no matter what you pay ! Hair braiding is so much cheaper and imagine $30 for a manicure as opposed to $80 ! Support the local villagers !
Taking the extra five minutes to walk to the end of the causeway will get you a local taxi for FJ$20 to Sigatoka return with a side trip through a local village whist getting it from the front lobby will cost $60. If you want to, you can walk around the resort in 20 minutes.
We took a local taxi (Eddie) to Natadola Beach - which is beautiful and gave him FJ$60 which he said gave us a whole day ! He took us there, and had a nap in the car under the trees and said he would take us back whenever we were ready - no hurry ! Fiji time. After lunch at the Yatule resort (VERY basic) and a horse ride along the beach for the 12 year old - $15 cash - we enjoyed the crystal clear aqua waters and then took a tour through a local village, picked up some soft drink & chips then back to the resort.
The resort is 'charge to room' for almost everything. Keep an eye on your daily account via the tv. A caution - watch out for Mun - a very perisistent salesman who approaches people at the poolside to try to get you to buy/pay for "firewalking show' etc. On the quiet we were told by staff to go directly to the 'restaurant reservations desk' to book anything rather than agree to purchase anything poolside.
We ate at every restaurant except the evening buffet. At $48.50 + tax (AU$42) per head we thought it a bit overpriced for those of us who would generally just have a main meal. If you have a group of big eaters who can do the 'all you can eat' justice - go for it.
As far as the previous reviewers who complained about the amount of walking i would say that unless you are elderly or have mobility issues it is not an issue. There is no great rush to get anywhere. There were many people with strollers for their toddlers and I understand these are available from the resort for a small fee. Wandering along the winding paths under coconut palms and looking out to a magnificent evening sunset was a lovely few minutes on the way to dinner. '
For those with young children babysitters are available through the reception. These local women are seen playing with the children or gathering in the childrens TV room with toddlers. They have a minimum of 3 hours at FJ$8 per hour - the sitter takes a signed docket to reception to collect her pay - which is much less. My sister gave a generous cash tip to Kitty and requested the same sitter each day for 3 hrs in the afternoon and then several hours in the evening to take care of baby. Talking to our 'neighbour' with a 6 & 18 month old they ensured their sitter was rewarded in a similar fashion and ended up having her every day.
Take a trip down to the shell market on the island - much cheaper than going into the shops or sigatoka - and very nice freshwater pearls etc. Swimming beach too.
To sum up, we had a great holiday, would recommend the resort to anyone with kids. The Ocean Wing is further from the activities for the kids and the beach. Whilst we had pre-paid breakfast, and drank duty free pre-dinner, we certainly didn't skiimp - enjoyed golf a few times, tennis, massages, had bottled wine with dinner each night etc and came away having paid an additonal FJ$2000 - which is under AU$1500 for 4 people over 8 nights.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.