Having lived and worked on Fijian resorts for 2 years previously it was interesting to be a guest this time.
Had a great holiday, the place was clean, tidy and rooms were well presented and very comfortable.
This was a quick get a way as a result of a surprise bargain trip so we grabbed it (rather than having planned or chosen it) and so we were doing it on a budget with maximum relaxation time the plan rather than big nights and a host of trips and tours the objective
Here are some tips/feedback....
If you like a drink on arrival at the hotel (we got there late in the evening) or pre-dinner (or any time) drinks in your room ask your driver to stop at a shop on the way to the resort from the airport to pick up some "Fiji Babies" (Beer) and mixers for your duty free (Was $FJ 72 for 24 beers compared to $8 a beer at the resort or $FJ75 for 12 in the resort shop) - there was a small (unstocked) bar fridge in the room to keep things cold
We were given a twin room on check in (instead of the ordered king room) but no stress and was fixed up very quickly - a smile and politeness works a million times better in Fiji than stern words - mistakes can and will happen - live with it and smile and it will get sorted out? (If you are looking for swiss precision and everything to run like clock work you are going to the wrong place - this is not a criticism it's just the way it is?)
That said, rooms were made up beautifully every day, staff were keen to help and very friendly (tip: We found we had to go "hunting' for tea, coffee and sugar sachets a couple of times so worth grabbing a handful from the room service girls when you see them?).
We didn't want much night life or have any great desire to meet lots of people prefering instead to relax on the balcony, watch the sea and the sun set over a cold drink and spend time together and at the risk of sounding too tight fisted a trip in to Sigatoka (book a taxi from reception - $30 return and the driver waited in town for us whilst we had a wander and did some shopping) meant we could stock up on some beer ($FJ42 a case from "MH" (Morris Hedstrom) supermarket and some mixers, nibbles, chippies etc and not worry about what we were eating and drinking too much or the cost
The town is safe and worth the trip and don't be put off by the local Indians trying to sell you stuff - go in and have a look and if you are not interested then thank them and they will be fine - we picked up some great little sun dresses for our respective daughters that were very good value around $fj20 and my daughter wore it 3 days in a row on my return as she loved it - lots of other places to buy presents etc and invariably you'll benefit the local economy as well as the hotel?
By the way...wine proces even in town were very expensive so if you like a drop of grape juice be prepared?
We'd echo that Tom Lu's restaurant is well worth a trip ($FJ10 return in a taxi - book from reception)
We had 2 meals there (Sea food was fresh and well cooked and we had a "curry night" one night and both excellent value at between $60-$70 total for the 2 of us (and we ate WAY too much)) - you can also take your own alcohol (Beer/wine) and there was no corkage.
Small and unassuming place but don't let that put you off, the staff here (Sam especially) were very friendly and easy going - the place is not flash and bathrooms a bit grungy but hey! We weren't expecting 5 star - it was easy to spot the grumpy people that wanted their food delivered quick sharp (including the lady who asked whether the chef could be asked if he could cook a better curry than her father in the US because if not she would probably try something else....) compared to the ones that realised things take time and just kicked back, chatted and engaged with the staff and other patrons and had a drink and didn't stress (The latter were the ones smiling and enjoying their holidays)
The food was excellent, well cooked and a plenty of choice from the menu (including sea food, specials, chinese or indian cuisine.
We paid cash for things outside of the hotel so were running low on local currency on the last night and even though Tom Lu's said they took cards they couldn't for some reason when we were there so we had to visit the hole in the wall just outside and advance cash on the visa card so best make sure you have folding stuff for the restaurant just in case?
I'm a keen angler and took my fly fishing gear but there was no fishing allowed from the beach around the island - so we chose to do the deep sea fishing trip ($fj202 a head and they need 6 to make the trip) - The tackle was good, well maintained and heavy duty in line with the targetted fish.
The boat was safe and sea worthy (Lumpy seas on the day we went out) complete with radio and very experenced crew and we trolled lures (10 minutes rotation in the fighting chair and a strike was yours if you were in the chair) - 4 hour trip and the group (of 7) had 7 stikes for 4 mahi mahi and a barracuda landed - I enjoyed it as did my girlfriend (but not for those prone to sea sickness....) - you can have the fish (except Barracuda) cooked at the resort (Around $fj20 a head) and we "donated" some to a guy who didn't land a fish for him and his wife for dinner and the meal was delicious and there was a heap of it (Yes, it was a very big fish and I got the photos to prove it!!)
The Cowrie restaurant on the resort was our preferred breakfast spot - less crowded, no kids and buffet all you can eat "challenge" was freshly cooked and plentiful..very attentive wait staff made sure everyone had plenty of juice, tea and coffee and were well looked after
There is a happy hour from 5.30-7.30 and around 10.30 at the Black marlin bar but we didn't make either (We were either still "chillin' on the balcony or were too full of food to want to kick on) I did poke my head in one night after dinner to see what it was like and there were a few people scattered around a DJ playing the Macarana...So popped straight back out again
A fair few families with kids at the resort but not that it impacted on our peace and quiet - Hit the adult only pool or restaurants and you'll be fine if this is what you prefer, those who had kids that we spoke to were having a ball and throughly reccomended the place for families.
We had a special dinner at the kabana one night (Little bure overlooking the ocean) and the food was great, reasonably priced and included a bottle of wine and personalised menus plus your own waiter.
There is free internet (3 screens) near the main tour booking area for those who want to update their facebook (which seemed to be a lot of people whenever we looked in) or see what is happening in the real world but still managed to get in to catch up on a couple of things that i wanted to get done as a result of news from home.
Crossing over the bridge to the resport and heading right will take you in to the village of Cevu which is a good place for an early morning run or walk (but not geared for tourists) - the resort gym is well fitted out with new and modern machines of torture to help keep the tummy down or get the heart pumping and was rarely busy (Seemed to be a fair few in there in the early mornings but quiet in the late afternoon when we tended to visit)
Overall, (And having lived there for a while so know the country well) realistically there are better resorts for the "couply" romantic get aways with long white sandy beaches and blue water tropical paradise holiday settings (A fringe reef means the water in front of most appartments is quite shallow and not suitable for swimming) or locations in line with the "typical" Fiji brochure shot but that said, the resort is well spread out, well run and has a very relaxed feel to it and I can't think of anything bad to say about the place - I would travel there again if I was taking the kids (it is of course marketted heavily to that demographic and appears to do it very well) but would perhaps look elsewhere if I was going for a "grown ups" break to get away for a while.
All in all - mission accomplished on what we wanted so Vinaka Vaka Levu Shangri La and all the wonderful staff
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The resort is exclusively located on the beautiful 109-acre private Yanuca Island with its pure white sandy beach and crystal clear, coral rich seas of the exotic Fiji Islands. Only 45 minutes from Nadi International Airport, the island is connected from the mainland by a causeway.A traditional Fijian village is the inspiration behind the layout of the 442-room resort. Every guest room, suite and bure features a private balcony with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean or the resort’s lagoon. Unlimited wired broadband Internet access is complimentary in all rooms. The Resort offers a range of activities, including water sports, scuba diving and golf, and a popular Kid's Club. A wide range of dining options are available, from Pacific Rim fine dining to informal fun dining at the poolside. Cultural shows highlight Fijian lovo, meke and firewalking rituals, South Pacific and Fijian Fire dancers.CHI, The Spa is a secluded spa village set away from the main resort, and provides the privacy and luxury of the largest Spa villas in Fiji. Four Oceanview and two Rainforest treatment villas feature relaxation areas overlooking either the Pacific Ocean or an exotic rainforest, with private garden patios, outdoor bath tubs, herbal steam room and outdoor showers. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Shangri-La`s Fijian Hotel Yanuca Island
- Fiji Shangri La Resort
- Shangri La Fijian Resort
- Shangri Las Fijian Resort
- Shangri Las Fijian Hotel
- Fiji Shangri La Hotel
- Fiji La Shangri
- Fijian La Resort Shangri
- Fiji La Resort Shangri
- Shangri-La's Fijian Resort & Spa Fiji/Yanuca Island