Firstly I will say that overall my partner and I really enjoyed our 5 days relaxing in the sun at the Intercontinental Fiji Resort (IFR.) We got a great "opening special" rate and we knew that as it had just opened there might be some problems, so we went with open minds and relaxed attitude. The hotel and location are fabulous but there are a few issues which need to be sorted out quickly if the hotel is to live up to its 5 Star rating.
We arrived in Fiji at 8pm and were met by our private transfer driver who took us to the hotel - the car was new, the driver friendly and helpful. We asked him to stop at a shop selling alcohol so that we could get some beers on the way to the hotel - what an excellent move this was! We were worried that there wouldn't be a shop open so late at night but this guy found it and we paid about 50 FJD for 24 beers, as opposed to 8 FJD per bottle at the hotel! This saving just about paid for the private car transfers!!!
Check in was very painless and quick, as it was so late the hotel staff did a brief welcome with juice and moist towels etc, then took us straight to our room and completed the paperwork there.
We had booked a Garden View room and we had one of the ground floor rooms overlooking the family pool, with the added bonus of a glimpse of the sea. The room was lovely, tasteful decor, nice furniture, good quality appliances, acres of marble, yummy Pure Fiji toiletries, comfy bed and nice linens. We loved our terrace with the daybed and dreamy double bathtub - being able to play our own music on the sound system was also a huge plus. The pool was all lit up at night and it all looked really pretty.
The room really was ideal for us as we could pretty much roll out of bed, walk across our terrace and hop onto a lounger by the pool where we would remain for most of the day. This also meant that we could leave terrace doors open, pop in and out to use the loo, refill our drinks from the aforementioned beers and duty free stash and grab a snack when we wanted - perfect! We did worry that it would be noisy with kids screaming in the pool but found that this wasn't the case and we couldn't hear anything once the terrace doors were shut. We were generally really pleased with the room but there were many people who were not happy with theirs - I talked to some people who had moved three times!
The shower drain was blocked when we arrived and we flooded the bathroom the first couple of times we used it which was a pain. They did send someone to fix it straight away but I suspect there was a language problem as it wasn't fixed that time or the second time I asked for him to come back either!! I eventually had to speak to the young Australian Manager who had it sorted out very quickly and all up it was fixed within 24 hours of initial contact.
The infinity pool is supposed to be an adult pool but it was full of screaming kids most days, this isn't the hotels fault but the guests who stay there - its just inconsiderate. It did mean that the family pool was relatively quiet though which worked out OK for us.
I felt that the housekeeping staff have got some work to do with their attention to detail, the room was immaculate when we arrived but they weren't very good at replacing things like tissues, toiletries, coffee and milk - unless you put the empty packets in the middle of the bathroom for them. We did notice that drink spills weren't cleaned from surfaces and the terrace wasn't swept whilst we were there. There were sticky, child sized finger marks on the terrace day bed and I noticed grubby marks and spills on many of the soft furnishings around the hotel complex. The hotel has only been open 2 months and its going to look very shabby, very quickly unless this is constantly attended to - a real shame because it is beautiful and needs to be maintained.
The beach is stunning and there are some lovely walks outside the complex if you are up and about before it gets too hot. I did Yoga twice at the spa, which was a great relaxing way to start the day and you get complimentary use of the Wai Zone (steam, Jacuzzi, ice showers) afterwards - they don't really publicise this much, so take your swimming gear and ask. Do check times for the activities as they do tend to change with no notice or get cancelled if the staff or guests don't show up - I got up to Power Walk at 7am one morning and the guide was no where to be seen so I went on my own!!
I had a body polish treatment at the spa which was divine and left my skin silky soft. The treatments are very limited (4 or 5) and generally very expensive, the body polish is the only reasonably priced one and it was worth it - overall a really lovely experience.
There is a well equipped gym and a Kids Club which looked great and the kids obviously adored their Fijian "nannies." We dont have kids but at $25FJD for a full day of activities including lunch we thought that this would be a great way for parents to get a bit of a holiday too!
The Karma bar is lovely for sunsets and lazing on the huge daybeds looking at the stars at night. Eventually some bright spark will realise that this place could be the Cafe Del Mar of the South Pacific but until they do enjoy the peace of this beautiful spot and its chilled atmosphere.
As a couple of other reviewers mentioned the food is pretty poor and outrageously overpriced for what you get - everyone we spoke with at the hotel was unhappy with this aspect of their trip. We tried a breakfast (49 FJD) and evening Asian buffet (65 FJD) at Sanasana - both very standard hotel fare, lots of choice but nothing particularly tasty or interesting. We had two lunches at Toba by the pool and wished we hadn't bothered both times, orders mixed up, the slowest most chaotic service (25 mins to get a drink!) and tasteless, over prepared food. Navo is gorgeous at night with the waves from the lagoon lapping almost at your feet as you eat - this romantic experience was rather spoiled by a table of 4 next to us who very loudly complained all through their meal and then refused to pay and yelled at the waiter for about 15mins until the manager arrived!! The food was OK here and it has the potential to be really good, but definitely not fine dining yet, which the prices certainly are - my partner had to take his steak back to the kitchen himself as it was so overcooked it wasn't funny - the waiter was no where to be seen. He did get another one and it was good but you don't expect this when paying over 50FJD for a meal...
What a shame that with such fabulous fresh produce in Fiji that they haven't got the message that people prefer fresh food, cooked simply and well, rather than overpriced, under seasoned rubbish that has been overcooked and so buggered about with that its inedible - honestly, salads presented to look like a cake - why??!
We decided to cut our losses and try food outside the resort after this and ended up eating at the Yatadule Natadola Bay Resort for the rest of our stay. Yes folks, there are other options - you just have to go and look for them! Its just short walk down the beach or follow the dusty track next to the wedding chapel at the IFR. This place has a nice little bar and restaurant overlooking the beach, its nothing flash but drinks and food are well under half the price of the IFR, staff are friendly and the food is basic, simple and tasty - the fish curry is a must. They don't serve wine but they do let you BYO wine for a 10 FJD corkage charge, so stock up in duty free. We spoke to others who tried the Natadola Beach Resort next door for food and they said that was OK too, though not such a nice outlook. These resorts are going to do really well unless the IFR gets its act together fast.
I have a wheat intolerance so had taken breakfast cereal and snacks with us just in case - I was glad I did as this also saved us heaps of money. Getting those beers, plenty of duty free and some mixers at Nadi airport was also a huge saving.
Check your bill at the end of your stay, we were charged for internet access we hadn't used and meals we hadn't eaten, the 250FJD room credit that was part of my package was no where to be seen. I also had to talk to reception twice about our late check out (again part of the package) and they still stopped our room access cards from working after 10am on our last day.
The staff are all lovely and friendly and they really do want to help but it really is a bit Faulty Towers at times. There is just not enough direction, close quality control and supervision that a new place of this standard requires. There are a couple of Aussie guys running the show and they are working horrendous hours and cannot be everywhere they need to be at once - I felt sorry for them.
I do hope the hotel management can sort things out as it would be a shame if such a stunning hotel and location is tarnished with a reputation for bad food and poor service.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa is located on the beautiful and picturesque Natadola Beach on Fiji's main island of Viti Levu. Relax on palm-fringed white sand beach or swim or snorkel in rolling surf to experience natural Fijian ambiance. The resort offers breathtaking 360-degree views of Natadola Bay and exotic landscaped gardens. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Intercontinental Fiji Golf Resort And Spa
- Intercontinental Fiji Golf Hotel Sigatoka
- Intercontinental Coral Coast
- Intercontinental Fiji Hotel
- InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa Sigatoka