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“Not our scene - could be anywhere in the world”

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Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa
Ranked #6 of 8 Hotels in Denarau Island
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 5, 2012

We (Mum/Dad & 3 children ages 1, 4, 5) stayed at the Sofitel overnight enroute to the Yasawa Islands. We stayed here because we were meeting a friend and it was convenient to get to the Marina.

Don’t get me wrong I enjoy five star experiences and the hotel itself is nice (foyer is impressive) but really when it comes down to it the Sofitel is a general standard five start resort with very very limited Fijian influence. You could be anywhere in the world – infact it reminded me of being in a Queensland resort. This may or may not be your thing, I guess it depends what you are looking for in a holiday – we wanted to visit Fiji as opposed to being lured into a single five star resort destination with no real soul to it. But for our overnight stay it was OK and convenient.

Overall, we don’t have any issues with the Sofitel – it is just not our scene. I read complaints about staff members being rude – we found the staff to be very friendly, especially the check in staff. We did witness some terrible ugly traveller behaviour - a man ranting and raving to front desk that housekeeping had not replenished his mini bar with pringles that day and another about the lumpiness of pillows (it irks me, when people travel to lesser developed countries and they think it is perfectly fine to morph into an ugly tourist thinking it is OK to treat people like this…so I say it is little wonder that some staff may be rude – wouldn’t you be ?)

Overall my view is if you only have 5 or 7 days and looking for a place to fly the family in and flop besides a busy pool, access a kids club and squish a trip into Nadi/a day trip to a village then spruik that you have ‘done’ fiji then this is it. Otherwise don’t go…you will quickly become annoyed by parting with lots of money only to stay in a large, soul-less, kid crazy, small roomed could be anywhere in the world resort.

Here are a few general positive/negative comments.

Pool – lordy lord. I don’t think I am exaggerating by saying it was almost inaccessible and completely overrun by children and stressed looking parents. Good luck trying to find a sunlounge – I guess people rush to the pool before breakfast and stake their claim. Anything but relaxing……it is very very busy during the day.

Beach - Don’t come here expecting a beautiful beach otherwise you will be disappointed. I can confirm with other people's view that the sand is black in colour and water is muddy – it is by no means attractive. Saying this, as we only had one night here we got the children an early dinner from Salt and sat on the loungers by the beach to have picnic dinner. We discovered from 4-6 (check times?) they have happy hour drinks down on the beach. An unexpected bonus for us and it was really nice to let the children have a picnic dinner whilst we enjoyed a sunset drink (at reasonable price). There were very few people around us so it was peaceful, the staff were relaxed and fun. It was a nice experience.

Family resort, couples be warned! - If you are looking for a romantic place to stay then don't choose here. Honestly there are families everywhere at this resort, on either side of our room and in the pool, in the eating places. Even though we are a family of 3 young children ourselves we even found it overwhelming with the sheer hectic atmosphere of super excited undisciplined children and stressed looking Mums and Dads. I’m not one of those people who let children run amok, not at home and especially not in public spaces – but some people think it is ok to do this and given the sheer numbers of families at this resort you will most definetly witness this. Saying this we did see couples and lots of conference delegates - so not entirely families.

Room size – tiny. We stayed in a family room. Thank goodness it was for only one night. It is so small and would have driven us nuts by the end of the week. They had also run out of baby cots (even though I had asked for one for our one year old). The poor housekeeping guy was run off his feet and really trying his best. I felt sorry for him. He eventually “found” a babycot at 10pm so I could move baby from our bed into cot. The room was clean but just small. If you have a family go for the ground level this way the children can just run straight out onto the grass rather than worry about stairs – we loved this !

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank JackieBrizVegas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lakera, General Manager at Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded September 6, 2012

Dear JackieBrizVagas,

Thank you for taking the time to post your detailed response from your nights stay with us. I am sorry you felt that the resort doesnt have enough Fijian influences, however to be fare this might be hard to appreciate over only one nights stay as we have the fijian traditional show every weekend and the tourch lighting each night and of course our arcutecture tries to blend the european style with Fijian culture. However I still take your feedback on board and of course will look at some more aditional options. Of course we do have many children staying at the resort as does all resorts in Fiji except adult only resorts as Fiji as a whole is a family friendly island as im sure you know since you had your own 3 children. We do tell guests who want more quiet time to simply try and avoid the school holiday period.

We hope we will see you in Fiji again soon.

Kind regards,

Adam Laker
General Manager

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Reviewed September 3, 2012

We didn't choose to stay at the Sofitel on Denarau Ialand - it was chosen for us by the organisers of an industry conference. But we are really happy they did that. 

Denarau Island is semi-artificial - maybe 40 years ago what was a relatively swampy coastal area got filled in a bit, and there are now a few resorts, plus the obligatory canals and expensive, mostly unoccupied, houses.

But this is about the Sofitel. 

This is a well-established resort hotel, which has been very well renovated quite recently. Once inside the room it gives almost no indication of its moderate age - it's near enough to brand new, and quite high quality. Superb beds, pillows, linen, carpet and the like. The bathroom has been renovated, but is small. We had two adjoining rooms for the two is us and our three kids - and the interconnecting doors were lockable and soundproof.  Excellent. Their room had a larger shower, ours had a bath. The flat screen TV was fine according to the kids. 

As a conference venue the Sofitel was near enough to faultless - or at least it appeared to be to us, mere sponsors and delegates. I didn't get the impression that the conference organisers were ever stressed, the events were great, and the Fijian people were beautiful. Yes, they are paid to do their job (paid very low by international standards - between $1.20 and $2 per hour) but no-one can be as happy and as keen to please, to be genuinely friendly all the time, without meaning it.

I'll put in another review of the restaurant that we went to repeatedly - Salt - but I will say here that it is fabulous as a superbly relaxed, amazingly positioned restaurant beside the water which by Aussie standards is almost cheap. Loved it. Repeatedly.

Salt does bring a new perspective to BYO though. We went fishing and caught a 7kg Mahi Mahi - and had been confident (cocky?) enough to determine before we went that they would cook the fish for us, serve it with salad and chips, for F$30 a head. Bargain. Superb. Cooked three ways - battered, grilled, and marinated, Tahitian style. OMG. And we heard from some other conference delegates about the unbelievable marinated fish they had had at Salt that night- that was very cool! My fish!

There is only one pool, but it is quite big, and imaginatively shaped, with curves, islands, varying depths - but no in-pool bar. (That's about my only complaint about the whole place.)

We organised fishing ourselves through Nadi Fishing Charters - John provided us a great day for F$1,200. Major bargain indeed.

We did the jet ski safari organised by Adrenaline at the hotel. Not cheap, but a great day. A full-throttle blast out to Beachcomber Island about 60km away, an hour snorkelling, then a blast back. The legs got WAY more of a workout than I had realised. Sam's your man on the jet skis - if you can grab him, do so. The jet skis themselves are brilliant - plenty of power even with a combined 200kg aboard, heaps of fun, and we really, really tried to be very stupid but they didn't misbehave one bit, even in the gnarliest bits of water we could find. 

The kids did the jet boat ride and reported that it was a flop.

And my daughter and I did two dives, one to The Pinnacle, one a drift dive around Magic Island, both fabulous. 

There is a small gym - two treadmills, two bikes (one sit down) a few free weights and a combination machine. It was adequate.

My son played golf at Denarau - but it paled into nothingness after we went to Natadola Bay for the day. He says that's the best course he's ever played. I reckon it's the best I've ever seen or could imagine. 

We would never have booked a holiday at the Sofitel, but now it's rather likely that we will come back. That's about the best recommendation I could think of. 

Room Tip: If there are still rooms that haven't been renovated, don't get one. The renovated ones are...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank NeilInOz51
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lakera, General Manager at Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded September 4, 2012

Dear NeilInOz51 ,

thank you for taking your time to post your last review from your recent stay with us here at the Sofitel. I am delighted to read that you had a great stay and also enjoyed the conference you attended. I enjoyed reading your story about the fish you cought and also how the chefs here at the hotel cooked it for you, thats what a holiday in Fiji is all about.
We hope we are able to welcome your self and your family back to the resort again soon for another holiday in Fiji.

Kind regards,

Adam Laker
General Manager

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Reviewed September 3, 2012

Good value hotel, appreciated the fact that they gave me an early check in after arriving in the early hours after a long flight.
Food and drinks are expensive but this seems to be the norm in major Fijian hotels and island resorts.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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Thank jpsoton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 2, 2012

Look the hotel is nice, standard Sofitel type rooms and nothing to complain about. But, and the big but, is that it is very generic and not hugely reflective of the Fijian culture or even a beachside culture. If that is what you like, then stay here as its a nice hotel and you can feel very sheltered. You have all the luxuries on hand and won't do without a thing. But you will miss out on experiencing something different and will just get a taste of homogenised culture. Don't go here for the beach, as it's very average but do go here for convenience and an easy place to relax without having to take yourself out of your comfort zone or do without anything!

Room Tip: Go the west wing, luxury rooms for the better standard and the great iPod docks.
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled on business
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Thank Billi_BNE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lakera, General Manager at Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded September 4, 2012

Dear Billie_BNE,

Thank you for taking the time to post your last review from your holiday, Im glad to read that you enjoyed your stay but dissapointed that you didnt feel we presented the Fiji feel within the resort, This is why we have the Fiji Cultral show, themed buffets as well as the thatched roofs on all building and wood carved pillars etc. However I have taken this comment on board and so we will look at more ways to promote the Fijian experience to our guests.

Kind regards,

Adam Laker
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 2, 2012

This is the best of the best only down fall is Acorr food discount ,Had to battle them for it evertime and somethimes only would allow 25 %.But the pool is amazing.Just need to sort out the lounge hoggers.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank rivsol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 31, 2012

We travelled to Fiji for 6 days at the end of August & stayed at the Sofitel. This is the 2nd time we have stayed here & overall we loved it. There were a few small things but nothing that would stop us returning.We stayed in a luxury room & it was great. The only thing I was a bit disappointed with was there was no bathtub (we have a 4yo who loves baths), & there are these rooms which have baths (Must remember to request this next time). Prior to arriving I requested a ground floor room & this was no problem at all. On arrival we requested a late checkout of 3pm & this too was no problem. The pool & waterslide were an absolute hit with our little one. If you got the right pool beds you were able to sit down & still watch her go up and down the waterslide. In regards to the pool beds, the same thing is still happening in regards to having to get up early to get the ones you wanted. I hate playing that game, but you had to join in and do it or you wouldnt get a seat. We always went to the pool straight after breakfast so I didnt feel too bad, but there were people who would reserve the chairs and not come down to use them until late afternoon which is a bit rude or there are people who reserve chairs in two locations, whihc is plain rude.
We also purchased an Accor Advantage Card, we used it last time & it was great, this time we only used it twice I think so not sure if it was worth it. The other thing I did question was why kids meals were not included in getting the 50% discount on food??
The service at the Salt restaurant was average on one occasion when we had lunch, My husband & daughter had finished their lunch and I had to wait another 10 minutes to get my meal (when it arrived it was delicious) I had to ask 3 times where it was, admittidly they did not charge me for the meal & gave me a free drink, but the fact was the meals should have come out together.
The only other thing I can recommend is to check your room charges when you leave, we had a single charge for $400 FJD on the room bill, it said it was a tip/surcharge when we had one cocktail each at the Breeze Bar, I questioned the charge and it was quickly removed from the total. All in all the Sofitel is an amazing resort and we would definately stay there again.
Some other great things to do in Fiji are
Eat at the Flying Fish Restaurant at the Sheraton
Do a Jetski safari
we gor a great exchange rate of about 1.74 FJD for 1AUD

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Mands1973
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 31, 2012

There are many points of emphasis that one considers in choosing where to stay. Our focus areas included location, luxury, pool assets and food. Our 10 day stay had us wondering why the Sofitel wasn't rated the best property on Denarau Island? It is worth checking Sofitel's restaurant ratings which are all very high. Some tips to help you;
1/ Safety first - be careful of the trip hazard of the floor mat in your room
2/ Best to get your pool towels early and reserve your sun lounge before the preferred location ones are taken
3/ For those of you wanting some space from the younger people, choose a sun lounge at the deeper end of the pool
4/ Use the concierge to full advantage - they are a wealth of information and willing to help
5/ For those wanting to avoid the live entertainment at breakfast, ask for a spot in the bure away from the musicians
6/ A cruise around the islands is a must - we particularly enjoyed the Oceanic Schooner - non-stop free alcohol all day and a great friendly atmosphere
7/ It is worth planning your itinerary around the seafood night at the Sofitel Lagoon restaurant - the lobster and crab bisque (soup) is truly wonderful
8/ There are plenty of activities at the Sofitel with great participation, especially the aqua aerobics. When they wheel out the boom box, you look forward to the happy atmosphere that always prevails around the pool area
9/ Don't forget to utilise the complimentary ice - located in the laundry
10/ Finally, for a wonderful fine dining experience the V restaurant is a "must do" - visit it early in your stay as you will most likely want to return, we did!

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank travellotsallover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa

Address: Beachfront, Denarau Island, Viti Levu, Fiji
Phone Number:
Location: Fiji > Viti Levu > Denarau Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Business Hotel in Denarau Island
#4 Romantic Hotel in Denarau Island
#5 Family Hotel in Denarau Island
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Denarau Island
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Denarau Island
#6 Luxury Hotel in Denarau Island
#6 Spa Hotel in Denarau Island
Price Range: $175 - $376 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 296
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa is located on beautiful Denarau Island. This five star Fiji resort overlooks the beachfront, adjacent to the world class Denarau Golf and Racquet Club. Our Fiji beach resort offers 296 rooms, each with a private balcony. Other features at this Fiji luxury resort include a private beach, wedding chapel, swimming pools, three restaurants, four bars, an international health spa, and one of the largest ballroom on the island. A bustling marina and cultural temples are located nearby. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sofitel Fiji Hotel Denarau Island
Sofitel Fiji Resort And Spa
Sofitel Denarau Island
Denarau Island Sofitel
Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa Denarau Island

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