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“Disappointed and cheated of a much needed holiday!!”

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Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa
Ranked #6 of 8 Hotels in Denarau Island
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 20, 2010

A very frustrating experience. Was booked for 5 nights. On arriving at 6pm was told our room was not ready and to wait. Then we (2 of us) were told they had overbooked and that they were sending us to their sister hotel, the Novitel. We spent 3 nights out of 5 at this hotel which was utterly disappointing and inferior to the Sofitel. We kept meeting alot of tourists with the same story and a Fijian taxi driver told me this is what they do all the time.My advice is don't leave the hotel if they tell you they are overbooked and insist that they find you a room. We booked through an agency and paid top money. I wanted a resort on a beach. The Novitel is not on a beach , is very basic, has no activities, one restaurant with very poor food. The Sofitel is a beautiful resort if you can get to stay in it!!

  • Stayed: June 2010
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Thank Rupert68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded June 25, 2010

Dear Valued Guest,

I was very disappointed to read your latest review of your stay. Sadly during peak season periods hotels do become over booked for various reasons. This was the case a week or so ago when you had chosen to stay with us, please rest assured that we did try everything we could to try and accommodate all bookings either in this hotel or in a near by resort. unfortunately we were unsuccessful for all guests. This is an extremely rare occurrence at our resort and we have now made changes to our booking system to try to eliminate this happening again to future guests.
I hope we have the opportunity to welcome you back in the near future .

Kind regards,

Adam Laker
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 20, 2010

As a previous travel consultant, I had made many bookings for my customers to Fiji, but now at last, along with my husband, I am going to experience Fiji for myself. A colleague at work had recently stayed at the Sofitel and said it was nice, so we booked the first 2 nights of our trip at the property, with 3 nights following at Rydges Hideaway Resort on the Coral Coast. After leaving for our trip when I finished working nightshift at 5 am, yet feeling very happy and on top of the world with anticipation that we were finally on holiday, the Air Pacific flight arrived into Nadi at 7 pm, with us arriving at the hotel at 7.45 pm. The receptionist spent a long time tapping away at the computer, then said she will need to see the manager. "Is there a problem?", I ask. The receptionist said the manager will be looking into it as the hotel is overbooked. Our hearts sank, but we remained calm hoping for a positive solution. After 10 minutes or so, the duty manager came to explain that there had recently been major issues where the hotel inventory had not been closed off when all the rooms had been filled, yet bookings had still been coming through, and as such there was no room for us this night, but a room would be available for the next night. (The next day I noticed many conference delegates in-house and wondered if extra rooms had been required for them).

The manager had arranged a room for us at Tanoa International Hotel near Nadi airport at a rate of FJD160 including breakfast, which we were to pay directly to Tanoa Intl. The Sofitel would pay the taxi fares to and from the hotel and also provide a buffet dinner before we left. I stated that we didn't want to be at an airport hotel but on Denarau Island, however there seemed to be no other option available. We were then shown to the Lagoon Restaurant where the Monday night's buffet theme was Chinese. We ate, and I imagine the food was reasonable as I was now somewhat numb from tiredness and disappointment, but as I tried to rationalise the situation, saying that we will at least save money on the accommodation as Tanoa Intl is cheaper, and hey we get a free dinner, I could feel tears of disappointment welling in my eyes that we could find ourselves in this situation, (apparantly along with many other guests). We also had to check out of the Tanoa and then recheck in at the Sofitel the next day, a bit of a hassle and time-waster. In hindsight, we should have just stayed the 2 nights at Tanoa Intl, even though the housemaid came at 10 am to remind us to be out by 11 am so she could clean the room! (On arrival at Tanoa Intl, we booked a special rate for Queen's Birthday 14 June of FJD99 room only, with welcome drinks, and late checkout to 2.30 pm, though we said we would leave by 11.30am, so to be reminded to leave early was a bit rich. So far feeling very unwelcome in Fiji.)

The friendly taxi driver Joe drove us to Tanoa Intl and advised he will pick us up the next morning to bring us back to the Sofitel. He arrived on time and we are back at the Sofitel at approx 12 noon. (Before we left the Tanoa Intl we received a call from the morning duty manager at the Sofitel confirming that a room was available and to order a taxi and the fare will be reimbursed. I advised him arrangements had already been made with Joe to collect us). We had to wait a while at Sofitel reception and were advised the room was not yet ready, however we can use the facilities and have our bags stored. We needed to arrange transfers to the Coral Coast for the next day, so asked at Rosie's Holidays Tour Desk. The transaction took a long time, as even though there were two consultants, our consultant also handled other customers queries at the same time as ours, even though they arrived later! We even said not to worry about it, we'll book direct with Rydges, which then refocused her attention to the job at hand. So far the stressfree, relaxing holiday was NOT going to plan.

Finally the transfers were organised and we had brunch at one of the hotel's cafes, and then headed off on the Bula bus FJD $6 each, to Port Denarau. We booked the Captain Cook Sunset Cruise for later that evening, then we took a taxi to Nadi town, cost FJD$12 each way, with another friendly driver, Ben, who offered to bring us back when we were ready. We explored the fruit market and town, and when Ben collected us, hubby asked where to find green coconuts, as the market had only brown ones. (Green coconut's flesh is soft to eat). Ben took a detour to his house, where a nephew climbed a coconut tree in the yard, and voila, we were delivered fresh coconut milk and a prepared green coconut to take with us. So generous of them, so of course we add a tip to the fare.

Back at the Sofitel reception, we received the swipe cards for room 251, and instructions on where to find it. We collected our bags and the porter started to head in the wrong direction to what we were advised. Maybe I got the number wrong so he double checked the room number on the computer, yes 251 and we headed now in the right direction. The cards wouldn't open the door, so the porter tried his card. Maybe it should be room 250, as we were told the second door, and 251 is the first door. The porter went to reception then returned saying yes it should be 250, we were given the wrong room number beforehand! At 3.45 pm, fourth time lucky at trying to get a room at the Sofitel!! Finally in the Classic Resort room, and I felt a little underwhelmed by it. The room is understated though pleasant with a view overlooking the garden of mainly coconut palms and lawn. We heard loud and clear neighbours talking on their balcony. Maybe it's the dashed expectations of the last two days after all my pre-planning of the trip, or the body clock going crazy after coming off nightshift, all I know is the 'spell is broken' and I am 'over' the Sofitel Fiji. I tried to build a bridge and get over it, but all I did was burst into tears. This night, I couldn't sleep as disappoinment turns to anger that a five star property could muck up so badly. I told myself I am being overly sensitive, but nothing helped me out of the slump. Hubby also sneezed and coughed half the night.

After three hours sleep, the next morning we went to the Lagoon restaurant for the buffet breakfast. The place was full and as we queued for a seat, we hoped we didn't get turned away. The full buffet breakfast at FJD42 per person was very good and we filled ourselves up before a quick walk around the pool area and grounds, which looked very nice, before checking out and heading to the Coral Coast, and hopefully a new start to the holiday.

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank ElizaBeth2u
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded June 25, 2010

Dear Valued Guest,

I was very disappointed to read your latest review of your stay. Sadly during peak season periods hotels do become over booked for various reasons. This was the case a week or so ago when you had chosen to stay with us, please rest assured that we did try everything we could to try and accommodate all bookings either in this hotel or in a near by resort. unfortunately we were unsuccessful for all guests. This is an extremely rare occurrence at our resort and we have now made changes to our booking system to try to eliminate this happening again to future guests. I was also disappointed to hear that you were kept awake by noise created by another guest , we do have regular security patrols who look out for any disturbances, I am sorry if this didn't happen while you were here.
Thank you for your kind words about our Buffet Breakfast and service form our staff.
I hope we have the opportunity to welcome you back in the near future .

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 June 18, 2010

Stayed at the Sofitel Fiji for a few days attending a conference on Denarau island. Now, don't get me wrong. The Sofitel is a nice, relatively new hotel. Big pool, lots of space. But it is lacking a "Fiji" character. The rooms are pretty small, but nicely appointed. Bathroom was just OK. Breakfast was included and was very nice. The beach is not nice at all. For a conference hotel it is fine. Food and drink was terribly expensive. Would I choose this for my Fiji holiday? No.

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled on business
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Thank PaulTheTravelGuy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded June 25, 2010

Dear Valued Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to complete your latest review of our hotel.
I agree with you in regards to ensuring the resort reflects its local surroundings and culture. we have implemented some changes recently such as Fiji Cultural shows with dancing and song on our hotel lawns, torch lighting ceremony every night with local drums, craft markets on our foreshore, live Fijian singing during breakfast service each morning, and even serving fresh Carva before our themed buffet diner every Thursday night.

I hope you are able to visit us again soon and experience our true Fiji touches.

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 June 18, 2010

The Sofitel is a great place to stay, the staff are friendly and the rooms are nice. Although the rooms face the ocean you don't have a perfect ocean view as there are so many palms trees blocking the view but still very nice looking over the gardens and chapel with a glimps of the ocean in the background.The pool is beautiful and probably the nicest pool out of all the resorts at Port Denarau as we went for a walk to most other resorts. It is an easy walk to go to each resort via the pathway or the beach, you can also get the bula bus (FJD$6) and hop off at each resort if you like.
The bula bus comes approx every 15 mins and takes you to Port Denarau shopping centre and each resort.
The rooms are very nice although it is a bit of a walk if you are at the end of the building but it is nice and quiet down there.There is a free guest laundry to use if needed with washing machines and dryers,there is also an ice freezer in there to fill your ice bucket in your room.Buy drinks in Port Denarau grocery shop and bring back to room as you have a bar fridge and relaxing late in the day with a drink on the balcony is quite nice.
The food is nice although we didn't have the full meal plan just breakfast each day but if you want to stay at the resort for meals it costs FJD$78 each for the buffet each night(different food themes each night) We had the buffet one night which was ok and the Salt restaurant was very nice,we also went into Port Denarau a few nights on the bula bus and had meals there.Almalfi Italian Restaurant, Mamas pizza and the Indian Restaurant were very nice and prices were reasonable.
We also went on a few day trips that were good,Seaspray sailing adventure and The Waterfall tour was nice but you will need to like walking through rainforest for 40 mins and getting shoes wet due to walking through streams to get to the waterfall, the villages you visit are interesting and Wagga the guide is informative and funny.This tour looks a bit low budget at first but there was some great sites and we liked it alot.There are other tours that go out for a day on the islands snorkelling that also look good and you are picked up and returned to your hotel.
The breeze bar is nice to relax with a cocktail and breakfast in the Lagoon Buffet is nice with a nice view of the pond and the pool area.There is no night club but some nights they have a band in the Breeze bar.At night the pool area looks beautiful with all the lanterns burning.
Not too many people swim at the beach relaxing in a deck chair is the thing to do on the beach,the pool is best for swimming, this is the same for all resorts at Denarau.
I would definately return to the Sofitel.

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank JanOZ1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 16, 2010

we stayed here for 2 nights after staying at mana island. the hotel was great, nice and clean and the staff were friendly.
it did take ages to check in as they seemed under staffed at reception and our room keys didnt work. they also put the other couple we were staying with, and booked together with at the very opposite end of the resort!
the food was great and the entertainment was fun. the beach is horrible and i didnt even want to walk on it.. so i would not go there for a beautiful beach.
there is also a marina about 5 min drive down the road, with restarants and shops, we went there for dinner etc. a taxi for 4 people was cheaper than the lil bus tickets that you buy, just as i hint.

i would reccomend this hotel for a short stay, as the hotel is nice, but a bit crowded.
we did see wedding that looked absolutely beautiful!

the day spa seemed really over priced and there was a nice one at the marina.

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Rebekahtarte
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 15, 2010

In general would recommend the Sofitel, as for a family relaxing get away it ticks most boxes. If you are looking for a genuine 5 star, its not quite that as most reviews point out, the beds are not the most comfortable, the service (especially pool side) very hit & miss, and the food average & expensive.
However the resort is tidy, the pool clean, the water slide great for the kids & just a nice place to unwind. Of all the resorts on Denerau, still think the Sofitel is the one for families particularly if your kids are of school age. The Raddison is nice but appeared jam packed with pre-schoolers (most not wearing swimming nappies!) and was very noisy.
Found that the restaurant "Wok on the Wild Side" at Port Denerau was good value for cheap and filling Chinese with the average meal costing circa FJ$12.00 and they were quick to bring out the meals which was great for the kids.

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled with family
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Thank nurdsens
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 8, 2010

Hi , we reacently stayed there and the down fall to our trip, well 2 down falls.
1 ...When we landed in Auckland on our return we found that my husband wallet had been stolen out of my handbag , which was in the room the whole time and because it held only NZ $ I hadnt put it in the Safe, which i take the blame for, but we put our trust in the people who come to clean your room and the Name Sofitel.
2... 24hrs before we left my husband and I came down with a tummy bug and 5 days later we are still going to the toilet, all meals were consumed either at the breakfest buffe, Salt and the last meal at night on the 4th was at V )-: so not a good way to return to NZ or finish our holiday

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank chrissy09-10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded June 25, 2010

Dear Valued Guest,

I was very disappointed to read of your latest review of our hotel.
As you have only realized you have lost your wallet well after you have left our resort it is hard to truly say were it went missing, such as a taxi, busy airport terminal etc also I do not know your name or room number so I cannot investigate anything. This sort of feedback should be communicated to the hotel directly.
All cases of stomach upsets are taken very seriously and so when reported we complete full checks of our fridges and food storage areas to ensure everything is handled correctly , this is hard for us to do when we do not know when you stayed with us or where you have eaten during your stay.

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.
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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 Spa Hotel in Denarau Island
#6 Luxury Hotel in Denarau Island
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Denarau Island
Price Range: $176 - $382 (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 Resort And Spa
Sofitel Fiji Hotel Denarau Island
Sofitel Denarau Island
Denarau Island Sofitel
Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa Denarau Island

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