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“Would come back -Lovely and pleasant stay...but not exactly 'sheer luxury'”

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Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa
Ranked #6 of 8 Hotels in Denarau Island
Certificate of Excellence
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Would come back -Lovely and pleasant stay...but not exactly 'sheer luxury'”
Reviewed September 11, 2010

Stayed at Sofitel after agnoising over where to stay in Denarau. I was stressed about staying at Sofitel after reading some negative reviews, but we had a very pleasant trip.

It's a good place to stay - if you prefer to do day trips to Fiji Islands rather than being stuck at one island for the whole duration of your holidays.

If you are a frequent traveller, or staying at Sofitel for more than a few days, I strongly recommend joining Advantage Plus club. As a member, you get 50% off the food bill at the Sofitel restaurants - fantastic value - and Sofitel has good food - at 50% off, you'll want to eat in at the resort every day.


Objectively assessing Sofitel: -

Pros

1. Lovely and spacious garden- some near by resorts eg Westin, and Sheraton residence had very small garden/pool area. Sofitel has by far bigger and spacious ground, beach and pool area.. The gardens and the hotel building has a light, spacious feel about it, and makes it an excellent resort. ( I personally found pool area at Westin very dark, clinical and squashed)

2. All rooms face ocean- I could see that other neighbouring resorts had rooms facing drive ways, main road etc... All rooms in Sofitel face ocean /garden. More about ocean views later though.

3. Good Food :- B'fast was pleasant - not the most extensive spread i've seen in hotels, but still fresh and very enjoyable.

Salt Restaurant - good bistro /casual style dininng, yummy food, lovely setting on the beach. Over couple of vistis, we had beef angus steak, fresh mussels in tomato based sauce, lamb racks, and linguini (x2) ( ask for extra dressing -makes it much more moist). With 50% off, food bill for 2 people ( 2 local beers, 2 mains, 1 entre' and 1 dessert) came to about A$55.

V restaurant - Fine food restaurant. Prices are actually not all that different to Salt Restaurant, ( eg. Angus Steak was F $55 at both restaurants) and you get much better service. They also have Advantage member specials - we got free appetizers when we dined there.

We had the best lamb tenderloins there - it had lime/mint infused flavour - a very pleasant surprise, and it was just beautiful. Their duck dish is also quite good.

With 50% discount, light dinnder for 2 ( 2 mains and 1 side order, and 1 dessert and 1 glass wine/ 1 local beer) was under A$60 ! After trying out the V restaurant, we wanted to have our dinner there every night, but the problem was, it was closed for 3 nights out of 5 nights we were there, for wedding functions ..... and its a shame its not open for lunch !

Lagoon Restaurant - they do themed buffet dinners. not the most extensive range, but we enjoyed the seafood dinner - the Mud Crab cooked in curry style sauce was very yummy ! we probably went through about 5 crabs between 2 of us.. irresistable.


Now the Cons:...

1. Service needs to improve - Fiji time is one thing, but just bad service is another.
Some staff /wait persons at Salt Restaruant were super efficient and attentive, but some wait persons at Salt Restaurant were blatantly ignoring requests, and looked like lost souls, just wondering up and down the restaurant, walking past 4 tables of guests who'd been waiting to place their orders.... we waited for 30 mins before we waived at a male wait person for his attention - he gestured to us to wait - but he never came back, and we ended up going up to the counter to ask some one to take our order..... later the same waiter delivered our dessert - ice cream - but with no spoons. We asked for spoons, but he NEVER came back.... and our dessert was melting away.......

It was same at Lagoon - our drinks and water didnt arrive until we'd finished our 2nd plate of food ( and after my husband went up to the counter and waited for 5 min)... some tables had water bowl to rinse their hands ( seafood buffet), but most other tables didnt..... some mornings at B' fast, espresso coffee orders would be taken, but on some mornings they wouldnt bother .... needs some consistency

2. Limited Ocean views - whilst all rooms face ocean, our " Ocean View Room" had only 1% view of the ocean, mainly due to palm trees and the gardens.... We asked to be moved and we were given a better room.

3. House keeping a bit of hit and miss - some days no free water, some days no bathmat..... but if you ring house keeping they will bring around the extra stuff

4. Not 5 star luxry - whilst rooms and bathrooms are comfortable, it was not exactly 5 star ... I'd say its more 4.5 star. you wont find marble/granite and gold plated taps here... bathrooms have basic white tiles, and some... mould.... maybe Fiji dont have bleach ?

Whilst I'd very much enjoyed my stay, you will be disappointed if you are looking for a 'sheer luxury' experience.

However, to be fair, over all, very pleasant, enjoyable stay. If I was to visit Denarau again, I;d stay at Sofitel again. Some improvements to service and room decor/facilities would make it perfect.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Seeh2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMresort, General Manager at Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, responded to this review, September 14, 2010
Dear Valued Guest,
Thank you for your latest review, I was pleased to read that you enjoyed your stay with us.
I was pleased to read that you enjoyed your meals within our restaurants here at the resort, we have a solid reputation for providing the best food options in Denarau.
I have also noted your comments about delays in service, we are constantly providing training to our staff and so your comments will be used to highlight this importance to our team.
You will also be pleased to know that we are constantly upgrading our hotel as we fully repainted all guest rooms this year as well as all public areas. We will be refurbing new areas next year also to ensure we maintain and improve our product.

I look forward to welcoming you back to the Sofitel Fiji.

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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Bathurst, Australia
Level Contributor
30 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed September 8, 2010

I had read the reviews on this website and had high expectations of my stay at this hotel. It was nicely maintaned and well appointed, however I thought that it was understaffed. Somedays our rooms still had not been serviced by 4pm, creating a problem as my youngest child needed a nap prior to dinner. The kids club advertises activities each day but due to lack of staff they do not get to do the grass skirt making etc that has been advertisied, fine for tiny children but if you have bigger kids requiring more stimulation forget it. The restaurant that was child friendly only offered buffet style meals, which was fine for a few days but wore a little thin night after night. The breakfast was nice although trying to find a salt and pepper shaker was quite a task! You would think a hotel chain of this size could afford to have one for each table but every meal you were being approached by other diners requesting to borrow your salt and pepper shakers. Noise is also an issue here with doors banging and kids screaming non stop. The spa and also the beverages are quite expensive. We left this resort and travelled onto an Island resort which was cheaper, quieter and far more relaxing with an abundance of staff. Consider carefully before staying here.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank raecunn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMresort, General Manager at Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, responded to this review, September 14, 2010
Dear Valued Guest,
Thank you for your latest review, I noted your comments about going to the Islands of Fiji to truly enjoy the experience. Can I just make the comment that many guests enjoy staying on Denarau and then taking day trips to the islands to enjoy the beaches, snorkeling etc as its much easier and bay far cheaper, especially when traveling with children.
therefore you do not have to actually stay on the island to enjoy the true Fiji, the mainland of Fiji also has a lot to offer such as rivers, markets and golf just to name a few.

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.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
17 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
Reviewed August 31, 2010

We only stayed 2 nights at the Sofitel in Denarau before we left for our island paradise (Malolo Island), and we are glad it was only 2 nights.

The room at the Sofitel was really small for 2 adults and 2 children. The reason we chose it was because of the convenient location to the Port and we had tried every other hotel in Denarau in previous trips.

Don't get me wrong, it was a lovely hotel, but our room was a small corner room on the ground floor. Probably the smallest hotel room we have stayed in in 10 years. We had booked Deluxe Oceanview, and this was far from it. The interior of the room was tastefully decorated, but way too small for a family of 4. We had to stand on tippy toes to see the ocean view.

The pool area and the restaurants were really lovely, as was the breakfast buffet. The kids (aged 2 and 5) spent lots of time using the water slide and pools. If you have kids, I would recommend the 1BR at the Radisson over the Sofitel. I would only recommend this hotel if you managed to snag one of the rare family size rooms that cannot be guaranteed on your arrival, or if there are only 2 of you.

After 4 years of going to Fiji, we would not stay in Denarau again, we would go straight out to the Islands, it is WAY nicer out there - especially Malolo and Castaway.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank montya
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMresort, General Manager at Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, responded to this review, September 5, 2010
Dear Valued Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to submit you last review, I was pleased to read that you enjoyed the pool area of our resort as well as the facilities. I agree however that if you are traveling as a family of four on holiday that either an interconnecting rooms or a family room which provides far more space would have been a better option, I am sorry if this was not explained when you made your reservation with us.
I do look forward to the opportunity to welcome you back to the Sofitel

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.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
13 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed August 31, 2010

I stayed at the Sofitel for 5 nights at the end of last year. The pool area is beautiful but thats about it!
We paid for an ocean view room and got a normal room, after complaining to reception we got no where so we had to take it further and call the manager and speak with him!
He responded to us promtly and came and escorted us to another room, still with no ocean view! All we could see was palm trees no ocean view at all! Was highly disapointed and it is false advertising!
The breakfast was beautiful! And MOST staff were friendly but there wasnt many options for dinner & lunch. The food in the resort was HIGHLY overpriced! Even for drinks that price was ridicelous!!
Overall we had a good time staying here but definatly wouldnt return!

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Lisaa_111
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMresort, General Manager at Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, responded to this review, September 5, 2010
Dear Valued Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to submit you last review, I was disappointed to read that you were not happy with your room selection, we have now changed some room descriptions from Ocean view to Resort view that do not have a full view of the ocean which have some coconut trees in the way.
I was concerned that you scored the nights sleep as poor however you have not mentioned this in your review. Please feel free to contact me directly if you are able to supply further feedback.
In regards to the pricing I can assure you that we constantly review our competitor five star hotels and ensure our pricing is placed below them, please don't forget that each hotel pays a high import tax for all items brought into Fiji which does effect the pricing.

I do look forward to the opportunity to welcome you back to the Sofitel

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.
Tauranga
Level Contributor
26 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed August 31, 2010

Memo to Mr Adam Luker- must book in for night at Sofitel. Room 278. Remember to pay $500 Fijian (a night) tariff for privilege.
The General Manager of the Sofitel Resort in Denarau could hopefully learn a thing or two about the quality of his fixtures and fittings by taking up my suggestion.
I am now $900 Fijian out of pocket after what can only be described as a "French farce" (pun intended).
Cons:
1.Rooms very small (photos of rooms must be taken with wide angle lense),
2. Bathroom flooded badly as tiling on floor of shower does not have gradient to allow water to flow into drain.
3. Complimentary bathrobes are sized to fit 12 year old child, not a healthily size 14 New Zealand woman (laughable)
4. Rooms badly configured- view from bed was of concrete wall.
5. Unnecessary confusion and embarrassment when ordering $10 fries off odd bean bag style menu (down at poolside) with no Restaurant name as indication of where I should direct my order of said fries. Assume they are from closest food outlet (Salt) & promptly get charged $12. State mistake has been made & still get no help as to where to order fries that will only cost me $10 (which I think is a horrendous price for fries in the first place). Finally get refund of $2, Fries appear trendily stashed in a minute chip basket- very, very expensive chips.
Make mental note to self to not part with a single cent more of my hard earned wage feathering the nest of this chaotic mess of a 5 star hotel.
6. When original booking was made, booked a special package deal over the net which included upgraded French toiletry amenities. I was looking forward to using these. You guessed it....they were not to be found.
7. When finally laying complaint with Duty Manager about non- appearance of French toiletries, she lets slip that the managerial staff haven't been briefed about special package deal. She was unaware it existed.
8. A general feeling of being ripped off with unnecessarily expensive food at every budget level. I am a chef of 20 years experience and I have cooked for British royalty, celebs and on super yachts. There is no reason other than pure greed to put such huge margins on basic food.
Pros (& these are few)
1. Excellent, speedy room service from housekeeping.
However, the look in the eyes of these poor people as they appeared at the door suggested they had dealt with these problems far too many times. NOT their faults.
2. A Duty Manager who dealt with my two complaints and one enquiry (about French toiletries) courteously and attentively. She was a pleasure to deal with and did give us a $50.00 credit for each night for the flooding inconveniece. She had no excuse for the bathrobes designed for midgits, however I'm glad she managed a laugh when I was describing the farcical nature of attempting to wear one.

The Sofitel Fiji needs to urgently review the nature of it's 5 star status and really ask itself whether it is providing the care, ..expertise,.. professionalism and value for money for it's patrons.
I didn't see any particularly well heeled people wearing diamond encrusted bracelets or Jimmy Choo mules when I sat beside the pool watching my daughter and her father splashing around in the water.
I saw hard working families, hard saving retired folk and a load of harangued staff who didn't really exude the "Bula" kind of spirit you talk about in the room guide.

Your patrons deserve far more credit for intelligence than the flock of sheep style care and attention you dish out to them.

Finally....I did eventually get my French toiletries, a day late, but thanks for that.

I'm sorry Mr Luker, but I will not recommend the Sofitel to anyone I know and care about.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank missdiscotek
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMresort, General Manager at Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, responded to this review, September 5, 2010
Dear Valued Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to submit you last review, I was disappointed to read that you were not happy with your latest stay. Please be assured that as the General Manager I have spent many nights in different hotel rooms to ensure that everything is working correctly. In regards to the Bathrobes, these are ordered from Australia on a regular basis and come as one size fits all, however we will now ensure we carry extra stock in different sizes, of course if we placed extra large sizes in all rooms then the more petite sized guests would be upset with the extra room.
With the Chips served by the pool, a large bowl of fries is $10.00 FJD and these are served by our pool side waiters who also take the orders, the $12.00 fries are served in our Alfresco Restaurant. You have to realise that these fries are fully imported from Australia and so gain a heavy import tax, with the exchange rate these fries would cost $ 6.00 AUD which would be more than normal in any five star resort that doesn't have to specially fly in their produce, as you mentioned you have been a chef for 20 years and so should understand this .
In regards to the French amenities, these are placed in all suites, in our superior rooms we use the local Pure Fiji range which is made specially for us and is defiantly a luxury product and also supports the local community. I"m glade my co-workers provided you with a full range of our French products upon your request. I was also disappointed with you comments of our friendly staff, I receive many comments daily from our guests who comment that we have some of the friendliest staff on the Island so this was a real shame and so I will address this.
Also if you want to compare me to Basil Faulty my name is actually " Laker " and not Luker, but I'm sure this is an easy name to confuse.


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.
Newcastle NSW Australia
Level Contributor
35 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed August 22, 2010

I will be honest I did not read any reviews on this hotel prior to staying there, my travel agent had stayed there a few months prior and loved it so trusted her judgment, I do not agree with the reviews.

At first I thought the staff were blaze and annoying but I soon realized that they were simply on Fiji time, something I had not adjusted to!

The rooms were great, and although the resort had lots of families staying there we were still able to relax by the pool and enjoy!

Food was expensive, but good. Having said this, it was easy enough to catch the Bula Bus down the Marina when we wanted to.

I would recommend this resort to anyone!

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank hol_and_b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ingolstadt
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed August 16, 2010

I was really disappointed by the Sofitel during my last stay. Normally the people in Fiji are so friendly, but the staff in the hotel was just unfriendly. The staff was really unfriendly and didn't really welcome us. As I wanted to print something at the reception, their was no opportunity - they just said sorry. Moreover, I while out-checking I had to wait more than 15 Minutes until I was served and nearly missed my taxi. Furthermore, our room was quit old and the bathroom just tiny. Every Novohotel has a bigger bathroom.
. One should definitely not book this hotel for a beach holiday as the beach has just dark sand and the water is dirty. No what you expect to see in Fiji.

The good things about the Sofitel Fiji is the breakfast, which is excellent and has a great variety. Furthermore, the pool is nice.

I definitely would not recommend to pay the money for the Sofitel and would go in one of the Ressorts on the Yasman Island.

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank HansWerner3000
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

Property: 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 Luxury Hotel in Denarau Island
#5 Family Hotel in Denarau Island
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Denarau Island
#6 Spa Hotel in Denarau Island
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Denarau Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
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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