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: -
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.
- 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