Travelling with our wiggly 11-month-old baby, our goal was to find an international destination that was closest to Melbourne, aside from New Zealand. Our only option ended up being Fiji, which was a 4-hour flight away. Upon arriving in Fiji, our plan was to stay on Denarau Island where all the main resorts are located.
Facts about Denarau Island
- Denarau Island is a small private resort development 5KM northwest of Nadi & 10KM west of the Nadi International Airport. Here is their official website.
- The island itself is only 2.55 km2 big with an 18-hole Denarau Golf course in the centre with international hotel chains such as Hilton, Sheraton, Radisson Blu, Westin, Sofitel & Wyndham.
- Bula Buses go around the island between major international hotels every 15 minutes from 7:30 am to 11:30 pm 7 days a week. The cost is $10 FJD per adult per day or $30 FJD for a Five Day Pass. This is a great way to travel between the resorts and the Port Denarau Marina. Check out their website for the latest updates.
- All of the resorts have kids’ clubs and nanny services. You can leave your children for a day to enjoy adult-only activities.
Resort Hopping on Denarau Island
There are a lot of activities to do on Denarau Island. Such as sightseeing in Nadi, scuba diving or snorkelling in the nearby waters, all of which can be booked in advance through sites like Klook. One of my favourite free activities is resort hopping and using their pools for free.
All of the resorts are connected by the same beach. You can easily walk between them on foot and use their pools without being a guest at any of them. You’ll need to bring your towels since the resort typically requires a guest room number for towel registration.
Below are what I think of each resort pool with a baby:
Hilton Fiji Beach Resort and Spa
During our recent stay at Hilton Fiji, we were blown away by the resort’s stunning location and serene atmosphere. Unlike other resorts on Denarau Island, Hilton Fiji is located at the far end of the island, giving guests access to the longest strip of beach. The location also means that the pools and beaches are relatively quieter, allowing guests to enjoy a more peaceful vacation.
A brief look at our 2-bedroom apartment in Fiji Hilton
The resort features four stunning pools, including three in the main area and one in the adults-only club. The main pools are designed to be infinity pools and offer a breathtaking view of the ocean.
Throughout the day, the resort organizes various activities such as tug of war and water rugby to keep guests entertained. There is also a small waterslide at the kids’ pool, although it is not as thrilling as some of the other resorts.
One of the best features of Hilton Fiji is the staff-to-guest ratio. The resort is spread out over a large area, and guests can use golf carts to get around, making it easy to explore without feeling overwhelmed by the number of people around.
The resort’s tranquil atmosphere is perfect for parents travelling with younger children, allowing them to relax and enjoy their vacation without worrying about their little ones. Overall, it is an excellent choice for families and couples seeking a peaceful vacation away from crowds.
Ps. We discovered that we had lost our daughter’s passport upon check-in at the Hilton. The staff were very helpful and advised us to check into our room while they contacted the airport staff and taxi driver. The police were also involved.
It turned out that the customs officer had forgotten to return one of the passports to us, and my husband didn’t realize it. He thought I had lost it, as he had passed the passports to me while he was handling the luggage. The customs officer realized a few moments later and made an announcement over the broadcast, but we had already left.
We had to pay for our taxi rides to and from the airport ourselves, as it was an important document and the hotel staff couldn’t collect it on our behalf. So, we had an eventful start to our Fijian holiday.
Sheraton Fiji Golf & Beach Resort
Sheraton Fiji is the newest resort on Denarau Island in terms of renovation. Many of our friends stayed here, and I can see why. One of the things that stood out to us was the pool area. Designed to mimic the beach, the pools have white sand, creating a perfect setting for soaking up the sun or watching the kids play. Every corner is Instagram-worthy.
I love the fact that they have free “meke” daily at 6.30 pm near the entrance of the pool. “Meke” is a traditional fire dance where the Fijian warriors sing, dance, and do fire-walking! The performance itself only lasted half an hour, but it was enough to get a glimpse of it without paying for “cultural dinners.” We came here two nights in a row as our little one loved the fire.
There was also a man in a traditional outfit who would light up the lights with a fire torch during sunset. The kids would chase him down for photos, which was quite entertaining to watch.
Although I felt that the rooms in Sheraton seemed to be a bit small compared to Hilton ones (I was peeking through the door during housekeeping), it was also a bit more complicated to get to your room since there were multiple floors and complexes. Overall, I still think it’s a great place to stay.
Radisson Blu Resort Fiji Denarau Island
Based on the research I have done, Radisson Blu boasts the best kids’ club. When we visited the resort, we saw plenty of kids running around and having a great time. The staff at the resort organize various activities for children, including arts and crafts, games, and other fun activities.
One of the main attractions of the resort is the massive lagoon-style swimming pool. It features a man-made beach, water slides and a swim-up bar. This pool is ideal for children to splash around and have fun while parents relax by the poolside. The resort also offers a children’s pool with a mini water slide that is designed specifically for young kids.
At the bottom of the slide, there is a shallow splash pool that provides a soft landing for kids. The slide is also monitored by the resort’s trained staff, who ensure that children use it safely.
Although I thought the buffet restaurant at Radisson Blu was not classy enough for my liking. They also sell take-away pizzas at a hefty cost. We paid a premium to enjoy the pizza while watching the waves along the beach.
However, in hindsight, we should have taken the Bula Bus to The Marina and had Mama’s Pizza instead. It is a local pizzeria chain that sells pizza at local prices. No wonder we saw many families hopping on the Bula Bus with multiple pizza boxes to take back to their resort.
Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa
We visited Sofitel the day before our departure as we couldn’t find a diving tour with an onboard nanny. It turned out to be one of the best decisions we made. There were multiple pools with various depths suitable for all ages.
Our baby had one of the biggest adventures of her life in the pool, thanks to the fast waterslide. My husband had to hold her in his lap, and they slid down together. The waterslide was quite fast, to the extent that our baby ended up submerging her head in the water for a few seconds at a time. But to our surprise, she didn’t cry or fuss at all. Whether it was her super-chilled attitude or her bravery, we couldn’t tell.
Sofitel provided a lot of inflatable animals for the pools, so we had fun riding on various-sized dolphins and spent a good afternoon there before heading to Marina for dinner.
Club Wyndham Denarau Island
Regrettably, we didn’t manage to visit Wyndham. The reason for this was the presence of a tour operator within Port Denarau, which is known to offer heavily discounted tours to those who join their tours to see Wyndham in order to sell their hotel memberships.
The discounts they provide are truly extraordinary; for instance, a typical snorkelling day trip that would usually cost USD$150 was being offered for just USD$20 per person.
For those with sufficient time on their hands, I would highly recommend visiting Port Denarau’s kiosk on day 1 or 2 of their trip. On the following day, tourists can tour the hotel itself, before finally choosing a tour that suits their interests. The presentation typically takes up to 2 hours.
What is Kava? One of the free things to experience on Denarau Island
Kava is a traditional beverage in Fiji that’s made from the root of the kava plant. This type of pepper plant is native to South Pacific and its roots contain a psychoactive compound called kavalactones, which can produce a mild sedative effect. It is also believed to have medicinal properties and is used to treat a variety of ailments, including anxiety, insomnia, and pain.