Why Fiji is the perfect long weekender
Short and sweet
You know that feeling of really needing holiday? The lethargy during your daily commute, the extreme boredom with everything Netflix and the general crabbiness that seems to never dissipate? Yeah, that's a sign that you need to cash in some of your annual leave, pronto. But when fares and accom to Europe or The Maldives can set you back a cool few K, and you're sick of sitting among the Bintang singlets in nearby Bali, where do you head for some much-needed chill time?
The answer, we've gotta tell you, lies in Fiji. Just four short hours from Sydney on the plane, Fiji has become the destination of choice for the time-poor traveller looking for a short, yet zen island retreat. I'm not sure if it's the general breeziness of the Fijians themselves or the fact that it's sunny and temperate (read: above 24 degrees) almost year round, but the entire island operates on what the locals jokingly refer to as 'Fiji time'. And this general laidback islander mode is something that you pick up by osmosis, approximately 30 seconds after arriving to Nadi international airport. Yep, thanks to the universal greeting of "Bula" and the unhurried demeanour of, well, everyone, Fiji is the ideal short getaway.
And you know what's ever better? Now you don't even have to leave the mainland to get on Fiji time, because the newest addition to the main island promises an escape worthy of The Maldives and Bora Bora combined. Enter Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay, the newly opened 5-star resort that's set on a shimmering, man-made lagoon and offers room options for every kind of traveller. While the Insta-worthy over-water bungalows are the main event, read on to find out more about the hotel itself.
From basic hotel rooms to over-water or beachfront villas (bure in Fijian) the Marriott's latest has more than enough room to spare: it's set on a whopping 103-acre block that will one day host its own golf course (more on that later). And the sheer scope of Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay alone means you can pick how secluded or close to the action you want to be. As a general rule, families stick to rooms overlooking the pool, beach or lagoon and couples choose to dive off the back of their adults-only bure, which are hands-down the best rooms in the resort and the only over-water villas you can find on Fiji's mainland.
With three dining options plus room service, we could (and did) happily graze all day at the resort's many eateries. Head to Goji Kitchen & Bar for an Asian-fusion buffet and bring your appetite - the smorgasboard offers Western/Chinese/Japanese brekkie options all the way through to dinner. You could literally eat for hours here. This makes Goji's range perfect for fussy eaters and children.
Over at Lagoon House & Bar (handily located near the swim-up bar) you can fill up on pizzas and more Mediterranean fare such as pasta, burgers and caprese salad to your heart's content. And lastly, Fish Bar, overlooking the stunning, adults-only infinity pool is the place to head for sunset cocktails followed by a seafood grill. Boasting freshly caught ocean produce (hot tip: the bay bug tails are perfection), Fish Bar is the slightly more formal a la carte option we'd recommend for your last night. Bonus points if you let the wait staff know you're heading home - you might score a traditional Fiji farewell song (ICYMI, Fijians really know how to sing).
Duh, water sports are the obvious attraction here. The hotel offers fishing and snorkelling trips, stand-up paddle boarding, jet skiing, kayaking and parasailing. In the mood for ziplining, touring the main town or even checking out one of Fiji's smaller islands? The concierge or on-site Rosie Holidays tour desk can help organise a day or overnight trip. Surfers, take note: Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay is located just a half an hour boat ride from one of the areas most well-known surf spots, Cloudbreak (near Namotu Island). The famous break is where the Fiji Surf Pro is hosted every year in May/June, attracting the likes of Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning and Julian Wilson.
Still got energy to burn? There's an on-site fitness centre, tennis court and a daily list of activities to choose from, such as basket weaving, aqua aerobics and volleyball. Of course, the best part about staying in an all-inclusive resort is not having to go anywhere, and that's perfectly acceptable too.
Be sure to book in a massage or facial at Quan spa - they use local products like the delicious-smelling Pure Fiji range and can cater to couples treatments in a room built for two, with a plunge pool (heaven). There's also a kids club and conference centre for weddings and corporate functions on site, with eventual plans to develop a sister resort next door. Fun fact: Marriott commenced building the hotel way back in 2004 and the original plan included a 27-hole golf course. The golf course still exists, but awaits further development of phase two of the resort, which is said to be years away, but includes a casino and convention centre!
- Only got a handful days? Don't try to do too much - you'll want to lap up the luxurious resort faculties while you can.
- Definitely ask the hotel to book you a snorkelling trip. It takes just 20 minutes by speedboat, but the nearby reefs boast crystalline waters, fluorescent coral and an underwater world worthy of its own Disney movie.
- 'Bula' - you'll quickly learn is the universal 'Hello'/'How are you'/'Welcome' in Fiji. Get used to saying it every time you see a Fijian.
- Fijians are overwhelmingly friendly and proud of their culture. Don't be shy chatting to them - the locals love to fill you in on the island's culture and history.
Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay is located at Savusavu Road, Momi Bay, Nadi. For bookings and resort information, visit marriott.com.au
Buro 24/7 Australia travelled to Fiji as guest of Marriott.
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