Why you’ll want to get out of Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort

The stamp in my passport may have said that I had been to Fiji before, but as far as I was concerned this was my first trip.

The official first time had involved flying into Fiji to join a Holland America Cruise around the South Pacific, when I had spent one night in a resort before sailing away.

When I said I wanted to see more of Fiji, some people told me that I’d done what most travellers do anyway. That a lot of people just fly in, go to a resort, stay there and then fly out.

Fortunately my first real stay involved a beautiful resort that would be very easy to spend an entire holiday in, but was run by people who really cared about what was going on in the community and invited guests to explore beyond the pool and swim up bar.

And here’s why I think you’ll want to embrace that side of your Fiji holiday too.

Why it’s tempting to just stay in Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort #1 – The Bures

I’m not going to lie, when I first walked through the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort grounds and stepped into my bure for the first time I thought I had found the exact spot I wanted to spend the next few months of my life.

Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort bures are wonderful spots to call your home for the holiday

Inside a beautiful bure at Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort

Bures are a local name for huts or bungalows, and the first five star resort in Fiji was designed to look like a traditional Fijian village, with lots of bures with thatched roofs set in lush tropical gardens.

Guests can either stay in the bures themselves or up in the more modern hotel style rooms overlooking the thatched roof view.

I was lucky enough to be staying in one of the bures down by the water and while it was so cute I may have squealed a little bit when I saw it from the outside, I fell even more in love when I went inside and saw the high vaulted ceilings with hand painted bark cloth.

My front yard consisted of palm trees with hammocks and a view out over the water, and I could easily have spent days just lying in those hammocks reading books, soaking up the serenity of the view and having siestas until my butler came by and I realised it was time to get ready for dinner.

Bure frontyard and hammock with a view at Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort

That’s right. Butler. The Deluxe Ocean view rooms, suites and bures also come with a Talai butler service and while I passed on the offer to have them unpack and iron my clothes I said a big yes to having sparkling wine and canapés delivered to my bure every afternoon. That’s my kind of afternoon treat.

And it may be a small thing but another thing I loved was the way the cold towels throughout the resort smell so fresh and good, and a teeny bit familiar. It reminded me of Crème de Menthe and eventually I just had to ask what they were scented with.

The answer? Crème de Menthe. Really. I’m told only a small amount of the liqueur is needed for the smell and I must say it works like a grasshopper cocktail scented charm.

Why it’s tempting to just stay in Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort #2 – Cocktails in the Pool

As I don’t have children of my own the fact that Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort has repeatedly been named the number one family resort in Fiji in the Travelers Choice awards is the sort of news that could easily put me off rather than entice me.

Sure I love my nephew and my friends’ children, but the excited squeals and occasional meltdown of strangers’ kids is not my preferred holiday soundtrack.

Tropical holiday style at the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort

But it turns out Outrigger Fiji has introduced five adults only areas to the resort in recent years which isn’t just fun for people like me, but also for the parents themselves who can leave the kids with the resort’s nannies at the Kids Club and have some adult time of their own.

The Ivi Restaurant, which is only open for dinner, is one adults only spot.

Executive chef Shailesh Naidu is Fiji’s most awarded chef, and this year the Ivi won the Best Visitor Dining Experience award at the Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards, and the resort itself took out the Best Deluxe resort award.

Here they make some dishes beside the table, giving us a chance to learn about Kokoda, the delicious Fijian take on ceviche that uses coconut cream, and to be reminded just why Crepes Suzette taste so delicious when we see all of that sugar and butter being put to work.

Dinner there was divine and is a must when you go to stay, but of course you can go out during the day and still eat there at night, so there’s another potential trap here.

And that would be the most popular adults only spot. The $2.2 million Vahavu area has a 20m lap pool, a 25 metre lagoon pool, a bistro and lounge area with full poolside service. Oh and the lagoon pool has a swim up bar where they make delicious cocktails and where it’s oh so easy to chat away with new friends for hours. Cheers to that.

Cocktails at the swim up bar at Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort

Why it’s tempting to just stay in Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort #3 – The Bebe Spa

I’m a bit of a spa addict so when I heard Outrigger Fiji’s Bebe spa had won a long list of awards I was looking forward to hopping into a golf cart and being driven up the hill to this special spot.

Another one of the adults only areas, the Bebe spa is on a hilltop overlooking the resort and is only accessible by golf cart (see, I wasn’t just being lazy there).

The spa has eight treatment rooms and every one of them has an open air balcony looking out over the Coral Coast, while four have hydrotherapy tubs where you can soak your body as you soak in the view.

Bebe Spa with a view at Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort

As I was going to be face down or eyes closed for my massage I appreciated the way the treatment started with a foot wash and scrub so I had a chance to look out at the view as the pampering began.

Then I tried something I’d never had before; a seashell massage. Thankfully not with those pointy sharp shells, but with a lovely smooth round shell that felt beautiful on the skin.

The shells are heated up before they’re used so it’s a bit like a hot stone massage, but they feel different. Even though they’re not actually soft they somehow feel softer on the skin than the stones. Definitely something I’ll have again if I ever visit another spa that does it.

The Kalokalo Bar at the Bebe Spa is one of the adults only areas at Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort

And even if you’re one of those very strange people who don’t enjoy spa treatments, you should still head up here as this is also where you’ll also find the Kalokalo Bar, which is a top spot for watching the sunset with champagne and oysters, cocktails and tapas, or possibly both.

Why you should get out of the resort #1 – Make a difference in the local community

Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort is on the Coral Coast of Fiji’s main island Viti Levu, about an hour away from Nadi airport.

It’s a beautiful area and one you get the chance to see more of when you take part in one of the resort’s volunteer tourism initiatives.

Knowing there are some places where tourists help build schools that are only torn down again later so other tourists can build in the same spot, I was relieved to find this is definitely not the case here.

Yes, guests can help with the construction on new school buildings, but this is a story that involves the resort’s General Manager, Peter Hopgood, being at the school for an event when it started to rain, and realising that the roof in the hall was leaking.

Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort's Community Tourism Project at the Conua School

The headmaster and Peter started talking about what the school needed, and since then the resort’s guests have helped build a library, a computer lab, a large meeting bure and a kindergarten that has been named after Adelaide Crows AFL player Eddie Betts who worked on the kindergarten with other Adelaide players, coaches and their families.

The resort has also opened a maternity ward, operating theatre and provided ophthalmology equipment for the local hospital and helped with the upgrade of the Korotogo Police Station.

The Conua School only had 55 students when Outrigger Fiji started supporting them seven years ago. Now there are over 125 students and 25 kindergarten school children.

Guests pay FJD$100 (A$62) for adults and $FJD60 (A$37) for children to be involved and that includes a whole day out, not only helping at the school but seeing part of Fiji not many tourists see.

Stopping for a picnic lunch in the Sigatoka Valley, Fiji

As well as putting in some physical work at the school, guest are invited to take part in a traditional Kava ceremony, before travelling to the Tavuni Hill Fort, a semi-restored ancient Fijian fort and National Archeological Site overlooking the Sigatoka Valley for a picnic lunch.

The excursions are led by the resort’s Activities Manager, Kini Sarai, a name sports fans may recognise as Kini is also a former international rugby player, and a man with some funny stories to tell.

On the way back to the resort there’s also a chance to get a glimpse of life in the town of Sigatoka with a visit to the local produce market where all sorts of fruits and vegetables are waiting to be discovered and eaten.

Why you should get out of the resort #2 – Meet local creatures and have fun on a zip line

The Kula Wild Adventure Park is the newest family attraction in Fiji and a chance to see some creatures you don’t see at home.

It’s described as Fiji’s only Zoo but it’s not full of animals. Instead it’s a great place to see Fiji’s iguanas, birds, fish and turtles and it also has some a couple new rides.

One is a 100m water slide, and the other is a zip line like no other I’ve done before.

The Kula Krazy Canopy Flier is almost like a roller coaster and a zip line in one because it doesn’t go in a straight line, but instead weaves through the trees and you twist around in circles and go up and down, turning a full 360 degrees.

I have to say it feels a lot faster than it looks and I may not have been the strong silent type as I twisted and zipped along.

While the Kula Wild Adventure Park is outside the resort, the good news is you don’t spend a lot of time travelling to get there. In fact it’s right next door.

And when you’ve finished your excursion you can come on back to that little piece of paradise that is so hard to leave, happy that you went on a little adventure but oh so glad to have Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort as your home for the holidays.

Amanda Woods stayed as a guest of Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort but as usual all opinions remain her own.

Preparing for your Fiji holiday? You may like to check out my travel packing essentials piece or get a peek at an unusual question on Fiji’s incoming passenger card.

Sunset at Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort

About the Author

As a journalist who loves to travel and is fond of a chat I'm oh so happy when I'm sharing travel tales and tips through my blog and on my weekly travel segment on Sydney Radio 2UE. When I'm not travelling or writing about it I can be found out and about with friends, curled up at home with a good book or watching an addictive tv show promising I'll stop after one more episode. Amanda on Google +

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  1. Lovely memories of Outrigger Fiji Beach 🙂 Thanks for sharing. xo Rene

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