7 June 2024

Paradise in anyone's language, Fiji is 'Where Happiness Finds You’

| Rama Gaind
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tropical resort

The sprawling pool area at the Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa is just one section of the complex that boasts endless fun and fabulous facilities suited to every type of traveller. Photos: Rama Gaind.

”Experience paradise in Fiji” was a long-awaited billboard call that beckoned like a beacon — to return.

Close your eyes and, for the most part, all you can visualise are long, lazy, hazy days, basking in the sun. No longer in the imagination, we revisited the republic, since Fiji knows how best to do traditional romance.

Celebrating a wedding anniversary, we knew we were in for some serious island-style pampering. From the sea lapping at our feet, private dinners on the sand to candlelit spa treatments for two, an idyllic adventure doesn’t have to stick to convention. When you reach your limit of gazing at each other in wonderland, venture beyond the resort to strengthen your priceless reminiscences even further.

“Where there is love, there is life and where there is love there is light.” For Indian activist Mahatma Gandhi, considered to be the ”Father of the Nation”, love had no borders and no boundaries, no limits and no conditions. This powerful quote has been one of our lifelong viewpoints. At the core of human experience lies the profound truth that love serves as the very essence of our existence.

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Consequently, our sojourn in Fiji was more than a vacation; it was another eidetic memory created with significant flourish because “Love is the irresistible desire to be desired irresistibly”.

Luxuriating in the tropical Fijian surrounds was a treasured way to celebrate our anniversary. We continue to create precious memories, even after more than four decades together, aiming soon for our golden celebrations!

resort staff member

The rebranded slogan ”Fiji – Where Happiness Finds You” ensures service comes with more than a smile at the Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa.

Checking in at the Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, a prime address on Denarau Island, provided an ideal base to be pampered. Staying in one of the resort’s stylishly appointed rooms, facing the Pacific Ocean, provided panoramic views from the balcony making the most of the island’s humid surrounds. Thanks to our upgrade to a spacious suite, even the verdant undulating landscape to the beachfront was spectacular!

Hotel staff, indeed everyone we met, were most hospitable. In particular, the attention to detail and assistance given by Merewalesi was over and beyond expectations.

Captivated by its long, indolent, private waterfront location, swaying palm trees and romantic sunsets, the Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa features one of the South Pacific’s largest lagoon-style swimming pools and more than 10 hectares of lush gardens with tantalising views extending across Nadi Bay.

Bonjour Bula! It was a fitting greeting on arrival at this modern luxury hotel where the essence of each destination is artfully blended with French art de vivre, creating chic experiences, unswervingly providing impeccable service, in flawless style and with immaculate finesse — to celebrate life’s pleasures.

General manager Vincent Macquet added eloquence with: “Bienvenue to Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, a five-star retreat where beach resort merges with luxury hotel facilities, surrounded by Fiji’s beauty and culture, polished with a touch of French elegance.” He then went on to elaborate on “your invitation to pure indulgence in the heart of Fiji”.

Hindu temple

Fiji is home to the largest Hindu temple in the Southern Hemisphere, Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple, in Nadi.

On offer is a delightful array of incredible on-site facilities and experiences to enjoy, including Waitui Bar & Grill, an award-winning, adults-only poolside signature dining experience; Suka, a vibrant beach rum bar; Solis, a beachside Mediterranean seafood restaurant; Republik, a late-night bar to socialise and dance the night away; and the Sofitel Spa.

Take easy walks to the harbour, catch the brightly coloured Bula bus to see the many island hotspots, partake in a kava ceremony or venture down to Nadi and meet the local community. Visiting the largest Hindu temple in the Southern Hemisphere — elaborately decorated Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple, in Nadi — was a spiritual high!

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The Fijian archipelago is made up of more than 300 islands, 110 of which are permanently inhabited, but just two of those, Viti Levu (home to the capital, Suva, a port city with British colonial architecture) and Vanua Levu, are home to 87 per cent of the population.

tropical beach

Relaxing on the beach at the Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa.

Island-hopping is a must. Visit Mamanuca and Yasawa islands, known for their luxurious resorts and breathtaking landscapes. Taveuni, the ”Garden Island”, boasts abundant rainforests, majestic waterfalls and fantastic bird-watching opportunities.

For an off-the-beaten-path or a more intimate experience, Savusavu is the perfect choice, renowned for its natural hot springs. Such an unforgettable, sultry escape is where time slows down and holidays go too fast, but no matter the pace, contentment reigns. Explore these gems, swim in turquoise waters, relax on secluded, pristine beaches and soak up the tranquil island vibes.

Fiji is one of the few countries in the world where there are three national languages. So, whether you say ”Namaste” in Fiji-Hindi, ”Bula” in Fijian or simply ”Hello” in English, you’ll be understood and warmly welcomed by the locals, who have a reputation for being among the friendliest and happiest people on earth.

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