Recommend April 2014 - (Page 34)

southpacific onsitereview J U LY 2 0 13 FIJI fantasy islands MCLENNAN COUSTEAU donna ray Bure accommodations at Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort. Even in the most enchanting tropical daydream, it's difficult to conjure up fantasies that transcend the realities of Fiji. While images of thatched-roof bungalows, aquamarine lagoons, sugary white-sand beaches and lush rainforests are each seductive in their own right, it's the genuine spirit of amiable islanders that elevates the bliss. Fijians greet visitors with a warm smile and "bula" (hello). They burst into song when welcoming and often tear up when bidding farewell. An extended hand is for shaking rather than requesting a tip. Here, it's all about heart. paradise "101" The lay of the land-or some 333 islands, in this case-can be a bit baffling. The archipelago is divided into 13 groups, with the islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu dominating the tourism scene. The former is home to Nadi International Airport (NAN), Denarau Island resort and Sigatoka River villages, while the latter is an eco-adventure haven where diving rules. Unless they're seasoned long-haulers, recommend your clients recharge at least one night on Viti Levu before springboarding to other destinations. That was the plan of action during our visit, planting ourselves 20 minutes from the airport on Denarau Island. Not an island in natural terms, the integrated resort complex deviates from Fiji's more laid-back style with 1,700 guestrooms in 34 april 2014 34-36 ASIA SP FIji.indd 34 brands including Radisson, Wyndham, Sofitel, Hilton, Sheraton and Westin. It's also home to lively Port Denarau Marina where South Seas Cruises transports hoppers to the Mamanuca and Yasawa islands. Starwood faithful can tap into Stay in One, Play in All signing privileges at Sheraton Fiji Resort, Sheraton Denarau Villas, The Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa, and Denarau Golf & Racquet Club. Familiar perks include Heavenly Spa by Westin, watersport rentals, multiple swimming pools, and 14 restaurants and bars. Bear in mind, however, that Denarau isn't pure Fiji. U.S. visitors are best guided to more traditional settings beyond. what a dive Bright and early the next morning, our eco-craving quartet took off for Vanua Levu in the northern fringes. A glorious sightseeing tour in itself, the 1-hour flight aboard Fiji Airways' Pacific Sun subsidiary lands on Savusavu Airport's (SVU) single-strip runway. While void of endless beaches, the island's volcanic origins have created some of the world's most spectacular soft coral diving. Vanua Levu's three major resorts each provide shuttle transportation among their all-inclusive conveniences. NAMALE RESORT & SPA: Perched atop volcanic uplifts where a rainforest meets the Koro Sea, this resort raises the bar on privacy 3/25/14 8:11 AM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recommend April 2014

The Islands of Tahiti Travel Planner
Editor's Notes
Hotel Desk: Commune Hotels & Resorts
Tour Talk: Collette
What's New In Mexico
Fiji: Fantasy Islands
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
RCI’s Vision of the Seas
Florida Keys
Oahu, Aston-Style
3 Isles: The Azores, Canary Islands & Gotland, Sweden
Sun-Kissed Islands: Belize & Peru
Afloat on the Indian Ocean: Zanzibar & Madagascar

Recommend April 2014