Nestled in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, Fiji is comprised of 333 mostly uninhabited islands. The largest island of Viti Levu is home to the capital city of Suva and the town of Nadi (pronounced Nandi). Almost everyone traveling to Fiji will arrive into Nadi International Airport (NAN) as it is the main gateway to the country and home to the largest tourist hub of Denarau Island. Incentive travel Fiji will easily be an unforgettable and gorgeous trip.
Incentive Travel Fiji
Fiji Airways has regular direct flights from Honolulu, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. When traveling from the United States, it is important to note that you cross the international dateline when traveling to Fiji and you lose a day in travel. So, if you depart home on a Saturday, you arrive in Fiji on Monday. You gain this day back on your return home where you will depart Fiji in the evening and arrive back home earlier the same day… Like traveling back in time!
InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa
Denarau Island offers a variety of resorts for all budgets and is the center for many of the island’s activities. However, 45 minutes outside of Nadi situated on Natadola Bay is the luxurious InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa. In the summer of 2016, I had the pleasure to operate three programs at this magnificent resort. It became my “home away from home” for four weeks.
From the moment you arrive at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa, you are greeted by drums and the warm and friendly staff welcoming you with a loud and boisterous “BULA,” the Fijian greeting! Get used to that word as you will hear it many times, and within a few minutes, you will find yourself greeting everyone you see with “Bula” as well! The resort staff is gracious, hospitable, and proud of their island and heritage. They take the time to talk to you and get to know you. Many of the staff work in multiple outlets, so you see them often throughout the day. They always remember your name and what your favorite drink is!
This Five Star 271 room property is first class in every aspect. The room product is spectacular, and even the lowest category of room is not in the least disappointing. The chic Pacific Island room decor is consistent with all room types (Beach View, Lagoon View, Pool View and Garden View) and all rooms feature an outdoor Cleopatra bathtub on the terrace or balcony. The Club Level rooms sit on a hilltop above the resort with the ground floor rooms featuring private plunge pools. The Club Rooms also offer private butler service, access to the Club InterContinental Lounge with an infinity pool and other exclusive benefits.
The resort features four restaurants: Sanasana where daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffets are served. Toba Bar and Grill located between the two pools. Navo, the exclusive upscale fine dining restaurant overlooking the Lagoon. And lastly, Kama Lounge overlooking the main beach at the resort. Kama Lounge offers the perfect location to enjoy a cocktail, watch the sunset, and enjoy the nightly resort entertainment of tribal drumming and torch lighting ceremony.
The InterContinental also boasts two pools in the main resort area: an Infinity Pool which is a designated quiet zone for adults, as well as a family pool. Combining Asian, Eastern and Western treatment methods to bring balance to mind, body, and soul, the Spa InterContinental offers a broad range of spa experiences to leave you feeling pampered, rested and rejuvenated! Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course offers dramatic landscapes from rolling pastures to beachfront. With the sparkling backdrop of coral reefs and the Pacific Ocean on 15 out of the 18 holes.
All meeting rooms are located in the Watercourt tucked away on the lower level of the main building. There is one main ballroom that can seat up to 400 people and three smaller divisible meeting rooms that can accommodate up to 125 theater style. The highlight of the meeting space, however, is the actual Watercourt and it makes a dramatic setting for a reception or dinner for up to 200 attendees. There are several outdoor spaces that offer spectacular settings for evening events. The main beach in front of Kama Lounge on the 4th hole of the golf course which offers a unique and beautiful setting on the beach surrounded by trees.
There are a variety of activities to do in Fiji from touring the town of Nadi and learning the rich cultural history to zip lining, hiking to waterfalls, white water rafting and of course many activities on the water. My two favorites were the Sigatoka River Safari and a day spent at Cloud Nine. Two very distinct and different activities but each gives you a very authentic Fijian experience.
Sigatoka River Safari
When one thinks of Fiji, you typically think of beaches and turquoise waters. The Sigatoka River Safari, an eco-cultural tour gives you a glimpse into the real heart and soul of Fiji…the people. I liken this activity to time travel and can honestly tell you in all my many travels over my career this tour was one in a million. You board a high-speed jet boat that accommodates approximately 12 people, and you fly inland down the Sigatoka River towards one of the many remote and primitive villages. Along the banks of the river you will pass village women washing clothes, children playing and swimming, farmers bringing livestock down to cool off. They wave and smile and shout “Bula” as you speed by!
You arrive at one of the villages and will partake in a Kava ceremony with the men of the village. Kava is their narcotic; they muddle the root of the Kava plant and mix it with water and then drink it. They will pass around a cup for each person to sip the kava juice. If you are a germ-a-phobic beware! The immediate reaction is your tongue goes numb but only for a couple of minutes. The effect is much like Novocain.
After the Kava ceremony, you will enjoy a lunch prepared by the village women and then tour the village and see firsthand how these simple people live. Part of the ticket price on this tour goes directly to the community that you visit to help them with various projects. The three groups that I took there last summer joined forces with Jay Whyte, the owner of Sigatoka River Safari, and a combined total of $6,000 of our trips budget was contributed towards a sustainable project for the school that all the village children attended. What had been a dirt playground became a multi-use court that benefits the entire community. Helping to conceptualize this project and being present at the final dedication ceremony was such an honor. I would love to see more companies incorporate this idea into their programs when visiting third world locations and leaving it a little better than how they found it. Much can be done without a massive investment.
It’s called Cloud 9 for a reason! This floating paradise is a 45-minute boat ride from Port Denarau located literally in the middle of the ocean surrounded by nothing but turquoise blue water and a coral reef. It is a floating bar serving wood fired pizza while a DJ plays tunes to keep you entertained. Snorkel equipment is also available for the more adventurous that want to explore the Ro Ro Reef. A trip to Fiji would not be complete without a trip to Cloud 9! A truly unique Fijian experience.
While Fiji is known for its pristine white sand beaches, swaying palms, incredible seafood and adventurous activities, it was the people of Fiji that left the biggest mark on my heart. They live a simple life but are some of the happiest, most hospitable, and gracious people you will ever meet. The staff at the InterContinental Fiji became my family for the summer, and as I left the property on my last trip there, the staff gathered in the lobby and sang the Fijian Farewell song. It was a very touching and emotional moment. I look forward to my return to my Fijian Family and their beautiful island someday soon!
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