My husband, myself and our 1yo boy are currently at the Shangri-la on the Coral Coast.
Thought I would take advantage of the free internet in our room to let you all know what's happening in Fiji at the moment.
The weather has been around 31 degrees and mostly sunny. It is very humid however so be prepared -it's not a Melbourne 31. There is no talk at all about Typhoid and it is business as usual at the resort.
Getting through customs was fast however there was a bit of a wait for our transfer with Pacific Destinationz . The van is air-conditioned but there is no aircon in the waiting area- buy a nice bottle of Fiji water and relax. The ride to the Shangri-La began with an ambulance almost crashing head on with us less than 1km from the Airport. He was on the wrong side of the road and we had to swerve and hit the brakes. There were many other times when oncoming cars/ trucks where on our side for no reason at all. Our driver seemed fairly cautious most of the time (by Fiji standards anyway). The trip was longer than the 45 mins they told us but I was more than happy not to go any faster. Lots of animals to see on the way. If you have a baby wear a baby carrier for safety so that they are secured to you in the event of an accident. Our little one got car sick for the first time as it was quite a bumpy ride.
On arriving at the hotel we were impressed with the lovely grounds and friendly service. We were checked in straight away into our comfy Ocean View room. We are in the Golden Cowrie wing which is very central to the restaurants but a 3-4 min walk from the main pool/ beach area. We are on the 4th floor and there is no lift so if you have a pram or young kids maybe request a lower floor. The view is lovely and the room has a lovely bathroom and a comfy king size bed. There is also a daybed and a table and chairs on he balcony.
There are lots of people but we haven't felt crowded. There are areas to escape the people and also the kids if you want to.
We have eaten at the Lagoon Terrace for dinner (Asian buffet) once for dinner which was surprisingly lovely (the white choc and choc mousses where amazing). You can have noodles cooked to order and there is plenty of food to choose from and it was served hot. Soft drinks were also included which was a pleasant surprise. We also have had breakfast there twice which is nice and includes fruit juices.
We had lunch at the Coral Cafe which is set away from the other restaurants and does not have the same atmosphere. There are also no high chairs at this cafe for the kids so keep that in mind. The service was excellent food was good but nothing to write home about.
We had dinner at the Beach Bar and Grill- the chicken and mixed meat kebabs. Which was nice but we actually enjoyed the buffet better. The chocolate volcano dessert should come with a warning- it's huge!!! Chocolate mousse and chocolate ice cream with a touch of whipped cream. Best shared with a friend or 3. We had some lovely cocktails there and great service.
We will try the Kalevu restaurant tonight and Takali tomorrow. The Takali Cabana (private dinning) is advertised at $260 fjd per couple for 5 courses, a glass of champagne, bottle of wine, tea/coffe and chocolates.
The spa is booked up 4-5 days in advance so book before or a soon as you arrive if you want to go.
We went for a quick snorkel by the coral pool which was nice, lots of fish but didn't see any coral but only went about 10 meters in. Are going again today. The water was clean and warm.
The shopping here was much better than I anticipated. There is a Jacks Handcrafts, Prouds duty free shop, hairdresser, camera shop, island clothes shop, New Zealand Natural Ice cream and a little milk bar type shop.
If any ladies like Pandora charms they are very cheap and have a large range. If you have kids you can get floaties and swim ride-ons and rings from 5 fjd-15fjd and they pump them up for you. Saves bringing your own in your luggage and you can leave them behind for the local kids or others at the resort if you don;t want to take them back home.
The water at the resort shop is $6 fjd for 2 litres of Bula water. Chocolate/ snacks are pricey so bring your own or go to the local supermarket. I did see cheese and uht milk in the little shop also.
The gifts at Jacks are well priced- shell necklace only $2.50 fjd which would be heaps more in Oz. Cone shells only $2fjd but $4fji at the other shop. Nice wooden items at Jack and I think well priced- we are at a resort remember.
Overall we are very happy here and are surprised at some of the poor reviews we had read. Yes it is very hotel like and there are lots of kids but to be honest there is very little to complain about. I had heard about Fiji time from many but have found the service much faster and much nicer than in any Melbourne restaurant.
Good job Shangri-La ,
even my self confessed fussy husband is impressed and that is not easy.
now where is my snorkel.......