If you’re a budget traveler or a discriminating habitue of 5-Star properties in search of Fijian culture you’ll find that there are Coral Coast accommodations for you. The sweet spot of Coral Coast accommodations are the midrange properties which offer the best bang for the buck.
Bedarra Beach Inn, is a modern boutique resort that looks to be a cross between a mansion and a tastefully done bordello. It’s a two story affair with a cavernous Great Hall houses the bar, lobby, internet café and tour desk. There is also an outside patio with a large dining area, a sun deck with loungers and a nice pool. Bedarra (pronounced beh- dahrah) is located about 400 meters west of the 5 star Outrigger Resort, no more than ten minutes drive from Sigatoka.
Rooms at Bedarra Beach Inn
There are 26 rooms – 21 Deluxe Rooms, each with a King size bed, en-suite bathroom and air conditioning. Deluxe rooms have balconies with a logoon/garden view. The 5 Standard rooms each have a King or Queen size bed, air conditioning and en-suite bathroom. The have courtyard or garden views only. All the rooms are large but cozy, very comfortable and well appointed with clean bright bathrooms. You’d be hard pressed to find a better maintained and cleaner property in Fiji.
Owners refurbished all hotel rooms last year and they look bright and fresh. From 7am to 5 pm the outside patio is the Ebb Tide Café serving breakfast and lunch. In the evening it becomes the Ocean Terrace Restaurant boasts a 5 star Chef and serves a varied menu of local and international dishes. The food is very good and reasonably priced.
There’s a happy hour every night and 6 nights a week the Great Hall is filled with the sound of Fijian serenaders singing local songs and mixing a bowl or two of Kava (grog). Happy hour is a great time to meet the locals who dribble in from the surrounding area. The owners do their best to make you feel at home and given the minuscule size, it’s more like staying in someone’s home than at a hotel. The hotel boasts it own coral beach right out front and provide snorkels and kayaks free of charge to enjoy the lagoon at high tide. Other nearby attractions include the award winning Kula Eco Park; Fiji’s only wild life park, the Tavuni Hill Fort, the Sigatoka Sand Dunes and Sigatoka town nearby.
In summation, this is a well-run, budget to mid-range property that’s conveniently located on the Coral Coast. Service and food are good. I can highly recommend it. Room rates begin just over US$100.
Mango Bay Resort
Located between Korolevu and Pacific Harbour; Mango Bay Resort, bills itself as an Fiji’s first “Flash-packer” resort. In case you didn’t know, a Flashpacker is an affluent backpacker who has a bit of disposable income to burn and wants a little luxury on the road. Let’s call them upmarket backpackers.
Mango Bay provides them with options such as private rooms, bungalows and dorms. They offer large bures that sleep up to four, Beach Front Bures that sleep two and a Garden Villa that sleep two. Free wi-fi is also included and there’s a restaurant on the premises and it’s reportedly good.
They offer packages to a wide array clientele. The website states:
What’s certain is that this resort provides a plethora of outdoor and evening activities. Amenities include lagoon pool with swim up bar, “Moody Marlin” Restaurant, Nightclub, lounge bar, outdoor cinema and Internet facilities. Activities include day trips to outer islands; game-fishing; snorkeling; kayaking; mountain biking; Fijian village and school tours; trekking and diving.
Prices start at US$54 which includes breakfast.
A good budget refuge along the Coral Coast is the Beachouse. Located about 35 km east of Sigatoka and and 43 km west of Pacific Harbour, the resort is nestled in to 4 hectares of manicured gardens and lawns with a good beach. The Beachouse is the creation of Andrew Brown, a “local European” who took his family’s old vacation home in the mid 90’s a created a Fiji budget institution.
In 2006, the Beachouse was leased for 5 months by the UK production company Granada for the filming of a reality show called Love Island. The Beachouse now has a pool and a pleasant bar atmosphere; the Coconut Cafe is the onsite eatery and serves an array of reasonable meals to guests and travelers.
Rooms & Things to do
The resort now has 12 Garden rooms with garden shower/bathroom (private of course) and a selection of 6 bed dorms. Campers can pitch their own tents on a spacious lawn (price on request). Activities include jungle trekking, snorkeling, yoga classes, shark snorkel, village visits, fishing trips, beach horse rides, surf school, stand up paddle board tuition & more leisurely pursuits such as coconut weaving and coconut jewelry making lessons. Beachouse has its own in house dive operator.
Fiji Beachouse Brew House
Beachouse also has their own “brew house”, a home grown micro-brewery called the Kailoma Brewing Co. which makes a craft beer called Mokusiga which is made on the premises. According to the website the beer “is a satisfyingly crisp and hoppy Pacific Lager carefully hand crafted to achieve the perfect balance of flavours.” The beer is sold throughout Fiji but you can get it fresh, no doubt, at the Beachouse.
Accommodation rates begin at F$48 for dorms and range to Fiji$195.00 per couple for Garden Rooms (double). The prices include light breakfast and afternoon tea daily.
Matanivusi, the family surf resort
Once in a while in Fiji you stumble into a diamond in the rough. Matanivusi, a family run resort that caters primarily to surfers, falls into this category.
Although wave riders are their main constituency, calling Matanivusi a “surf resort” doesn’t quite do justice to the place. “Surf camp” or “surf resort” conjures up an overabundance of testosterone. Matanivusi is anything but that. A better way to think of it is “family surf resort”.
Unlike a pure surf destination, spouses, teenagers, grade school kids and even children as young as two, are welcomed here. In addition to surfing, there are a variety of activities and excursions such as hikes to a nearby waterfall or even visits to the nearby capital of Suva. At the nearby village you can visit a kindergarten or do a “plantation walk” where locals will explain the use of medicinal plants and show how local crops are grown.
Of course surfing is the main attraction. Breaks, which are pretty much right offshore are accessible year round and include Shifties (right hander), J’s (right hander); and Pipe (left hander). They offer several packages for surfers.
Ben Wilson, big-wave kitesurfer and elite instructor is a proponent of kitesurfing on the Coral Coast, particularly in the Matanivusi area. “”There are huge areas of incredible kiting and so much to see in this part of Fiji”, says Wilson. Depending on wind direction and swell, Ben runs downwinders from Bird Island to the resort, Pipe Beach to Fijian Pipe, Bird Island to Frigates, Up Rising to Matanivusi, Matanivusi to Mango Bay and many more. When there’s no wind there’s great surf at Frigates, Pipe, Shifties, J’s and Vunaniu which provide an excellent mix of lefts and rights. Downwinders can be long and although he’s followed by the resort’s boats, he’ll often be picked up at the end by car.
Best Months to Surf
The biggest surf is March through November. Surfers wanting the cleanest conditions should visit during wet season from December through February. If you’re lucky, during shoulder months of March, April, May and September, October, November, you’ll get glassy conditions with early or late south swells.
Dining is family style and food was healthy and tasty. Whenever possible locally grown produce such as avocados, breadfruit, taro, bananas and papaya are served. Locally caught fresh fish is also on the menu.
Breakfast fare includes locally grown fruit with eggs cooked any way you want it.
Accommodations are cool, breezy and can handle up to three people in a bungalow if you bring in an extra bed for children.
Figure on spending US$286 – US$309 per night
Outrigger on the Lagoon Fiji, once the site of the rundown Reef Resort, has been reincarnated by the Outrigger folks from Honolulu into one of the largest (254 units), more attractive resorts in Fiji. There are two basic varieties of rooms here. There’s a conventional, five-story structure with 207 air-conditioned rooms and 47 bures closer to the seaside dispersed in a 40 acres of lush gardens.
I’d opt for the bungalows which have nice touches such as tapa cloth lining on the ceilings. The bures also offer both aircon and conventional fans for those (like me) who prefer the latter. All of the conventional rooms are well appointed with nice touches such as Internet access and balconies—some of which offer terrific seascapes. Unlike many of the more exclusive properties this is a child friendly place with child-care available 24 hours. There’s a large complement of the usual water sports and largest pool in the South Pacific.
The Outrigger’s beach (like some other areas of the Coral Coast) is strewn with coral but is impeccably manicured on a daily basis by the staff.
Rates start at around F$500 for the least expensive room up to F$1000 for a beach front bungalow.