Nadi, Denarau and Lautoka accommodations range from 5-star resort complexes on Denarau to bare bones backpacker haunts in Nadi town. My last count had over sixty properties in and around the greater Nadi area. We settled on a few favorites.
Wailoaloa Beach (aka New Town Beach)
Of late, Nadi has sprouted a whole category of budget properties located on Wailoaloa (aka New Town) Beach that is located between the airport and Nadi town. They are a bit off the main road but offer better food, service and accommodation than the skimpy dorms in town. Another great plus is that they are on the beach. Unless you need to be in town, it’s much better to be near the ocean even though Wailoaloa is not Viti Levu’s greatest beach. (The best in my opinion is Natadola on the Coral Coast).
Location of Wailoaloa Beach
Nadi Bay Hotel
This Hotel has been one of my favorites among the variety of Nadi, Denarau and Lautoka accommodations. Located a 10-minute drive from the airport, they have a wide selection of accommodation ranging from dorms to air-conditioned apartments. It’s a far cry from the threadbare operation it was a decade or two ago.
In this stretch of Beach, Smuggler’s Cove gets good marks. Among the pantheon of Nadi, Denarau and Lautoka accommodations, these beachfront rooms offer a view as beautiful as any five star hotel in Denarau. This is definitely the hot spot for the young and restless. It can be classified as the ultimate upscale backpacker place. The demographics of most of the clientele fall into the 20-30 year old range.
Club Fiji Resort
Also, in the same area is Club Fiji Resort, where I’ve stayed in the past, and have had excellent experiences. Accommodations were clean and reasonably priced. They are right on the beach and far from the din of Nadi, yet close enough to town to take in the restaurants or shopping.
In short, the Wailoaloa Beach area is an excellent staging point for further adventures in Fiji. It’s closer to town than Denarau and the beach is similar in quality.
Mid-Range Nadi, Denarau and Lautoka Accommodations
These are without exception, “transit” properties. They are safe, clean and offer plenty of comfort. However, you don’t generally stay here a long time.
Fiji Gateway Hotel
The Fiji Gateway has one distinct advantage over all the properties in the Nadi area. That is convenience. It’s literally across the street from the airport, a 7 minute walk from the terminal. (You don’t even need a taxi if you don’t mind rolling your bags down the street). The rooms are clean, well maintained and the service is friendly. If you need a day room or need to be ensconced for a day or two in between flights, this is the ticket. They offer free wi-fi. Prices start at around $F100. For a good, clean room and a comfortable bed, that’s great deal.
Transit Mercure Hotel
Mercure Nadi, with 85 rooms, is one of countless “transit” hotels in the Nadi area. It’s on the Queens Road, the main drag between Nadi town and the airport, only a few minutes from the terminal on their free shuttle. I know this property very well having stayed here countless times over the past 30 years in its earlier incarnation as the Dominion International. It’s a comfortable, friendly place to stay with all the amenities–restaurant, spa, pool, beauty shop and it’s close to a supermarket. You can even walk to the beach–give yourself at least 20-30 minutes. Prices begin at around F$130.
The Tanoa International is yes, another transit hotel, located just minutes from the airport. It’s a bit on the higher end of the luxury spectrum than the average and is a quite decent place. I’ve stayed here over the years and have never had a bad experience. Amenities include pool, restaurant, fitness center and free Internet. Prices start about about F$145.
First Landing Resort is called so because according to local legend, the first Fijians arrived around 1500 BC, landing on what now is the beach at this resort. Run by former Peace Corps volunteer, Jim Dunn, the property is located just 15 minutes from Nadi Airport heading towards Lautoka. It’s a Safe and quiet retreat from the hustle of nearby Nadi and Lautoka.
There are 32, well constructed bures with rates that start at $F350.00. All feature air conditioning, ceiling fans, bar fridge, Telephone, and Internet connection. The vibe is good, it’s relaxed and the environs are excellent. Marc Carignan, an executive coach from San Diego and guest at the property found the accommodations impressive. His bure was newly constructed and had two rooms, a screened in front porch with polished wooden floors, a large bedroom with table, sofa, TV, bath with Jacuzzi and ceramic tile floors.
Food was excellent and he liked the eclectic menu which ranged from European dishes to dhal soup. Breakfast included great local fruits and home cooked muffins. The only downside there isn’t much of a swimming beach at First Landing. The reef prevents one from wading too far. In conclusion—if you don’t need to be close to town, this is a great choice. Yachties using the nearby Vuda Point Marina will especially appreciate this property. It’s close to the harbor and they are welcomed by the resort management.
Once a humble mangrove swamp teeming with crabs, Denarau has been transformed over the last three decades into a vast tourism complex, complete with hotels, restaurants, time shares and condos. It also sports the Big Bula Waterpark, which offers water slides and a swimming pool. The hub is a marina called ‘Port Denarau’ which buzzes with activity because it’s the point of departure for fishing boats and ferries, bound for the Mamanuca Islands. The ‘Port’ is chock full of restaurants and cafes, albeit more expensive than similar eateries in town.
It has in short become Fiji’s version of Waikiki, minus the high-rise hotels, the prime visitors destination. It’s close to the airport (about 15 minutes away) the properties are top flight, there are good places to dine and there’s a first class golf course near by. All the hotels are located on a brown sand beach which is indistinguishable from Wailoaloa Beach, just a few miles down the road.
If you want to be sealed off from the hustle and bustle of the local scene, Denarau offers a kind of insularity compared to other Nadi, Denarau and Lautoka accommodations.
In essence, Denarau is a self-contained visitor’s mecca. The downside–if you need to get into Nadi for some reason, it’s about a 25 minute drive. A taxi from Nadi to Denarau is in the neighborhood of F$30 but there’s a local bus that runs between the Nadi bus station and the Port that’s only a dollar. It’s what the local workers use but visitors are welcomed as well.
If you plan to use Lautoka as your springboard to see the West or need a place to overnight, you should consider the Northern Club. With a combination of good pricing and appealing local style, it’s for independent visitors who are ready to sink their teeth into local culture.
Located in the heart of town, on 11 Tavewa Ave, I was impressed by the staff. On my first full day the city was working on the water main and our water cut off for a few hours. The house maid, unsolicited, brought up a five-gallon bucket of water and a basin for my room so at minimum I’d be able to wash my hands. I can’t imagine someone doing that (without asking) anywhere else.
On the grounds of the property is a two-story apartment—four self-contained units on the bottom and four on top. Nothing fancy on the outside but inside it’s quite comfortable.
The largest unit has a mammoth king-sized bed and a single and goes for $F195. Each room is huge, airy and outfitted with a bulky balcony curtains that will keep out ambient light and offer sleep hygiene. There’s a huge sliding door with screen that opens up to a large lanai with a glass-top table. It’s a perfect place to eat breakfast, which is not served at the Club. (It opens at 10 am). The unit is self-contained with plenty of counter top, a gas stove, refrigerator and tons of cabinet space. A combination armoire, safe and clothes closet abut a writing desk that’s ergonomically designed for your laptop use.
Lowest priced units are a better deal at $F125 if you don’t need room for a third party. Wi-Fi is available on the property but you’ll need to purchase it.
My only complaint was that the accommodations are next to a main road that has its share of traffic during morning rush hour. In the evenings this is not an issue. The in-house restaurant is quite good, reasonably priced, and will prepare just about any local dish that you like.
With an in-house Olympic-sized pool and cold Fiji Bitter on tap at the bar, the NC Club has just about anything you could ask for when comparing it to other Nadi, Denarau and Lautoka accommodations.
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Let’s walk around this wonderful market and let’s see what we can buy for lunch and dinner!! Very graphic and very cultural scenes from this very popular place here in Fiji. Take a stroll and mingle with the locals at the Nadi produce market. You can buy fresh and cheap fruits like paw paws, pineapples […]