Courtney Whitaker basks in the sun, the sea. . and ice, at the Intercontinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa, Natadola Bay
Location: About an hour from Nadi airport on Viti Levu (the main island). Natadola Bay is a beach of rugged beauty, and the sprawling 14-hectare property is built to savor every inch of it.
Registration: We are warmly welcomed at the entrance of the hotel’s Porte Cochere with shell necklaces and a traditional Fijian drum. We do a very quick temperature scan (one of the very few Covid reminders here), before heading to the check-in area. With vaulted ceilings and panoramic views of Natadola Beach, the space is absolutely expansive and there are plenty of check-in counters to accommodate IHG members, non-members, and a seating area positioned to admire the view. Check-in was quick and easy, and we and our luggage were taken by golf cart to our room.
Style: Casual island style meets contemporary luxury.
Bedroom: A Beachfront King bedroom with beach access. Not only do we have front row seats for the main event – the sunset over the sea – but we are also ideally placed between the Navo restaurant and the adults-only pool. Our room has a separate living room with a bench seat along one wall, a small dining table and chairs, a television and a Bose sound system. Fijian wall art and a hand-carved kava bowl add a traditional touch to the modern space. The separate bedroom has a comfortable king bed, twin wardrobes with plenty of hanging space and large double doors leading to a luxurious bathroom. The masterstroke of the whole space is, of course, the balcony: on one side a daybed, to stretch out with a cocktail, on the other, a large Cleopatra outdoor bathtub, which has curtains to privacy and a window on the beach with blinds.
Perfect for: Couples or honeymooners looking for a slice of luxury in the Pacific, or for families wanting a stress-free vacation, with entertainment and activities at their fingertips.
Getting There : Air New Zealand and Fiji Airways fly direct to Nadi, and on arrival there are plenty of transportation choices to reach the resort, from taxis to shared minibuses to private, air-conditioned transfers, which can be arranged by the hotel.
Bathroom: A massive slab of black marble makes up the double vanity, while the toilet and shower are at separate ends of the bathroom, each with privacy doors. Toiletries are Pure Fiji, with shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer and luxury bath provided in White Gingerlily scent. Stunning. I generously smeared it on every occasion. An amenity kit is also provided, as well as bottles of Fiji water.
Food and drink: There are four dining options: Kama Lounge, for cocktails and appetizers, Toba Bar and Grill for casual dining, buffet-style Sanasana, and Navo, where we dined the first night. Navo, named after the small island the restaurant overlooks, offers an extensive wine list and a stunning gourmet menu, as well as a signature four-course tasting menu. Inspired by fresh local ingredients, it would have been remiss of us not to order the huge 1kg lobster, picked straight from the ocean and cooked on the grill, and a fillet of fish a la puttanesca. We also find room for burnt butter ravioli and an indulgent sticky date pudding for dessert. We accompany the meal with a buttered Vidal Soler chardonnay (and we promise to hit the gym the next morning…) Sanasana, near reception, offers a delicious breakfast buffet each morning, but we choose à la carte at Navo – mainly for the view, but also for the friendly and attentive staff, who make every morning a delight for us. We sit outside, with stunning views of Navo Island, and savor everything from smoked salmon with cherry tomatoes and pesto, to stacks of blueberry pancakes, freshly squeezed juices and black coffee. strong.
Facilities: Golf enthusiasts should of course head to the very popular 18-hole golf course. The standard par 72 championship course offers stunning sea views on 15 of its 18 holes. Back at the 266-room resort, which is truly designed like a village, there’s an award-winning spa, gym, shops, glass wedding pavilion, four restaurants, and even a medical center. There are endless activities here and The Reef Safari beach hut is a great starting point, with surfing, snorkeling trips, scuba lessons, kayaking and diving lessons. The adults-only infinity pool — steps from the beach — has loungers, umbrellas, and is right next to Toba, perfect for post-swim cocktails and stone-baked pizza.
Spa: Spa Intercontinental is a tranquil space and, in addition to traditional treatments, has a pre- and post-treatment area called Wai Zone. “Wai”, meaning water in Fijian, is reflected here in the hydrotherapy program, which includes a steam room, hydrotherapy pool and ice room. After a five-minute blast in the ice room, we return to the warmth of the beach, where our therapists are waiting to treat us to the hotel’s signature cabana massage experience. Pure Fiji scented oils are massaged into tired muscles and sunburned skin, and I fall asleep to the sound of the waves just feet away. Happiness.
In the neighborhood: Most hotel staff are from the nearby village of Sanasana. Tours here can be arranged, as well as a visit to the local primary school in Malomalo.
Friendly and family: The focus here is on families, with a choice of connecting rooms or well-appointed suites, available with one or two bedrooms, kitchens, dining areas and private pools – plenty of space for the whole family. . For weary parents wanting a break, there’s the popular Planet Trekkers kids’ club and nanny service, plus a dedicated family pool with interactive fountains, splash pads and shade sails.
Accessibility: All gates and areas of the complex have been designed to be wide enough to allow wheelchair access. There are also two specially created rooms with wheelchair accessible facilities and ramps.
Wireless: Free and fast.
Sustainability: The Intercontinental chain has a program called Green Engage, which is committed to running more sustainable hotels around the world and allows each hotel to measure its impact on the environment. Paperless menus and information can all be found by scanning QR codes, and the hotel also offers a coral planting program.
Supplements: The Club Intercontinental is a great way to elevate your stay, with exclusive access to the Club Intercontinental Lounge, which includes canapes and sunset cocktails and a private infinity pool with cabanas.
Price: Rooms start at $399 per night, including tax and breakfast, for two adults and two children.