Fiji: Where to Eat, Stay, & Relax Like a Local

Fiji is the kind of place that looks even better than the brochures, postcard perfect in every way.

Taste Fiji Kitchen [image source: tripadvisor.com], crowd ink, crowdink, crowdink.com, crowdink.com.au
Taste Fiji Kitchen [image source: tripadvisor.com]

When it comes to booking a holiday you should really look no further than Fiji. The South Pacific Island is the ultimate triple threat – world class accommodation, unforgettable food, and an entire industry dedicated to helping you relax. And if you have a little insider knowledge – like a friendly local sharing their tips and tricks – Fiji is the kind of place that looks even better than the brochures, postcard perfect in every way.

Luckily for you, Fijian model Philippa Steele, born and raised on the Coral Coast, was happy to share her homegrown holiday hacks.

EAT

1. Taste Fiji

Brunch anybody? Fiji’s hottest breakfast spot at the moment is undoubtedly Taste Fiji, located ten minutes from the middle of Nadi. Frequented often by Nadi locals, Taste is truly the kind of spot that feels legitimately Fijian. The ingredients, staff, and menu are all local and the produce served is sourced from all over Fiji. During the day, they serve up a breakfast and lunch menu that will leave you salivating. Try the tropic muesli with Votualevu yoghurt! It’s my favourite. As if you weren’t already sold, Taste Fiji is famous for its sweet treats. The cafe has a dessert bar with a rotating roster of different cakes!

Need I say more? 

  1. Nadina Fijian Restaurant

Dining on Denarau Island just got a whole lot better thanks to Nadina’s Fijian Restaurant. This is a destination eatery on Denarau Island, with everyone from locals, tourists, and long term residents lining up to get a look in. Famous for its authentic Fijian food, we’re talking spices, seafood, curries, and coconuts. If you want to tick a traditional meal off your foodie check list, then Nadina is the place for you. Kokoda is a popular pick; the raw fish salad is a Fijian delicacy and Nadina know how to get it right. It’s also worth ordering some vegetable sides; the Rou Rou – steamed taro leaves cooked in coconut cream – will take your breath away.

STAY

  1. Natalei Eco Lodge

Most first timers in Fiji are tempted to take the typical tourist route and stay in a high class resort. But if you want to live like a local, I would recommend the Natalei Eco Lodge. Located an hour’s drive from Suva City, the lodge is hidden amongst a tropical rainforest. Your beachside bure may be a little rustic – phone reception is hard to come by at Natalei – but you’ll quickly forget as you find yourself waking up to the sights and sounds of the real Fiji. Top tip: visit the world famous Moon Reef to see dolphins doing their thing in the wild.

The Beachouse

Just 90 minutes from Nadi, get off the beaten track and settle into The Beachouse. Family owned, located on a sheltered, sandy lagoon, and surrounded by acres of lush gardens. The Beachouse offers luxury bungalow accommodation right on the edge of the Coral Coast. Wake up the Fijian way, with an early morning swim or surf on the break just walking distance from your room. The resort is also in the perfect location for those wanting to dive down into the depths of the tropical waters and explore the waterfalls and canyons of the Upper Navua Gorge.

RELAX

  1. InterContinental Hotel Spa

A sanctuary of peace and tranquility, Spa InterContinental specialises in spa treatments that bring balance to the mind, body, and soul. The spa is located in the main city, Viti Levu and the treatments combine the finest influences Fiji has to offer. Spa experiences range from a warm shell massage to a traditional sugar cane and coconut body polish.

  1. Sabeto Mud Pools

Fijians love to get down and dirty, so if you’re holidaying in the South Pacific, prepare to get muddy! The Sabeto Mud Pools, located halfway between the major cities of Nadi and Lautoka on the main island of Viti Levu, are a must-do holiday experience. I recommend that once you’ve made a mess in the mud, head for the hot springs to clean off. Added bonus – the Sabeto Mud Pools contain sulphur which us locals believe to have calming properties.

**Phillipa Steele is a Fijian model working internationally and a Brand Ambassador for Fiji Airways. Phillipa is half Fijian and the other half is made up of Tongan, French, English and American and is based in Sigatoka, Fiji. For 6 months of the year Phillipa is travelling to New York, France and Switzerland where she models for some of the world’s top fashion brands. Follow her on Facebook or Instagram.

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Founded in 1951, Fiji Airways Group comprises of Fiji Airways, Fiji’s National Airline and its subsidiaries: Fiji Link, its domestic and regional carrier, Pacific Call Comm Ltd, and a 38.75% stake in the Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa on Denarau Island, Nadi. Fiji Airways aims to be the leading global boutique airline, and has a fleet of brand new wide body A330s and refreshed B737 aircrafts. Fiji Link has a fleet of ATR 72, ATR42 and DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft. From its hub at Nadi International Airport, Fiji Airways and Fiji Link serve 48 destinations in 12 countries (including code-share). Destinations include Australia, New Zealand, USA, Hong Kong, Singapore, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands. The Fiji Airways Group brings in 64 percent of all visitors who fly to Fiji, employs over 1000 employees, earn revenues of over FJD$769 million ($372m USD$), and directly contribute a significant portion of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Fiji Airways rebranded from Air Pacific in June 2013. Visit www.fijiairways.com for more information.