Hotel Review: Radisson Blu Resort Fiji Denarau Island

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From the way overdue files… 

To NAN

As part of my epic RTW trip, my first two segments were JFK-LAX in American First Class, then LAX-NAN (Nadi, Fiji) on Fiji Airways (formerly Air Pacific) in economy.

You know, I gotta say… it was about an 11 hour flight time, an overnight flight. Even though the seats didn’t recline, it really wasn’t that bad. The seats were spacious for economy, there was great IFE, and they served meals and snacks.  I wadded up a hoodie and tried to fall asleep as best as I could, considering.

I knew going into it to set my expectations low, but the flight was actually pretty comfortable. The cabins had great colors and were designed well, the flight attendants were personable, the food wasn’t amazing but at least they served us full meals, and I can’t complain too much about the economy seat, honestly.

And when the plane door opened up in Fiji, I felt my lungs and skin instantly moisten from the humid Pacific air. I’d been in a particularly frigid New York winter with too much dry radiator heat and the humidity was so welcome and wonderful.

It’s always an odd feeling to walk around in a tropical place holding full winter regalia, but I was happy to be in Fiji for the first time. Very… island.

Booking the room

My boyfriend and I booked just two nights at the Radisson Blu Resort in Nadi on Denarau Island and proceeded directly there to do nothing but sun ourselves and drink tropical cocktails around the pool.

Easy Club Carlson redemption

Easy Club Carlson redemption

I booked the two nights as a BOGO with 44,00 Club Carlson Gold Points. The going rate is currently $355 for two nights, so each point was worth about .008 cents apiece.

Room rate with taxes and fees

Room rate with taxes

Another way I like to think of it is this: the US Bank Club Carlson Visa Signature gives 40,000 Gold Points annually for renewing the card. Even though I pay $75 to have the card, it’s worth it to turn right back around and book hotel stays that are worth $350 or more for free.

Getting to the Radisson Blu Resort and checking in

We took a taxi to the hotel from the airport. It was a bizarre experience to drive there. Nadi is a ramshackle town comprised of improvised housing, huts, and hovels. The “town center” is a collection of shops and services, but very rough around the edges. It’s also so weird and interesting to see how the locals live, and then to arrive at a fully polished resort. The disparity and contrast can be sometimes shocking.

We arrived at the hotel a bit early, and our room wasn’t ready.

"Early Arrival Welcome Letter"

“Early Arrival Welcome Letter”

They offered us fresh fruit juice and asked if we wanted to wait for 20 minutes until our room was ready. I took a juice and asked if we could tour the property and come back. They took our bags and we were on our way.

The property has four lagoon pools, two restaurants, a spa, and its own private beach strip.

Walking the grounds at the Radisson Blu Fiji Resort

Walking the grounds at the Radisson Blu Fiji Resort

One of the pools at the Radisson Blu Fiji Resort

One of the pools at the Radisson Blu Fiji Resort

Palm trees galore

Palm trees galore

When we got back to the desk, the check-in agent made sure to acknowledge that I was staying on award points (I wonder how often they get paid stays vs. award stays) and that I was Gold in the Club Carlson program.

We walked around the property and surrounding area – which is gorgeous, btw – and then went back to the check-in desk, grabbed our keys, and settled into our room.

The room

The room wasn’t huge, but was quite ample enough. The floors were tiled, presumably to make it easier to sweep away the sand that will inevitably find its way inside.

We were on the ground floor with a little sitting area right outside. It was set back far enough so that we had to walk down a few hallways to get to the pools and restaurants, but was very quiet at night. It was a “Garden Courtyard” room.

The bed

The bed

Sitting area and sliding door to outside

Sitting area and sliding door to outside

View of the room from the sitting area

View of the room from the sitting area

Bathroom

Bathroom

Shower

Shower

Toiletries

Toiletries

Safe/closet

Safe/closet

The experience

If I had to pick one photo:

Yassss

Yassss

I had a lovely time here. From the restaurants to the pool, the employees were consistently kind, and all seemed really happy to be there, which added to the good vibes.

We went to the adults-only pool and savored the peace and quiet there. A server came around and kept bringing us drink after tropical drink. The sun shone – I got the perfect level of crispiness that turned into a fast tan. And it really wasn’t all that crowded, which was nice (unlike Hawaii).

The restaurant where they serve breakfast is right on the ocean. In the afternoon, they have a bar that’s open, and you can sit and sip a cold brew.

Ice cold beer on a hot summer day is some kind of heaven

Ice cold beer on a hot summer day is some kind of heaven

The breakfast spread was pretty big. It filled up two large rooms and had every selection you can imagine from fresh fruits, smoothies, yogurt, eggs, cold cuts, breads and pastries, etc. etc. – a fine spread indeed.

My breakfast selections

My breakfast selections

Jay's breakfast selections

Jay’s breakfast selections

Seating for breakfast. The ocean is right behind me

Seating for breakfast. The ocean is right behind me

Cold case

Cold case

2013-12-27 07.10.23

Fresh fish

I made sure to walk all around the area at all times of day, just to feel the air and take in as much of the moisture and lushness as I could.

Nadi at sunset

Nadi at sunset

I like long walks on the beach...

I like long walks on the beach…

Nadi at dawn

Nadi at dawn

Lushness

Lushness

I think I got a tan

I think I got a tan

When we came back to the room on the second day, they’d not only made up the room, but left flowers on the bed for us, which I thought was a lovely touch.

Flowers on the bed

Flowers on the bed

Where’s my welcome amenity?!

Of course the two days flew by and was a blur. I realized at checkout, though, that we’d never received a welcome amenity.

I always feel like such a bitch asking for stuff like that. But I figured, I’m here, I’m Gold, it says on the website that I’m entitled to a welcome amenity, I wonder what it was supposed to be?

So, I asked politely what they usually do for welcome amenities. The agent reacted like she’d never heard of a welcome amenity, I explained that since I was Gold in the Club Carlson program, I usually receive a small gift upon checking in.

She called over the manager, who explained that they get very few elite members at the property and don’t have an official welcome amenity. However, he offered, he could give me 15% off of everything I’d charged to the room.

Boom! When I got the bill, I saw that nearly $40 had been wiped off because of that discount. $40 that I saved for simply asking a question. They were super nice about it – just a heads up in case anyone else ever goes there.

Bottom line

Through and through, the staff here were very welcoming and gracious. It wasn’t the *best* resort ever, but it was very solid.

There are lots of resorts in the surrounding area (a Hilton and Starwood property come to mind) and many others on the outer islands that are way more expensive and kind of a pain to get to (but worth it I’m sure – one day).

For a quick refresher on the way to New Zealand, this was a perfect spot. Close to the airport, charming, sunny, and very clean. I’d love to visit Fiji again, and would love to see more of French Polynesia, too.

If you find yourself in Nadi for whatever reason (Hawaiian and Air New Zealand fly/connect there), and you’re a Club Carlson member, this really can’t be beat. I had a really great time.

Has anyone else stayed here or at any other hotels in Nadi or in Fiji? How does it compare?

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Dallas.

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