Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort review: Family-friendly resort with plenty of adults-only zones

THE PLACE 

Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort

THE LOCATION 

I've never been a huge fan of the Coral Coast, always opting to head straight for the outer islands yet the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort has me rethinking this. The property is relatively isolated with no other resorts within easy reach, yet you won't mind being captive here. The Outrigger fronts a lovely, safe beach fringed by palm trees. A short distance away is the colourful market town of Sigatoka, and the mighty Sigatoka River where locals still dive for prawns and mussels and children ride bili bili rafts downstream. The resort lies on the south-west cape of Viti Levu, the main island, about 80-minutes drive from Nadi Airport.

THE SPACE 

Fiji's first five-star resort set the benchmark when it first opened in 2000. Designed like a traditional Fijian village, there are 207 rooms and suites and 40 garden and beachfront bures set in 16 hectares of lush manicured gardens that roll down to the sandy shores of a reef-fringed lagoon. There are five restaurants and bars, one of Fiji's largest swimming pools, a kids' club, brilliant nanny service, fitness centre, retail outlets and the incredible Bebe Spa Sanctuary which, trust me, you'll want to get acquainted with. For a family friendly resort, it also cleverly offers numerous specific adults-only zones including the hilltop Kalo Kalo Bar (which sadly no one told me about) – keeping everyone happy. 

THE ROOM 

Our room, a 50sq m plantation bure, sits among the resort's verdant tropical gardens with traditional thatched roofing, glass louvres, a tapa-lined ceiling and a small veranda with bench seat and hammock swing. The king-size bed is dressed in white linen and is sprinkled daily with red hibiscus or frangipani. We even have our own butler (for guests in deluxe ocean view rooms, bures and suites) who deliver canapes and champagne each afternoon. Even the resort's superior resort view rooms are a generous 47sq m, however the pick are the beachfront bures with their dress circle position fronting the lagoon. 

THE FOOD 

I'm not a buffet enthusiast, however breakfast at Vale Ni Kana – a vast open air bure that dishes up buffet-style breakfasts – is impressive. A staff member slices fresh, sweet tropical fruit to order, there's an egg station and you can order a decent latte (extra cost). If you're sans child (or they're in kids' club) head for breakfast or a casual poolside lunch at Vahavu Bistro, a relatively new adults-only area featuring a 20-metre lap pool, 35-metre lagoon pool, expansive sundeck, and swim-up bar. There's also Baravi by the main pool, the signature and award winning Ivi Restaurant (named after a towering 100-year-old ivi tree) where Caesar salad and crepe suzette are served old-school gueridon style at the table. My favourite dining experience however is Sundowners. I witnessed diners down cutlery and cocktails mid-meal to run outside and photograph one of the most incredible sunsets I've seen, while a rainbow magically appeared behind us. 

 STEPPING OUT

A must is a treatment at the Bebe Spa (the word meaning butterfly in Fijian), which sits atop Vakalomalagi Hill encased in a traditional Fiji-inspired timber and glass eyrie overlooking the magnificent coastline. The seven heavenly treatment rooms offer private open-air balconies with ocean views, "Showers in the Sky" and four offer hydrotherapy tubs where you can bathe in utter bliss. The resort also runs a wonderful voluntourism program at Conua School, while Sigatoka River Safaris offer the chance to head inland via jet boat to experience the "real" Fiji. 

THE VERDICT

One of the best mainland resorts offering an authentic and quintessential Fiji experience without having to travel to the outer islands. 

ESSENTIALS

MyFiji offers exclusive holiday packages to Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort. Currently it is offering a holiday package priced from $1990 per person including return flights with Fiji Airways, eight nights in a superior resort room and $1750 in bonuses. Bonuses include a $FJ1000 wine, dine and spa credit, three-day pass to Kula Wild Adventure Park, Mei Mei nanny package or two, one-hour Bebe Spa treatments, "MyFiji Island" experience in the Mamanuca's, MyFiji VIP Concierge Services and transfers plus children stay, play and eat free. Guests also receive a MyFiji beach bag including cap, beach ball and Pure Fiji gift pack. Book by April 28, 2017. For more information, phone 1300 00 3454 or see myfiji.com

HIGHLIGHTS

It's a toss up between the incredible Mei Mei Nanny Service, and the Bula men who enthusiastically greet every visitor at the entrance gate. 

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LOWLIGHTS

The food is on the pricey side, and there are limited options outside the resort. Opt for a meal package if you can.

Sheriden Rhodes was a guest of MyFiji, see myfiji.com.

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