InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa review: A very chilled-out Fiji resort

Julietta Jameson stays at a very chilled-out Fiji resort and adjusts her attitude accordingly.

'Bula!" The Fijian staff at the InterContinental's new property say their version of "hello" with a gusto that suggests they are surprised and delighted to see you. "Wow! It's you! You look great and I feel fantastic just casting my eyes upon you!" That's how it sounds. It's contagious. Before long, I've dropped the restrained intonation of my Anglo-Saxon city heritage and replaced it with the burst of boisterousness the greeting truly deserves. "Bulaaaaah!" I shout as I walk into breakfast, then can't hold back a giggle. It really is quite a nice release, like laughter therapy or something.

It's also about the most strenuous thing I will do during my four-day break at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa. Oh, I have all the intentions. The gym gear is in the suitcase; swimming goggles and cap, too. There's stretchy gear packed for those morning yoga classes and a plan to take a golf lesson, or maybe even do some kayaking. Those with whom I have travelled are talking about wakeboarding, diving and going the full 18 holes of the beautiful, challenging Vijay Singh-designed golf course. All this is on offer: the gym and water sports facilities are top-notch and the weather is perfect, even though the Roaring Forties are at their rowdy best.

Somehow, though, I slip into that nirvana known as "Fiji time" before I've even had the chance to take my trainers out of the bag. This state of inertia is certainly helped by how we travelled here.

Just before Christmas, V Australia started its service on the Sydney-Nadi run using Boeing 777s, the same roomy aircraft they use for the Los Angeles-Sydney service, which boasts one of the most chic business-class cabins in the air.

A 3½-hour flight seems like a waste of a great flat-bed seat but there's plenty more luxury to be lapped up. Despite the early take-off hour, there have been glasses of champagne and bloody marys at the full stand-up bar, an excellent breakfast and much ooh-aahing at "row nine", an area of business class just behind the bar that can be curtained off and has been utilised by rockers Jet, Britney Spears and Sir Richard Branson himself.

The InterContinental Fiji is a 45-minute shuttle ride from the airport and is pretty much in the opposite direction to a lot of other five-star hotels. Though on the main island, it's a fully contained resort and the glamorous entrance melts any thoughts of claustrophobia - or of venturing out for exploration.

I'm a sucker for a beautiful foyer and this one - all cathedral ceilings, enticing day beds, airy views out to the preternaturally aqua waters of the adjacent Natadola Marine Park and restful, natural materials in a clean, Zen-meets-islander design - tells me, oh so softly, that I am entering a very chilled-out place and should adjust my attitude accordingly.

My room is a beachfront suite and here comes the biggest decision I will have to make for the next four days: whether to hang out in and around the beach or waddle off to the more social infinity pool. It's one mighty tough call.

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The suite is soothingly done out in dark woods and creamy linens, with splashes of tropical colour on cushions and throws. It includes a living room with a dining table, a big bedroom with huge bed, a large dressing room, plus separate toilet and shower. But the piece de resistance is an outdoor bathtub for two with curtains around it. It's on a huge veranda with sun lounges, a day bed and direct access to a lawn dotted with cabanas, beyond which lies the white sandy crescent of Natadola Beach.

The infinity pool is heaven, made all the more so for adults seeking relaxation because it's a designated "quiet zone".

There is also a family pool - all 110 or so metres of it - where kids happily play under the watchful eye of their parents and attendants.

I choose the pool; it's such a lovely area.

My other, slightly less significant, choice involves the three meal options: the Toba Bar and Grill, which lies between both pools, Sanasana all-day dining, where breakfast is served on outdoor terraces, or Navo, an upscale restaurant for dressing up and feeling glamorous. And then there's the Kama Lounge, an excellent bar with beds and Tiki torches, setting a sort of Fiji-meets-Miami scene.

Not wanting anyone to feel left out, I manage to spend quality time in all.

Eventually, my friends convince me to do something active. They're going on a dive; why don't I come out? So I do and enjoy floating about on the reef, watching my friends dive amid extraordinary coral and marine life while I drift from lionfish to puffer fish to parrotfish.

The cheery fellow captaining the boat tells me how he takes surfers out to the nearby reef break. I watch a couple of perfect barrels crash and dissolve, no surfer in sight to relish them. It's amazing that such a gorgeous stretch of ocean is so lacking in people.

My friends emerge from their dive, satiated and salty. One suggests beer. It's 11am on our Sunday but why not? So we take up banana lounges by the infinity pool, order a local microbrew and giggle the day away, moving only for dips in the pool, the barbecue lunch and for a trip en masse to the heavenly spa, which features a cold room, steam facilities and superb masseurs, who make a convert of a member of our party hitherto unconvinced about the whole massage thing.

Then we go back to the pool, lie there for a bit, retire to our rooms and shower, have dinner, then a few drinks at Kama. I then go to bed with the door open, save for the fly wire, listening to critters chirp and waves wash. And I think: that was a perfect Sunday on an utterly perfect little luxury break. Who says you have to do stuff to have fun?

The writer was a guest of InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa and V Australia.

TRIP NOTES

GETTING THERE

V Australia flies from Sydney to Nadi, priced from $199. See vaustralia.com.au.

STAYING THERE

The InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa's Lagoon Suites are priced from $F570 ($323) a night; Beachfront Suites start at $F100 more a night; Garden View rooms start at $F420 a night. Phone +679-6733300, see intercontinental.com/fiji.

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