Where to Stay in Fiji for a Local Experience

Stay within a protected marine sanctuary, in a hotel which aims to preserve its island home
Stay within a protected marine sanctuary, in a hotel which aims to preserve its island home | © Douglas Peebles Photography / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Claire Dodd
15 February 2021

Many first-time visitors to Fiji head straight to a private island resort. But second-time visitors looking for a more culturally immersed experience, or new visitors wishing to see a different side to island life, have plenty of options, too. Here’s our guide to the best places to stay for a true taste of local life.

Likuliku Lagoon Resort

Resort, Hotel
Map View
Likuliku-Lagoon-Resort-13
Courtesy of Likuliku Lagoon Resort / Expedia.com

Designed to look like an ancient village, this resort intends to preserve both the culture and environment of its island home. A couple-focused wilderness island retreat – famed for having the only overwater bungalows in Fiji – is surrounded by a protected marine sanctuary. Beyond its luxurious amenities, Likuliku is busy investing in turtle conservation, coral restoration and local education programmes. Make sure to visit the nearby villages on Malolo Island.

Navutu Stars Resort

Resort, Luxury, Spa Hotel
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Navutu Stars Resort
Courtesy of Navutu Stars Resort / Expedia.com

If truly getting away from it all is the dream, there are few spots in the world quite as far-flung as the Yasawa Islands. With just one resort here, you’ll likely have it mostly to yourself. Wake early and watch fisherman land the catch, later served at the onsite restaurant. Eco-projects with the local community include recycling and minimal use of plastic, partial solar power, coral conservation projects and community outreach programs.

Castaway Island Fiji

Resort, Luxury, Spa Hotel
Map View
Castaway Island Fiji
© Castaway Island Fiji

Grab a kayak and an oar. It takes just 40-minutes to paddle around this family-friendly private island resort in the heart of Fiji’s Mamanuca Islands group. Ease into island life by staying in one of 65 traditionally thatched bures (a traditional Fijian wood and straw hut), some set by the beach, others among the jungle canopy. Start the day with beach yoga, join in with volleyball, watch a cooking demonstration or take to the water.

Savasi Island Resort

Resort, Luxury, Spa Hotel
Map View
Savasi Island Resort
Courtesy of Savasi Island Resort / Expedia.com

With wooden decks wrapped around spiralling trees, and cottages cantilevered over the sea, the Savasi Island Resort is natural rather than manicured. It’s located on a 52 acre (21ha) island, just off the south coast of Fiji’s second largest island, Vanua Levu. Expect oceanfront villas with private pools, alongside a dive shop and restaurant serving local seafood. Off-site, kayak the Qaloqalo River, swim beneath the Vuadomo waterfall or take a herbal walking tour to learn about traditional Fijian medicine.

Palmlea Farms Lodge & Bures

Budget Hotel, Eco-Lodge
Map View
Palmlea Farms Lodge & Bures
Courtesy of Palmlea Farms Lodge & Bures / Expedia.com | Courtesy of Palmlea Farms Lodge & Bures / Expedia.com

Sometimes you travel for a rest, other times you want to experience a different way of life. A stay at Palmlea Farms, located on the north shore of Vanua Levu, is centred on the latter. It’s both an eco-resort and an organic farm. Owner and world sailor Julie will encourage you to help out with duties. Food is grown onsite (or sourced locally), while solar energy powers the rooms and fresh water comes from the nearby mountain.

Korovesi Sunshine Villas

Hotel
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Korovesi Sunshine Villas
Courtesy of Korovesi Sunshine Villas / Expedia.com

Enjoy villa comforts with hotel convenience at Korovesi Sunshine Villas. Each room has its own ensuite bathroom, but you’ll share kitchen and living facilities with your fellow travellers. Enjoy the hillside vistas from the infinity pool which looks out towards the Pacific Ocean. Pets and children are welcome here too.

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  • The Beachouse

    Hostel
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    The Beachhouse offers jungle living right by the ocean. Most suitable for younger travellers and groups, things can get lively with beach volleyball, surf lessons, horse riding, snorkelling and sea kayaking. There’s also a dive centre and daily free yoga classes, if you want to slow down the pace. Choose between dorms which sleep six, right up to private garden bungalows.

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    Six Senses Fiji

    Resort, Luxury
    Map View
    Six Senses Fiji
    Courtesy of Six Senses Fiji / Expedia.com

    Grab your surfboard: there’s waves to catch year-round at the Six Senses. Back at the hotel, 24 spacious pool villas litter the hillside above the ocean, ranging from two to five bedrooms. Perhaps this resort’s most unique feature is its focus on wellness. Programmes focus on a variety of holistic therapies – from developing your yoga practice to boosting your immunity and improving sleep.

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    The Palms Denarau Fiji

    Hotel, Chain Hotel
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    The Palms Denarau Fiji
    Courtesy of The Palms Denarau Fiji / Expedia.com

    The lively shopping and dining district surrounding Port Denarau are right across the road from this property. As Fiji’s entertainment capital, you can expect to see Fijian fire-walking and kava ceremonies performed here. Rooms are light and breezy, with many of the apartments and studio rooms offering a full kitchen. Being right by a port, it’s a great place to join an island hopping cruise.

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    Grand Pacific Hotel

    Hotel, Luxury
    Map View
    Grand Pacific Hotel
    Courtesy of Grand Pacific Hotel / Expedia.com

    Be transported back to the heady days of steam travel at this grand old dame. Completed in 1914, the Grand Pacific was built by Union Steamship Company of New Zealand to accommodate passengers travelling across the South Pacific. Here you can catch a glimpse of real life in Fiji’s capital city, Suva. Book a heritage room in the original building, which comes with access to the Victoria Lounge where sundowners are served every day from 5pm.

    These recommendations were updated on February 15, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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