If you’ve thought about going to Fiji with a baby, toddler or kids… I have two words.
It’s sort of like parenthood- nothing can really prepare you for it like experience does. And people had told me over and over how great Fiji was for kids but I didn’t really get it until I went there. They seriously love babies. In fact, it put our own culture to shame. We are so obsessed with kid-free holidays, kid-free pools, kid-free cruises, that we forget to incorporate children and honour them. We forget they’re little people growing into big people, that they have feelings, requirements and assets. They are, pure joy (mixed in with some sleep deprivation) and the Fijians just love them. I’m not sure I ever really had to hold my baby because someone was always there willing to take him. If I was struggling at breakfast with my escape artist 2.5 hear old and had a screaming baby, someone would take one of them- without me even asking. And they liked it. They actually liked children. How refreshing! We weren’t stared down for screaming babies or toddler tantrums. No one batted an eye lid when the drink was spilt onto the floor and no one seemed to care that your child ran wild through the restaurant. Other westerners certainly might have- but not the Fijians. In fact, their love of children is reflected in the baby sitting prices… $15 for three hours. Yep. I didn’t forget a 0. That’s right… $15! (Compare this to a $30 cocktail which I could down in about 10 minutes…) Unfortunately for us we only cottoned on to this in the last few days and hired one daily, just as a pair of helping hands. It also meant our 2.5 year old could go to the kids club with his cousins, or, the babysitter could stay in the room with my sleeping baby in the A/C while I went and had lunch with my husband. It was pretty spesh.
While I can’t say much about Fiji itself (as I didn’t even leave the resort grounds- yes, it was hard, and yes it’s something I’ve never done) but the weather was amazing… we had no rain (and travelled in Feb) incredible sunsets and the resort we stayed in- The Westin Denerau, had great food, lovely grounds and an even better pool. The pool was big, kid friendly and just a really relaxing space. We also enjoyed the swim up bar pool right next door at the Sheraton as they share space. We learnt that Fiji time really meant slow service no matter how many waiters are standing around, that the food is ridiculously expensive (think AU$30 per meal, easy) and that you’re best off getting a deal that includes a buffet, resort credit (we had FJ$1400 credit and still went over… my husband and I hardly drink and we only bought lunch, dinner and one-two in-room meals) so it IS expensive inside the resorts. I thought I’d be having massages every day… not for $200 a pop I wasn’t! Despite our ‘ocean front’ room not being quite what I expected (we could certainly see the ocean and it was a fabulous view- but there is no beach and you don’t swim in the ocean on Denerau from where we were) the three traveling families were in rooms next to each other and we had an incredible family trip celebrating my dad’s 70th.
I didn’t take a pram but rather carriers and baby wearing was HOT. If I go again, I may take a pram but it’s really not necessary. We did see a lot of them and the only time I felt vaguely regretful was when I was trying to manage both kids on my own when my husband was at golf (which felt like A LOT). So, despite not being able to tell you much about the activities, other resorts or much about Fiji itself, I can tell you this:
- Find an inclusive deal that has accommodation, buffet breakfast, room credit (at least FJ$1000) and transfers included. We went with MyFiji and they seem to have some pretty good deals! We also had a kids fly, stay and eat free. Made a big difference. For every meal an adult had we could order a free kids meal off the kids menu.
- If your or your partner want golf, ensure it’s also included with a cart. The Westin/Sheraton is next to an 18 hole golf course and there’s a 9 hole golf course further away at the Intercontinental which a worker said was his favourite hotel.
- Join up to the Marriott Hotel Club for free and get 10% off your meals and drinks at the hotel.
- If you’re staying on Denerau Island make sure your hotel has a good pool! We loved the Westin (and would stay there again, plus it’s not far from the airport) and the Sheraton next door.
- You don’t really need cash, unless you’re going to hire a babysitter. You need cash for them. We took AU$100 cash and tried to spend the rest at the airport…
- The Fiji Airways club lounge at the airport is lovely and has a fairly sound-proof kids room. See if you can get admission included in your deal (we did!)
- Expect to pay extra on transfers for booster seats/kids car seats. And don’t expect them to be all that safe.
- Baby-sitters are cheap. Massages are not.
- Flight time is good for infants and young kids. Only a few hours which is totally doable and the hostesses we had were friendly and helpful.
- The travel agent wanted to charge me for a bassinet seat, and then charge my husband and toddler extra to sit with me. Lucky for me when checking in they gave us the bassinet row for free. Just ask at the airport!
- The timezone change works in your favour… sleep ins and kids up later for dinner.
- At the time of writing this Fiji is Corona free 😉
Can you think of something I haven’t? Let me know!