A guest room at the Sofitel Resort & Spa.
The Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa is also on Denarau Island. There’s a free shuttle bus called the Bula Bus that makes it easy to travel from one resort to another, or to the shops and restaurants at Port Denarau. The Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa has 296 rooms grouped into three categories: Resort View Rooms, Ocean View Rooms and Suites. All suites are located at the east end of the resort’s three room blocks, giving them the best ocean views. Since the resort is three stories high, even superior views can be found on the highest floor.
While the resort targets all markets, it’s especially well-equipped to handle groups and conferences. The resort’s Mandara Spa is set up like a little village, giving it a real day spa atmosphere. “Many of our guests spend the whole day here,” says Jocelyn Foon, business development manager for the resort.
The signature treatment is the Mandara Four-Hand Massage, which utilizes a combination of massage techniques, including lomi lomi. Another popular treatment is the Fijian Bobo Massage. The spa director, Anne Hazelman, told me that it’s a tradition in Fijian households for the father to come home and lay down on the living room floor and the children would give their father a massage. Bobo is a massage technique that utilizes a combination of long, gentle strokes and forceful manipulation of the muscles.
Hazelman impressed me when she described her hiring techniques. 50 percent of her decision on whether she hires an applicant depends on whether or not that person has a giving energy. She’s seen people with great resumes who didn’t have the gift of human touch. Advise your clients to seek out Anne, even if just for a minute or two, it will add to their total experience at the spa. Agents can contact her about advance reservations at [email protected], 679-675-7877, ext. 2877.
The resort has three restaurants. V is the signature fine dining restaurant; Lagoon Restaurant has various theme nights featuring various cuisines; Salt is a casual, award-winning restaurant placed between the resort’s lagoon-style pool and the beach.
Heater Gordon, Mark Rogers and Jocelyn Foon.
Heather Gordon, the director of sales and marketing, joined Jocelyn and I for lunch. After discussing the resort, our conversation veered off to a popular topic on Fiji: Why should travelers from the U.S. travel all the way to Fiji, when they have first rate beach destinations so close to home? The answer we came up with is Fiji’s people and the culture. Fijians are as friendly as they’re reputed to be and the culture is unlike anything travelers will find in the Caribbean or Mexico. By the end of the lunch, we were in agreement that Fiji needs to do a better job marketing itself. Too few Americans know enough about Fiji to commit to the long haul trip. On average, the resorts that I’ve visited report between five and seven percent of their business coming from the U.S.