FODOR'S GO LIST 2015
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Fiji's accommodation options are seemingly endless, and though there's a wide range of price options, accommodation is likely to be your greatest expense in Fiji. Compared to other destinations, the country doesn't provide the best value for money. However, if you're prepared for this, you can find some unique and memorable lodging experiences.
Assume that hotels operate on the European Plan (EP, no meals) unless we specify that they use the Breakfast Plan (BP, with full breakfast), Continental Plan (CP, Continental breakfast), Full American Plan (FAP, all meals), Modified American Plan (MAP, breakfast and dinner) or are all-inclusive (AI, all meals and most activities).
Long-term rentals are primarily available in the major cities of Suva and Nadi. If you're looking for rentals in the more remote areas, ring local lodges and ask the owners if they know of any available options.
Renting is a good option if you want to base yourself somewhere, or if you're planning on staying for a long period of time—they're not ideal if you're staying short-term but are if you're looking to save money, say, with cooking your meals. Accommodation options with kitchen facilities end up being the better deal.
Fiji Travel Maxia is a Web site that features home and villa properties available for rent in Fiji, and Fiji Hotels is a Fiji-based reservation service that lists everything from holiday homes to hostels.
Fiji Hotels (672–4274. www.fiji-hotels.com.fj.)
Fiji Travel Maxia (www.fiji.travelmaxia.com.)
Forgetaway. Forgetaway www.forgetaway.com.
Home Away. Home Away 877/228–3145 in U.S.; 512/782-0805. www.homeaway.com.
Villas International (415/499–9490; 800/221–2260 in U.S. www.villasintl.com.)
These are excellent options, as they are cheap and provide unique local experiences, but you'll need local permission or an invitation to stay at a village. If you show up at a village uninvited, ask the first person you see for an introduction to the chief—don't wander around or take photographs until you're officially invited to do so.
You'll most likely visit a village with a tour group or guide as most operators include a village visit or stay in the itinerary. If you're interested in staying longer or returning to the village, or if you're an independent traveler wishing to gain advance permission to visit a village, speak to a tour operator—they'll have local contacts and often it may be as simple as following instructions to "call Moses." You'll probably have to negotiate a price for the information, but most tour operators can help you.
There are strict cultural rituals and protocol to observe when visiting a village. All visitors need to present the chief with a sevusevu, or gift. The most common and appropriate gift is yaquona (kava root). Gifts of canned goods or staples like tea, flour, or kerosene are also appreciated.
Your village hosts will be happy to welcome you into their community, but make certain you look after them, as well: observe local customs (conservative dress, etc.), participate in games if you're asked (volleyball, touch rugby, etc.), and pay for any extras—F$10 (Fijian dollars) is usually sufficient if you hire guides or horses from the village. If you would like to make a donation to the village in thanks for the hospitality, offer F$15 or F$20.
Bula Fiji (www.bulafiji.com.)
Fiji Bure (www.fijibure.com.)
Hostels or backpackers are the terms commonly used in Fiji for, well, backpackers or low-budget establishments—they aren't referred to as youth hostels, though, just hostels.
Budget accommodation is becoming increasingly popular as Fiji attracts more and more backpackers, so travelers at these lodgings tend to be younger, and the facilities geared to them with Internet access, bars, movie nights, and pool-side parties (although amenities tend to diminish in the outer islands). Always ask if meals are included in the price, and if there's a restaurant either in the accommodation or nearby. Some budget lodgings give discounts for Hostelling International cards, and it's best to call the lodging the day before to confirm any bookings you may have made: administration can be lax in Fiji, and often reservations go missing.
Expect to pay around $25 for a dorm bed, $60 for a single, and $75 for a double. Facilities tend to be shared and moderately clean. However, Fiji does respond well to word-of-mouth: if you're unhappy with the quality of service or cleanliness, voice your concerns—they're usually responded to.
Hostelling International—USA (301/495–1240. www.hiusa.org.)
Motels and hotels occupy the majority of Fiji's accommodation options. Prices range from around $150 for a single to $400 for a double, depending on quality, although there's no roof to tariffs when you get to the higher-end establishments or farther islands. Most motels and hotels offer some combination of in-room bathroom facilities, tea/coffeemakers, TVs, and sometimes kitchens and Internet access, as well as shared facilities of bars, restaurants, pools, and occasionally shopping. Book well in advance during the peak season (May through October), but don't forget to ask about walk-in rates if you haven't made a reservation. Often these provide the best bargains.
Bula Fiji (672–2433; 310/568–1616 in U.S. www.bulafiji.com.)
Fiji Budget (www.fijibudget.com.)
Fiji 4 Less (www.fiji4less.com.)
Fiji Hotels (www.fiji-hotels.com.fj.)
4 Hotels (www.4hotels.co.uk/fiji.)
If you can afford to stay in a luxury resort—top-end resorts can top $2,000 per night, all inclusive—we suggest you do as staying in a luxury resort in Fiji is like stepping into a dream that's filled with white-sand beaches, blue oceans, palm trees, warm-weather ocean views, wraparound decks, open-air verandas, fresh fruit, and seafood. Resorts and resort packages vary widely, from the privacy of your own island, to deluxe spa treatments on the beach, to private helicopter tours. Even the "lower-end" resorts offer a variety of both local and international cuisine and a room with a view.
Whether it's luxury or privacy offered, you're sure to get your money's worth, as these are truly paradisiacal experiences. Prices and packages are wide-ranging, often including everything the motels/hotels offer, as well as meal plans and access to activities like diving trips, Jet Skis, island-hopping, and fishing. Some of these activities may be included in the price, and some may need to be paid for in advance, so ask the individual resort. Resorts are often a good option for families, as they're usually all-inclusive, have Kids Clubs, and have self-contained units.