We've been planning a vacation to Fiji for a long time, and now we finally have the opportunity. I have the elite Gold status of a Hilton Honors member, so to take advantage of the 5th free night, I was looking for a five-night stay. Using the PointsCrowd hotel search engine, we found a great 5-night stay at DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Hotel Fiji - Sonaisali Island. Booking the hotel cost 160,000 Hilton Honors points. What a savings! After all, the same stay for cash would have cost us $1,217.
Arrival and First Impressions
Upon arrival, the warmth of the Fijian hospitality was immediately evident. The resort's setting, a short boat ride from the mainland, added a sense of exclusivity to our getaway. The traditional Fijian welcome ceremony, complete with a refreshing drink and a flower lei, set the tone for what was to become a memorable stay.
Our room, a beachfront bungalow, offered breathtaking views of the ocean. The decor blended modern comforts with traditional Fijian elements, creating a cozy yet exotic ambiance. However, I noticed the absence of a few expected amenities, like a fully stocked mini-bar, which was slightly disappointing.
The Resort Experience
The resort's dining options were a delightful surprise. The array of local and international cuisine catered to our every craving. The highlight was the beachside barbecue, offering fresh seafood under the stars. However, I found the prices to be on the higher side, which might not appeal to everyone.
The range of activities was impressive. From snorkeling in the clear blue waters to horseback riding along the beach, there was never a dull moment. The sunset cruise was a standout experience, providing stunning views and a romantic ambiance. On the flip side, some activities seemed overpriced, considering the resort's already premium pricing.
Exploring Sonaisali and Beyond
Local Village Visit
A visit to a nearby local village was a humbling and eye-opening experience. It offered a glimpse into the traditional Fijian way of life, untouched by modernity. The warmth and friendliness of the villagers were truly heartwarming.
A short trip to Nadi Town offered a contrast to the resort's seclusion. Bustling markets, local eateries, and vibrant streets painted a picture of the everyday Fijian life. However, the town's commercialization somewhat detracted from its authenticity.
The service at the resort was exemplary. The staff went above and beyond to ensure our comfort, always greeting us with a smile. Their attention to detail made our stay special. However, I did notice some delays in room service, which could be improved.
I was impressed by the resort's commitment to sustainability. Their efforts in water conservation and reducing plastic usage were commendable. It's refreshing to see a resort taking steps towards environmental responsibility.
Departure and Final Thoughts
Leaving the island was bittersweet. The check-out process was smooth, but the feeling of leaving behind such a paradise was hard to shake off.
Breathtaking beachfront location
Authentic Fijian hospitality
Diverse and engaging activities
Areas for Improvement
In-room amenities could be enhanced
Pricing of dining and activities could be more inclusive
This trip to Sonaisali Island was a blend of luxury, adventure, and cultural immersion. While there were minor areas for improvement, the overall experience was nothing short of magical. As I reflect on this journey, I am filled with gratitude for the memories created and the beauty of Fiji that I was fortunate to experience.