Family travel

Sofitel Fiji – family holiday review

In September 2022, our family of four (children 4yrs and 16mths) headed over to Sofitel Fiji, Denarau for a week long family holiday! After receiving lots of questions, I wanted to do a post to summarise our trip and how things worked for us. Everyone travels to Fiji for different reasons, and this was the perfect holiday for us!

The resort

Fiji is a favoured destination for Australian families, and it is clear to see why. It’s only a short 3-4hr flight from the east coast of Australia, and you can choose your style of holiday ranging from an authentic cultural experience through to a 5-star luxury resort-based vacation. Traveling with two young children (4yrs and 16mths) we were looking for a holiday that had minimal travel, amenities we were used to at home, catered for families and would allow maximum relaxation time. Denarau was our destination of choice, being only a 30min drive from Nadi airport and home to 9 luxury resorts. After much deliberation, we settled on Sofitel Fiji for our stay based on a few points:

  • kids club is included in your package if you choose a family room, and is from 3 years of age
  • family room includes bunk beds in a separate bedroom, giving you a little bit more flexibility and privacy when the kids need to sleep
  • ground floor luxury family room included a patio area and access to the gardens – perfect for early mornings with 2 boisterous children!
  • the swimming pool catered well to children with varying depth pools and a waterslide

On arriving, we were even more pleased to find out that the type of room we had booked included ‘half board’ which meant we received $100FJD per adult, per day to put towards food and drink or other resort expenses. This was additional to the included buffet breakfast, kids club and spa treatment for mum! For us, this meant that our bill when leaving was next to nothing, and really helped it to be a budget friendly holiday.

Sofitel Fiji runs along the waterfront of Denarau, with all rooms facing the water. Water views vary depending on location and whether you have gardens, the pool or the kids club in front of your room. They really make use of the waterfront location, with the beach bar Suka, beach restaurant Solis, swimming pool, kids club and activities centre all located right on the sand – you can’t get much closer! Unlike the other resorts on Denarau, none of the Sofitel rooms face the road side.

Free activities available at the resort include non-motorised water sports (sailing boats, kayaks), and daily resort activities such as coconut collecting, fish feeding, sports, water aerobics, basket weaving and crafts. You can feed the fish yourself just by walking into the shallows of the beach and throwing in some bread or chips! They come right up to you and take it from your hands. There are also swings all along the Sofitel Fiji beach front, so you can swing and take in the view, or relax on one of the beach side day beds. The pool is the largest lagoon style pool in Fiji, and has differing depth pools throughout, perfect for younger children. There is also a separate pool with large water slide!

I would highly recommend Sofitel Fiji for families with younger children, or families with teens who are traveling in a group. If you are traveling with older kids who are really into kids club and socialising, I’d probably recommend looking into Radisson Blu which definitely has more activities on offer through their kids club. I think the best way to compare for fellow Gold Coasters is in terms of atmosphere and activities, Sofitel Fiji is similar to JW Marriott (Surfers Paradise), while Radisson Blu is similar to Paradise Resort (Surfers Paradise).

The Luxury Family Room

For our Sofitel Fiji family holiday we chose a Luxury Family Room which are all situated on the ground floor of the resort. They include a patio space with table and 4 chairs (balcony rooms only have 2 chairs, no table) that opens up to the gardens, providing a bit more room to move for families. The actual room configuration and size is the same as the Standard Family Room. The room has a Queen Bed in the main living space, a small table with 2 chairs and a tea/coffee space with fridge. In addition, there is a bunk bed room with 2 bunks, and portacots can fit (with a bit of squishing) in this bunk bed room too. The bathroom is spacious with a huge family friendly shower (no bath), toilet and large vanity space.

Kids Club

Many of the resorts in Denarau charge for kids club by the session, or include a package where kids club is free. When booking any of the family rooms at Sofitel Fiji, kids club is included. There are 3 sessions (9am-12pm; 1pm-4pm; 6pm-9pm) and bookings are encouraged. When we stayed, the resort was at capacity but kids club was never busy and last minute drop offs were easy to arrange. Kids club is also for children aged 3 and over. Children under the age of 3 can attend, but must have a Sofitel Fiji nanny with them for the duration of their visit. The kids club has 4 white huts for the different age groups, but depending on numbers they may combine groups. There is a splash pad, zip line, in-ground trampoline, sand pit and outdoor playground. Located right on the beach, it is fully fenced and has the most beautiful setting! In addition, each night at 5pm the children can join in on the Warrior Parade where they wear traditional dress and follow the Warrior around the resort shouting Bula! and scaring unsuspecting guests. They’ll watch the traditional drum played in the lobby, and have sunset beach photos too. The kids will have plenty of fun memories of their Sofitel Fiji family holiday!

Dining at Sofitel Fiji

Breakfast at onsite Bazaar Kitchen is a buffet, and included in most room bookings. It includes the usual hot breakfast buffet offerings as well as pastries, pancakes, cereal station, fruit bar, yoghurts and smoothies, plus an Indian section serving local cuisine. Alternatively there is a small bakery and coffee shop called La Parisienne that serves smoothies, sandwiches, baked goods and other light refreshments.

From 10am, the poolside ice cream shop opens and is a hot favourite amongst the families. We’d take a break from swimming to reapply sunscreen and let the kids have a break in the shade with their icecream. Lunch is available pool side, at the beach bar Suka, at the beach restaurant Solis, at La Parisienne or through room service (Sofitel Eats). Offerings are Westernised and include burgers, pizzas, sandwiches, and other bistro-type food. Sofitel Eats is the room service option and starts operating at 11am. Thanks to the pandemic, they changed the way they serve room service and it is actually a really good result for families!! Delivered in the same way Uber Eats is, you can order food to your room and then choose to eat it pretty much anywhere you like in the resort. For dinner one night we ordered room service for the kids and took it with us Suka where we ordered dinner for ourselves. The menu there was a bit more adult focused, so the kids enjoyed their room service fish and chips, beach front at the bar with us. Another time, we ordered a kids meal from Solis (located next to Suka) and they brought it over to us in a takeaway box while we ate our meal at Suka. All of these flexible options really help when dining out with the kids during your Sofitel Fiji family holiday! It also means you could order a pizza, grab a blanket and go sit by the water to eat while the kids play. Solis is the luxe waterfront dining option and perfect for a special occasion or just to treat yourselves! Serving a lot of seafood dishes, you’ll also find a great steak here.

Extra activities

This holiday was about relaxation for us, and with two young children we decided not to venture out a lot. We did book the South Sea Island ‘Finding Nemo’ half day cruise, which is designed for young families in particular. Head out at 9am to your island, and you’re back by midday. It is short and sharp and you don’t get a lot of time, but honestly, we wouldn’t have managed much longer there anyway before the kids started to lose the plot with tiredness. The ‘Finding Nemo’ tour includes transfers to and from your resort, the boat ride to and from the island, access to the swimming pool on the island, a glass bottom boat tour, snorkelling trip, and softdrinks, beer and wine. I would suggest if you want to have a chance to swim on the beach or in the pool, you’ll need to skip snorkelling (and the snorkelling off the island isn’t that great – you really need to go out further to see epic coral and fish).

The other thing that we did was to head to the Marina a few nights for dinner. You can grab the Bula Bus which does a loop through the Denarau resorts and drops you off at the marina for $10 a day, kids are free. On a Saturday night at 7pm there is a fire and traditional dance show at the marina too which I’d recommend! The restaurants at the marina serve a variety of cuisines and all usually have happy hour specials too.