VITI LEVU, Fiji After 10 days of lounging at private island resorts
meant for movie stars and millionaires, there was something
refreshing about Fiji’s Coral Coast, the country’s most popular
destination and one designed to let travelers without a mogul’s
budget sample the great beaches, unrivaled hospitality and easy
living that make Fiji so inviting.
The Coral Coast is a 30-mile stretch of gleaming beaches,
crystal-clear waters and comfortable, well-spaced hotels on the
southwestern shore of Viti Levu, Fiji’s main island. Most hotels
While the private islands are accessible almost exclusively by
plane, getting to the Coral Coast requires a pass through the real
Fiji: on the 45-minute drive from the main airport in Nadi, we saw
bright-green fields of sugar cane, the rugged coastline where women
wash clothes in the surf and a man shouldering a large sack of
Pulling into the Outrigger Reef Fiji is like walking into a
traditional village only with room service and perfect landscaping.
The newest, and very possibly the nicest, resort on the coast, the
Outrigger combines the clean, neat rooms that the Hawaii-based
hotel chain is known for, with rainforest-like grounds, a great
swimming beach and impeccable Fijian touches.
Among the hotel’s 254 units are 47 bures, or cottages, each with
tapa cloth ceilings, woven pandanus furniture and a hammock on the
front porch that seemed very popular on this hot, breezy
If Outrigger is one of the area’s poshest resorts, Hideaway
Resort is certainly one of its cutest. Playful and comfy with bures
in pink, green and blue, Hideaway recreates the traditional village
with a Bermuda-meets-Nadi feel.
Bright colors, fish themes and sea creatures depicted in tile in
the outdoor bathtubs make Hideaway thoroughly welcoming and
The duplex bures are a bit close, however, which can give them a
row-house feel, and the oceanfront units are somewhat exposed to
the strong breezes that seem to blow continually on this coast.
Throughout Hideaway’s lush, intimate 15-acre grounds, Fijian
touches abound. Woodcarvings and Gaugin-inspired paintings by a
local Australian artist decorate the reception area, and a
beachside cabana is available for massages or romantic dinners.