Fiji 2017

We travelled to Fiji in 2017. I had visited previously about 15 years ago, and I stayed at the Westin hotel, Denarau island. Denarau is a resort “island” attached to the mainland just near the main western city of Nadi (pronounced Nandi). It comprises five or six luxury hotels/resorts such as the Hilton and the Sheraton, various other resorts, a large golf course, a fun park of sorts and a marina with lots of restaurants, a couple of them good. The Marina has cruises to a couple of island chains, the closest of which is the Mamanuca Islands. There is 1/2 day trip out about the islands which is quite fun. This was quite an adventure so I have added a separate post here.

The Western has changed a lot since I stayed there, or maybe it hasn’t changed enough. I’ve certainly changed from a manual to a power wheelchair. I couldn’t fit under any of the tables in any of the restaurants. I remember the accessible room fondly phone. Because I used a manual chair, transferring was easier. We also hired a car and drove about the island a bit. Here are some photos:

This time around (2017) we stayed at the Sheraton on Denarau. Transport from the airport was incredibly difficult. I had booked an accessible Cab which turned out to have no ramp or hoist. It’s 15 ks to the Sheraton so walking wasn’t an option (plus the roads are kind of dodgy). In the end 15 taxi drivers lifted me into the cab and my chair at the back. At the end five blokes helped me out again. On the way back to the airport a week later we got a cab with a hoist, a strange cantilever affair which flipped me into the cab with some help from lifters. It was only rated for a manual chair, not for a grown-up in a power chair. We had incredible difficulty getting out of the airport but again half a dozen cabdrivers, my portable ramp and a steep curb saved the day.

The room at the Sheraton was very good, a bit away from the main resort area. One wheelie room looks onto the garden, but this one has direct ocean access/views and a Terrace. There was a small step down to the grass so I had to use my ramp. The inaccessible room further along had no such step! The room is very spacious, with air-conditioning and a roll in shower. The bed was very comfy. I think it was a bit low as usual.

Food on Denarau is mostly very expensive. We had breakfast included but it was quite a carry on to get it delivered to our room. We sorted it out since Jill befriended a really helpful boss lady at the restaurant, always the best way. Most areas are reasonably accessible. You can walk between all the resorts and eat at any of them. There is a small grocery adjacent to the Sheraton but it’s not accessible (a ramp with a big step at the bottom). There is a larger grocery/supermarket at the marina 1.7 km away. The Thai restaurant in the Radison Blu is quite nice. The best restaurant on the island in our opinion is the Bonefish Seafood at the marina. The tables along the water’s edge are very nice.

All in all, our 2017 Fiji visit was pretty good although a power wheelchair limits your ability a bit given the poor transport. Oh, the busses are all inaccessible as well. On the other hand, if you just chill on Denarau the power chair is good. We walked to the marina many nights as well as along the sea shore. We also roamed about the golf course once.

The weather was pretty much perfect in June. I doubt we will be back but it’s worth a look.

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