*Note this review of the Navini Resort in Fiji, it is not sponsored in any way. It is honest, thoughtful, and unbiased. We hope it’s helpful!
Normally we try to steer clear of all-inclusive resorts. The reputation they have for serving up generic and crappy food, being flooded with tourists, and allowing for almost no interaction with the people who live there leaves us with a very bad taste. However, we are not immune to the occasional luxury resort splurge like the one we stayed at in Vietnam and, as is the case with Navini Island Resort, we have even found an all-inclusive resort that we loved.
The prospect of spending a long weekend on a little private island nestled in the stunning blue-green waters of the Pacific Ocean certainly
After almost a month of traveling by campervan through New Zealand, soaking in the Fiji sun was just about as ideal a situation as one can find themselves in. In this case, Joe and I were the lucky benefactors of good timing.
Our original reason for adding New Zealand to the itinerary for our around the world trip was because my brother and his family moved there recently. Coincidentally, my mom planned her first visit close in time to ours. When she mentioned her dream of spending time in a bungalow in Fiji, we quickly rearranged our schedule to “happen to be in Fiji at that time.” Not our first rodeo, folks.
Time and budget ran low in New Zealand so we landed in Nadi, the capital city, two days earlier than the rest of the crew. We stayed in a budget-friendly hostel area on the beach and spent our time hanging outside of the kind of gross rooms lounging at the cafe.
The beach was not the sparkling white sand most expect, but it was pretty much empty. We went for runs and watched the sunset, but were mostly not feeling the vibe of the city. After a couple of days of this, we were more than ready to hop on the speedboat out to Navini.
There was an unexpected, death-defying detour…
We met my family at the airport with the drivers who would take us to the dock for our quick boat trip to Navini. Our driver was terrifying, swerving off the road almost completely several times. Joe and I were white knuckling the whole ride. Once we got there, we were excited to see family and chalked it up to a bad trip. It was probably fine and anyway, we didn’t want to be those “rude Americans” in a foreign country.
This, of course, was a terrible call. It was not fine.
The drive from the airport to the boat was even worse. We ended up getting out and walking the last 15 minutes down the road to the marina after a spectacularly terrifying veer off the road when our driver threw up on himself. Apparently, he was ill, though we never really found out what happened.
Lesson? Don’t ever sacrifice your safety because you are afraid of offending someone. It is not rude to advocate for your safety. This was one of only two times during our entire 5 months of traveling that we actually felt in danger. Thankfully, this did not end up worse.
It was not the start we had envisioned to our relaxing beach getaway, and it took some calming down after the terror of it.
Thankfully, Navini ended up being the complete opposite experience.
As stated, we don’t often do resorts. But when we do, we have built a criteria that is great for choosing them.
Namely, there has to be great food, gorgeous beaches–or access to whatever natural or city attraction is ther–and amazing service.
Bonus if it is private and deluxe. What can we say? When we spend a lump of money in one space, we want it to count.
The boat ride from the big island to the ultra mini one owned by the resort was quick and painless with friendly staff to keep us company. Navini Island resort has only 10
In spite of its almost offensive natural beauty and hearty doses of peace and quiet, the real gem of Navini is the people. The resort is family owned and operated, now running on the very able hands of the second generation. Many of the onsite staff have been there for years, some for decades.
Being a small island, there is only one dining option available. Every breakfast, lunch, and dinner is set in a beautiful open-air communal space where long tables host the multi-course meals.
Each dish is made by the wonderful cooks on site, using fresh and mostly local ingredients, with several options to choose from. We were shocked at how good the food was. It was actually, truly delicious. Not, there’s nothing else here so it’s good enough, good. But actually, we would go to Navini just to eat the food, good.
Not to mention the meals ended up being a lot of fun. This was an awesome place to get to know other travelers, we even met a great family who was traveling the world with their kids. We love chatting with other people who get the need to opt outside the normal routine and spend time on long-term travel, it makes us feel a bit less crazy.
Every night started with a happy hour where we sipped cold beers and watched the sky slowly turn dark. After yet another delightful three course meal, there were nightly hangout sessions. All the staff and guests could play games and participate in traditional Kava drinking ceremonies.
Aside from the 3 enormous meals a day, the time here was slow and easy.
The island is surrounded by a reef and situated in a marine reserve. My mom and I struck out once a day into the water with our snorkels in hand, walking right off the sand behind our bure and into a wonderful array of beautiful fish and other marine life. In the
There were baby sharks(so cute!) that circled the island, hanging in the shallows and occasionally breaking the surface to show off their adorable pint-sized fins. Daily boat trips shuttled us off to other local snorkeling spots, dolphin hangouts, or whatever the weather allowed that day.
Joe and I took kayaking trips daily. This was nothing like the strenuous paddling we did in New Zealand’s Milford Sound. Here, it felt like we could paddle the expansive Ocean from island to island with little interruption.
Distractions here came in the form of a slight pickup in the gentle breeze, or the striking colors that lit up the sky every evening when the sun tucked itself in across the Pacific Ocean. There is minimal wifi that can only be accessed at one spot on the island. None of the rooms had
There was nothing to do here except, just, be. Navini does something that many resorts often fail at. The setup of the bures, each with an ocean view encircling the islands, limited technology access, and calm, gorgeous open water to play in encourages guests to fully immerse themselves in this Paradise setting. The resort is a compliment to the Ocean, the island, and the lifestyle, not an obstruction.
Overall, Navini is not a place we would have normally picked. It’s certainly an older and more family oriented crowd than we’re used to. However, we would have been wrong to skip it.
It had activities we love–kayaking, SUP, and snorkeling–amazing food, and great company. Not to mention the insane crystal clear water–yes it really did look like that–and the warm, breezy sunsets we lingered over daily.
It is the perfect spot to disconnect with the outside world and reconnect with yourself. It’s simply lovely, and we would highly recommend it to anyone searching for a quiet getaway in the mesmerizing Pacific.
Logistical Information for traveling to Navini Island Resort:
- Most international flights will fly into mainland Fiji – there is no airstrip on Navini’s island. It is only accessible by boat.
- Navini’s private island is a roughly 35-minute boat ride from mainland Fiji
- Prices start at F$698 for smaller
buressleeping 1-3 people and go all the way up to F$1045 for the larger family villas
- At time of writing, F$698 = $329 USD and F$1045 = $492 USD
- Families are welcome, this is not adult only. My 3-year-old niece did seem to get a bit bored at times when she was there, though.
- Typhoon season in Fiji runs from November – April. We visited at the end of November and had beautiful weather the whole time, though this is of course unpredictable.
- Fiji Airways was the cheapest option and we loved it! A great budget airline in our experience.
- Click here for their website
We visited Jan 24th till Jan 31st as the highlight of our World Tour. I don’t often say that if ever go back to any of the places I have been but Navini is my Holy Grail and cannot wait to one day return! Considering its one of the furthest places I could travel to from the UK I’d get on a plane in a heartbeat heading to Fiji and especially Navini.
Yes Dan, we totally agree! It’s pretty far from us in Philadelphia and we still check flights 🙂