Sofitel Fiji to Open in December

A 296-room Sofitel Resort and Spa will open on Nadi's Denarau Island in mid-December. It will be Fiji's first new five-star hotel since the Sheraton Fiji Resort opened in 1987, just in time for the country's first military coup which set the local tourism industry back a generation. The Sofitel fits into a Hawaii-style hotel strip alongside three Sheratons and the Trendwest timeshare operation. And unless another coup intevenes, these will soon be joined by Radisson, Westin, and Hilton resorts.

Personally, I've never liked Denarau Island much. The beach is lousy with shallow, murky water (no coral), and the diverse shopping opportunities in Nadi town are seven kilometers away. Denarau does have the South Pacific's best golf and tennis facilities, but for almost everything else, you can do a lot better elsewhere in Fiji.

However if Sheratons and Sofitels are your cup of tea, you'll want to come on a package tour as the rack rates levied by these resorts average F$500 a night plus tax. Air Pacific should be offering some attractive packages to the Sofitel as they have a 50 percent interest in the property (an Australian bank controls the other half). And also watch Qantas which owns 46 percent of Air Pacific.

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