Private Island Resorts with Traditional Fijian Festivities and Guided Tours
On the island of Yanuca, Fiji, native warriors prove their bravery by walking barefoot over fiery red stones without burning their feet. It’s a talent almost mystical in its execution, and local legend holds that the power to accomplish the feat was passed down from the gods through their lineage. Every Wednesday, the warriors show off their talents at Sonaisali Island Resort, an upscale retreat located on its own secluded island. It’s one of various ways that the family-friendly resort fosters appreciation for both Fiji’s rich native culture and its pristine scenery. The same reverence carries over to Matangi Private Island Resort—itself a luxury resort on its own island—which hosts guided hiking tours through the lush, tropical landscape. Travelers have the choice of embarking to either of these island retreats; each feature distinctive activities and character.
Designed as a family-friendly getaway, Sonaisali Island Resort resides a three-minute boat ride from the main island of Viti Levu and features a wide range of activities and nightly entertainment. When guests aren’t playing beach volleyball or stopping for a drink at the swim-up bar of the massive pool, the resort will whisk them away on jet-ski tours and cruises through the jungle. In addition, families can battle each other for eternal dibs on the TV remote on the resort’s resident paintball grounds.
Music and dance permeates the experience: the Bula Talei Dance Group introduces their soft chanting and traditional moves on Mondays, and the Sonaisali Serenaders sing Fijian harmonies to set a laid-back mood with throughout happy hour nightly. The quiet beachfront rooms don large picture windows and private patios that look out to the sea.
Alternatively, Matangi Private Island Resort caters to the couples looking for a quiet, romantic escape. Located on a 240-acre private isle, Matangi is covered with white-sand beaches and lush rain forests, and exploration is encouraged. Vacationers are free to rent kayaks to see Horse Shoe Bay, a paradisiacal inlet featured in Patricia Schultz's 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. Guided tours run through the property’s hiking trails, and the resort rents out complimentary snorkel equipment.
Back inside, guests can still admire the scenery from the "Vale-Ni-Kana" Dining Room, which has 270-degree panoramic views from its perch. The restaurant serves up fresh fish and seafood caught by local fisherman, as well as locally grown vegetables and tropical fruit from the surrounding gardens. Guest rooms’ décor blends modern amenities with traditional Fijian designs in bamboo walls and coconut-palm-thatched roofs.
Nadi, Fiji: Up-and-Coming Social Scene Surrounded by Warm Pacific Waters
Fiji’s chain of 333 islands dots the Pacific just off the eastern coast of Australia. Of the chain, the two main islands—Viti Levu and Vanua Levu—hold 80% of the Fijian population, and Sonaisali Island Resort is situated in Nadi, the third-largest city of the islands. The lagoon off Nadi is typically cloudy, but it resides just off of the Queen's Road, where one can take a short drive from Sonaisali to the scenic Fiji beaches for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving. Waterfalls, tropical reserves, and hot springs are scattered throughout the island.
Though the physical "downtown" area is small, there’s a growing social scene in the area. The heavily trafficked Queen’s Road is lined with seafood restaurants, tropical beaches, and shopping centers.
About redeem-with-another-Groupon option: The redeem-with-another-Groupon option is valid only in conjunction with a second Groupon; that is, you may combine your Groupon with a friend's Groupon for a two-person trip without putting the entire cost on a single credit card. Hotel stays are based on double occupancy, so single travelers should purchase the one-person option to get the full package.