Sunday, April 14, 2024

The Ultimate Mates Escape: A Friends’ Holiday in the Fiji Islands

Who doesn’t love a good friends’ catch up? Friends are the family to choose, and it’s been a hot minute since planning a mates’ escape has been an option. If you’re looking for the next place to visit on a girls’ trip or a group holiday, we did some research (someone has to) into the best options in Fiji.

Fiji is beloved by Kiwis for good reason – it’s close, it’s tropical, it’s friendly and it’s a gloriously laid-back option for an epic holiday. Here’s our first pick for where to stay on your next holiday with friends – Lomani Island Resort.

Why is it good?

Two words – Adults. Only.

Well, it’s not all that’s good about Lomani but hell, it’s a great place to start. For the four of us child-free millennials, an adults-only resort is a must in Fiji because unless it’s YOUR kid running around hyped up on fizzy drink and dive-bombing into the pool, it’s not a great time for those of us who just want to drink and read our white girl true crime books in peace.

Lomani neighbours Plantation Island Resort – a mecca for small people and their handlers – but its relative isolation on the island means you’ll never hear a child. What you will hear is blissful silence punctuated only by the gentle lapping of waves, the rustle of a palm tree and a medley of Kiwi, Australian and the occasional American accent asking for more margaritas.

If you’ve been to Fiji and you haven’t been out to the islands, can I please, PLEASE ask that the next time you’re lucky enough to go, you make the effort to head further than Denarau because holy hell, this is where you find true paradise.

Lomani Island Resort is the perfect, accessible island spot for your friends’ holiday – it’s an easy 50-minute ferry ride from Port Denarau so you won’t be spending precious holiday hours in transit (pina coladas by the pool are FAR too valuable).

Lomani offers a mix of bures, slightly-fancier-bures with private plunge pools (all with a beachfront view though) and deluxe suites. Being two couples, we simply had two neighbouring bures that gave each couple a little privacy, but easy enough to link up for dinner and activities.

The pool area is the focal point of the resort, with super-comfortable (and covered!) day beds and loungers that somehow never got full, a great bar and the resort’s restaurant.

While Lomani could easily lend itself towards a romantic escape for couples, there were plenty of other friend groups enjoying the same experience as us – a chance to get away and catch up in a meaningful way. Quality time – what a rarity, right!?

What can you do?

Luckily for our group we all agree that a mix of doing stuff and doing absolutely nothing at all is the perfect way to go for a tropical holiday. And while we very much considered lounging around the pool and taking dips in the ocean the perfect activity for much of the time, Lomani has you covered for activities too – and SUPER unusually, a lot of them, like the dolphin spotting and snorkelling trip, are free of charge.

You can also do all the usual water sports, play some golf on the other side of the island, and take part in a cooking class and kava ceremony on the house. If you’re feeling fancy take a trip out to the famous sandbar – the crew will drop off a chilly bin full of Fiji Gold and set up chairs so you can have a beverage literally in the middle of the ocean. Or, visit the spa – which, in a welcome relief for Fiji, is actually reasonably priced (I’ve been stung with a $400 bill for a 60-minute massage before so I am WARY of island spas!). Plus, every guest gets a free 15-minute foot massage (and yes, if your travel buddy doesn’t want theirs, you can have two. You can also have two if you accidentally *forget* to tell your partner that this is a thing.

Is the food and booze good?

Yup – trust us, after a lot of testing we can confirm that there is no watering-down of cocktails here. Drinks are reasonably priced – think about $15NZD for a cocktail – and there’s no judgement when you order a Fiji Gold at 10.30 in the morning.

Lomani only has one restaurant, so unless you jump on a golf buggy and head to Plantation, you’re a little limited on choices. However, the food is tasty and there are themed nights you don’t end up eating the same thing. I’d recommend brining some snacks though.

What’s the overall vibe?

At first we couldn’t get over how quiet the resort was. Then, it was like a silent, stoic hug every time we lay down and just enjoyed the sun, the sand and some actual quality time together.

Lomani is classed as a four-star resort and yes, it doesn’t have the luxe-luxe vibe that some other Fijian resorts have. But for some reason, I preferred Lomani’s down-to-earth affordable luxe vibe so much more. It felt almost… Kiwi?! Unpretentious, uber-friendly and still oh-so-beautiful, the bures felt luxurious and the pool was to die for.

We felt like we could be ourselves and have a super-special holiday – but without completely breaking the bank – we loved it so much, we’re thinking of making it a semi-regular tradition.

We were hosted by Lomani Island Resort – all opinions in this story are the writer’s own

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