Overwater bungalows sitting atop a turquoise lagoon, a quiet infinity pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean and a property that offers family activities as well as a romantic atmosphere for couples. All within an hour drive from the Nadi International Airport. Is the Marriott Momi Bay the best resort on Fiji's main island?
We recently booked a mini vacation away from Nadi at the Marriott Resort at Momi Bay. We weren't actually looking for the best resort in Fiji, we just wanted a bit of luxury at an affordable price, and the new Marriott resort checked all the boxes on our list.
The moment we pulled into the entrance, we were welcomed just as we expected to be at a Fijian resort -- with genuine smiles and an enthusiastic greeting of "Bula!" The valet immediately offered to take our car to the parking area, and the staff escorted us to a comfortable waiting area as the check-in staff were all busy. As we waited, we could hear one of the staff near the entrance serenading us with some beautiful acoustic songs.
There are only 3 desks available for people checking in and out, and this is likely when you'll first discover 'Fiji time' (if you haven't already). Everything in Fiji happens at a much slower pace than the rest of the world, and you'll probably be waiting a while to check in. On the bright side, the couches in the waiting area are very comfortable and the view is nice. You can also get a nice cup of watermelon-infused water at the concierge desk near the reception entrance.
The girl who checked us in was extremely friendly, and we were offered a lovely peach iced tea while she put our details in the system. She then presented us with a weekly activity guide and glossy brochure with a map of the resort and information about the different dining options.
DELUXE LAGOON FRONT ROOM
We initially planned to stay only one night and booked the Deluxe Lagoon Front room, which features a king-sized bed, in-room seating area and balcony with outdoor seating overlooking the lagoon. The decor wasn't particularly tropical, but it was furnished like your typical Marriott room, which made it comfortable enough.
Even though we knew the resort was new, we were still impressed by how clean the room was. The bed was comfortable and close to power outlets, including a USB-specific one. Though we didn't spend a lot of time in the room, it was nice to sit on the balcony and relax for a bit.
The only issue we had was that the adjoining door to the next room was unlocked, and we had to ask a couple of times for the staff to come lock it for our security.
EXTENDING OUR STAY
We were so happy with our room that we decided to extend our stay one more night, provided that we could stay in the same room since we wanted to relax and not be waiting half the day for another room to be ready. We asked the front desk staff if this was possible, and the girl told us it was. This is where things got a little frustrating.
Instead of the staff at the front desk being able to directly extend our stay via their system, we were told we had to book again ourselves through the Marriott website, and then let them know once we'd done it so we could settle the bill after. Though it felt a little silly to have to sit in the reception area and book another night ourselves, we still went through the process. As soon we had finished, we were informed that we couldn't stay in the same room after all.
We had already booked another night, and we already knew that things like this were a normal part of life in Fiji, so we decided to just roll with it and relax at the pool. We were given a phone so the resort staff could call us when our new room was ready. When they did later that afternoon, we were happy to hear that they had upgraded us to a Lagoon Bure.
Though we would've been happy to have another night in the Lagoon Front room, the Lagoon Bure totally blew us away. We were taken there by golf cart and told to call for a pick-up whenever we wanted a ride back to the main resort area.
The bures are big, and though we shared the beachfront, it felt very private. The in-room seating area was much bigger than our previous room and there were several places to lounge outside. The bathroom was huge, with a beautiful walk-in shower and open-air window slats in the toilet area. We also loved the clothes rack on the deck outside, which is great after a swim.
If you want to get picked up, you could be waiting a while, if they come at all. The bure we had was about a 10-minute walk from the main part of the resort, which we didn't really mind, but could be difficult for those with mobility issues or young kids. Having said that, they were quick to pick us up for check-out the next morning.
The Marriott Momi Bay is built on a man-made lagoon with an extremely authentic-looking beachfront. In addition to the beach, there are three pools to choose from - the main pool with a swim-up bar, an adults-only infinity pool, and a shallow kids pool.
The infinity pool is located beside the Fish Bar restaurant, and is only available to guests over 18 years old. It's a beautiful spot that looks out towards the Pacific Ocean and features a sheltered whirlpool on the far side. This is the closest pool to the beach bures, and offers quite a bit more peace and quiet than other areas of the resort.
The main pool, located beside the Lagoon House Restaurant, is a great place to spend the day - provided you can find a chair. On both days we were there, we noticed that every chair was unavailable, even though more than half of them were unoccupied.
This is probably due to the fact that the pool was so inviting. It's a great place for families, especially if you want to sit with a drink while keeping an eye on your kids.
(The section of the pool in front of the bar was also where most of the kids were, so the adult pool is a better option for those without kids who actually want to relax with a drink.)
The beach is a few steps from the main pool, and as long as the tide is out there are plenty of places to relax along the sand. The lagoon is fed from the ocean through an opening at the north end, and though I was surprised about how coarse the sand felt, I enjoyed the warm temperature of the water.
Like many resorts in Fiji, the Momi Bay Resort is located away from other shops and dining areas, so guests are limited to the options on-site. While this can get expensive, we were very impressed by the quality of the food and drinks at each of the 5 dining options:
• Lagoon House Restaurant offers mediterranean-inspired dishes as well as a bar that caters to both the restaurant and the pool outside.
• Goji Kitchen & Bar features an Indo-Fijian fusion menu and houses the breakfast buffet each morning.
• Fish Bar is an intimate, open-air seafood restaurant where you can dine with your feet in the sand as you watch the sunset.
• Lagoon Lounge is a cozy bistro with hot dishes and delicious cocktails, and is a great place to hear live local music.
• Fiji Baking Company is a small cafe where you'll find baked snacks and the best coffee at the resort.
Our favourite restaurant was the Lagoon House Restaurant & Bar, which is located beside the main pool area and features many Italian dishes (we went back twice for their baked gnocchi!). When we couldn't find a lounge chair by the pool, their comfortable patio was the next best place to relax with some margaritas and samosas.
The breakfast buffet at Goji Kitchen was also surprisingly good. The selection was amazing, with everything from french toast to Chinese dumplings. I don't usually trust buffets, but I was pleased to see hot dishes being freshly made and consistently replenished, as well as proper hygiene being followed by the kitchen staff, which unfortunately you don't always see in Fiji.
THINGS TO DO NEARBY
• Momi Battery Historical Park (11 km) - This is a really cool spot where you can learn about Fiji's role during the Second World War, and see some of the guns that were strategically positioned on the hill to protect the country from invading ships. Entry is only $5 and it's great for history fans, as well as those looking for a beautiful view without a hike.
• Natadola Beach (41 km) - While the beach at the Marriott Momi Bay is nice, it really doesn't compare to a natural beach right on the Pacific. Luckily, Natadola (pronounced natandola) is within a short drive and is one of the best beaches on Fiji's main island.
• Eco Trax Fiji (42 km) - One of the coolest tours on Fiji's main island, Ecotrax offers visitors the chance to explore the Coral Coast on electric bikes. These bikes take you along abandoned sugar cane railway tracks through villages to a beautiful secluded beach.
• Garden of the Sleeping Giant (44 km) - This beautiful orchid garden, founded by Hollywood actor Raymond Burr, is located at the foot of the Sleeping Giant mountain. If you don't have a car, many tour companies include it in a full-or half-day tour, along with the nearby hot springs and zipline.
• Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park (53 km) - This unique natural site provides visitors with a chance to explore Fiji's amazing sand dunes, which range from between 20-60 meters high. The park is also where some of the country's oldest artifacts have been found, dating back to over 2,000 years ago.
We enjoyed our stay at the Marriott Momi Bay Resort. The main inconveniences we experienced were mainly due to the inefficiency and slowness of some of the staff, which is a normal part of life in Fiji. Having said that, there were many employees who went above and beyond our expectations, and friendliness of the staff was never lacking.
I do also have to note that the resort seems to be unaware of the amount of people it can accommodate. With 250 rooms and bures, we would have expected to see more seating around the pool areas and more than just 3 check-in desks at reception.
Despite these things, we had a great weekend at the Marriott Momi Bay, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to experience a luxurious stay on Fiji's main island at an affordable price. There were plenty of activities for guests of all ages to participate in, the food was delicious, and all areas were extremely clean. We were also grateful for the free upgrade when we decided to stay an extra night.
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