Hotel Review: Nanuku Auberge,

It’s never easy to pick a hotel, and I think I might be a little worse than the average traveler when it comes to being indecisive about my choice of hotel. The problem is that it’s always tough to get all the things you want all bundled in a single property without breaking the bank. When I decided to go to Fiji, it took me over two weeks to decide on a hotel. Did I make a good choice? well, you’re gonna have to do a little reading to find out.

First, Why I Picked Nanuku Auberge

After flying over 20 hours to get to Nadi, we didn’t want to take another plane or boat ride to one of the Fiji Islands. Instead, we wanted to find a hotel that met our needs right on the main island of Nadi. Having searched for a couple of days, I found that most of the hotels in Nadi didn’t give the secluded paradise vibe that one thinks of when Fiji comes to mind. That was until I stumbled across Nanuku Auberge. The photos looked the part, the reviews were stellar and the best part was that we didn’t have to take another plane nor boat shuttle to get there. Although we later found out that it did require a two and a half hour drive from the airport, something I overlooked to research before I booked but glad I did as it may have deterred my decision.

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The Details

The first thing that struck me when our car pulled into the gates of Nanuku is the spectacular greenery all around the resort. The property is accented with both modern and local Fijian designs throughout the architecture, design, and furniture that gives it a very traditional Fijian appeal while having a modern touch to balance things out. The club house is where the small check in area, gym, spa, restaurant, and pool area is located. I found that most guests stay within their suites or villas and only come out to the Club House for meals which was great for me and my girlfriend as we felt like we had the resort all to ourselves for most of the time that we were there.

 

 

Check-In  : We arrived to Nanuku at around 10:15 am and were greeted with a warm greeting complete with singing and Fijian warriors. We were then given a choice of checking in or having a breakfast first which we obviously chose the latter so we were whisked off to the restaurant and sat in the scenic terrace  with a view of the infinity pool overlooking the ocean. Shortly after a breakfast that was divine (more on breakfast in the food section) we went back to the check in desk and were handed our keys and guided to our golf cart that was awaiting to take us to our suite. The quickest and most filling check in process I have ever encountered.

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Suite: Upon arriving at our Beachfront Spa Suite  we observed  two retro bicycles parked in our driveway, a red one (mine) and a pink one (my girlfriends). Apparently, Nanuku provides bicycles and golf carts to guests to use throughout the resort.

The suite itself is marvelous and well appointed with a comfortable bed facing the sliding doors that overlook your private garden with a backdrop of the amazing Fijian ocean. While some properties use words like “beachfront” very loosely, I can assure you that beachfront at Nanuku means right in front of the freakin beach 🙂

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When I was booking our trip it was tough to decide between the Beachfront Suites or the Vanikau Pool Suites which are located away from the beach but elevated to give you a great view. Having seen them in person I’m glad that I made the choice of the Beachfront Suite as you still get a marvelous view from the bedroom and you also have the easy access to the beach which is a plus.

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As this is a a semi-inclusive (full board) property, everything in the minibar is included which is replenished each day. Another pretty cool feature is the entertainment system. You get a pretty impressive library of both classics and new movies to watch at your leisure at no extra cost but try not to get carried away with this, you are in Fiji after all.

Food: Nanuku doesn’t have an all inclusive option but they do have a full board option which is pretty much an all inclusive minus the alcohol. We opted with the full board and weren’t expecting much by way of food but we were pleasantly surprised with the quality and taste of the food. Our favorite meal was easily breakfast. The baked treats alone were something we dreamed about while we slept and rushed to breakfast each morning salivating over the freshly baked croissants and other goodies that permeate every corner of the morning air surrounding the club house.

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Lunch and dinner were good too although the options each day weren’t robust. I think they would usually have two choices for lunch and about three for dinner, albeit pretty decent options.

They did change the menu daily so we never got tired of the food and it was actually a pleasant surprise each day to learn what the chef had in store for the day. For picky eaters, they may find this troubling but if you like to explore and try different things I think you’ll find the dining experience at Nanuku very pleasant.

Service: I’m a big proponent that service is king. Companies live and die by the level of service they extend to their customers and the management team at Nanuku understands that. The staff is absolutely amazing, kind and pays attention to detail.

First, when you arrive you can expect a warm greeting complete with singing and Fijian warriors to shout out a big “bula” commemorating your arrival. Get used the bula’s because you will hear it over and over again accompanied with a cheerful smile. The staff here are simply amazing and go way beyond what one would expect. It may take some getting used to at first as there are some cultural norms at play here. Case in point; on our day of arrival we hit the bed as soon as we got into our villa being that we had traveled so far and hadn’t adjusted to the 18 hour time difference for the US yet. We went to snooze off at about 1 pm and were awakened by repeated phone calls over and over and over again. The phone would ring 5 times, stop, pause for 30 seconds or so and then ring another 5 times. This kept going on until Eszti and I peered open our eyes and looked at each other to wonder which one of us would be getting up to answer the ridiculously loud phone. Of course it was I, what was I thinking.

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When I finally worked up enough strength to crawl to the phone in “Wolf of Wall Street Decaprio on ludes” manner, my ears were met by a cheerful staff member telling me that the team was eager to give us our official welcome to the resort. I was a bit puzzled but their intention was so pure and so genuine that it made it near impossible to be upset at the ridiculous amount of annoyance the calls had been. There was also the time that we had a do not disturb sign on the door only to be called up by the front desk on the phone to tell us that a staff member is at our door but we have a do not disturb sign (what were we thinking). I mention these things not out of annoyance but out of sheer humor related to culture difference.

 

There was a time when we asked one of the staff if there was a map that we could use to ride our bikes into town and his response was “yes there is…..me” and he got a bike and rode with us into town. On the way he took us of the beaten path to an impromptu hiking adventure.

 

The service here is the most caring and genuine level of service I have experienced at any property. The staff are more like your friends rather than employees and this makes Nanuku truly special.

Management: The management team on the other hand is a bit standoffish. During our entire stay we only interacted with the F&B Manager. In fact on one occasion while I was going to fly my drone, the GM sent the food and beverages manager to inform me to go further off the property to fly the drone.  A reasonable request however I wondered why the GM didn’t take this opportunity to come up to me himself instead as he was a mere 30 feet from me. He would have had a chance to meet a guest and ask some questions about our stay rather than waiting to read about it on TripAdvisor or JetSetChronicles :). After all this is a smaller more and more exclusive resort thus guest interaction would be easy if it was a priority to management although it didn’t seem like it was.  That shouldn’t detract from the job management is doing though as almost every aspect of this hotel is done in superb fashion, some people are simply introverted and that perfectly fine.

Private Island: As noted above Nanuku is located on the main island of Nadi but that doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on the whole secluded island experience that Fiji is known for. In fact Nanuku has a private island of its own that you can rent out for the day and you bet ya we certainly splurged on the private island.

Was it worth the price of admission? (approx $800) absolutely!!! we had enough time to go snorkeling in the crystal blue waters, explore around the small island, have a picnic and then we were left alone to really enjoy the private island in absolute privacy. A really out of this world experience that I would highly recommend.

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The Verdict

Nanuku is an excellent property and comes highly recommended by us. Honeymooners will love this place for sure although keep in mind that this isn’t an adult only property yet and still while we were there we only saw a couple kids and it never felt like it was bothersome.

Its perfect for families too as the large villas equipped with a private pool make this property ideal for families of most sizes.

Couples, it’s exclusive enough to enjoy a romantic getaway for lovebirds.

Overall:

If you want to avoid having to take a seaplane or speedboat to one of the Fijian islands than I don’t think you can choose better than Nanuku Auberge. Granted, it is a 2 hour drive from the airport but you can arrange transportation that will await you at the airport and drive you down as soon as you exit the airport. This is still a plus as apposed to going with ferry schedule times etc. You will however lose out on some of the picturesque beaches that Fiji is known for as the beach at Nanuku is nice but it isn’t the finest, unless you take a trip to their private island.

Nanuku Auberge gets a well deserved 9 star rating from us. Please leave a comment if this review helped you make your decision.