I love to travel and subscribe to numerous websites and Facebook groups to find the best deals and get advice on my travels. One of my favorite sites is Scott’s Cheap Flights, wherein you receive newsletters about airline deals. You can receive these notices for free, or you can pay for a subscription that allows you to get the notices prior to everyone else, and you can put in your favorite airports to get deals directly with those airports. I received a notice from Scott’s Cheap Flights about a deal for Los Angeles to Fiji for $399 round trip, including 1 checked bag and 1 carry on--and it was a direct flight. A friend called me and said let’s go…so we booked our tickets. I used SeatGuru to review the seat options to see which ones I should book. You can pay $10 to choose your seat in advance, which we did. On the return flight there was a row with no seats in front (Seat 5J), so we paid $50 to book those seats. They turned out to be the most amazing seats with plenty of legroom. There is also an option to bid on first class seats. Minimum bid is $765. I have 2 friends who bid on them and got them, so if you want to upgrade to first class, keep that in mind. Fiji Airways does not do TSA precheck, so even if you have global entry, expect to go through regular security. If you are a priority pass member (you get free membership with the Chase Reserve credit card) you can use it at PF Chang’s at the Tom Bradley International Terminal and get $30 credit for you and a guest ($60 total).
We didn’t know much about Fiji at the time we purchased our flight, so we were looking into booking an Airbnb. After doing research we discovered that we did not want to stay on Denarau Island but on an island that you need to reach by boat or plane. I am a member of a Facebook group called Girls Love Travel , and many of the women in that group were talking about getting this Fiji deal and recommending places to stay. One of the women mentioned that she read great reviews about Serenity Island Resort , on TripAdvisor. After reading the reviews we decided to book our visit at Serenity Island Resort, located in the Mamanuca Islands. It is the closest private island to the mainland and a 15-minute boat ride to and from Vuda Marina. They have Beachfront Villas with air conditioning. Each Beachfront Villa has its own patio with a lounge chair and hammock. Right now there are only 23 Villas on the island; however, they are building 200 more, so if you are going to visit this island, now is the time. We booked our rooms through Agoda. as it was much cheaper than booking through the resort directly. We paid less than $200/night. The resort arranged for transportation for us to get to the resort for $80/person. Someone met us at the airport and took us by van to the marina, where we then got on a boat for a 15-minute boat ride to the resort.
There is only one restaurant on the island. They serve three meals a day and in between the meals you can order off of the snack menu. You can order three different ways; a la carte, a half meal plan, or a full meal plan. We did a half meal plan (Breakfast and Dinner for $50) some days and a la carte other days. You can decide each day what you prefer. The menus change daily and they are not put out until shortly before that meal so it is difficult to plan ahead on what you will want to order. I was disappointed in the food so don’t expect much.
The resort offers a variety of activities, including complimentary use of kayaks, stand up paddleboards, and snorkel gear. They also do a torch lighting ceremony and a Kava ceremony. There are demonstrations on basket weaving and other crafts. There is a turtle pool where you can feed the turtles. There is a nice pool overlooking the ocean and there are lounge chairs along the beach that have coverings for shade. The one thing it is lacking is a decent exercise room. The staff was incredibly friendly and very personable.
We took walks along the beach. They offer different excursions. We did the island hopping one. They picked 4 of us up on a small boat and took us to Musket Cove Island and then Cloud 9. Muscat Cove Island was stunning. The water was so green. Cloud 9 is a two level floating platform bar completely surrounded by water. It is a party place and people jump off the deck into the water and go snorkeling. There are chairs and daybeds to hang out on. The water was very choppy, so the ride getting out to the islands was terrifying. I really thought we were going to flip over. It was a rough ride wherein we were flying up in the air and landing hard. It took 1-¼ hours to get to the first island, and I was dreading the return; however, the return was not nearly as bad as getting there. To give you an idea of how rough it was, my Fitbit showed I did 15,000 steps and I did not walk very much that day. I would definitely ask how the water and winds are before agreeing to go on this little boat in the future.
Serenity Island is a lovely island if you just want to go somewhere to relax. It is very mellow. We spent the days just hanging on the beach, took nightly walks to watch the sunset, and woke up early to catch the beautiful sunrise. I would definitely return to this beautiful island before it gets all built up.