Rohit

A trip to Fiji had long been in the works, repeatedly derailed by COVID19. So when green-shoots of international travel emerged in Sep/Oct 2021, I knew it was time to pull the trigger.

Marriott operate a few properties in Fiji, most located on the resort enclave of Denarau Island. Unfortunately, the only property taking bookings at the time was Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay, which is where I decided to stay.

Location & Booking

Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay is located in Momi Bay, about 45 minutes in the taxi from Nadi International Airport. The resort is quite isolated which has its pro and cons.

On the plus side, you have the peace and tranquillity which you wouldn’t find in Denarau where numerous hotels are tightly packed together. But it also means that the nearest shops and cafés are more than 12 kms away and unless you are planning to lay by the pool for your entire time in Fiji, hiring a car is absolutely essential which adds to the cost. There is no public transport.

Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay is a Category 5 property meaning if you are redeeming points, a standard night will set you back between 30,000 – 40,000 points. Note that Marriott is transitioning to dynamic award pricing in March 2022. From that time, award pricing will closely reflect cash prices and there will be no fixed charts or categories.


Main Entrance, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

My stay at the resort coincided with the busy Christmas/New Year holiday period when cash prices are typically high. At the time I made the booking, the entry level Deluxe Room was selling for about $400 a night. I tracked the prices in lead-up to my stay and saw it progressively go up before completely selling out at about $600 a night.

For my 7-night stay, I cashed in a 7 night hotel certificate which I had earned as part of a travel package back in 2016 when Marriott acquired SPG. If memory serves me right, I swapped about 200,000 SPG points for 120,000 Alaska miles and 7 nights Category 6 hotel certificate, which at the time was the highest Category in SPG portfolio.

It was a great deal at the time. Sadly, these travel packages no longer provide the same value as Marriott devalued them substantially on taking over from SPG.

Arrival & Check-in

I arrived at the resort at about 4 pm in the afternoon. As I entered the lobby, I was struck by the vastness of the space. This was easily among the biggest hotel lobbies I had come across with the foyer at least 50 metres in length end to end.


Lobby, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

If that wasn’t large enough, the high ceiling and open nature of the space further amplified its size. The lobby has a tonne of seating space overlooking the near by lagoon.


Lobby Seating, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay


Lobby Seating, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

As you can tell from these pictures, the reception staff was hardly stretched 😉


Reception, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

That doesn’t necessarily translate into a speedy check-in in Fiji, as I learned. The process took a good 25 minutes which is a long time considering I was the only guest checking-in at the time. The staff attending me twice disappeared into the back room. I am not sure whether it was something to do with me or she was attending some other business as she never explained.

I was presented a welcome drink of 2 small bottles of water and a templated welcome letter detailing the benefits I was entitled to as a Marriott Bonvoy Titanium elite.


Welcome Drink, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay


Welcome Letter, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

Strangely, the staff made no attempt to communicate – nor ask me for my choice of welcome gift. I can only assume that she assumed I would want to pick daily breakfast as the welcome gift, as I didn’t receive points or bottle of bubbly which were the other two options.

My original booking was for the standard Deluxe Room. I had then applied 7 Suite Night Awards (SNA’s) fully cognisant that it was highly unlikely they would clear considering the time of my stay. It still left me a little bit sad when I was advised there were no upgrades available and that the hotel was completely sold out 😒

After the long travel day followed by an extended check-in, I was desperate to go and stretch out in the air conditioned comfort of my room – on what was a stifling hot day. Not so fast Mr Gupta – the buggy that would transport me and my bags to the room wasn’t ready, so I was asked to wait in the lobby.

Luckily it was only a few minutes before I heard my name called out.

Deluxe Room

My room, 4106 was located on the first floor in a block about 5-10 minutes on foot from the reception. The building only has 2 levels meaning I was on the top floor. The picture below isn’t the best, but you can get an idea of the style of accommodation on the left.


Deluxe Room Block, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

The room itself was basic, about 29 sq m in size but felt tighter than that. As you enter, the bathroom was on the right. The vanity had a single sink and a large mirror, there was a smallish soaking tub.


Bathroom – Deluxe Room


Bathroom – Deluxe Room


Bathroom – Deluxe Room

The bath had views across into the main part of the room through a glass partition. I feel like this was a much loved feature when it was first introduced, since then tens of thousands of hotels have got on the bandwagon and the novelty has completely worn off. Thankfully you could pull down the blind on the glass wall and restore privacy.

The shower and toilet were located on the opposite side from the bath, with the former fitted with dual shower heads which was nice.


Bathroom – Deluxe Room


Shower – Deluxe Room

Jumping into the shower was pure joy after spending time in the heat. The pressure was strong and consistent and it was easy to adjust the water temperature.

Toiletries and bath products were from heavenly by Westin spa and were of high quality.


Toiletries – Fiji Marriott Momi Bay


Bath amenities – Fiji Marriott Momi Bay

Back out and into the bedroom, there were 2 Double Beds with several pillows – unfortunately they were all on the softer side which I personally find hard to sleep on.


Deluxe Room, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay


Deluxe Room, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

There was a small table in-between the beds – I cant say the housekeeping was doing a very good job as there was a coat of dust on the clock.


Time Clock, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

Then you had a lounge chair and small table on the corner.


Chair & Table, Deluxe Room

There was a luggage shelf with beach towels and a flat screen television on the wall opposite from the bed.


Luggage Storage space, Deluxe Room


Television, Deluxe Room

The mini bar set up was below par with the small fridge left empty. On top, you had a few bottles of water, an electric kettle, wine glasses and some alcoholic wipes.


In-room amenity, Deluxe Room

A marble-top table alongside had the welcome amenity of chocolates, cookies, some sliced fruits, flavoured drinks and a hand written note from the General Manager.


Welcome Amenity, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay


Welcome Amenity, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

The room had a small balcony. It contained some basic outdoor furniture and a clothes airer. There were nice views of one of the resort pools.


Balcony, Deluxe Room


Balcony, Deluxe Room


Pool Views, Deluxe Room

As Deluxe Room’s go, I thought this one ticked all the boxes.

Resort Dining & Drinking

Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay boasts no less than 5 bars and restaurants plus a bakery. The isolated nature of the resort and lack of options in the vicinity means guests in many instances eat all 3 meals a day at these venues.

Goji Kitchen & Bar

Goji Kitchen and Bar is the resorts main restaurant. With a lagoon front location, it is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu is a mix of Fijian-Indian cuisine – it also offers themed dinner on most nights.


Goji Kitchen & Bar, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay


Goji Kitchen & Bar, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

This is also where hotel guests are served breakfast in the morning between 7-11 am. The spread is typically what you find at most resorts. I will let the pictures speak for themselves.


Breakfast, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay


Breakfast, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay


Breakfast, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay


Breakfast, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay


Breakfast, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay


Breakfast, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay


Breakfast, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

There were 2 egg stations whipping up all styles of eggs. Then you had the standard English breakfast of bacons, sausages, eggs, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes and so-on. This is what I had on one of the mornings.


Breakfast, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

On another morning I had waffles and pan cakes, followed by some local Fijian-Indian food.


Breakfast, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay


Breakfast, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

Tea was served on the table. If you wanted coffee – you had to make it yourself on one of the two coffee machines. I made myself a cappuccino on the first morning & never went back. It was undrinkable.

To sum up the breakfast offering, it was a case of quantity over quality. After spending a week at the resort, I felt like I did not have 7 breakfasts, rather, I had the same breakfast 7 times.

There’s also a deli-style bakery right next door from the restaurant.


Bakery, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

Here you could buy pick up and grab-and-go options such as snacks, savoury baked goods and sandwiches perfect for picnics and to take on beaches or tours around one of the many Fijian islands.

Fish Bar

Fish Bar, located on the Western tip of the resort is the furthest from the main parts of the resort. Although I didn’t measure, it felt like a good 20 minutes walking distance from the reception which can be draining in 35 degree temperature and high 90’s humidity. The best way to get to it is on the buggy which is on-call for guests.


Buggy, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

What Fish Bar lacks in proximity is more than made up by its stunning location, next to the infinity edge pool over looking turquoise blue waters of Momi Bay.


Fish Bar, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay


Fish Bar, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay


Fish Bar, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay


Fish Bar, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

The menu is made up of freshly caught seafood, grilled meats plus some casual cafe style dining options. The bar is well stocked with local and imported beer, fine wines and speciality cocktails. I had lunch here on one afternoon and ordered the burger, it did not disappoint.


Fish Bar, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay


Lunch at Fish Bar, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

Lagoon House & Bar

Lagoon House is the last of the 3 main restaurants. Set by the pool and overlooking a different part of Momi Bay, it offers a menu of small plates as well as more substantial meals such as pasta, pizza and burgers.


Lagoon House & Bar, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay


Lagoon House & Bar, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

I had dinner at Lagoon House on the day I arrived and ordered pasta and few drinks. The pasta came with a side of garlic toast, was dry and lacked flavours. The drinks were average.


Prawn Linguine, Lagoon House & Bar


Drinks, Lagoon House & Bar

There are views of the resorts overwater bungalows across from the outdoor terrace.


Overwater Bungalows, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

Lagoon Lounge

Located past the reception, Lagoon Lounge has a laid back, casual vibe to it.


Lagoon Lounge, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

Marriott describes it as an ideal place to kick back and relax with family and friends. If you visit after hours, you might get to experience live music performed by local artists.


Lagoon House & Bar, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

In relation to food and beverages, expect the typical pub-grub of lite bites, beer, wines and cocktails. I can’t specifically comment on the quality of their offerings as I did not partake in it, but if I was to return to the resort, I will be happy to give it a go.

Voi Voi Bar

Voi Voi Bar is an open air venue set amidst the resort grounds. It’s the kind of place you may walk past for several days and not be able to tell its a bar.


Voi Voi Bar, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay


Voi Voi Bar, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

Expect the usual bar style offering of drinks and food. On Boxing Day, I noticed the big screens beaming Australia vs England Test Cricket Live which was nice.

To sum-up, between all the restaurants and bars there’s plenty of variety on offer. But other than the Fish Bar. I found the food at remaining places rather lacklustre. I should also mention that none of these places are cheap. A meal each and few drinks between 2 people would easily run you around A$150, so just be aware of that.

Other Amenities

The resort offers plenty by the way of recreational and fitness activities. First up there is a large, well stocked gym with plenty of cardio and weight machines to burn-off the excess calories you inevitably consume gorging on the All-You-Can-Eat buffet breakfast spread.


Gym, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay


Gym, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

If you are an outdoors person, make use of these equipment’s thoughtfully installed just outside the gym.


Outdoor Exercise Equipments, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

Families will truly appreciate the on-site Kids club, perfect if you want to drop off the rug-rats for an hour or two to burn some energy or get creative with arts and craft lessons while you and your special other enjoy a cocktail or three by the pool.


Kids Club, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay


Kids Club, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

The kids club is fully staffed and the outdoor play area is shaded and cordoned off meaning the children are secure and well looked after.

Speaking of pool, other than the infinity edge pool next to Fish Bar there are two more outdoor pools. The first one is alongside Lagoon House & Bar. This is a good size pool with lots of loungers and umbrellas scattered around the deck area.


Pool, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay


Pool, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

When the sun gets too strong and you feel like you need sustenance, paddle across to the swim up bar and cool-off with a martini or a Pina colada.


Swim up Bar, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

A dozen or so metres across, there is a second pool. This is one is quite shallow making it ideal for small children or for those who are not very confident swimmers.


Pool, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay


Pool, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

Parts of the pool are shaded to provide refuge from the hot tropical sun.

In the mood for some beach volleyball, head over to this piece of reclaimed sand next to the Lagoon House and get your fix.


Beach Volleyball Court, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

Fancy a jetski ride, parasailing, fishing or just want to cruise the calm, clear waters of Momi Bay, make your way to the Water Sports Centre where the in-house staff will have you slicing through the waves in no time.


Water Sport Centre, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay


Water Sports, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

The resort also houses a spa called QUAN. I am not a spa person but realise that for many people a trip to the spa is almost an inalienable part of a resort holiday. If that is you, check out all the information including the spa menu over here.

Other than these, Fiji Marriott Momi Bay also offers some rather uncommon amenities that I haven’t come across at too many similar properties. There is an ATM machine and an outsourced travel desk operated by Rosie Holidays.


ATM Machine and Tour Desk, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

I was surprised to see a WH Smith convenience/book store. You expect them at railway stations, airports and areas with lots of pedestrian traffic, not so much at a resort. But then, there is always a first time for everything.


WH Smith, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

The resort has a small clinic run by a handful of nursing staff. Other than some basic medical services, and in keeping with the COVID times – it also offers all manners of COVID-19 tests that we have become so familiar with over the last 18 months or so.


Clinic, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

What you don’t expect is the obscene prices it charges for a PCR Test. I had to get a test within 72 hours of my flight home – which is a long standing requirement of all international arrivals into Australia. I took the same test through Histopath before flying to Fiji and paid $79. Imagine my shock then when I was presented with a FJD 275 bill (A$ 178) 🤷‍♂️


Cost of a PCR Test, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

No matter how you look at it, this is hard to justify. I look at in-house testing service as an added perk that helps the resort attract virus-wary travellers who may otherwise choose to stay at home. They do a great disservice to themselves specifically and to the hotel industry more broadly by imposing such high costs on guests who may feel trapped with no recourse.

I should mention though that guests are not compelled to take the test in-house and they are able to seek out their own provider. As long as it satisfies the travel requirement, that’s all that matters.

Service

A quick word on service. I have long heard the joke about how Fiji operates on Fiji time. When someone says 10 minutes to you in Fiji, it does not mean 10 minutes and that is fine. Tales of how Fijian’s have a relaxed and laid back attitude to life is almost part of the folklore. That is a lifestyle I absolutely admire, heck I wish I had that life too (who doesn’t😉)

But I am not sure words such as relaxed and laid-back are what I want to hear if I was recruiting people to work in service and hospitality industry. Throughout my time at the resort, I never really felt the enthusiasm or the spring in the step that you expect from staff working in an industry which has been shut down for so long and in many instances has been brought to it’s knees by the pandemic. Everything happened in slow motion, things were just a little too casual.

So if you are planning a stay here, pack in loads of patience along with your swimmers and sun-block.

In Conclusion

Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay does a good job overall, without ever really threatening to go above and beyond of what is expected of it. It’s secluded location would suit those who plan to hang around by the pool or partake in lots of eating and drinking at various in-house establishments full-time.

For others (like me) who like to get out and about and immerse themselves in the local culture and cuisine, having a rental car is almost obligatory.

The resort is sprawled across 20 acres of land and there is countless opportunities to engage in all kinds of activities like I mentioned earlier. The facilities are good and the staff well meaning – even if this is not reflected in their work ethic.

All said and done, if I ever returned to Fiji – I would probably find somewhere different to stay.

Have you stayed at Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay? Leave a comment below.

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