Stephanie Holmes checks into Smugglers Cove Resort, Nadi, Fiji.


About 15 minutes' drive from Nadi International Airport. This is no stock-standard airport hotel, however. It's beachside at the only strip of decent sand on this side of the island.

Getting there: Free airport shuttle. The driver was there to meet me and a few other guests, but was happy to wait for a while so we could see the victorious Fiji Sevens team, fresh from their win at the Hamilton Sevens, as they emerged into the arrivals hall. Fiji time starts as soon as you step off the plane.


Check in experience: Easy. After a warm "Bula", I just had to sign a form and wait while my passport was photocopied, then I was taken up to my room on the first floor.

Room: A king room with balcony, and ocean views. It's basic, but has nice touches, like the traditional Fijian artworks on the walls and the incredible view. Be warned though, the ocean-facing rooms are right above the pool/restaurant/bar area so you're going to get a bit of noise (see below). There are 40 private rooms at Smugglers, as well as 70 dorm beds in rooms of different configurations. The largest dorm sleeps 17 people. Although sleep is probably not the operative word.

View: And then some… I arrived as the sun was setting, and the warm evening light was casting a lovely glow through the ranchsliders, with two palm trees perfectly framing the picture. Welcome to Fiji.

Bathroom: Very basic, but functional.

Facilities: Pool, travel centre to help book activities and onward travel, small gift boutique, kayaks free to use, beach volleyball, and the sea. There's also an on-site spa offering reasonably priced massages and treatments.

Food and drink: Ghost Ship Bar and Grill for lunch, dinner and drinks; Cove Cafe for breakfast, with a choice of indoor or outdoor tables. All have good ocean views. I ate a fresh kokoda (raw fish, lime and coconut milk) for dinner with a warm breeze blowing away the cobwebs from my day's travel. Bliss.

Bed: Two king singles joined together. Not the most comfortable bed I've slept in, but not the worst. Linen was fresh and pillows were comfortable.

Noise: A bit from the bar downstairs, but with earplugs in I didn't hear a thing. Or you could just join the party…


Perfect for: A quick, affordable stay before or after you head out to the outer islands.