By Mark Luckey @roomsxml17 May 2018Planning a trip to Fiji or just looking for future travel ideas? Read on to find out why Stuba’s Asia Pacific Managing Director, Mark Luckey, recommends the Outrigger Fiji.A total success story: Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort was taken over by current management team a decade ago, when it was transformed into a property where travellers can #traveltochangetheworld.The first time I stayed at Fiji’s Outrigger, it was a tired and ageing but beautifully located on the Coral Coast. Returning almost 10 years later, and it’s receiving record occupancy rates (well above the average for a property in Fiji) because of the way it unites the wonderful local culture and hospitality. Checking-in & beyond The most unique aspect of the Outrigger is that they are effectively overstaffed to ensure there is always someone to serve or chat with you. It was a management strategy to provide a more engaging and deep experience between the very happy staff and guests.They have great stories, lots to chat about and are genuinely great to be around. Nothing is too much trouble, sometimes there is Fiji time but hey, you are on holiday.A stand out of the Outrigger is that one of their most successful day packages is the opportunity to visit authentic local villages and participate in helping build their community projects. Having done this, it’s a great way to meet locals, get in touch with the real way of life in Fiji and then enjoy the experience of being back at the hotel. Room type & toiletries There are three separate accommodation options at the Outrigger comprising just over 250 rooms. First are the stand-alone Bure’s – they offer a bit more charm, a little bit more privacy, a feeling of something a little bit special with its higher rooms and a private little area set around the beautiful walkways and surrounds.There are also the options to have adjoining Bure’s to accommodate bigger families which is a great option. A vast majority of the accommodation is set off the main reception and function areas, with every room having a view of the ocean and its own private balcony.Whilst not particularly modern the rooms are comfortable, the beds comfortable, good air-conditioning, comfortable size, pretty good insulation from the room next door. On our first visit we stayed in a twin room with two queen size beds, the second time opting for a smaller suite which is basically two rooms adjoining to have that little bit more adult space away from our nine year old.Tip: On a recent visit I stayed in the lagoon wing down by the pool. The room configurations are much the same, but it’s a bit more in the heartbeat of the hotel, you can open your door and hear the ocean off slightly bigger balconies. Food & Beverage The Outrigger has really lifted the standard of food expectations. The breakfast buffet, which also doubles for dinner buffet is the big open style Vale Ni Kana. Breakfast is great, all of the standard fare executed well, it’s bustling and an uplifting environment to be in as the roaming band sings happy birthday and happy anniversary to the right guests.Sundowner bar and grill overlooks the ocean with a focus on steak, woodfired pizza and seafood. Baravi restaurant is poolside and focuses more on curries and Asian dishes – a little bit less formal and has a bar attached – worse places to hang out whilst you wait for a seat on a busy night. If you fancy some adults only space, it’s definitely worthwhile getting up to the KaloKalo bar for staggering hilltop views over the Pacific Ocean. I got up there a little late for the views, but the food was tremendous – very tasty, and exceptionally well priced tapas.But the surprise stand out was Ivi. In all honesty, didn’t expect this to work. Fine dining in Fiji just didn’t quite go and maybe that’s what made this so good. A portion of many of the dishes are prepared in front of you and come with the story of the ingredients, the design of the food and what the chef thinks. The dedicated staff are extremely attentive and it was lovely to have something a little bit more formal and exclusive. Yes, local fine dining it’s pricey, but it’s something you do at least once every stay for a treat as it is wonderfully done. The verdictAs well as the beach the Outrigger Fiji has two pools – the one which is full of perpetually screaming kids being thrown around by their parents, entertained by the staff and hosting games, contests and water aerobics. It’s a fun and happy place to blow a few hours every day, especially happy hour when the drinks become pretty cheap and obviously need a little bit of a salty snack from the poolside restaurant. But if you need some adult space, including a bar and bistro, the Vahavu Pool is the answer. No kids, near the gym, quieter and more relaxed. Very special.What makes the Outrigger work so well is the Nanny service. The kids club is free and our daughter loved it. Kids from all over the world are there having fun, with the incredibly warm and welcoming Fiji and service. On top of this is Mei Mei service – very well priced babysitting which means that it’s easy to justify the expense for a couple of hours here and there (or for a 30 hour block spread out over your trip if that’s what you want) to get some adult time. The Details2 swimming pools 5 dining venues 1 spa (Bebe Spa Fiji) Concierge Bula Desk Fijian cultural activities, entertainment and daily kava ceremony 24/7 Fitness centre Complimentary guest parking Beach services with complimentary kayaks, snorkelling gear, paddle boards READ: Take another look at paradise & get more out of FijiREAD: 4 ways Fiji ruined island holidays for meREAD: Review of the heavenly Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa FijiWhat do you enjoy about the coral coast? Other stories you may likeACTIVE 2020: Take Travel To A New Level With G AdventuresTHE NEXT TO GO? Cox & Kings, The Americas Operations SuspendedBULA FIJI! 10 Reasons Why You Should Pack Your Bags & Visit Paradise!