Kiwis love to holiday in Fiji, and Fijians return their love of New Zealand and its people just as much.

The friendly local greeting of bula and a beaming smile becomes second nature as soon as you land in Fiji, and arriving at the Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay, a sincere bula in reply to a sincere “Welcome home” makes you feel immediately relaxed.

Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay has a warm, inviting ambience. Its vast sweeping rooflines and open-air spaces keep the resort cooled by the gentle breeze and the resort design is Fijian-influenced, with ceilings featuring timber ribs made from local Fijian mahogany. The mahogany touch continues in the accommodation rooms right down to the intricately carved bedheads. In the bathrooms, handbasins sit on stone vanity tops backdropped by a curved mirror timber frame made from local wood. The hotel’s bure villas encircling the lagoon are also in an authentic Fijian design that resembles upside-down canoes (or drua in Fijian) and are clad in wooden shingles.

Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay restaurant

Hand-carved wooden light poles line the path edges throughout the resort, as do handcarved timber bollards depicting the marine life of Fiji. A turtle motif and sea life theme carries through into the public buildings and is an original design of the architects. Local limestone sourced from a quarry at nearby Tao village is a feature of the walls at Fish Bar.

Once checked-in, it’s time for a swim and bevvy at the swim-up bar. Sam the barman welcomes us with “Bula” and “Where you are from?” and at our response of Auckland there’s a pause followed by “Oh, the Auckland Blues!” The Fijian love of all things rugby shines through in everyone you speak to, their beaming smiles alone telling you how passionate they are about the sport.

Local culture and flavours also headline the Fijian holiday experience at Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay, and the Fijian love of singing is always close. Staff pop up around the resort throughout the day serenading beautifully, and as the sun sets the traditional meke dance performance entertains evening diners on the beach outside the waterfront Lagoon House Restaurant & Bar. Guitars and songs close the evening entertainment.

The dining options at Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay are very diverse, starting with some of the best buffet breakfasts I’ve ever enjoyed, with live cooking stations creating fresh dishes as you watch. All of the hotel’s restaurants showcase their fresh menu offerings with open kitchens as the central feature where dishes are expertly created to order.

Fish Bar Restaurant Fiji Marriott Momi Bay

Fish Bar Restaurant is one of them. Located on a point overlooking the sea it’s the perfect place for sunset cocktails and dining. By day, the adjacent adults-only infinity sunset pool encircled by spacious cabanas and deck chairs is a wonderfully relaxing hideaway with sweeping views towards the outer reef surf break on the horizon.

Now one year young, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay is just a 45-minute drive from Nadi International Airport. All of the property’s 250 rooms and bures have ocean, pool or lagoon views, and the only overwater bures on Viti Levu that extend in a graceful arc across the turquoise lagoon.