Exclusive: inside the South Pacific’s HM Award-winning InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa

by James Wilkinson

The luxurious InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa was named Fijian Property of the Year at the 2023 HM Awards for good reason because the hotel is one of the finest in the nation.

InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa is led by popular General Manager, Lachlan Walker, who said he was ecstatic with the win.

“We are thrilled and deeply honoured to be crowned Fijian Property of the Year at the 2023 HM Awards,” he said.

“This accolade is a testament to the exceptional dedication and passion of our team and our owners, the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF).

“We proudly share this achievement with our cherished guests and the Fijian community and look forward to setting new standards of luxury and service in this beautiful paradise we call home”.

He said InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa’s exceptional achievement in winning the Fijian Property of the Year reflects its commitment to providing unparalleled service and creating unforgettable experiences for its guests.

To find out more about what makes the property so unique, Wayfarer Editor-In-Chief James Wilkinson sat down with Walker at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa recently.

Hi Lachlan, thanks for your time. What makes InterContinental Fiji truly one of the best properties in the South Pacific?

Bula James and welcome, lovely to speak with you about our iconic resort here in Natadola Bay.

InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa is a five-star resort nestled amongst 35 acres of tropical gardens & in my opinion, one of the best beaches in Fiji. Our beach-front location overlooks Natadola Beach, which has been voted one of the best beaches in the world by multiple publications, including CNN. As you can see, the view from our resort is stunning!

We offer world-class facilities with exceptional dining experiences across four precincts, a multi-award-winning spa, multiple swimming pools, scuba diving, watersports and more. We’re also able to offer our guests authentic Fijian experiences through our dedicated concierge team.

All our rooms are spacious, with the lead-in accommodation being one of the largest in Fiji, starting at 63 square metres. What makes our rooms stand out is the large outdoor living space with a daybed and signature alfresco Cleopatra bath in every room across the resort.

We’re also located right next to the 18-hole Natadola Bay Golf Course. Previously home to the Fiji International, the course blends world-class golf architecture with dramatic landscapes, from rolling pastures to the absolute beachfront.

When it comes to Awards, the hotel is no stranger to major recognitions. How important is it for the property and the staff to win accolades like you have at the HM Awards over the years?

We take great pride in the recognition that we’ve received in recent times. Winning prestigious awards like the HM Awards holds great importance for both our property and our dedicated staff; we are thrilled to be crowned Fijian Property of the Year at the 2023 HM Awards.

Accolades like these are a testament to our unwavering commitment to providing exceptional hospitality and ensuring an unparalleled guest experience. Accolades can also help contribute to building and reinforcing trust with our guests, plus they are a great source of pride and motivation for our team.

I also should touch on how Spa InterContinental was recently awarded Fiji’s Best Resort Spa at the prestigious World Spa Awards 2022. We were also recognised at the 2023 World Travel Awards, winning Oceania’s Leading Family Resort 2023 and Fiji’s Leading Hotel Suite 2023 for our Natadola Suite.

There are some exciting new developments at the award-winning property, including a new Fiji Airways in-resort check-in that’s opened. Tell us about that.

It’s been really exciting to launch our in-resort check-in in partnership with Fiji Airways. Once we saw a unique opportunity to add further convenience for our guests flying with the national airline, there was no turning back.

Located at the reception, the seamless check-in service allows guests to check-in their bags directly at the resort, for a small fee of FJ$20 (approx. AU$14). The next time a guest sees their bag will be at their destination in Australia and when they head to the airport they can go straight through security.

We have found that it’s a very popular service with guests, especially with families, because it allows them to spend more time at the resort and saves them time at the airport.

Tell us about some of your new sustainable initiatives, including the bee project, herb garden, coral planting program and more?

We are always looking for ways to give back to the local community and provide a memorable and sustainable luxury experience for our guests. We’re also part of the IHG Journey to Tomorrow, a 10-year action plan with the goal of becoming a leading sustainable Resort in Fiji.

Coral Reef Protection Project: Twice-weekly presentations are conducted by Reef Safari’s Marine Biologist at Kama Lounge & Bar to share with guests our restoration efforts and the impact of the work being done. The coral propagation program was started in collaboration with Reef Safari, with the aim to rebuild reef structures by placing coral fragments on metal frames around the resort’s house reef, rejuvenating the reef and growing them over time. Guided by the Resorts Marine Biologist, guests of all ages can participate in an immersive experience and contribute to the restoration of the marine ecosystem.

Spa InterContinental Herb Garden: Spa InterContinental demonstrates its commitment to sustainability through many projects, one of which is an on-site herb garden. We invite guests on a tour of the herb garden each week, where guests get to sample infused tea and sesame honey bars. We grow fresh herbs such as wild basil, Fijian native herbs, mint etc. which are used in our spa treatments, or infused teas or smoothies.

Natadola Beach Clean-Up: The resort conducts weekly Beach Clean-Up Days to protect this pristine environment and collect litter around Natadola Bay. I’m a big fan of our Litter for a Latte program, an initiative held every Saturday morning for guests, resort employees and local residents who are invited to a beach cleanup experience, with all participants offered a complimentary coffee for their time. We have also recently invested in a state-of-the-art Manta Beach Cleaner, which efficiently filters waste from clean sand and can cover approximately 20,000 square metres per hour. We are the first resort in Fiji to implement this cutting-edge technology to help protect the ocean from plastic pollution.

Honeybee Project: We have installed honey beehives in the engineering gardens to provide home-grown fresh honey to our resort. Our beekeeper Simione Neirube has led the project and set up six beehives, each containing approximately 60,000 bees – they’re really flourishing now. It provides a heightened experience to guests who can indulge in home-grown raw honey at Spa InterContinental, as well as Club InterContinental and Navo Restaurant at breakfast. Around sixty litres of honey are harvested from all the hives every three months.

Phasing out single-use plastic bathroom amenities: We have recently phased out all single-use plastic bottles of bathroom amenities in our guest rooms and replaced them with bulk Pure Fiji amenities. This initiative is expected to save up to 100,000 single-use plastic bottles from ending up in landfills each year.

Introduction of Compostable Single-Use Cups: We have newly introduced compostable single-use water and coffee cups, reaffirming our commitment to both the environment and the local community. These innovative certified home compostable cups replace conventional cups and compost alongside organic waste. All are adorned with captivating Fijian-inspired designs by Rise Beyond the Reef (a local non-profit organisation), continuing our dedication to blending sustainability with cultural appreciation here at the resort. Importantly, 5% of the cost of the coffee cup is donated back to Rise Beyond the Reef.

We know guests love your rooms on offer – tell us about these, including the benefits if you upgrade to a Club room?

Of course. The resort is made up of a total of 266 rooms across the Resort and Club InterContinental. With 216 elegantly appointed resort rooms across our Beachfront, Lagoon, Pool and Garden view rooms and suites, all have been thoughtfully designed in harmony with its tropical surroundings, and each room features generous outdoor living spaces with daybeds and signature Cleopatra baths.

By upgrading to Club, guests will have access to one of the 50 luxurious suites at the iconic Club InterContinental, which is set on a secluded hilltop with sweeping panoramic views of Natadola Bay.

It’s like a ‘resort within a resort’ and one of my personal favourite areas of the property. The exclusive Club amenities include access to the private Club lounge and restaurant, infinity pool, complimentary sunset cocktails and canapes and more. Guests can also book a Club InterContinental suite with a private plunge pool which is very popular.

We’re also excited to have recently introduced Tapendium’s Digital Concierge in all guest rooms and suites. Aimed at providing a memorable and sustainable luxury experience for guests, this allows guests to easily browse and order from dynamic room service menus, request housekeeping items, access information about resort services and much more.

This initiative not only enhances the in-room guest experience but also reduces paper waste, aligning with IHG’s Journey to Tomorrow commitment.

Tell us about the food and beverage on offer, including the new poolside ordering offering.

Guests can expect a diverse range of unique dining experiences to cater to their tastes and preferences, including signature dining at Navo Restaurant, more relaxed eateries with international and local dishes at Toba Bar and Grill and Sanasana Restaurant, and beachside cocktails at Kama lounge. There’s something for everyone.

We hold a great emphasis on a quality selection of ingredients and teamed with our skilled chefs, all guests can experience a wonderful dining experience during their stay at the resort.

Our new Executive Chef, Indrajit Saha, brings a wealth of culinary expertise that is already enhancing our exceptional dining experiences.

Having mastered diverse culinary landscapes in India, Maldives, St Lucia, Djibouti, Thailand, Vietnam, Seychelles and the Middle East, Chef Indrajit’s multicultural culinary background is a valuable asset to the resort’s restaurants, helping craft genuinely luxurious experiences for guests across all aspects of their stay.

We’ve recently launched a convenient poolside ordering system that allows guests to order food and beverage effortlessly, without having to move from their sun lounger. By scanning the QR code with their device, guests can access a digital menu, make selections, and have their orders delivered directly to their poolside loungers, enhancing their relaxation and enjoyment during their stay.

You have so many, but Lachlan what’s your X-factor at the property?

Easy one James – beyond what we’ve already touched upon, it would have to be our beach-front location at Natadola Bay and our spacious property. Only 55 minutes from the airport and you’re in 35 acres of tropical paradise with direct access to one of the most pristine beaches in the world to snorkel, dive, surf.

The location allows guests to truly relax amongst nature and instantly disconnect from the stresses of everyday life. What often surprises our guests is that even when we’re operating at full capacity, guests never feel on top of others.

There are often no queues for restaurants, we have spacious rooms, and the beach and the pools don’t feel crowded. Our guests have the space and facilities to truly unwind.


The best way of getting to Fiji in comfort and style.

Book a seat in Fiji Airways’ brilliant Business Class cabin


Fiji Airways flies to the nation’s largest city of Nadi from Adelaide, Auckland, Brisbane, Christchurch, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Melbourne, San Francisco, Singapore, Sydney, Vancouver (coming soon), Wellington and across the South Pacific.

The flights are operated by Fiji Airways’ world class fleet, which includes the flagship Airbus A350-900, headlined by the carrier’s all-new Business Class that features flatbed seats with all-aisle access.

Onboard Fiji Airways flights at the pointy end, expect top food and wine, particularly thanks to the new Business class menu from renowned Kiwi-Fijian chef Richard Cross, fantastic entertainment (including Wayfarer TV episodes!), a sleeper service for overnight flights and some of the world’s best onboard service.

In economy class, passengers can upgrade their journey with some additional benefits such as the My Bubble and My Island seating arrangements allow passengers to purchase an extra seat or row respectively in economy for extra space and comfort. My Island comes with a mattress topper, Business class pillow, additional blanket and seat belt extension.

Travellers onboard all services will enjoy the award-winning Fijian hospitality and travel perks including increased baggage allowance from 23kg to 30kg for economy class passengers on all international flights and a complementary ‘Our Ocean Our Life’ in-flight activity pack for kids.