Nadi offers a comforting stopover in paradise en route to San Francisco
I don't think I really knew what true comfort was until I stopped over in Nadi and floated around in one of those infinity pools.
Purposely leaving the curtains slightly open the night before, the sun predictably streaked into my bedroom at what would usually be an inconvenient time to wake up. The natural alarm was pleasant though and just as I had intended.
I rolled out of bed, jumped through a shower that had both a vertical and horizontal shower head, and ventured down to the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet at the restaurant, fuelled myself with bacon, croissants, scrambled eggs and a side of fresh fruit and washed it down with a cold orange juice.
It was too hot for coffee.
After brekky, and once I had finished a short tan in the scorching sun for half an hour, I then proceeded to swim, in the the laziest way I could by jumping on an inflatable lilo, occasionally kicking myself over to the in-pool bar or kicking back in the other direction to apply some more SPF 70 sunscreen - yeah, I didn't know it went that high either but in Nadi it's needed.
In that moment I almost forgot this was just a stopover en route to San Francisco.
When I think about long haul flights, I feel immediate anxiousness. I dread sitting in a small space for so long.
But, that's where Fiji comes in. It's a comforting treat and a chance to relax on the way.
Fiji Airways launched their direct route from Nadi to San Francisco last month. It's the third US destination the airline flies directly to, following Los Angeles and Honolulu.
I used to think that getting to the final destination as soon as possible was the best plan for an overseas getaway. Not any longer.
Flying through Nadi is the treasure that sets Fiji Airways apart from the rest.
Doubletree by Hilton Fiji has recently opened on the private and lush Sonaisali Island - about 25 minutes' drive from Nadi International Airport, and a short boat ride across the water. It's one of those luxury resorts where you could easily spend the entire trip there because it has everything you need; an amazing swimming pool, 24-hour gym access, beauty salon and spa, plus other activities such as jet-skiing, water skiing, sailing, snorkelling, scuba diving, windsurfing, horse riding, and fishing are available at an added cost.
People say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but I say you can definitely judge a resort by its swimming pool, and Doubletree is on to a winner with theirs, so much so the only other guests in the pool just stood there and took photos of it, presumably uploading them to Instagram to make all their friends jealous.
If you ever get sick of the pool, which I doubt you will, there's also the South Pacific Ocean right at the doorstep, with each of the 120 luxury rooms and bures overlooking the sea.
The staff are super friendly and it doesn't take long to find a smiling face calling out "bula" whenever you're walking from your room to reception, and they are always eager to carry your luggage, even if it is just a short stroll.
The twice-weekly Fiji Airways flights to San Francisco always leave Nadi International Airport at night time, but even if you've checked out by 11am, don't assume the comfort has to come to a premature end and you need to head to the airport right away.
When we checked out, we drove up to the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa in Denerau Island and checked into their newly-opened Waitui Beach Club.
It's the perfect place to kick back, savouring those final hours in paradise before departing Fiji and heading on to the stress of the city.
For FJ$99.95 ($67) per person (for non-residential guests), a day pass to the adults-only beach club gives you access to the 25m infinity pool with a swim up bar, gymnasium, and live entertainment. It's the quietest part of the resort.
I had a little bit of work to catch up on so curled up on a pool-side couch, with a pullover curtain for shade, used the available wifi before getting back to work on relaxing on the outdoor furniture and taking a dip in the pool.
We stayed long enough for happy hour to kick in at 5pm, which included free beers, wines, and cocktails regularly brought over to where you are situated before walking over to So Spa for a pre-booked hour-long massage that nearly put me to sleep, it was that peaceful.
When it was finally time to leave I was feeling relaxed and recharged, ready to tackle 11 hours of flying.
GETTING THERE: Fiji Airways flies to Nadi from Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch, and now on to San Francisco. See fijiairways.com.
STAYING THERE: Doubletree by Hilton Fiji is located on Sonaisali Island, 25 minutes' drive from Nadi International Airport. See www.hilton.com/Fiji.
BEING THERE: The newly-opened Waitui Beach Club at the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa is the perfect place to continue the comfort once you have checked out. See www.sofitel-fiji.com.
The writer travelled to Nadi courtesy of Fiji Airways and was hosted by Doubletree by Hilton Fiji.