The city I live in, Suva, isn’t exactly the postcard-picture that many imagine when they think of Fiji. Suva is often chaotic, dirty, and is a boat ride or 30-minute drive from any beach you’d want to swim at. Though Fiji’s capital does have character, those living in Fiji need to escape Suva every few weeks to the country’s more alluring areas.
Malamala Beach Club is a luxury beach club just a short boat ride from Nadi. It’s the type of place that Instagramfluencers froth over thanks to its infinity pool, white sand beaches, coconut trees, and oceanic backdrops. Can you say #paradise? I feared that Malamala Island would be awash with the same demographic that swarms Las Vegas day pools (think: fans and reality stars of Jersey Shore) but still shelled out the $199 FJD for the chance to be proven wrong.
Malamala Beach Club is a day club only. Travelers arrive in the morning by boat from Port Denaru and leave just before sunset — making it one of the most accessible day trips from Nadi. A handful of friends and I decided to stay at Tambua Sands Resort the nights before and after Malamala, turning the experience into a weekend-long rendezvous.
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Getting to Malamala Beach Club
If there is one thing that you can rely on in Fiji, it’s that service will probably be unreliable.
We woke up early to fill our bellies before getting picked up in a shuttle bus headed Malamala. I scarfed down about three rounds of the complimentary breakfast – lest I spend my monthly income on snacks at Malamala Beach Club.
The shuttle bus arrived on time and the bus driver took a headcount of our group.
Then he said, “Two too many. Two of you need to stay behind.”
I got ready to make a dash for a seat – fully okay with trampling whoever got in my way — until friend in my group said, “Well then none of us are going.”
I took two steps back and nodded
“Yeah!” the rest replied.
All-for-one and one-for-all has always been my motto.
Exasperated, the bus driver told us to show him that five of us could sit across four seats. He pointed at the thinnest people in our group, skipping over some of us like a game of BMI duck duck goose. Somehow, because Fiji, we felt grateful that the all-powerful bus driver allowed us to squeeze together instead of being angry at the fact that the company had stuffed up our reservation.
After two hours on the bus, we arrived in Nadi and embarked on a 30 minute boat ride from Port Denaru to Malamala Beach Club.
Spending the day on Malamala Island
The view of Malamala Island from the pier is the epitome of Pacific Island paradise.
This is why I live in Fiji.
Malamala Island is so tiny, you can walk the perimeter of its white sand beaches in just a few minutes. About one half of the island is reserved for those who splurged on a private cabana while the other has a gear rental area, an infinity pool, bar, and shaded lounge chairs.
After claiming a lounge chair, I threw on my snorkeling gear and swam around Malamala Island – kicking leisurely over the shallow reef. A small school of neon yellow fish mistook my rashguard for a coral bommie and stayed alongside me the entire time.
Though the coral near the sandy shores is bleached, technicolor corals and a thriving reef fish population exists on the edge of the island’s reef shelf.
On the edge of the reef, I met up with two other friends who were snorkeling over a crevice in the reef. A white tip reef shark swam below us and a gargantuan grouper made an appearance. The water visibility was incredible and I wished I had a freediving buoy with me to practice with.
We spent the rest of the day rotating between the sand, the pool, the bar, and the ocean. Kayaks and standup paddleboard rentals are free for guests and you can easily paddle a few laps around the island before the day is done.
Food at Malamala Beach Club
Usually, food quality and location have an inverse relationship. Incredible views often equate to a meal that will leave you pining for a slice of freezer-burned leftover pizza.
Not the case at Malamala – where I ate one of the best meals I’ve ever had in Fiji. I ordered “The Harvest” tacos made with spiced and roasted cauliflower, grilled haloumi, a yogurt dressing, guacamole, and crispy chickpeas stuffed inside soft piece of roti.
The others also ordered food that looked as good as it tasted.
Food presentation: 10/10
While I’m no food snob, I appreciate a delicious meal when I have one.
One of the things I loved most about Malamala Beach Club is its lack of plastic. Coconuts are served with a paper straw and I didn’t catch a glimpse of a single use plastic in sight. This was such a contrast to other islands I’ve been to, where the beaches are littered with plastic straws and beer bottle caps.
Tips for visiting Malamala Beach Club
Reserve a space as soon as you get off the ferry – but don’t be a jerk and claim more lounge chairs than you’ll use.
Take your Instagram pictures on the edge of the infinity pool at the beginning of the day when the sun is low (before the kids start doing cannonballs).
The best corals are on the outer edge of the reef. Look, don’t touch.
If you want a private cabana, book it in advance – they sell out fast.
Budget for Malamala Beach Club
Tickets to Malamala are $169-199 FJD per person and include transportation to and from certain hotels. Meals cost around $30-50 FJD, snacks are about $20 FJD, coconuts are $10 FJD, and cocktails are $28 FJD. I would plan to spend about $100 FJD while on the island. You can sneak in hard alcohol to top up your drinks (but you didn’t hear that from me).
All up, plan to spend around $300 FJD or more for the full experience.
Hotels with drop-off and pick-up services to Malamala Beach Club
Tambua Sands Resort, Coral Coast ($$): The best option if you are coming from Suva and want somewhere mid-way between Suva and Nadi. This three-star resort has cute beachfront bures, hosts kokoda making classes, and lets guests participate in kava ceremonies.
Outrigger Beach Resort, Coral Coast ($$$$): A luxury hotel with a coral reef gardening program. Oceanfront bures, multiple pools, onsite spa, and plenty of dive excursions. Choose between over 15 different types of rooms.