With the return of international travel, people feel like splurging like never before, but there is a way to get the same luxury for a fraction of the price.

With the world deprived of international vacations for two years, people are keen to splurge on their trips like never before.

But if you’re looking for a luxury overwater bungalow vacation, an experience that’s become synonymous with the Maldives, there’s an easier way to do it.

In Fiji, just a three-hour flight from the east coast of Australia, there are a number of hotels and resorts that offer almost exactly the same experience, for a fraction of the price.

The Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay, about 40 minutes from Nadi International Airport, is one of the best options.

The sprawling resort recently celebrated its fifth anniversary, opening in April 2017.

After two difficult years thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, the resort opened in December 2021, when Fiji welcomed fully vaccinated foreign tourists again.

The resort has been specially designed to ensure that each of the 250 rooms has a view of the water with the lagoon, and the ocean-facing bures also have their own little stretch of sand.

But the real hero of the resort are the overwater bungalows, the only such accommodation on the mainland of Fiji.

The bungalows are at the center of the resort’s man-made lagoon, with a winding boardwalk that will lead you to your front door.

Metal steps protrude from the side of your balcony, leading directly into the water.

And inside the bungalow, glass panels have been added to the floor so you can watch tropical fish, or your partner, swim beneath your accommodation.

There are also plenty of sea urchins in the lagoon away from people to ensure the water stays clean and clear.

Momi Bay staff are also confident that the lagoon is shark-free, with the man-made lagoon opening apparently too small for the animals to enter.

That means the only thing you need to worry about is whether you’d rather walk or swim in one of the hotel’s four pools.

Prices for overwater bungalows start from AU$1,100 a night, which is a fraction of the price typically charged for bungalows in places like the Maldives.

While Momi Bay markets itself as a family-friendly resort, offering a children’s pool and Turtles Kids Club to keep younger guests entertained, the overwater bungalow area is adult-only, leaving you free to enjoy your own peace and quiet. .

Fiji was one of the first places in the world to welcome foreign tourists after the Covid pandemic, when it reopened to fully vaccinated travelers in December.

While the island nation has imposed PCR testing and a three-day quarantine at a certified resort, Fiji recently dropped those requirements.

From April 7, the Fijian government announced that it was removing the three-night stay requirement for tourists visiting.

“The timing of the Fiji government’s decision to ease Fiji’s entry requirements couldn’t be better as we head towards the best time of year to visit Fiji,” said Fiji Airways CEO , Andre Viljoen, last week.

“We are already forecasting big arrival numbers over the next few months and now we expect the numbers to be even better.”

Since last week, tourists entering Fiji must show proof that they have been vaccinated against Covid, a negative rapid antigen test before departure, travel insurance and take a rapid test within 24 hours of arrival.

This journalist was a guest of the Momi Bay Resort of the Fiji Marriott.