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“Brilliant diving” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Dolphin Bay Divers Retreat

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Dolphin Bay Divers Retreat
2.5 of 5 Guest house   |   Vanaira Bay | Rainbow Reef, Taveuni Island, Fiji   |  
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Free Stay & Diving
Sydney
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Brilliant diving”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2013

This is a good place to stay, particularly if you are into diving. There are 30 dives within a 10 minute boat ride on the Somosomo Strait, and the density and diversity of both corals and fish is amazing. We did 13 dives in the week we stayed here, including a night dive. Being fairly new to diving, it took us a couple of days to adjust to the currents here - they can be quite strong - but we soon learnt to trust the knowledge of the Dolphin Bay crew, and we ended up loving it. The resort itself is of moderate standard, but perfectly comfortable, and there are lovely beaches and jungle to explore. The food was tasty and plentiful - we particularly liked all the fresh fruit and vegetables - and we made friends with many of the Fijian staff.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
dolphinbaydiversfiji, Owner at Dolphin Bay Divers Retreat, responded to this review, February 1, 2013
Bula,
We are glad you enjoyed it with us, especially the diving! A little more diving on each of your trips;-)
Many more beautiful dives!
Roland and the whole Dolphin Bay Team
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69 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (13)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
munich
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2013

No idea where to begin. We booked a jungle tent, thinking it is a tent. It is - but with EVERYTHING-even turn down service at night! A very comfortable double bed, hammock, the whole nine yards.very clean,mosquito screens, closet. The food was amazing, for sure THE BEST in Fiji. There is an open kitchen with 2 great chefs. All very clean and a great bar, thank you Eroty, I won a try me cocktail because I won the coconut bowling. Then of course there is the diving. We were on Kadavu before which had long rides to the dive sites. This is really the closest resort to all the dive sites. We went back during surface interval and then were back for a beautiful lunch. In the afternoon we went snorkeling or back into the hammock. You have to visit Kioa when you are there. A small island inhabited by Tuvalans, very great expedience! We did a trip to the waterfalls and Kammal took us around Taveuni, explaining a bit of the history. At the beginning we mentioned that we were on our honeymoon (well got married 2 years before) but one night they prepared a romantic dinner for the 2 of us on the beach, candle light, cake - it was amazing! The only regret was not being able to stay longer, to stay, to check out the bure on Taveuni anx to get more massages on the beach, thank you Pa and Kathy! Amazing staff and owner, seems like they are a big family and you are Welcome! We definitely will be back!

Room Tip: the bure are great as they have bath rooms but they were booked so we took the jungle tents which we...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bristol, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
83 reviews 83 reviews
42 hotel reviews
Reviews in 61 cities Reviews in 61 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2012

Good points:
- Good value accommodation (especially the safari tents, which were comfortable and large)
- Diving reefs are close and the resort equipment was great, the divemasters professional and accommodating as to where you wanted to go.
- Right on the bay with some ok snorkelling (snorkel around to the next bay, rainbow reef resort, for slightly clearer water), a resident turtle and visiting reef sharks.
- There are some great tracks up to the ridge behind the resort for some short walks, a lookout point, and down to the bay on the other side, which is also stunning.
- Food is eat-as-much as you like (athough this wasn't made clear, until a guest pointed it out) and good.
- The activties in the evening were great fun and helped foster friendships between the guests.
- Staff attentive and helpful, friendly.

Negatives:
- Staff not great at passing on information (we were not told that the resort is actually an hr ahead of normal time until a guest mentioned it to us as we walked to our room to go to bed - this was very lucky as we would have missed the dive boat in the morning). They also failed to make the food info clear (as mentioned above).
- We were happy with the budget accommodation, but would have preferred a budget option for food too ($100 for 2 people for dinner alone, before drinks is the most we've spent in Fiji). You couldn't buy individual meals etc. due to the size of the resort.
- When we left there was an additional $100+ on the bill in tax, something that hasn't happened anywhere else in Fiji.
- The owner was readily chastising staff in front of guests (accusing them of using the internet for downloading, and - it felt - ordering them around as opposed to asking for things to be done politely, and at one point threatening to send one 'back to Taveuni' if they didn't get some work done). It didn't feel like the best of atmospheres.

It was for this last reason that we were happy to leave and enjoyed our time in Lavena a lot more.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
dolphinbaydiversfiji, Owner at Dolphin Bay Divers Retreat, responded to this review, December 7, 2012
Bula Sean and thank you for your review. I am glad you enjoyed the diving, food, activities and free coconut foot rub. Unfortunately you were briefed on the way to your accommodation rather than sitting down on a table and therefore you might now have heard some of the points the staff was making, however there is also always someone there to answer questions. Unfortunately I cannot do anything about the government taxes even if you pay cash;-(. We have addressed your points and hope that we can avoid some of those misunderstandings in the future. As always, we appreciate reviews but in order to actually make your stay enjoyable we really would welcome your questions and comments at the time of your stay so we can address them, rectify problems and make your stay a wonderful one.Vinaka vakalevu!
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Oslo, Norway
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
57 hotel reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
72 helpful votes 72 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2012

If you want the best dive experience Fiji can offer, this is the place for you. Too often dive shops are hesitant to take you out to the best places because they are 45-60 minutes away, they need a big group etc. etc. Disappointments are rife. No need for such worries here, as Dolphin Bay Divers is made by, and for, divers. Some of the best dive spots in the Rainbow Reef (read: in the world) are 5-15 minutes boat trip away from the retreat, and the dive crew extremely professional and eager to show you what you hoped for. THIS IS IT!!!

The retreat is by no means a luxury place, but you have everything you need, at least in the bures. The shower flickers between scolding hot and cold, but it's the only complaint I have. In the room you will find both towels, a hammock, and beach/sunbathing gear. Great! The place is relaxed, beautiful, placed by a very nice beach between coconut trees. The staff, both international and national, are very helpful and friendly, and it's easy to get in contact with other guests as dinners are eaten together at the tables. This is just a really cool, chilled out, genuinely friendly place to dive and enjoy life.

Do try the massage by Cathy at the spa. She does the real Swedish style massage, not the superficial swirling Fijian massage you get so many other places. Best massage I've had in Fiji!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Erlangen, Germany
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2012

From the moment when we first arrived at Dolphin Bay we fell in love with this beautiful place. We were lucky enough to arrive in the early evening, so we had our own "sunset cruise" on the transfer boat from Taveuni over to the resort and when we were there, everything was lit by candles and torches, creating an absolutely magical feeling.

There's so much to rave about this resort, but I don't want to make this review too long (and much of what one needs to know has already been mentioned in earlier reviews), so I will try to stick to the essentials:

Things that we liked:
================

- Everyone at the resort, owners and local staff alike, is so hospitable and friendly, it's incredible. They really care for their guests! Viola is in charge of the resort and Roland in charge of the diving, and both do a terrific job. Many people have written they felt treated like family - I would actually go one step further and say we genuinely felt treated like friends.

- The diving is fantastic - the resort is very close to the famous rainbow reef, which means short boat rides, and the guides are very knowledgable and competent. Again, the service is perfect: you don't even need to carry your equipment to the boat and they really strive to make the diving an enjoyable experience for everyone. The rental equipment is also in a very good condition.

- We stayed in one of their Bures, which are not huge, but very comfortable. They are serviced daily and in the evening (during dinner) there is a turn-down service arranging the mosquito net, so you don't even have to do that yourself. The Bures are located tucked away behind some coconut trees about 20m from the shoreline and the bed is standing next to the window facing to the sea, so you are practically sleeping right on the beach, and each morning we were woken by the sun coming up behind the sea.

- We can't manage to live without internet for more than a few days. Luckily, the resort had wifi so we could go online every afternoon after diving.

- Having (true candle-light) dinner at the big table under the starlit sky together with Viola, Roland and all other guests is an experience not to be missed. The food is excellent (3-course dinner in the evening) and the staff takes care of dietary peculiarities (allergies, vegetarians etc.) so they get an extra meal. Great variety of fresh fish, traditional llovo dishes, local fruits etc.

Things we didn't like:
================

There wasn't a thing. Honestly. For us, everything was just perfect. Maybe apart from the fact that we had to leave when our five nights stay was over. We will definitely make sure we stay longer next time!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
dolphinbaydiversfiji, Owner at Dolphin Bay Divers Retreat, responded to this review, September 18, 2012
Bula you two! Thank you for the wonderful review! It was a pleasure sharing our little piece of heaven with you and Manasa says he will make sure to let the Mantas know next time you are here;-)
Don't work too hard!
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Sydney, Australia
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2012

Though I stayed at Dolphin Bay for only three nights but I knew that this is the place where my future holiday will be. First night we stayed in the tent, it's not a small camping one as I thought. The tent is pretty big (fits a double bed and a single bed). The bedsheets pillows are clean, drinking water / cups are provided. Second night we moved in one of the Bures, Love the idea of mosquito net, love the Coconut products in the bathroom. Beach mat, towel, hammock are provided, pity that we didn't even have a chance to use them, too many activities to do during our stay.

Facility: outdoor dining was beautiful, dinner with the candle light under the stars spoiled us. Chitchatting with the company who loves traveling and nature like us was good fun. The electricity is on only during certain times. And at night only the lamp and solar light are used. We prefer to go to bed early / get up early to see the sunrise and enjoy the day anyway so that's perfect.

The staffs are absolutely fantastic and very helpful, I love their smiles and friendliness. The cat and dog (what's his name, Lecker?) :-) ,, they are way too smart and funny. Love the way everyone sings goodbye, that was still on my mind.

Activities: snorkeling where we met mr. turtle who has two fish underneath him. He always stays close to the shore. We walked to the next bay, went snorkeling there, highly recommend to swim to the floating board awesome underwater view there, then walked back along the rocks (low tide of course). Diving was stunning, four whitetip sharks were swimming along. I was amazed by the abundance of the marine life in this area.

What I love the most is ... listening to the waves until I fall asleep, no air cond no heater just the wind, a chance to see how beautiful the sky is after dark (never seen that much star before).

Place that I will definitely come back ...

Ling

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
dolphinbaydiversfiji, Owner at Dolphin Bay Divers Retreat, responded to this review, September 7, 2012
Bula Ling, thank you so much, we really enjoyed having you here! The only problem I see with your review is that Mr. Turtle is actually Ms Turtle and her name is Lilly;-). Welcome back any time!
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Suva, Fiji
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2012

Dolphin Bay a place built around scuba diving. And they are excellent on this front. It is also a great place for camaraderie and story-telling at meal time. The accommodation – a few thatch bures, and several safari-style and family tents – is basic, but comfortable and clean. Very few trees were cleared for this resort, which is well hidden among the palms, and giving the beach a wild, natural feel.

Their website is very good, in the sense that it is very honest about what to expect – like about the basic accommodation, or the early starts to the day. Indeed, the place is for early risers (they literally run on their own time zone, an hour ahead of Fiji, meaning breakfast is served at 6:30 Fiji time and the boat to the first dive usually leaves at 7:30). And the generator rumbles from 6am. But this rhythm, far from roads and the electric grid, makes good sense.

The wifi is good (at the restaurant/reception), the food is wonderful and somewhat more inventive than the average Fijian resort, and the staff are fantastic. Despite the basic accommodation, the showers are hot, though there are constant nannying reminders to conserve water. There is also a great 45 minute steep walk up to the stunning views from the antenna towers on the hill behind, as well as a shorter walk over the ridge to a ‘back beach’ (which was nicely protected from coolish northeastern winds when we were there in mid-winter July).

Having misjudged my partner’s tastes (for more upscale, private, romantic, garden-blessed lodging versus the simpler wilder basics at Dolphin Bay) we moved next door to the much more expensive Rainbow Reef Resort after a night – see my other review to compare (it is a 7 minute walk). But for the diving we kept coming back to Dolphin Bay, the best of both worlds!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
dolphinbaydiversfiji, Owner at Dolphin Bay Divers Retreat, responded to this review, August 29, 2012
Bula Christian, thank you for staying and diving with with us and for this wonderful review. While it took us a while to get used to the 1 hour ahead, diving is best early in the morning. So sorry about the water nagging, but we try to make a very small foot print and we DO have a micro climate here with very little rain......I am so glad you had an overall great time! May be we shall see you back for diving sometime.
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Additional Information about Dolphin Bay Divers Retreat

Address: Vanaira Bay | Rainbow Reef, Taveuni Island, Fiji
Phone Number:
Location: Fiji > Taveuni Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 8 B&Bs / Inns in Taveuni Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Dolphin Bay Divers Retreat 2.5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Dolphin Bay Divers Retreat is a small family style dive resort on the Rainbow Reef in Fiji. Accessible by boat only it nestles in a horseshoe bay, surrounded by Rainforest, White Sandy Beach and Palm trees. Minutes to all the dives sites including the world famous white wall, famous for Softcorals, 20+ dive sites to choose from this is the ideal dive spot. Dolphins, Reef Sharks, tropical fish, it's all there, including a PADI dive shop where you can take courses in English or German. Accommodations range from bure with private bathrooms to Jungle Tents with shared bathrooms, all with comfortable beds and mattresses and very close to the beach. Let the soft lull of the waves put you to sleep, sip a glass of wine in your hammock and let the fish go by! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Dolphin Bay Divers Retreat Hotel Taveuni Island

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