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“Almost there but $ out of proportion” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort

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Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort
4.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Savusavu Vanua Levu Island, Savusavu, Vanua Levu, Fiji   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #4 of 10 Hotels in Savusavu
Melbourne
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
“Almost there but $ out of proportion”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2007

Stayed as part of a family holiday in 2006.

Nice resort with many strengths, but overall I felt it was expensive out of all proportion to what is offered. All aspects of the resort were OK to good, but not in keeping with what I would expect based on price.

The bungalow was nice, but very basic. No TV radio etc. At least they
could offer a sound system to plug in an iPod. I appreciate they market themselves as an eco resort. but for smaller kids the ability to watch a video once in while is pretty standard these days.

The pool area was also nice, but the kids are hearded out the back to a pretty miserable pool area. They are not allowed in the main pool area. Hence if i wanted to swim with my kids, I had to sit by the kids pool. It was fine for kids, but lousy for me (no service, no where to sit etc etc). This alone turned me off the resort. I dont
want to be seperated from my kids all day.

The food was nice, but nothing special. The service was, well, Fijian. Slow, often forgot requests and missed courses.

The beach was nice for snorkling. The dive shop is excellent, great staff, but pretty expensive.

Would I return ? Well, I am, but only after family pressure. I am not looking forward to going, and was secretly hoping that the political tensions in Fiji would prevent the trip, but no such luck. Frankly, for the $, I would much rather stay somewhere high end near the Barrier reef, but thats me.

It is interesting that Trip Advisor rates the resort at 3 stars. That
is absolutely spot on.

  • Stayed June 2007, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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244 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    198
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    5
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (69)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Beverly Hills, CA
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 3, 2007

My wife and I made our first trip to Fiji in March of this year with our 2 daughters age 11 and 17 and it proved to be a perfect getaway for us all.
One of my favorite aspects of the resort is its scale. Personally I hate these huge hotels with hundreds of rooms where people have to run to the pool early in the morning to reserve a pool lounge and you have to walk 20 minutes from your hotel room to the dining room or pool. The Cousteau resort is smallish with about 25 Bures (island cottages) that accomodate maybe 75 people. But the good news is that it has all of the amenities of a large size resort without all the hassle. There was spa stuff such as massage & yoga, lots of great water activities which I'll go into later, a kids club, great excursions outside the resort, unobtrusive evening entertainments and a terrific accomodating staff.
The price was all inclusive which meant three meals a day were included. The food was amazing. The menu, an eclectic mix of Asian, Continental and American style choices topped off with desserts that you can't resist and I normally never eat dessert. I found myself eating them at lunch and at dinner, daily. Also the portions are sensible and satisfying without being oversized which otherwise can quickly dampen ones desire for food, especially when you're eating three meals a day.
There's also a separate kids club which is very well staffed with their own facilities including their own pool. This is great in that adults don't have to suffer the chaos of kids around a pool, especially when they're not your own.
The water activities were also terrific. Fiji is known to be one of the best dive locations in the world. I never dove before but had snorkled quite a bit. My first day I snorkled and it was beautiful. Then I decided to try diving. I so fell in love with it, that I spent the balance of our 8 day stay, getting my PADI certification. The divemaster I worked with made it easy and fun. And again because of the intimate size of the resort, we made friends with fellow guests several of whom became my diving buddies.
And finally aside from the comfort of the accomodations and the beauty of the island, it was the Fijian people that proved to be the great bonus of it all. The staff were warm, friendly and accomodating with a joyful spirit that's often missing from native populations overrun with rude greedy tourists.
We know two families that keep returning to this resort every year or two. I totally understand their chosing to do this. I'm confident that we will also be returning again soon.

Stayed March 2007
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco
1 review
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2007

"WOW"
That is really all I can say…I had an incredibly nice time at the Cousteau Resort. The owners and staff have perfected the art of hospitality. The staff’s “attention and attendance” was perfect…there when you needed them, but otherwise, like a lovely sculptural decoration, in the background and totally “out of the way”. Families with kids—the parents and kids both understood their boundaries, and that was terrific…every morning at breakfast I’d cruise thru the ‘family’ dining room just saying hi to the kids, but otherwise, I never saw/heard from them. Greg, Karen and Emily were terrific ‘hosts’, the bartenders were funny and good, the nightly slide shows informative, and not too long or tedious, and the food…that was as good as I’ve ever had at a resort: fresh, beautifully presented, delicious, and perfectly-size portions, and as for the desserts..well, I did indulge once or twice, as they were too good to pass up! So, all in all, I had a great time (in case you were still wondering!). I definitely will come/go back again, sometime….a long way to go for a few days of snorkelling, but perhaps enroute to another South Pacific locale….

  • Stayed March 2007, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, CA
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2007

My wife and I stayed at the resort for three nights in early Dec. 2006. We arrived the day after the military ousted the prime minister. We were a bit nervous and considered canceling, but we went anyway and had no trouble at all. The coup had been big news in New Zealand (we were there before Fiji), but once we got to Nadi there was no sign of any trouble (no soldiers or anything like that), and it seemed like business as usual around the airport. We had written to the resort a few days before going and they offered to refund our money if the coup actually happened and we wanted to cancel.

After arriving at Nadi, we walked over to the domestic terminal to catch the Sun Air flight to Savusavu. There we were met by a very helpful lady who was apparently hired by the resort to make sure our connection to the small Sun Air (or Air Fiji) flight went smoothly. We had been pretty careful to keep our luggage weight under the fairly low published allowance, but I got the impression this lady would have been very helpful in dealing with the airline if there had been any problem. She also tagged our bags to make sure the driver from the resort would get all of our stuff when we got to Savusavu. She said she would meet us when we got back and take us into town (since we were going to have about 8 hours to kill before our flight back to the US), but when we got back we didn't see her.

The 'airport' in Savusavu is little more than a paved landing strip and a small shelter from the sun. A driver from the resort was waiting for us when we arrived. The resort is maybe 20 minutes from the airport - a short drive through town and then 10 or 15 minutes down an unpaved, poorly-maintained road.

At the resort we were greeted with island music and fruity drinks. After some paperwork, we were given lunch and shown to our bures. The bures are fairly nice - ours had a comfortable king-sized bed and a separate bathroom/shower. The bures are nicely appointed but they are NOT air-conditioned. Our bure had two overhead fans and a third floor unit, which made things bearable, but we were surpised by the lack of AC since we had just stayed in a similar place in the Cook Islands two weeks earlier that at least had an air-conditioned bedroom (for 1/6 the price - see my review of the Muri Beachcomber). The bures are screened in, but there were visible gaps in the screens where the roof met the walls which is probably how all the bugs got in. Probably the worst thing about our stay were the mosquitoes. We basically needed some sort of mosquito repellent on 24 hours a day and even with that we each brought home many bites. The 'mosquito coil' they lit didn't seem to help - they should really have some sort of bug zappers in the units.

The food at Cousteau is great. There are three meals per day, with several choices at each meal. Dinner was always three courses - with a salad or soup, an entry and dessert. We didn't drink much, but mixed drinks and wine were available at an extra charge. My only complaint (beyond the mosquitoes again - the dining area is covered but open to the outside) was that the 'Diet Coke' was just awful. For something as ubiquitous the world over as Coke and Diet Coke, you'd think they could just bring you a bottle or can.

There weren't many people at the resort when we were there. I think there are something like 20 bures but only 4 or 5 were occupied. Probably they'd had some cancellations because of the coup, plus we were there a bit before the school holidays in NZ and Austrailia started. The place had a really cozy feel with so few people, but they said they can have as many as 100 people there at a time, which would probably seem a bit chaotic.

As you might expect from the name, the Cousteau resort really excells for diving and snorkelling. You literally walk off the beach into a garden of coral and colorful fish. The water just off the resort is a protected marine area with probably the most spectacular and convenient snorkelling I've experienced. They even have a cage with some large clams (these are apparently a delicacy for the locals). There's a short dock that provides access to a dive boat run by the resort as well as a convenient entry/exit for snorkeling. The dive boat goes out twice a day to a variety of dive sites just off of Savusavu. There's a dive center at the resort that rents the standard gear. The resort also employs a marine biologist who goes out on some dives and gave some slide shows. A typical day if you're diving is: get up around 7:30, eat a quick breakfast, go out to the first dive at 8 - return 9:30-10, rest about an hour - out to the next site - back in by 12:30 for lunch. It's really about the best setup for diving or snorkeling you could ask for. The only downside is the price, which worked out to around $100 US per dive if you were renting the gear (and only a little less if you weren't). I think you can also get your dive certification at the resort, but I can't imagine what that might cost.

Don't forget lots of sunscreen - the sun is HOT when it's not raining. There's a gift shop that sells essentials and souvenirs, but things are not cheap.

Everyone was very friendly and the service was really excellent. It seemed very safe and even though we had a fair amount of expensive gear along (DSLR, laptop, etc.), I never worried about things being taken. If you are worried, there is a safe in each room, but we didn't use ours.

They claim to have some kind of DSL-type internet access available, but I think it's only available from the main building (I got no wireless signal from out bure). It's pretty expensive - something like $20-30 US/hour - and we didn't bother with it for our short stay. The resort has a very well-stocked library you can borrow books from during your stay (lots of contemporary fiction and non-fiction).

We don't have any kids, and there weren't many at the resort while we were there, but it's clearly a great place to go if you have some. There's a whole separate pool/play area just for kids and the staff seems really good at keeping them busy.

There are some other activities offered (like trips to other parts of the island), but our visit was short and we just hung around the resort.

Overall, Cousteau was a very nice end to our tour through the South Pacific. The highlights were the diving, snorkeling, food and the service. The lowlights were the mosquitoes and the lack of any AC.

I'm attaching a few underwater pics taken while snorkeling and diving. All were taken with a Canon A610 + WP-DC90 housing.

  • Liked — Access to great snorkeling and diving; food
  • Disliked — Mosquitos and lack of air conditioning
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 17, 2006

My friend and I celebrated our mutual birthday at Cousteau resort. It was fantastic and had something for everyone, i.e. us girls, my friend's golfing husband, two teenage boys, one elementary school age girl. We all felt very well taken care of and would all love to go back. While one of the pricier resorts, we all believed we got our money worth. My daughter and I had the worst bure in the place and we'd still go back.

  • Liked — The service and food were fabulous
  • Disliked — Our bure was on a main walkway.
  • Stayed August 2006
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, Texas
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2006

My wife and I love this resort. The scenery is breathtaking and the bures charming. Don't expect a nice beach. It's not wide and rocky. Before we arrived we knew this from other reviews, yet it didn't dissappoint us when we arrived. The rest of the resort makes up for it. We spent time in two bures, the oceanfront and the garden units. I recommend spending the extra dollars for the oceanfront. Seeing the bay and hearing the waves make the experience much better. There's no tv, radio, or phones in the bures. You're disonnected and it feels great. The staff were very friendly, they knew us by name and seemed to sincerely care about making our stay enjoyable. The food is amazing, and the music of the bula boys band is great. By the end of the stay ever ounce of stress had left our body.

Stayed August 2005
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
76 helpful votes 76 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2006

We recently had a wonderful stay at this resort and would definately not hesitate to return. It is a peaceful and relaxing place, we especially enjoyed sitting outside our bure with our daily morning coffee taking in the view and having a glass of wine in the eves watching the gorgeous sunsets. We traveled without our teenage children, yet we wanted a family type of place that wasn't all young honeymoon couples. The Cousteau offered us just that, a quiet place, yet the sounds of children and families were nearby. The resort had it right, an adult pool and a separate dinning area, so kids were seen, but usually not heard.
We knew going in that there was no beach to speak of, shallow and rocky. We made use of the pool instead, which was never crowded. The staff is awesome, really friendly and seemed genuine. They went out of their way to remember your name and treated the guests like family.
The food was wonderful, always something different to choose from and beautifully presented and prepared. Service was on par with the better restaurants here at home, nothing slow about it! There wasn't a single person who wasn't friendly or smiling, a great staff all the way from the managers to the maids and the groundskeepers that keep the property looking beautifully.
Our bure was simple and comfortable. We also loved the foot scrub when we first arrived. What a lovely treat and way to start a vacation after being in transit in what seemed like forever! No mosquitos to complain about, the evening turndown service maids lit the repellant coils while we were at dinner. We did have 1 HUGE cockroach (waterbug?) crawling through our toiletries once on the bathroom counter, but we tranquilized it with several shots of bug spray and send him out the door. A few ants too, but it is the tropics, afterall.
We don't dive or fish, but the snorkeling was great! Also the village trip was definately worthwhile, led by two of our favorite staff over there, Mario and Pete. There are all sorts of things to do, but best of all, for us, was to do nothing at all.

  • Stayed June 2006
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort

Address: Savusavu Vanua Levu Island, Savusavu, Vanua Levu, Fiji
Phone Number:
Location: Fiji > Vanua Levu > Savusavu
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Savusavu
#1 Family Hotel in Savusavu
#3 Luxury Hotel in Savusavu
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Savusavu
#4 Romantic Hotel in Savusavu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort 4.5*
Number of rooms: 25
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Also Known As:
Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Hotel Savusavu
Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort Fiji/Savusavu

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