As other reviewers note, it’s hard to compare Moody’s with any other small tropical resort. It’s not a backpacker resort, by any means, nor is it a super-lux, look-at-how-much-money-we’re-blowing-through sort of place. I counted them up; over the years we’ve stayed in 47 different tropical pacific resorts, and I still can’t complete the sentence “Moody’s is like the ___ Island/Resort.” It’s created its own niche of unspoiled tropical island/wildlife & marine preserve/family-run resort. It’s got some budget touches, some luxury touches, but is most notable for wonderful service in a unique setting.
Despite the somewhat nerve-wracking logistics (never-on-time-LAX-NAN to a tight connection for a (also, thankfully, never-on-time) Twin Otter flight to SavuSavu for the boat to Namena...That’s a lot of moving parts), this was still a great way to start a Fiji trip. Going straight from travel to a routine of Eat, Snorkel, Rest, Eat, Snorkel, Hike, Happy Hour, Dinner, Bed, Repeat is a perfect decompression routine.
It’s one of the most efficiently-run places we’ve ever stayed. Every day, our room was discreetly made up, including some creative sulu origami, while we were at breakfast, which made us wonder why that’s so hard to pull off elsewhere. Other places seem to wait until you really need to use your room, right then, to start housekeeping. The service overall is what I took to calling “petulant rock star” service. Not that you’re likely to run into any petulant rock stars here (try Wakaya), but whatever you needed, whatever you asked for, someone figured out or kludged together a way to take care of you. This “petulant rock star” service was also available at the other excellent small resorts we stayed at in Fiji, but it was really striking here, given the limited resources of the island. (It was also striking in its absence at the giant Sofitel Denaru, but that’s a different review)
The bungalows are larger and nicer than the website pictures lead us to believe. The no-AC-power angle is an interesting exercise. The reading lights and little fan in the bungalow (a bit noisy, but absolutely necessary) are powered by a solar-charged battery; the main lights are low pressure gas. It’s interesting how little adjustment it takes to run a house—everything but the kitchen—without AC power. Made me rethink how to power the “little cabin in the woods” I want to build…someday.
I don’t dive, so I can’t comment on the diving. Besides, this isn’t “dive advisor”. When we were there, just by chance, nobody was diving; it was all avid snorkelers, so the twice-a-day trips to the marine reserve were optimized for shallow water viewing. It turned out to be some of the best snorkeling—the best, healthiest coral, the most, and most unique fish—of any of the places we went in Fiji, and some of the best in today's Pacific. Better than Cousteau’s, better than Qamea, better then Novutu.
Tom and Joan are a trip, and have enough stories of their own at keep the conversation moving at the family-style meals…something that’s always important when we-who-don’t-do-small-talk-well are part of the mix. The food itself is quite good and varied enough over the course of a week to hold your interest. Even had a Mexican-style lunch, with roti used as tortillas. You won’t leave hungry. (We left needing to diet.)
It’s hard to say if my favorite activity was getting face down in the water or sitting on the verandah just before sunset watching the thousands of red-footed boobies and tropic birds returning thru the gauntlet of frigate birds. Both activities are worth the trip, as is walking thru the birds in the nature reserve. The long sand beach on the windward side looked nice too, but frankly, we didn’t leave ourselves enough time just to lie out on it.
Most enthusiastically recommended. It’s not the poshest resort in the pacific, but it’s one of my favorites.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Namena Island Resort is a privately owned Fiji island resort. 6 Bure's (cottages) strategically located to maximize ocean views and enjoy the ocean breezes. Maximum guest capacity 12 people. 3 gorgeous private beaches. Namena is rated the "Best Dive Destination In Fiji" and ranked as one of the "Top 10 Dive Destinations in the World". Namena Island is surrounded by a reef designated as a marine reserve with over 22 world famous dive sites all within a 10 minute boat ride from our boat jetty. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Moody`s Namena Hotel Savusavu
- Moodys Namena Hotel
- Moodys Namena Resort All Inclusive
- Namena Island Resort Fiji/Savusavu