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“I lot of places claim to be "unique." Moody's actually is.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Namena Island Resort

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Namena Island Resort
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Private Mail Bag, Savusavu, Vanua Levu 00000, Fiji   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #6 of 10 Hotels in Savusavu
San Diego
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
54 helpful votes 54 helpful votes
“I lot of places claim to be "unique." Moody's actually is.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 29, 2009

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.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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66 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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 (13)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Scottsdale, AZ
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2009

We stayed at Moody's in November 2008 and were blown away by the whole experience. Looking for a romantic getaway, we found so much more at Moody's. From stories with Tom over dinner to Joan's help arranging our trip to volleyball with the staff, it was a truly personal experience - we felt like family!

I haven't even mentioned the diving yet which is by far the best we have ever done. It honestly felt like every day we did the greatest dive of our lives’ and we've been all over the world to dive.

If you are looking for room service and hot tubs Moody's is not for you, but if you’re looking for nature at its unspoiled best, home cooked meals and total relaxation this is the place you've been looking for!!

Thanks to Tom, Joan and the whole crew!!


Matt and Nicole
Scottsdale, AZ (USA)

  • Liked — Eco friendly
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed November 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2008

Our holiday wish-list for 2008 was to find somewhere that offered privacy, peace, quiet times, relaxation and tranquility, with fresh air, warm weather and beautiful, natural scenary thrown in. We thought the Fijian islands was a good place to start so began researching a few short listed locations on Trip Advisor and that's how we came across Moody's Namena.

Namena provided everything on our wish-list and more. Other reviewers have most ably described the uniqueness and beauty of the island. It truly is place to relax and recharge batteries. We spent five nights there in early November and left wishing we had five more.

Our bure, perched high on the side of the island provided us with an amazing outlook and we took full advantage of this and kept our doors wide open, both day and night. The location of the six bures ensured this was possible, while still providing privacy. It was magical to return to our bure after dinner each evening to find mosquito netting had been draped around our four poster bed, and the quaint gas lighting added to the charm. Nights were so peaceful and quiet, with the only noise being the sound of the breeze stirring through the trees and the waves on the shoreline below us.

Namena is popular with divers and a number of fellow guests had travelled considerable distances to experience the diving, some of them visiting for the third and fourth time. We don't dive, but had our first snorkelling experience during our stay. Nigel and the boat staff are fantastic and took particularly good care of us raw beginners!

Tom and Joan are wonderful hosts, and unique people, and we enjoyed hearing their interesting stories. One of us has special dietary requirements and Joan and Kiri were exceptionally helpful ensuring that needs were met.

We'd highly recommend Moody's Namena to anyone wanting to escape the rat-race, and recharge their batteries in a unique and truly tropical paradise.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed November 2008, traveled with family
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 18, 2008

In October 2008 we spent amongst the most wonderful 10 days that we have spent anywhere in the world, but the first thing to understand about Moody’s Namena is that it isn’t like most other places so normal comparisons don’t work. It’s an island about 1 kilometre long, about 250 metres across and about 100 metres at its highest point. It’s 1 hour off the mainland by boat and around 70% of it is still virgin forest. Almost all the lighting is gaslight and there is no mains electricity though laptops etc can be charged at the main bure from solar power. There is no natural ground water, which is why the island has never been inhabited for any length of time (the Fijian name for it is Namenalala – lala meaning empty). All the water is captured rainfall. The resort grows a lot of its own food and it is almost completely self-sufficient.
There are only 6 bures on the island so the maximum number of guests is 12 and each bure is out of sight of its neighbour except for the odd twinkling light visible through the trees at night. The bures are sort of hexagonal and four sides of the hexagon are sliding doors, which means it’s almost always possible to create a through breeze. All bures are on stilts, one bure being down towards the beach and the others at varying heights along the island. Each has a king bed, shower room and 2 toilets and a balcony that runs around the ocean facing front sides.
All meals are in the main bure at two large circular tables. Breakfast is fruit, eggs and bacon or omelette, lunch is buffet style, dinner is three courses and they have a great New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
Our main purpose going to Namena was to dive the very long reef that surrounds the island, just 10 minutes boat ride off shore. We have been fortunate enough to dive in many locations around the world and this was some of the best diving that we have had – anywhere. It was best in terms of variety of dive sites including walls, bommies, coral gardens and sand channels. The extent and health of both the hard and soft corals was excellent. The variety of fish life was amazing from manta rays and other pelagic species to over 20 of the possible 27 butterfly fish that can be seen in Fiji. There are 2 dives a day and a night dive if you want it. The dive operation is, like the rest of Namena simple and basic – there is no fancy dive shop here. But most importantly Nigel and his team who run the diving know every dive site in detail and they were great as were the boat crew. For 5 days of our 10 day stay there were only two other guests who were mainly snorkellers and the dive staff took equally good care of them putting a dive master in the water with them wherever the boat dropped them.
A unique aspect of Namena is that Tom and Joan Moody, who took a 99 year lease on the island 25 years ago and built everything here themselves by hand, still live there. Tom, Joan or both are at every mealtime and make you feel very welcome. Tom doesn’t walk quite so well these days (the story of being shot by Panamanian Indians is extraordinary) so gets around the island trails in what looks like a supercharged golf buggy. If you are interested he will take you on a tour of the place. It takes about 1 hour and you realise that this guy was doing ECO before it was defined let alone before it became a trendy claim for some not very green resorts.
The wildlife here isn’t quite Galapagos tame but the nesting Red Footed Boobies merely gawp at you as you walk past, we were woken every morning by a Collared Kingfisher calling just off our balcony and from the balcony we saw in the sea below us Hawksbill and Leatherback Turtle and Black Tipped Reef Shark. This is virgin forest so there are mosquito nets on the beds because you need them so don’t come expecting the regularly sprayed insect free grounds of a hotel chain. There are walking trails that take you to either end of the island and depending on the tide it’s possible to walk almost the length of one side along the beach.
In the dining room there are hundreds of books that you can borrow but if you’re wondering and worried about what you are going to do with all the down time you probably shouldn’t be going. This is the most fabulous place.

  • Liked — The situation
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled with family
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
los angeles
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 17, 2008

We spent the first week of our honeymoon at Moody's Namena --
and were absolutely blown away by the island's natural beauty and the care, attention, and warmth we received from every single member of the staff. It was, hands down, our favorite destination.

The diving blew us away. Excellent dive masters and staff and there was no doubt in our minds that we were in safe hands. Beautiful hikes, excellent snorkeling, and definitely treat yourself to a private picnic on the beach. The resort has an impressive library or bring your own book to read in the hammocks or on your deck chairs.

With just six burres, the resort offers unparalleled natural beauty and privacy. In contrast, the communal meals offer an opportunity to meet the very few other guests on the island and, more important, Joan and Tom, the wonderful and charismatic owners.

First thing every morning, we'd throw open all our sliding doors, marvel at the aqua blue water, spot sea turtles surfacing and diving, watch the birds, and get ready for another beautiful day in paradise. We feel so lucky to have been able to spend a week at this magical place and we can't wait to return.

  • Stayed September 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2008

Namena Island is the perfect destination for nature lovers who want a unique vacation experience away from crowds and civilization.

We went to Moody’s Namena for the diving and discovered so much more. First of all, the diving was exactly what we had hoped for. We found healthy diverse hard corals that created scenic bommies and dramatic walls. The soft corals, reef fish and invertebrates were abundant and vividly colorful, bright reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues and purples, literally every color of the rainbow. In deep passes there were large schools of bigeye trevally and barracuda, along with cruising white tip sharks and gray reef sharks. We also enjoyed seeing crinoids, lionfish, anemone fish, batfish, sea snakes, and a blue ribbon eel. All of the diving was a short boat ride from the resort, usually 10 minutes away. To top it off, we were always diving with a small group of people.

The resort is paradise for nature lovers who are active and like to explore. Each day, in our free time, we hiked along lush green tree lined trails to explore this remote island. We got very close to nesting red-footed boobies and their goofy looking fuzz-headed babies. We found a sea snake crawling on land along the rocks of a tidepool. Very cool! In addition, we explored deserted beaches.

The bures are very comfortable. Perched on the cliffs above the ocean with doors on all sides, the bures truly give you a unique and memorable vacation experience. With gas lanterns mounted to the walls in each dwelling, there is no need for electricity. The water for drinking and bathing is all rainwater. It may be the healthiest water you will ever get to experience. We also enjoyed watching fruit bats land in the trees near our balcony.

The icing on the cake though, was spending the week with interesting people. All meals were served family style, so we had plenty of time to get to know Tom and Joan Moody, as well as the other guests. The Moody’s daughter Marijo happened to be there with her family the same week as us, so we were treated to many stories about the adventures and the extreme challenges they have all experienced in their lifetimes. Tom and Joan Moody have spent the past 25 years putting their hearts and souls into creating and running this resort. We were enthralled listening to stories about their years on Namena Island. Those two have truly been living life to the fullest. One of the highlights for us was going on a personal tour with Tom to hear how he brought in supplies and built everything. He and Joan are both intelligent, resourceful, hard working individuals. The other guests were also interesting and fun to spend time with. This resort attracts people with similar interests and dispositions.

Overall, our trip to Namena Island was rich and full of depth. It was a lifetime experience.

  • Liked — beautiful scenery above and below water, great people
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, IL
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2008

My wife and I visited Moody’s Namena in mid-June 2008 for our honeymoon. After a week in rain-soaked Taveuni, our trip to their sunny private island was a welcome relief. Our journey to paradise began with a boat ride from Savusavu on the speedy Salt Shaker. We were greeted by Tom Moody, the friendly proprietor of the resort, in his 4-wheel ATV who drove us to our bure -- it was simply amazing. Perched above a sheer cliff, we enjoyed unspoiled panoramic vistas of the sea with views of sunrise and sunset, and the imposing cliffs of Vana Levu in the distance.

The food here is really top notch- homegrown produce and fresh fish are often featured, but there are some old standbys like great lasagna. We were the only guests on the island for the first five days of our stay, meaning we had a 6:1 ratio of staff to guests. All of our needs were quickly addressed and we found ourselves blown away at the quality of our accommodations. We should note that this is not the Ritz or Four-Seasons. Guests are immersed in nature; there is no electricity or AC. The beds have mosquito nets for a reason. To sacrifice these luxuries provides opportunities to appreciate our beautiful surroundings and the commitment by the Moody’s to reduce their environmental footprint through various eco-friendly efforts like solar power, composting toilets and rainwater collection. We found this to be refreshing.

For the divers out there, this is your Xanadu. Namena is encircled by a ring of virgin reef. The waters were recently declared a marine reserve, preventing overfishing. These reefs were teeming with fish and gorgeous soft coral This is drift diving at its finest. Due to the natural ebb and flow of the tides, the current is always moving on some part of the reef, which we were told prevents coral bleaching. The currents bring out the SCUBA all-stars: hammerhead sharks, gray reef sharks, white tip sharks, manta rays, great barracuda, and other pelagic fish. The dive sites are a short boat ride from the island (most are 5-7 min.) and each trip was accompanied by one captain, a deck hand, a dive master and an assistant dive master for the two of us! We loved Nigel, our dive master (and assistant manager of the resort), and the rest of the crew made us feel safe and comfortable. (shout out to Takini, and George-ONE MORE TIME).

Of course, we need to discuss Joan and Tom. The Moody’s are salt of the earth people who have seen it all from their hideaway in the Koro Sea. Both have an infectious sense of humor and make you feel as though you’re a part of their family. Joan and Tom are truly the greatest treasure of this island paradise. Our suggestion is that you do not hesitate to make a reservation. Quick tip: Joan can get discounted airfares with Air Fiji for domestic flights.

  • Liked — Goregeous views, comfortable bed
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Namena Island Resort

Address: Private Mail Bag, Savusavu, Vanua Levu 00000, Fiji
Location: Fiji > Vanua Levu > Savusavu
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Savusavu
#5 Romantic Hotel in Savusavu
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Savusavu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Number of rooms: 6
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

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