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“Overall excellent” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Wananavu Beach Resort

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Wananavu Beach Resort
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   Volvoli Rd, Rakiraki, Viti Levu, Fiji   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Rakiraki
Wash, DC
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“Overall excellent”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2012

We spent almost two weeks in Fiji, at Wananavu Resort (Raki Raki on Viti
Levu, Bligh Waters) and Garden Island (Taveuni). Our trip was primarily a diving trip, and that is what drove our choice of hotels, locations, etc.

Diving at both locations was excellent. However, the dive operations were
on dramatically different levels, with Dive Wananavu excellent in just
about every way and Garden Island with some serious issues (I have reviewed
them separately).

We chose Wananavu Resort due to land-based access to the Bligh Waters as
well as the beachfront bure accommodations offered.

The resort itself is beautiful and well-maintained. We stayed in a
beachfront bure, which was simply furnished but had everything we needed.
Our front door opened directly onto the beach and we spent hours relaxing
on our porch and in the beach hammocks. No need for AC as we slept every
night with screen windows and doors open to the breeze. Our biggest (and
probably only) complaint with the room was that the walls are very thin.
Each bure contains two units and you can everything next door...

The resort has a nice pool but we never used it as we preferred our porch
and the beach. The grounds are immaculate, with tropical plants, garden
paths and a beach that is cleaned and raked every morning before sunrise.

The food was pretty good overall, not spectacular, but that's not why you
came to Fiji, anyway. They do a pretty good job considering the relatively
remote location. Not surprisingly, the seafood is pretty reliable. The
"lovo" buffet was a big disappointment, especially since there
are no other options that night.

Service in the restaurant/bar is generally good, although somewhat
inconsistent. We had the sense that the longer-tenured, more experienced
staff was pretty sharp but others seemed a bit out of their element. At the
same time, the staff is incredibly friendly and really went out of their
way to make us feel welcome. This was also our experience on Taveuni.

The resort offers many activities, day trips, etc. although we did not take
advantage as we were diving. We did use the spa and enjoyed it. Very
friendly and relaxing.

One tip: Stop at a grocery store well before you get to the resort to pick
up water, beer, etc as there is nothing near the resort and you will pay 3x
once you are there (although prices are still pretty reasonable by US hotel
standards).

The diving in the Bligh Waters was excellent. Beautiful coral formations,
abundant small and medium-sized fish and plenty of colorful nudis, sea
lettuce, etc. Sharks on every dive, both white tips and a couple nice gray
reef sharks. No turtles, rays or any real pelagics. We had the opportunity
to sample Sailstone reef (closest to resort), Wheatfields (between resort
and the passage) and Vatu I Ra Passage. I preferred the sites at the
passage and Wheatfields to those on Sailstone, again based on a small
sample size. The density, variety and health of the hard corals the Passage
blew me away.

A very nice surprise on our 2nd day of diving was the siting of two whales
during our surface interval. The captain did his best to get us close to
them so we could snorkel but they were moving too fast. Still an awesome
experience.

Viz and current varied significantly from site to site, viz ranged 30-40 ft
up to about 75. Water temp 76 deg, wore 3mm full suit plus hooded vest. The
wind can pick up quickly as this is offshore diving.

If I had to compare to Rainbow Reef on Taveuni, I would say the coral
formations in the Bligh were more dramatic, but perhaps a bit less
colorful. Seemed to be more hard corals in the Bligh and more colorful soft
corals in Somosomo at Taveuni. Of course this is based on a total of 17
dives, so take it for what it is worth.

Dive Wananavu is a first-class operation, and I cannot say enough about how
well we were treated. Managers Jeremy and Kristen went out of their way to
put together three wonderful days of diving for us, despite the fact that
we were literally the only divers at the resort (most of the place was
occupied by a non-diving wedding party during our visit). We had the entire
boat to ourselves on two out of three days and there was no drop-off in
service as I have experienced at other locations when boats are not full. I
had asked to visit the Vatu passage, and they put together a fantastic
3-tank dive on our last day to make this happen, despite the fact that it
probably wasn't ideal for them (incidentally, the other divers on our boat
were taking a Discover Scuba class. At the Vatu I Ra? Wow. I mean, who does
that? What a cool experience for them).

They operate a new, 33-ft. aluminum dive boat. Very comfortable, outfitted
with everything you need, including a marine head and all relevant safety
equipment (life vests, marine radio, GPS, oxygen, SMBs in the BCDs, etc).
Briefings were thorough, professional and informative without being
overwhelming. Rental gear appeared brand new and was of high-quality,
including air-integrated computer.

Truly a full service operation, with gear waiting for us on the boat,
rinsed, set-up, etc. Crew was always helpful without being intrusive. My
girlfriend, a newly-certified diver, appreciated their help and attention
and this also allowed me to relax and focus on diving and having a good
time.

The DMs and captains were very good. Personable and professional and
generally fun to be around. I split my time diving with mangers and other
DMs; the local DMs are somewhat newly certified and do seem a bit green;
over time they will on doubt become more comfortable leading and pointing
out critters, etc.

In short, Dive Wananavu is top-notch, fantastic operation that I recommend
without reservation. This may sound like a marketing pitch, but we really
did have a great time. The combination of the dive op with the resort was
great.

Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
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350 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 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 (118)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Sydney, Australia
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2012

Wanavau beach resort is a beautiful resort that has everything you need. The staff are extremely friendly all the way from the front desk to the cleaning staff.
The trip from Nadi was three hours but worth it. We had exclusive use of the resort and sharing guests were given their own bures.
We attended a beautiful wedding over five days.
The beach barbecue and wedding entertainment were highlights.
I highly recommend this resort if you want a Holiday in paradise.
Thanks to Rachel and the entire staff!

Room Tip: It is worth choosing a room with a view. Beachfront bures would be the best but we had an ocean view...
See more room tips
  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2012

Spent an amazing week at Wananavu and celebrated a great friends wedding there,
Highly highly recommend this resort, the burees are incredible, the dayspa beautiful, staff are friendly, accommodating & the food was delicious.
Thank you for such a memorable week, will definately be back!

Room Tip: The oceanview room was just beautiful,on a splurge would definately do the beachfront next time
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canberra, Australia
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2012

We stayed here for five nights in August 2012 in an ocean view bure and were lucky enough to book through a group discount site in Australia. What a picturesque resort!
We arrived by local bus (Coral Sun coaches) from Lautoka to Rakiraki and caught a taxi from Rakiraki ($20 Fijian).
The turquoise water at Wananavu was the best we saw in two and a half weeks in Fiji and the sunsets were incredible. We enjoyed the daily cocktail happy hour ($12 Fijian) and spent lots of time relaxing.
The staff are friendly but also give you lots of space. The resort is definitely pitching itself as a boutique experience. We must mention Sauriti on the front desk by name. She was amazing - so responsive, helpful and friendly.
There are no real negatives to mention.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
    • 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.
Geneva, Switzerland
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2012

This place is a happy change from Fiji's larger resorts. It's small but there is plenty of space for everyone - no fighting for the sunloungers by the pool (at some resorts this is a competitive sport), no queuing at the buffet for dinner, no search for private, quiet corner. Fijians are delightful, friendly hosts and Wananavu's staff are its biggest asset. They learn your names from the first day and treat you like good friends the whole time.

The room: We upgraded to a beach front bure and were pleased we did. The room is well mosquito proofed, has air con (not really needed), good ventilation and ceiling fans. The king sized bed is comfortable and the room is attractive and well appointed. Bathroom is large with two basins and a wonderful shower that has one wall as a full size window opening onto a private garden area. Water pressure and temperature are fine. There's a pleasant deck and outdoor seating, and, as a nice touch, a foot washing bowl to rinse off the sand. The rooms are private and look out onto coconut palms and the sea, and islands beyond. There are lots of hammocks and sunloungers. The hammocks were upgraded while we were there. The bures are a bit of a walk from the main complex, but this was never an issue, plus you get to meet a variety of wildlife - geckos, frogs, skins, birds and butterflies - on the way. The mini bar was not too dear - we became hooked on the peanuts, which were the same price as in the supermarket.

Negatives about the room are that it has meagre supplies - 2 wine glasses, but no champagne glasses, good coffee for the plunger but no way to open the foil packs (requiring some deft work with the corkscrew). It needs a mirror above the coffee making area and an in-room safe, and better resort information provided in the rooms (e.g., the treatment list from the spa, the day's menu).

The grounds. The gardens are lovely. Lots of tropical plants (hibiscus, bougainvillea, as you would expect), and coconut palms. Everything is kept immaculate by a large team of gardeners who are constantly at work. The area down by the marina is particularly special - open and sandy with lots of palms.

Swimming. The resort has a medium free style pool with some big rocks and a waterfall. It's quite deep - nice for swimmers, but there is a shallow area too.The water is a good temperature and was never crowded. The sunloungers around the pool are comfortable, and there is unobtrusive poolside service. Towels are provided through the boutique. There is also a beach, which is best at high tide, and steps into the sea by the beachfront bures, plus swimming in the marina, as well as a snorkelling area a bit further out. The snorkelling is pretty good, and the gear is provided free (as are kayaks).

Food. Just the one restaurant - and nowhere else to go as this place is remote. The food is not bad at all. Unlike the big resorts, Wananavu does not do buffets (except for the traditional Fijian feast, which is excellent). Breakfast is simple but good. Their bacon is truly some of the best I've ever had, and the scrambled eggs are great. Often the fruit at breakfast was over ripe for our taste. Best value is had from the all day menu. The daily menu offered some interesting dishes, but could be pricey ($F40). It was disappointing that there wasn't a larger range of fresh local food, especially seafood, on offer. The marinated fish was always a good option. We found the curries distinctly lacking in any punch whatsoever - a disappointment, as we've had some spectacularly good Indian food in Fiji. The wait staff are brilliant. Our water glasses were kept topped up with ice-cold water - much appreciated. The packed picnic lunch for the beach picnic was enormous - much more than we would eat. Lunch and dinner at the restaurant were always accompanied by a Fijian band. We loved that.

Drinks. The tap water is okay to drink. If you want bottled water then you have to pay for it (other resorts provide a bottle a day). There's a good range of cocktails, well priced especially at happy hour. If you are very lucky, you may get coconut chips with chilli sauce with your drinks. My word they are good, but they only came out on one night.

Activities. For a small resort the range of activities is impressive. There's lots of diving, plus snorkelling (the trip out on the boat yields some wonderful snorkelling areas), cultural trips, picnics and so on.The fellow at the activity hut is fantastic. Don't miss his free talks - we especially enjoyed the one on the coconut. We visited the spa a few times and had excellent treatments and would definitely recommend them. Shopping at the boutique is rather limited, but then you're not at the beach to shop. I'd say it was adequate. Just. We went on the beach picnic. It was on an island where there was an abandoned lodge. Beware the mosquitoes there - legions! It was a slightly strange place to go, and not very 'deserted', although the snorkelling was awesome.

Other. Be warned. This place is long way from the airport at Nadi. Our transfer took 2.5 hours and the roads are rough. It is not a particularly comfortable trip but it is interesting to see so much of the countryside and people. Once you are at the resort the trip is soon forgotten, but do think about flight times. A morning flight may entail a ridiculously early wake up time. We arrived at the resort very late, but enroute the resort phoned our driver and took a dinner order so that some food was waiting in our room. That was a really nice touch.

As noted above, the staff are magical. They really make this place. While we were there the owners were visiting. Usually at these resorts the owners and managers make themselves known to the guests and want to find out more about them and their impressions, or tell them about the place. The entire time we were there, we were never approached by either management or owners. They kept to themselves, dined together in an exclusive wee bure (it looked really sweet, I would have liked the opportunity to eat in there) and spoke to only one or two guests, who must have looked much more interesting than us. We made several friends at the resort, and they had the same experience and were also unimpressed. I have to say that the unfriendliness of the management soured our experience somewhat. And that is a great shame, because Wananavu is a special place. It is quiet but not boring (unless that's what you want), there's plenty of space and privacy to your own thing, some great activities, and it has the flavour, as they say, of the real Fiji. I would definitely consider returning.

Room Tip: Beach front bures are cool, quiet and private, but I also heard that the honeymoon bures are to die...
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2012 via mobile

I was lucky enough to get married at Wananavu. We had 57 guests which meant we had exclusive access to the resort. I had high expectations for this week... They were drastically exceeded!!!! The staff worked until the last person went to bed. Out of the 6 nights we were there, 3 nights we went to bed after 4am. The Fijians took me spear fishing upon my request, we caught barracuda and spanish! 1 hour befor my wedding I stained my wedding shirt. The staff cleaned it within 10 mins. The whole week was about me and my beautiful wife. I can go on and on. My advice is... You are crazy if you don't get married here!!!
Ben, a very happy husband!

  • Stayed September 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2012 via mobile

My husband and I stayed here got a friends wedding!
We were up graded to a beach front buru and the room was just amazing !
The staff were just lovely with great memories and remembered our names !
The food was so yum and there is nothing I could fault.
Cocktails were a little too GOOD and also a good price.
The resort has a Fiji feel to it. With a little band playing and singing at lunch and dinner. They also have kava :-)
I had such a great week and I would reccomend for couples , family's and if your looking at getting married here I highly suggest it!

  • Stayed September 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
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Additional Information about Wananavu Beach Resort

Address: Volvoli Rd, Rakiraki, Viti Levu, Fiji
Phone Number:
Location: Fiji > Viti Levu > Rakiraki
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Rakiraki
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Wananavu Beach Resort 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The real Fiji! Perfect for romance; fabulous for diving excellent for culture. 34 deluxe bures nestled along the beach and amongst tropical gardens. A real island experience with mainland convenience. Only just over 2 hours from Nadi International Airport. Great food, fantastic staff, unparalleled views, world class diving & snorkeling; amazing village tours and a perfect wedding venue. This is a true Fijian experience and is, as the name suggests, Wananavu! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Wananavu Beach Hotel Rakiraki
Wananavu Beach Rakiraki
Wananavu Beach Resort Fiji/Rakiraki

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