Like other recent TripAdvisor reviewers, I left for Mana a little bit nervous about the reviews I had read here, however we neeedn't have worried. Yes, the cyclone did some damage, parts of the resort need updating, the food is not fine dining, but none of these issues are bad anough to detract from a fantastic Fiji Island holiday.
Accommodation: We stayed in an Island Bure. We have three children 12 and under, so there was really not much room to do anything apart from sleep. The only time that was a problem was when it rained for two days in a row, but luckily we were with extended family so we could make use of more than one bure. We had a few maintenance issues, such as a towel rail that kept falling off, and a broken clothes line, but apart from that I thought the room was very nice and exceptionally clean. The decor is probably a bit dated but there is nothing wrong with it. It suits the island style. Housekeeping did arrive quite late in the day sometimes, but they were very accommodating if we were in there and they did a very thorough job.
Food: We bought the breakfast and dinner package before we left home, because we didn't want to be continually thinking about where we were going to eat and how much it was costing us. It worked very well, and our children were able to have lunch for free each day as well, which was great because it was the only way to get them out of the pool for a few minutes! The adults had a drink or a coffee and some of the snacks that we brought with us - cheese, crackers, chips etc. We all enjoyed having our eggs cooked fresh at the egg nest for breakfast, and seeing what food each theme would bring for dinner. I'd say the dinner buffet was a mixture - there were a few things I wouldn't eat but a lot that I did and really enjoyed (BBQ night, coconut pannacotta, fresh pineapple, the little bread rolls). We never went hungry!
We had a special occasion dinner at the South Beach restaurant (which was in the conference room at that time) and the food was lovely. We ordered a cake for my parents' wedding anniversary and the staff served it to them complete with singing and guitar playing which was wonderful. We used credit from the buffet restaurant to partly pay for this dinner.
We didn't have any issues with our plates not being cleared, in fact, the staff were very attentive. We did find that you had to book early in the day, or even the day before, if you wanted to eat outside on the deck, or at the South Beach restaurant.
Activities: We enjoyed a number of activities, including volleyball, cooking, coconut icecream, kava, Bingo and crab racing (highlights for our competitive family!), and the Bula Bus. We did have a few experiences of "Fiji time" here, but you have to get used to the relaxed way of life and just go with the flow. If something is really important and needs to be done, talk to a manager and you can usually get a result just by having a friendly conversation.
The kids loved the pool and there were no issues with maintenance here. The adult infinity pool is lovely too. We enjoyed snorkelling on both beaches and loved the fact that when one beach is a bit windy the other always seems to be perfectly calm! It is a great place to introduce children to snorkelling as you just walk out off the beach and the fish are right there - you hardly need to swim.
The children joined up to Kids Club, then each day we would have a look at the activities and see which sessions they wanted to go to. It is great that there a three separate sessions each day, so you can pick and choose to suit each child. The staff there were lovely and our children warmed to them very quickly.
People: It is the people of Mana who make the holiday so special. We never got tired of giving and receiving a warm "Bula!' as we walked around the resort, and built a rapport with some of the staff while we were there. They were always willing to help us out when we needed it and we had a lot of fun with them. We enjoyed a visit to the village where my girls got their hair braided and we were all were able to experience a bit of life in Fiji, and we also visited the Mana Island SDA school which was a highlight of our trip. The children sang for us and we played sport with them which my son loved, and if we go back we would probably do a lot more of that .
This was my first trip to Fiji and I can't wait to go back! Mana Island was a bit more expensive for us than the mainland would have been, especially when you add in ferry transfers etc, but our family loves beaches and the Mana Island ones are just beautiful. It was the most relaxing holiday I can remember having. Often when we go away we are either sightseeing, planning our next meal, emailing people at home etc. At Mana our toughest decision was deciding which cocktail to have each evening - we didn't have any worries at all, but spent our days relaxing and enjoying time together.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.