We went to Qamea for 7 nights for our honeymoon, and overall we had a good time but in the end, felt that we could have found a location that would have better fit our preferences and personality. I wanted to write a very honest, detailed review from our perspective so that all future visitors can get some input to make the right decision.
To start off, all of the positive reviews are totally true - the following things were excellent:
1) the food - everything was beautifully presented and so fresh, we felt like we were eating at an expensive restaurant for lunch and dinner.
2) the people - i really can't say enough about how kind, thoughtful, and nice the staff at qamea are (as well as fijian people in general!). the staff always remembers your names, and are so warm and welcoming that it makes the stay so much more personable
3) the bouma waterfall trip - it's everything that others said it would be. the waterfalls were amazing, and it was an experience we will always remember. it was a short trip to the first waterfall, which was amazing, and then we went 40 minutes on a hike up the mountains to the second. we were so sweaty and tired, but seeing the waterfall made it all worth it. we got to swim, watch our guide percy climb up the rocks and jump off, and cheer on the brave people who did the jump off the cliff.
4) spa treatments - the ladies at the spa gave us the most thorough, excellent treatments we have ever gotten (the massages can be a bit firm though so make sure and let them know if you prefer lighter pressure!). we never felt rushed and really felt pampered afterwards
now, here are some items that to us, didn't warrant this as our dream honeymoon - with the caveat that most of these aren't really negatives and could be positives for some people:
1) we are definitely of the camp that prefers pristine white sand beaches and clear blue water. the beach at qamea is beautiful, yes, and very close to the bures (for the most part) but most of the beach is very rocky and the sand right off the beach is mostly coral. this may be a bonus for some people, but for us it left little room for us to just lay and sunbathe or wade very far into the water without stepping on coral. the best area of the beach (where the sand is fine, white, and rock-free) is right where the boats come in, so we would often try to sit in the adirondack chairs there and get some sun, but we could not lay out there. another thing was that there were limited areas on the resort to lay out - one of them being the pool deck, but the deck only had room enough for two chairs out where the sun could hit. so there would usually be one couple per afternoon that would claim these chairs, and we would go find another location. since the beach is narrow and rocky, we ended up dragging our beach chairs to the beach in front of our bure during low tide to get some sun. otherwise, we laid in our chairs in the grass in front of our bure. this is all fine, but we didn't really have a nice stretch of white clean sand to go to each day to sun. this was a key thing for us - and something that i felt i didn't get a clear picture of reading the reviews so wanted to mention.
2) the bures are very nice, but not what you would expect of a luxury/4-5 star resort. the decor is island style, and there were several areas that seemed a little worn like the screens on the windows (bent and had holes), the white cloth panels around the bed (little holes), and our window had glass panels, one of which would keep falling off. the inside of the bure was pretty dark with just a few small lights around the bed for reading (which is great for a romantic atmosphere but makes it hard to see things if you need a brighter light). the beds were very comfortable, however, and we liked the outdoor showers.
3) fiji time - i loved the fijian people in general, but one thing we had to get used to was fiji time. fijian people are very warm, friendly, and laid back, which means that sometimes you won't get as snappy and detail-oriented response as you might be used to in other countries. one example would be for the meals. in america, waitstaff come and check on you often, and courses are brought out in a timely fashion. in fiji, you often spend at least 1.5-2 hours for each meal, because it takes 20-30 minutes to bring out each consecutive course. also, between the courses, if we wanted anything, we would have to go to the kitchen to find someone, as they didn't come and check in on us in between. again, this is probably just a different culture, but something for us to get used to. one couple we talked to said that they would request meals in their bure since all the courses would be brought at once and they could finish the meals quicker. one other thing was that for the meals, portion sizes are a little more delicate than we are used to (being from america) so often my husband would request an extra serving or larger serving. however, this would often result in at least another 20 minutes tacked onto the total waiting time, so we tried not to ask when possible.
4) service - in general, the service was fantastic. requests were welcomed, and the staff always seemed happy to help in any way. however, there were times when some slip-ups happened, that we wouldn't have expected at a luxury resort. one example was that we had requested dinner to be served in our bure since we had a late spa appointment that ended at 8:15pm. after our spa appointment, we waited in our bure and dinner never came. so around 9pm, finally we went to the main dining hut where we found out the request was never passed on, and dinner hour was almost over. i will note that they were very apologetic and served us dinner immediately, which partially made up for the mistake. another time, the nightly turndown staff left only one beach towel for the two of us. it happened again the next night, which we were confused about because if there are two people per bure, then why would one towel be enough. another time, we had left some dirty robes from the spa and towels on our floor to be taken away. but when we came back, they were still on our floor, but moved to the corner. we assumed that they thought we didn't want these items taken away, but if they were on the floor, that should have been fairly obvious. another time, we waited probably 40 minutes for our dessert. nobody came to check on us and we had to go find the waitstaff to let them know. turns out that they thought we'd already gotten our dessert and were just sitting there to talk. these are all small things, but again, not something you'd expect if you stayed at the ritz or other 5-star places.
5) bugs - we're city folk, and some bugs are ok, but we got bitten many times and spent the entire trip slathering on bug repellent lotion. in our bure, we spent some time before bed to draw the curtains and kill any mosquitoes that were in the sleeping area. but by the next day, the cleaning staff would come in and leave the door open while cleaning, and we'd come back from dinner to find many more new bugs in our room. one night, we killed 5 mosquitoes alone, inside the curtains of our bed. the bugs are something that can't be helped, being next to the jungle and all, but we would have liked for the staff to be more careful about closing the doors and not letting in new bugs.
6) camp-like atmosphere - this is probably a positive for many people. qamea is a very friendly atmosphere where people are encouraged to mingle and make friends and have drinks and go on little excursions together. and that's wonderful - we're not against that at all. but we were on our honeymoon to have some quiet, relaxing time alone, and we felt a little strange not participating in the social activies. at other resorts, this woudln't have been a problem since most people keep to themselves. again, not a bad thing, but just something to note if you'd prefer to be on your own. this is something i wish i could have read in a review, so i hope this helps someone else.
again, i don't want to make this sound like a negative review, because it isn't at all. we had a good time, but just wish that we'd known about some of these things since there probably could have been another destination that would have been a better fit for us. i can totally understand why so many people have such warm feelings about qamea, and this review is not to go against those opinions but rather to provide another point of view.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- An intimate and boutique Fijian resort catering to a maximum of 34 adults in 17 luxurious all beachfront and air conditioned bures and royal beach houses. Set on 100 private acres of lush gardens, jagged volcanic mountains, and a long white sand beach, it is perfect for honeymoons, weddings, spa retreats and incredible world class diving. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Qamea Resort And Spa Fiji Hotel Qamea Island
- Hotel Qamea Island
- Qamea Island Hotel Fiji