Let me start by saying this place is very special. It is quite remote and nice and small so the whole experience is very personal. The staff are absolutely amazing and they are a beautifully calm, quiet people who always have a smile on their face. The staff mostly come from the local village and the resort is their only source of income so they have a special interest in making you feel welcome and part of the island. The food is impeccable, Jonah the chef is an absolute dream. We found the menu very limited with only a couple of choices each meal however having said that we rarely ordered from the menu instead we talked to Jonah who was more than happy to make us something beautiful and fresh every time. We didn't have one average meal the whole stay, they were all exceptional. These people have a way with seafood that is almost magical. The alcohol is of course expensive but when you are shipping it to such a remote destination I guess you need to expect that. The wines were good though and we didn't mind paying for it but I would suggest you take along a few bottles of duty free wine if you have room. We have travelled extensively and have also been going to Fiji for 23 years. Yasawa is the closest thing to the real Fiji we have come across. The island itself is magnificent, the waters are blue and pure, the beaches are a fine white sand, the snorkelling is great. The beach picnics which are included in the tariff are amazing and a must do for everyone. The snorkelling trips are also well organised and run safely by the local people.
There are a couple of small issues I think need addressing quite quickly. The maintenance on the bures is in need of some work. Our shutters didn't work, the toilet lid wasn't fixed on, the taps leaked and they were generally tired looking. The air conditioner (one small unit over the bed that blew directly on us) did little to offer any cooling even when set at 16 degrees. The pole type design of the bures make them difficult to cool I'm sure but in that climate and at 5 star prices I think its reasonable to expect adequate air conditioning. The bures all needed a full on thorough clean too, not just a quick wipe over. I'm sure the staff do what they can in the time available but it might be time for a spring clean. Laundry is charged extra (most other 5 star resorts in Fiji offer a free laundry service each day) and while it is only a small thing it would make a big difference if visitors weren't worrying about the small chores they have come to escape. If I were management I would even put the rates up $20 and include the laundry, it's a minor annoyance but easily fixed. I was surprised that many of the staff uniforms were not clean. Especially some of the restaurant staff whose uniforms really were extremely stained and dirty - a bit scary and you hope the hygiene in the kitchen is not reflected by the uniforms.
As I said before, these are all minor issues but if you want to charge 5 star prices then people expect 5 star. I don't expect mainland 5 star as the location is in itself a 7 star but I think some minor maintenance, a damn good clean and a bit more staff training would make a huge difference. The owner was on the island while we were there but made no effort to talk to us or ask our opinions. At the end of the stay we were handed a credit card receipt to sign with a printed out bill in an envelope. The bill was much higher than we expected and the print out was not itemised - just an amount listed per day. We rarely signed for anything we bought but on at least one occasion my husband was given someone elses docket to sign (which he did) until I pointed out it wasn't ours so I wonder how many other times that happened.
I would still recommend Yasawa as an awesome destination and I hope the new owners take the time to bring the resort up to the level it deserves. I would only return if some refurbs were done or the prices dropped.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Yasawa Island Resort & Spa is an exclusive retreat on one of the most remote and unspoiled islands of Fiji. Just 18 luxury bungalows are hidden among luscious tropical greenery, each only a few steps from a pristine, silky white-sand beach. Celebrated for its pristine location, Yasawa Island Resort & Spa has offered guests from around the globe unique, authentic and enriching travel experiences. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Yasawa Island Hotel Yasawa Island
- Yasawa Island Resort And Spa Yasawa Islands, Fiji