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“hotel california” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Sonaisali Island Resort Fiji

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Sonaisali Island Resort Fiji
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   Sonaisali Island Coral Coast | P.O.BOX 2544, Viti Levu, Fiji   |  
Hotel amenities
Sussex Inlet, Australia
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“hotel california”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 1, 2012

First of all i read the reviews before i went and thought i dont want to come back and have to write a bad one but sad to say its all true. Let me start our fiasco.When we arrived we got out of the taxi and got on a boat to go across to the island my wife and i thought how nice is this,when we reached the island we were greated by a fijian car salesman we just got off the boat and old mate says BULA welcome to Sonaisali where are you staying in the motel or the bure ,i said in the motel he said well for $110.00 a night we can upgrade you to a bure i said no thanks mate we'll be right.The guy just kept going he said come and i'll show you the bure, so we said ok we'll have a look. After we had a look i said no mate were happy with the motel so he past us on to his mate behind the desk and he said what about $55.00 a night i said no thanks so he goes alright what about $55.00 for 5 nights out of the 10 we were staying, so i gave in and said yes.When we got to our bure we found our safe wasnt working so i called them up cause we had our passports and a fair bit of cash on us.The guy at reception sent a bloke up that couldnt fix it so we had to carry it around with us for a day and ahalf til someone did. The next morning i jumped up to have a shower after another warm night sleep because of our air con was only just hangin in by the skin of its teeth and there was no hot water.I reported the shower to reception and they informed me that the other three bure next to us also had no hot water and they would have it fixed in a couple of hours ,3 yes 3 days later and after we had to shower in the public toilet area in the main foyer i thought is this place for real but that 3rd day it was fixed. Inbetween all this our food intake from the resort was more like a colon cleansing for 7 out of 10 days there my wife and i had to fight for the toilet,the food was very ordinary at the end we were having toast for breakfast and my wife was having bread rolls for dinner we couldnt wait to get home and have a good feed.When we did go up for dinner i had to piggy back my wife up to the dining area because she was scared of the rats they were partying around the back of the kitchen area every time we walked past.We also rang reception for a clock for our room and thats still coming along with the new jug we asked for as the one that was in there leaked all over our floor.One afternoon my wife and i decided to have nap we were woken by what we thought was a lawn mower but was a motorised insectorcide machine ,well by the time i got up to see what was happening old mate on the machine who was spraying the plants for something decided to give us a squirt through our luver windows so we had to bail.The fijian people that worked there were just beautiful and always smiling and friendly for the management they liked to stay behind the door in reception which was a battle zone every time we walked through there people were just going off, there was one woman that just went ballistic and now i can understand why .When we went to pay our bill i said to the guy behind the counter mate theres no way im paying for the upgrade and i told him why so he took my bill out the back and adjusted it when i looked at it they subtracted the upgrade and decided to add $174.00 for a meal i said are you takin the **** the poor middle man looked at me and just walked back in the magic door and it was finaly fixed and we left the island.I thougth i'd done my homework on this place and what made me choose Sonaisali a mate of mine from work said " oh friends of mine own that place they"ll look after you" i went yep that will do well after i ripped him a new one when i got back i told him to tell his friends that it was a dump and would never go back.Im so disappionted that its AUSTRALIAN owned , im a very easy to please guy but this place is crap,do yourself a favour and avoid this place.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SIRGM, General Manager at Sonaisali Island Resort Fiji, responded to this review, November 2, 2012
Bula Jamie,

Needless to say, we are very disappointed by your negative review. Please accept our profuse apologies for the issues you encountered, some aspects of which I would like to qualify as follows:

Firstly, we find it unhelpful to have any staff member referred to in derogatory terms. The person whom met you off the transfer boat, and subsequently escorted you to the Central Complex Lobby has been Head Porter at the Resort for the past fifteen years and is a much loved and highly valued staff member. He is also a member of the traditional LOU (Land Owning Unit) and as such, commands the respect of both fellow staff and Management alike. If he appeared over zealous in explaining alternative (Bure) accommodation, please accept our apology. Front Office staff also are also at liberty to explain the full range of accommodation options to check-n Guests, subject to availability. Most Guests are appreciative of the opportunity to upgrade from our standard Hotel Room category to Bure accommodation – upon arrival.

We sincerely apologise that your in-room safe was not working upon arrival, but note that it was successfully re-programmed the following day.

Your air conditioning unit will not work effectively in our tropical conditions, if doors and windows remain open.

We apologise that you were inconvenienced by an apparent hot water issue in your room, which was also subsequently resolved, albeit with an unreasonable delay. For this we are most apologetic.

The “motorised motor machine” was the daily inspect spray of the gardens, essential in out tropical climate.

For your information, there are no Management offices “behind the door in Reception.”

We thank you for your observation that, as with literally hundreds of other comments posted,
you found our staff “just beautiful and always smiling”, despite the fact that they were under considerable pressure in this instance. It is to their credit that they exemplify a special mix of gentleness, courtesy and grace synonymous with the Fijian culture.

I am pleased that you were compensated for your inconvenience prior to departure.
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1,215 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (304)
Date | Rating
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English first
Sydney, Australia
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 1, 2012

General Manager needs to grow some ...... and attend to the problems that arise daily at this resort. He appears to walk around as though he is on a well paid vacation. I would never recommend this resort to anyone. My family and I had a very disappointing holiday. Food lousy, cleanliness poor, bures in need of major maintenance, activities area needs a bomb put up them, kids club no variety and did not keep to programme, staff don't know what is going on and have very poor PR skills (exception Suresh). All in all an extremely unprofessionally run Resort.

Room Tip: Just don't book Sonaisali
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SIRGM, General Manager at Sonaisali Island Resort Fiji, responded to this review, November 3, 2012
Bula Sue,

Thank you for your posting.

I was very disappointed to read your comments, particularly those directed at myself personally. I regret that I did not have the opportunity to make your acquaintance during your stay in order to resolve your problems.

Myself and the dedicated Sonaisali team work very hard to meet Guest expectation. We clearly failed in your case and this is very much regretted.

Vinaka.
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Travelers are raving about these Sonaisali Island hotels

Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2012

Sonaisali is a beautiful resort with a great looking pool complex and a great variety of activities for you to do on hand. The bure's are all really nice and clean and even our one, which was the last in the long line at number 99 was exceptionall close to the beach, literally about 1 minute walk. We went snorkelling, an activity provided by the hotel, about a half hour boat ride from the resort and that was definitely the highlight.

The lowlight was definitely the extremely lax service and extremely expensive prices for basically everything, both at the resort and in Nadi town itself.
We ordered room service (fish and chips and a burger) one night and it took two hours and me requesting it from four different staff members for it to arrive. When it did, it was greasy and luke warm and not worth the $57 it cost us. When I spoke to the manager, explaining that I wasn't going to pay for a meal that took this long and was delivered this way, he explained there was nothing he could do as "the charge was already in the system" but he would give me a 10% discount.

Also, during my stay I had a mild allergic reaction to some sunblock that I had put on my face and needed some antihistamines. After going to the hotel manager for assistance, he called the nurse, who after 35 minutes of waiting was nowhere to be seen. All the manager could say to this was joke about everything being on 'bula time' and offer me some aloe vera gel free of charge. Eventually another guest at the hotel came to the rescue and offered me one of her antihistamines. This kind of reaction to a guest in distress was just unaccetable.

Overall the staff were all very friendly and smiling but that is where it stopped. They were unattentive and lax and would hike up room charges with no explanation making check out a nightmare.

I would definitely go back to Fiji but I would never go back to Sonaisali.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
SIRGM, General Manager at Sonaisali Island Resort Fiji, responded to this review, November 1, 2012
Bula Emily,

Thank you for your contribution and for your highly complimentary comments in relation to our “beautiful resort...great looking pool complex and great variety of activities...really nice and clean bures..”

You have correctly highlighted one of the best features of the Resort as being the close proximity of all accommodation to the beach (literally one minute walk!), and you clearly enjoyed the wonderful snorkelling trip provided from the Resort’s own marina.

With such positive comments, we are extremely disappointed to find that we failed to deliver on food and beverage service and for this we offer our sincere apologies. The Manager on duty clearly handled your complaint poorly and I will be taking the matter up with him personally.

You will be pleased to know that as a result of your experience, we now stock antihistamines in our Retail (pharmaceutical) outlet.

Vinaka
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Christchurch, New Zealand
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2012

I have experienced many stays in the beautiful Fiji and have had many a great experience with not only the Fijian friendly hospitality but also the great resorts/islands we have stayed.

I would never return to this Island. Trip advisor says it all, Rats around the pool, room charges being racked up (tips), beware check your bill daily, airconditioning not working, some room facilities definetly not up to standard, breakfast a joke ( no spoons, very hard to eat ricies with a fork) The food and service terrible, power outages, no wifi when you have payed for it then finding it hard to get a refund, the food was terrible and repetitive i.e. sausages day 1 with onions, day 2 the remaining sausages in tomato sauce I could go on as there are many many stories to be told and all very negative. Read trip advisor!!!!!!!!!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled on business
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SIRGM, General Manager at Sonaisali Island Resort Fiji, responded to this review, October 30, 2012
Dear Heather,

Management and staff of the Resort were very disappointed that you did not enjoy your stay with us and for this we sincerely apologise. I have read the comments in your review and would like to qualify some of the points raised.

We do not have rats running around the pool. If you have encountered the mongoose which are indigenous to our 110acre island, it would not be surprising. Mongoose can be remarkably tame and form an important part of the Resort’s natural eco-system.

No “tips” are charged to rooms. Tipping is frowned upon, as you will have read in all Resort literature. The Staff Gratuity Box is prominently displayed in the Lobby – contributions to which are equally shared by all Resort staff at Christmas.

We have no record of air conditioning not working in your room, nor do you say that you reported this during the course of your stay. It is difficult to comment on your claim that some room facilities were not up to standard without more specific information.

We apologise if you had to wait for cutlery to be replenished at the Breakfast Buffet. The Resort has wifi throughout the Central Complex facility.
Sausages are not served on the Tropical (Continental) Breakfast Buffet. Hot Cooked Breakfast (with a wide selection of menu dishes available) – are all ordered Al La Carte.

Management and staff very much regret that you did not enjoy your time at our beautiful Resort,. At Sonaisali, we pride ourselves on delivering the best possible holiday experience to our many return and happy Guests. It appears in your case – our Resort did not meet with your expectation.

Once again, please accept our sincere apologies.
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Westport, West Coast, New Zealand
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2012

Unless you like the power turning on and off constantly - which includes the air conditioning - don't stay here. Service was appalling at the best of times, people would take our order and it would either not turn up or take over 1.5 hours to arrive, with no explanations. The rooms while look really nice at the beginning, trying to open and close the doors to outside became a problem as they kept coming off or were permanently off the runners. If you don't mind being woken up through the night with a tractor driving past your room - by all means stay here!!! Activity equipment was under par or not functional due to poor maintenance. Technically this should not be the case with the prices they charge for rooms and meals being astronomical!

To cut a long story short we left the 'resort' 2 days earlier than planned with no refund offered. We managed to find a more suitable resort that met our needs and turned the holiday around.

P.S. the taxi service will suck you into their 'only fijian owned' gift shop and rip you off!!

Room Tip: Don't pick one by the pool area - too noisey - if you decide to go here that is....
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SIRGM, General Manager at Sonaisali Island Resort Fiji, responded to this review, October 28, 2012
Bula Michael,
Thank you or your review, which we are pleased to have the opportunity to address. As FEA (Fiji Energy Authority) power is subject to fluctuations beyond our control, the Resort has it’s own back-up generator, which cuts in automatically during mains power outages. The disruptions are momentary and do not effect air conditioning. We have no record of your AC unit tripping, nor maintenance request as a result of power fluctuation during the course of your stay.
No Guest at the Resort waits 1.5hours for meal service. We acknowledge, however, that service is sometimes slow, especially during peak occupancy periods, and we are currently taken steps to resolve the issue. We apologise that food service did not meet your expectation. We likewise apologise for the problem experienced with your sliding door, which a routine maintenance check has clearly rectified as your room was found to be in perfect order upon inspection today.
Your noise complaints are somewhat baffling: no Resort accommodation is situated in the pool vicinity. Please refer the Resort’s web site: www.sonaisali.com for visual reference.
It is also not possible for a “tractor” to pass by your room. You may recall that your accommodation was situated beachfront (with direct beach access), and was set amidst the Resort’s lush tropical landscaped gardens, inaccessible to heavy equipment. Services access for the Resort is at the rear of the Resort, well away from Guest accommodation.
Unfortunately we cannot comment on your unfortunate “taxi” experience. Unscrupulous scalping by taxi drivers is a world-wide phenomenon, not confined to Fiji.
The Resort operates escorted shopping trips daily to Nadi town in our own (sign-written) vehicles, with Resort staff, to ensure our valued Guests are properly looked after. The trip allows Guests to wander Nadi town at leisure and also includes shopping tips, drop off at Fiji famous department store “Jacks Handicraft”, best places to eat – and general orientation.
Please also refer Sonaisali web for full range of our highly competitive rates and menus.
We are pleased you eventually found a Hotel more in line with your budget and expectation.
Vinaka
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Auckland Region, New Zealand
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2012

We stayed 2 nights in Sonaisali in late September, just before Blue Sky event.
We booked our stay through some travel agency, which was located in our previous hotel and they had nice deals. As I remember, we paid 280FJD for Oceanview Bure. We thought it was worth it.
Nice staff, a bit slow, but everyone in Fiji is slow :)
Beach, which is on the left side if you face swimming pool is not very nice, but the one on the right side, which is a bit further the island is very quiet and beautiful. You can see horses there too.

Food wasn't that expensive and that bad. They have the same food prices as every other resort does in Fiji. And if you want to save, order room service. It's cheaper. Or you could even bring your own food (snacks) from Nadi. I saw many people who did it.
And Sonaisali does awesome picnic packs for 30FJD. We ordered it before dinner and we ended up not having dinner at all. Picnics there are very romantic too!

And we also stayed in 3 other hotels in Fiji and Sonasaili was the best!!!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
SIRGM, General Manager at Sonaisali Island Resort Fiji, responded to this review, October 30, 2012
Bula Kira,

Thank you for taking the time to provide your very positive comment s regarding your recent stay at Sonaisali, including that you thought the price paid for your accommodation, Ocean View Bure category, “was worth it.” The majority of the Resort’s room inventory, as you would be aware, consists of individual bure accommodation, and affords Guests a truly authentic Fijian experience.

We also noted your comment that you found our northern beach “very quiet and beautiful” and that you were quite delighted (as are we!) with the Resort’s 18 horses which are available for riding throughout our lush 110 acre island and 2km beachfront. Children also enjoy petting the foals which are invariably born each year.

Thank you for your acknowledgement that food prices at the Resort are in line with other properties. You clearly enjoyed your “awesome” picnic at one of the island’s many delightfully and secluded locations.

We are indeed fortunate in that our beautiful Resort occupies only one third of our private island paradise. The remaining natural landscape is enjoyed by many Guests to beach comb, wander and explore at leisure – as you have discovered.

We look forward to Welcoming you back to the Resort in the Future.
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Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 24, 2012

I went as part of BlueSky Fiji, which was a giant party taking over the whole resort. The resort was perfect for the type of event but if you're going there for a relaxing, luxury, tropical getaway in Fiji you're probably not going to be impressed. That being said, I was staying in a Bure that hadn't been renovated but some of the rooms/bures had been and looked amazing!

Oh, one thing that bothered me is that the beach is actually a tarpaulin with a thin and dirty layer of sand over it, you can see parts of the tarpaulin showing through which kind of ruined things.

It's definitely one of those "you get what you pay for" places and it's not really that bad.

Room Tip: Ask for a renovated room/bure as they are MUCH nicer than those that aren't. I am confident most...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SIRGM, General Manager at Sonaisali Island Resort Fiji, responded to this review, October 31, 2012
Bula Jason and greetings from Paradise.

We thank you for taking the time to post your comments.

I’m sure you enjoyed the highly successful Blue Skye weekend, along with the 300 other revellers. As the entire Resort was booked out for your very specialised, high-energy event, I’m sure you will appreciate that you did not experience our Resort in normal, highly relaxing, operational mode.

We thank you for your observation that renovated “rooms/bures looked amazing”.
The “nukuvula” or added white sand areas you refer to are not the actual beach, but rather landscaped features spread throughout the extensive grassed areas of the Resort, purely for aesthetic purposes.

For your information, Sonaisali is a sand island, with a 2-kilometrenatural beach frontage.
We hope to see you back at the next exciting event.

Stay tuned to the SIR web site for details.

Vinaka
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Additional Information about Sonaisali Island Resort Fiji

Address: Sonaisali Island Coral Coast | P.O.BOX 2544, Viti Levu, Fiji
Location: Fiji > Viti Levu > Sonaisali Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Sonaisali Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Sonaisali Island Resort Fiji 4*
Number of rooms: 123
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
25 minutes from Nadi Airport. Award winning traditional accommodation comprises 123 rooms/bures. Two world-class restaurants with cuisine inspired by the best of European, Indian, Fijian and Asian Influences. 4 Bars, Large lagoon style pool with swim up bar, horseriding, tennis, volleyball, water sports, surf tours, shopping tours, snorkelling trips, dolphin watching trips, jet skis, sunset cruises, Spa Centre, free Kids Club, games room. Green Globe 21 certified. Perfect for Weddings and Honeymoons. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sonaisali Island Resort Fiji Hotel Sonaisali Island
Hotel Sonaisali Island
Sonaisali Island Hotel Fiji
Fiji Sonaisali Island Resort

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