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“After Cyclone, this resort should have closed” 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
Daegu, South Korea
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“After Cyclone, this resort should have closed”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2013

We arrived at the Sonaisali on December 20. The hotel was at about 20% occupancy and yet we still had to wait over 4 hours to get our room. When we did arrive in our room I asked about drinking the water and was informed by the porter that he would not recommend drinking it. Luckily we had some water with us, because none was made available in our room. There was a lack of towels (2 towels for 4 people, no wash or hand cloths). The staff was very friendly, but unable to help with even minor requests. The pool was supposed to be ready on Monday (4 days after our arrival) but was not ever ready during our stay. The A/C did not work, so we moved rooms to another A/C that also did not work, and which blew the fuses every 6-10 minutes. The hotel changed the price of internet, and if you did buy it for 24 hours, it mostly did not work. There was no telephone available to contact our next hotel to inquire about early check-in and transfer. The breakfast was flaccid and bland. I asked the waitress and the front desk about getting water, and about the safety of the drinking water and again was told they did not recommend it. When I asked the manager he informed me that the water was completely safe to drink, which left me wondering if it was a money making scheme. The pool was empty except for silty water, which we were not able to swim in. To compensate the resort did offer complementary trips into Nadi and Denerau, and snorkeling excursions. We were able to take advantage of all. On the day of the snorkeling excursion we were about 30 minutes out to sea when the steering cable broke. Apparantly it had broken on the previous day, but no one had bothered to let the crew know. So, it took us about 2 hours to get to the site, and then about 3 1/2 hours to get back. The food on the snorkeling excursion was fabulous. Actually, the lunch on the snorkleing trip was the only good part of our stay at Sonaisali. Oh yes, one night we had a rat in our room eating our peanuts. It was able to get in because the sliders did not completely close, so it, and other things came right it. Also, a funny aside- the sliders have a chain latch, but as the doors slide both ways you can open it easily from the outside. Lastly the beach was decimated and the gardens destroyed.

While I do understand that the resort was hit by the cyclone, they should have had the sense to close it until it could be brought up to par. Additionally, I feel that the resort deliberately misled us with their FB update (see it in photos below). I hope that the Sonaisali and the area are able to make a complete recovery, but I will not be visiting again.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SIRGM, Executive Director at Sonaisali Island Resort Fiji, responded to this review, January 17, 2013
Bula,

Thank you for your posting. We take all Guest feedback very seriously and welcome the opportunity to clarify some of the issues raised accordingly.

Our Resort was trading considerably beyond the 20% occupancy you quoted in your posting on the day of your arrival and as you have not provided specific information, we are unable to track your booking in our system to verify your arrival time, whether you were pre-registered or check-in time. Please accept our sincere apologies if you were not efficiently checked into your room at the normal arrival time (2.00pm).

The Resort’s water supply, piped across the Lagoon from the mainland Water Authority of Fiji supply (and further treated at the Resort) as advised to you by senior management, is safe for drinking. This is also made clear by literature located in all Guest accommodation.
We apologise if you had an issue with air conditioning.

The Resort’s huge swimming pool was re-filled and fully operation on 28th December, although many Guests were enjoying the facility several days before the pool reached full water capacity.

Thank you for your acknowledgement that the Resort offered free snorkelling, plus Nadi and Denarau excursions during the period in which the pool was refilling.

We also note your generous comment that the food provided by the Resort on the snorkelling trip was “fabulous”.

Internet services throughout Fiji were disrupted for two weeks from 17th December, following the category four TC Evan. No Guests were charged for internet services post 17th December until full services were resumed fourteen days later. From 17-31st December, all Guests were given free access to the (intermittent) internet connection prevalent at the time, in the Resort’s Business Centre.

Our Resort has two styles of accommodation: Individual Bure or Hotel Room. The “sliders” (entry doors) you describe are not featured in any rooms. The only items in our Hotel Rooms which open “both ways” are the internal louvered privy screens, which perform no security function.

We hope that the above will help ameliorate some of the issues raised. We very much regret that you did not enjoy your stay with us and for this we offer our very humble apologies.

Tropical regards,
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1,222 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 (308)
Date | Rating
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English first
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2013

Stayed 3 nights at Sonaisali and we could not wait to get the hell out of there! The resort was dirty, smelly and utterly horrible!
1. Our bure's air conditioning did not work!
2. Dirty bure! Ants crawling everywhere and lizards poo on bedlinen etc! It was disgusting! On check-in the reception desk had a pool of ants on it! Certifiably dirty!
3. The kettle provided in our room was old and rusty and our request for milk was met with "we have run out"! Not a surprise really when housekeeping still hadn't clean our bure at 5.30pm!
4. No hot water and unclean shower/bath!
5. Phone in room did not work! We were told this was due to cyclone damage but how does management expect to contact us without a phone in emergency is a mystery to me!
6. Pool towel & sunbed- good luck trying to get one despite being 8am in the morning!
7. Breakfast - terrible! There was a constant queue for bread and the toaster as it was the only edible thing! No hot food! And the staff were busy spraying insecticides whilst the food was exposed and left uncovered! One would think in a tropical country where flies are a constant issue, the basic food covering will be provided but none ever was!
8. Restaurant food - disastrous! Pizza with ham really was a flat bread with spam and melted cheese! The staff are constantly trying to sell you the meal packages and that was truly annoying! Poor service and long wait for food!
9. We were told the billiard table was free to be used but no balls were provided! You had to pay money to get these out! How is this classified as free?
10. Live wires were hanging about! And the pool is dirty! They attempt to clean the pool whilst kids are swimming in it! Go figure!
11. Springy bed- We could feel tge springs in our bed! Worst sleep ever!

Nothing here has been properly maintained!
Every complaint to management was met with the explanation that it had been cyclobe damaged! If the damage was so extensive they should have shut down like the Westin did but I suppose money hungry management had to make a quick buck!
Do yourself a favour and stay the hell away! Do not be deceived by the photoshopped photos! Paradise Hell! This sort of resort struggles go qualify for even half a star! Truly atrocious!

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SIRGM, Executive Director at Sonaisali Island Resort Fiji, responded to this review, January 8, 2013
Dear Guest,

We are extremely disappointed that we did not meet your expectation at our Resort during your recent, post-cyclone stay.

We thank you for your posting and welcome the opportunity to address your concerns as follows:

You may recall that in our large bures, air conditioning will not work effectively unless all of the plantation shutter louvers are closed and that there is literature in the bure to this effect. Fiji experienced intermittent (mains) power outages for an extended period post cyclone, and this also affected some air conditioning units. If your bure was affected during the switch from mains to generator power during this transition period, we deeply regret the inconvenience caused in this circumstance.

We have never witnessed ants crawling over our black granite Reception counter, but are well aware that our delightful tropical climate is host to a large percentage of the word’s insect varieties- including an indigenous gecko. It is regretted that this normally inoffensive lizard was visible in your accommodation.

The Resort’s Continental Buffet Breakfast features a variety of meats, cheeses, fresh fruits, cereal, juices, dairy products – in addition to pastries etc. Multiple-slice toasters are set at various intervals throughout the extended Buffet counter – to avoid ques. All hot dishes are served al-la-carte.

The product commonly known as “Spam” in the US (and elsewhere) is not available in Fiji. SIR pizzas are made with processed ham and local cheese.

Our billiard table is not advertised as “free”. Charges apply.

The very large Resort pool is constantly skimmed for leaves and other debris during the course of the day, including at the (shallow) children’s end, for aesthetic reasons.

All Guest feedback is sincerely appreciated and we thank you for your contribution in this instance.

Kind regards,
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Travelers are raving about these Sonaisali Island hotels

Melbourne, Australia
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2013

Terrible stay at this resort what ever you do really do not book here. This is the WORST four star DUMP we have ever been too. I'm always happy to put good reviews on here and we took the cyclone into consideration but this is a poorly managed island that lacks even the smallest of communication.

Stayed for six nights in Dec 2012 for the New Year. Out of ten we would rate it a 1/10 at best!!!!

1. On arrival no one acknowledge this was our special Pre wedding holiday despite been told several times prior in emails to the resort. Day six still nothing!
2. Checked into Bure - no TV no hot water had ants in the room and lizards had a view of all the rubbish outside our front door! Day six had water however TV did not work and Ants and lizards remained!
3. Day one woken up at 08.00am by a tractor outside our room and co workers having banter outside our window having mentioned this upset us on the first day of our holiday was advised "this is a four star resort not a five" disappointingly I never knew a single star resort offered a roaring tractor outside your room.... If only I knew.
4. No phone working during entire stay.
5. Trying to get a pool towel in this resort is an impossible task in six days myself and my husband to be only managed one single towel to be shared, this was in the afternoon. No apology or acknowledgement by staff- it's almost like they are used to it.
6. It may be worth knowing before you book that there are not enough sun beds in the resort I counted less than 15 for an entire resort. You must be up early to be privileged to enjoy a subbed on this resort (before 7am!)
7. Happy hour means rip off hour only a small discount on drinks hardly anything to be happy about.
8. Never been on a island (one where people we knew paid additional costs to check out early) where you are constantly ripped off on money at ALL stages from the bars to food it's a rip off! Yet they only pay there poor staff 26 dollars (Fiji) per day.
9. An example of this is the resort decided at the last minute after guests kept asking to do a New Year Eve party/buffet- you had a choice leave the resort, stay in your room or pay 174 Fiji dollars per person. They put security on and you was made to feel like a criminal - one would assume on holiday we already paid for YOU to entertain us. Having received complaints they then opened the pool bar- after 9.30pm you could get past security and join the party(buffet) as it was the same band they had on all the time! So guests paid 174 each to have a buffet which was the next days food!
10. Massages in Denarau (a lovely resort) are 65 dollars on this resort you will not have much change from 200 dollars
11. Be assured the pool is not the blue you see it is a realistic murky green and stings your eyes and nose when you go in and turns your swim suits yellow!
12. Constantly the staff lie to you or steal from you in anyway they can- we was told we had a special wine for a cheap price as the one I chose was "not available" - DO NOT BELIEVE them they are trying to pocket the money and get you to pay more as on the second occasion this occurred when I refused to upgrade my wine to the directors choice my first choice cheaper wine suddenly turned up.
13. Restaurant meals - that's a event in itself always something missing from what you ordered never the same meal twice?
14. Sunset cruise consist of two glasses of sparking wine followed by we're out at sea now if you want more you must pay for another drink. Canapé you'll be lucky to have three! The cruise costs 140 dollars

Room Tip: the best tip is DO NOT go this resort should close ASAP!!! Book Denarau instead it's far nicer...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2013

We arrived at this beautiful spot after being told we were unable to go to our planned resort, as unfortunately it had been badly damaged by the recent cyclone. The manager Max, and the staff could not have been more welcoming. We were given a wonderful Bure on the seafront and despite the resort being badly knocked about by the cyclone, everything functioned wonderfully well, using a generator to give us power and hot water . The food was delicious and as we were unable to swim In the pool as it was full of sand and had to be drained, we were offered a delightful free trip out to the islands on a little catamaran. We would highly recommend this resort to everyone and say a huge thank you to everyone there for making our stay so lovely.
Viv S

Room Tip: The larger beach bures are delightful and beautifully appointed.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SIRGM, Executive Director at Sonaisali Island Resort Fiji, responded to this review, January 2, 2013
Bula Vivnz,

On behalf of the staff and management of Sonaisali Island Resort, we thank you most sincerely for your wonderful posting in support of our efforts in the wake of the recent cyclone.

We were indeed fortunate that Sonaisali did not suffer any significant structural damage and daily marvel at the recuperative powers of our lush tropical vegetation.

A personal vinaka from Resort Manager Max whom clearly looked after you so well, as did the the rest of our wonderful Sonaisali Team.

Please be assured that we were doubly pleased to receive your very thoughtful posting at this particular juncture.

Tropical regards,
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Henderson, Nevada
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 7, 2012

Arriving at Sonaisali Island was the second leg of our 20 day trip to Fiji. We stayed eight day's and I had a great time. I had read some negative reviews before we went, but I can tell you, we experienced none of it! Our Bure was clean and beautiful. The staff was pleasant and attentive. We had spent the first week on a secluded island, so I was happy to be closer to civilization. I loved the food and I highly recommend the food plan (worth every penny) The grounds are beautiful and they have lot's of different activities. We went kayaking, and sailing, took long walks on the beach and met some really good people. I was leary at first that it was a family friendly resort, but that ended up being part of the fun. There was entertainment at night with the locals from nearby villages and a few really good bands and dancing. On the far side of the resort there is this hidden place called "The Zero Bar". It isn't well advertised but it should be. I loved the outdoor pool bar and outdoor dining. I think Sonaisali is well worth the money and I would love to visit it again!

Room Tip: Stay as long as you can...and visit Nadi and the Marina!
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
SIRGM, Executive Director at Sonaisali Island Resort Fiji, responded to this review, January 2, 2013
Bula Therese,

It sounds as if you experienced an amazing holiday! Thank you for your wonderful feedback, including your highly complementary remarks in relation to our food and beverage service. The Resort’s Meal Package certainly does represent great value at just AUD$59 per person per day.

You clearly especially enjoyed the varied nightly entertainment, including live band and sparking “Bula Tale” song/dance performance by local villagers. We agree with you that our unique (evening) “Zero Bar” venue should be better promoted – and will take steps to ensure this happens.

The Sonaisali Pool Bar – and adjacent alfresco Pool Bar Grill – as you also discovered – has an irresistible tropical ambience, both day and night.

We look forward to welcoming you back to our Resort. Please do not hesitate to contact me direct when you are heading back to Paradise.

Vinaka Vaka Levu
from the Sonaisali Team
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Maroochydore, Australia
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 7, 2012

Our family (2adult 2 kids), stayed during August and had a wonderful holiday at Sonaisali. The staff were beautiful, this food was fine, the kids club was excellent. Sure there are many things we could pick on, but on the whole we had the best holiday. The only thing to avoid is their Day Spa, which was horrible, and the jungle cruise. Boring.

Room Tip: The family buries are worth the money to have such a spacious deck, and separate room from the kids.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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, December 10, 2012
Bula and tropical regards from sunny Fiji.

We were very pleased to hear that you had "the best holiday" at our Resort, and that you were clearly well looked after by our fantastic staff.

Thank you for your comment in relation to cuisine and our "excellent" Kid's Club

We were very disappointed, however, that you did not enjoy your Spa treatment, and have noted your comment in relation to the Jungle Cruise, which you will be interested to know has been upgraded since your August visit.

All feedback is important to us in our endeavors to deliver the best possible Guest experience, and we thank you most sincerely for your contribution in this regard.

We look forward to welcoming you back to Sonaisali at some time in the future,

Compliments of the Season
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Burleigh Heads, Australia
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 7, 2012

We had a Healthwise Active Travel work trip and the staff could not have been any better! We loved the entire stay and had a great time both conferencing and playing. We ended the stay with a brilliant private dinner in the Plantation Room and it was the perfect 5 star meal and service. Vili and his team were amazing and John the GM was very welcoming and knowledgeable of the area. Thanks so much for everything and we will be back for sure and be recommending it for all of our clients.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled on business
    • 5 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
    • 5 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, December 10, 2012
Bula Tod,

Vinaka for your wonderful review and may I please say what a pleasure it was hosting your group at the Resort.

Many Guests identify our Plantation Fine Dining Restaurant experience as being a highlight of their stay. The venue well deserves it's recent TA accolade, Certificate of Excellence Award, 2012.

On behalf of Vili, myself and the rest of the dedicated SIR team, we thank you most heartily for your enthusiastic recommendation.

Please don't hesitate to contact me personally should I be of assistance with further bookings.

I will look forward to personally welcoming you back to Sonaisali.

Kind regards,
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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 2 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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