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“Secluded Paradise - it is better than the pictures” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Crusoe's Retreat

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Crusoe's Retreat
3.5 of 5 Resort   |   nr Pacific Harbour, Viti Levu, Fiji   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #20 of 23 Hotels in Coral Coast
Adalide
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Secluded Paradise - it is better than the pictures”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2009

A wonderful little retreat for a restful and relaxing few days - a week . The only fault with this resort is the very bumpy road to get to it. But it is well worth the journey to reach such a beautful and secluded beach location. The rooms are spacious, bright, modern and clean and the grounds and facilities very well maintained. Whilst you are in a very secluded location other Coral coast towns and attractions are not too far away.

  • Stayed June 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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221 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (77)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Melbourne, Australia
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 3, 2009

We stayed for a very relaxing week at Crusoes Retreat in April, 2009. As some other reviewers have mentioned it is a bit of a journey from the airport (a couple of hours), but we were aware of this and the remoteness of the location was part of the appeal. We were after a truly relaxing place to unwind.

The gardens at the resort are lovely and very well cared for. And the service was always great, very friendly staff. However, our biggest disappointment was with the rooms - we stayed in a seaview room, part of the oldest section up the hill. The room did have a seaview which was lovely, but the rooms in this section are in need of very serious upgrade. They are very tired, 1960's cottages, with a distinct lack of any fijian atmosphere at all. Very sparsely furnished with queen bed and a couple of very old chairs. Very tiny wardrobe with no shelves or drawers. Curtains and bedding all need upgrade, very faded and old. Old wooden windows hard to open. Although the room was cleaned every day, and mostly this was ok, the state of the toilet was awful, very stained and never cleaned properly. The huge shower was a plus though and this seemed very clean. Outside is a little patio, with two very hard (no cushions) chairs and an old ply wood table. All in all, if we had have paid the normal rate for this room I would have been very disappointed, however we got a very good deal from wotif and only paid $85 AUD per night including breakfast, so we won't complain! Wouldn't recommend anyone to spend much more though. Some of the other rooms on the beach front were probably much nicer, (we didn't see inside these) but they were much more expensive. We were offered another seaview room (deluxe) which was a little newer, but they wanted another $50 FJD per night which would have been ludicrous.

Meals ranged from fantastic to awful. Breakfast was always good, not a lot of variety on the buffet, but eggs, bacon, sausages, pancakes etc cooked on order. We had a couple of great steak dishes for dinner, and also a lovely chicken dish. Menu changes nightly which is a plus. However we certainly won't recommend the lovo dinner, we were looking forward to this buffet which cost $34 FJD per head, but the meat (pork, fish and chicken) was all completely dried up and overcooked and also although we were not late for dinner, all the food was already cold. Only thing that saved the meal was the dessert which was great. They also have a BBQ night, which was pretty ordinary food as well, so we would recommend eating a la carte most of the time.

The beach was rather rocky, but we still had a great time kayaking at high tide, plenty of fish and coral to see. The pool was always very clean, but is rather small for the size of the resort, and as the beach is not so suitable for swimming, most people want to use the pool. Another problem needing addressing is the lack of lounge chairs near the pool, and beach. Most were also broken, maintenance seems to be lacking in some areas.

Would recommend to stay here only if you get a good deal, certainly not worth $230 or so to stay in seaview bure. But all in all we had a very relaxing stay here.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Orange County, CA
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2009

We had a wonderful 11 night stay at Crusoe’s retreat in July/Aug 2008. With four of us we rented 2 bures. We REALLY had a GREAT time and would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who enjoys peace and tranquility at a fair price and doesn’t have to have 5-star service and facilities. If there are some comments here that seem negative they are mentioned only to try and give a completely honest assessment. They did not impact our enjoyment.

Location:

Several reviews have commented on the long drive from Nadi airport, but frankly it is not such a big deal. It is a small price to pay for the relaxed peacefulness you get to enjoy once you arrive. Depending on the time of day it can take 90 to 120 minutes to get to the resort on paved highway, then finally 2.5 miles on a bumpy dirt road. Once you get to the resort there is really no need to leave, unless you go on a day-trip. To take a taxi to visit another resort for dinner would be expensive and take a long time. You can walk to the Wellesley Resort next door for a bit of variety if you want.

Since we were a family of 4 we negotiated with Crusoe’s to get a better price on the airport transfers – FJ$260 round-trip for all of us. One mini-van to ourselves.

Accomodations:

You can chose between the seaside bures and the seaview bures. The seaside ones are located at the bottom level, close to the beach, as you would expect. The seaview bures are ‘upstairs’ on a level above the main buildings. The first time you make the long trek up the steep stairs to get there it is somewhat exhausting, but you do get used to it (but you do learn to take everything you will need for the day when you go down to breakfast, to avoid more trips…). You do get to enjoy a fantastic view out over the lagoon from the ‘upstairs’ bures.

The bures are basic but comfortable, nothing more or less that you would expect from a 3-star resort in this price-range. There were a few maintenance items that could have been addressed I felt, like holes in flyscreens and mosquito nets, and safety-deposit boxes that didn’t work, but none of them really impacted us negatively.

Plenty of hot water for the showers (no bath). Towels OK, not great.

Beds could be more comfortable, but are OK. Biggest complaint would be the hard pillows. But again, didn’t stop us sleeping.

Dining:

Breakfast is included in the room rate and is a selection of fruits, cereals, bread/muffins etc as well as your choice of cooked breakfast.

Lunch is A la carte if you want it. Fish and chips is really good.

Each afternoon at 4pm there is tea/coffee and home-made cake, no charge.

Dinners are either A la carte or BBQ, Mongolian night, Fijian Lovo or Curry night buffet. The menus on the website are inaccurate/obsolete. Prices have risen slightly and the selection has changed. BBQ is FJ$30 per person. It really makes no sense at all to purchase the Meal Plan at FJ$61 per day because you would have to eat a 2-course lunch AND a 2 or 3-course dinner to spend that much. The food quality is good. Not 5-star of course, but what would you expect from a small kitchen off the beaten track. We never had anything we didn’t enjoy and there was always plenty to eat.

Bar prices are average US bar prices. Local beer US$4, Corona US$5.50 for example.

Beach/Lagoon:

Crusoe’s is right by the water’s edge. When the tide is in the beach is very skinny, and can disappear completely on a high-tide. The coral reef is only about 200 yds from the Resort’s sea wall and the lagoon is very shallow. As the tide goes out more and more sand/coral is exposed. The resort’s dive boats are left high and dry and you can actually walk all the way out to the reef. Some interesting tide-pool exploring.

Activities:

Each day different free activities are organized. Most involve fish-feeding or glass-bottom boat rides, or something that involves coconuts. We did not participate in many of these, since we were diving most days and then just wanted to relax. No-one seemed interested enough for the planned tug-of-war or beach-volleyball events during our stay – too relaxed and laid-back to be bothered.

There is a grass tennis court complete with new net, but no lines, so not for serious competition… Beach volleyball court looked to be quite good but never saw anyone use it. You can pick up snorkeling gear or a Kayak whenever you wanted – all no charge.

Beach loungers – to be honest there are not enough of them and some of them are in need of some repair.

Indoors there is a table-tennis table and a pool table.

Entertainment:

There IS a TV in a corner of the main lounge, but we were there for a week before we even thought to ask if it worked. It doesn’t, but no-one missed it.

While we were there their WI-FI was not working, but you could use a computer in the lobby store at any time for internet access. Fast broadband for FJ$0.30 per minute.

Each evening after dinner at about 8.30pm there was always something organized – Bingo, Trivia quiz, limbo contest, Fiji dancing, Fiji choir etc etc. All no charge.

The place was always quiet by 10pm, by which time everyone had usually gone to bed….

Day trips/Tours:

Joe at the Tour desk can arrange pretty much anything you want to do, and give advice on what is available. We didn’t do any of the shopping trips, waterfall trips, Zipline, etc and only left the resort once, to go on a Shark Feeding Dive trip, which was excellent.

Diving:

Crusoe’s is not a Dive Resort and they do not claim to be. They are a vacation resort that offers good diving. So you don’t get mobbed by masses of divers fighting for space on the dive boat etc. There are never more than 6 divers in the dive boat. Usually it was just the 4 of us. The dive boat has to be small because it wouldn’t be able to get out through the lagoon otherwise. As it was, you had to time the tides just right to be able to get out and back again. Once or twice we missed the tide and ran aground coming back in and had to jump off the boat and walk a few yards.

The Dive Shop is small but adequate and reflects the size of the operation. Don Woods runs the operation and is exceptionally helpful and sociable. He will go wherever he can take you based on the conditions and what you want to see. After diving you will often run into Don around the resort and he will stop and chat. DM Seta knows his way around the various dive sites very well and makes every dive fun. Dive Guide Masaki and boat skipper Sammy are great too.

My sons wanted to go to Fiji in part because of the reliable shark diving, and we were not disappointed. We dove most days and on only one dive did we NOT see sharks. Mostly white-tip reef sharks, but also leopard/zebra sharks (about 7-8ft, not 20ft as suggested elsewhere…) and grey reef sharks. The wall dives are really good. Also got in among about 300 barracuda, and a pod of 10 dolphins. Turtles, lots of fish, great coral.

Weather:

Despite our concerns, we got very little rain. What we did get was usually short-lived showers. If you look at the weather for Suva (wet) and the weather for Nadi (dry), the weather at Crusoe’s is in the middle. Most days are dry, occasional showers.

14-day forecast at http://www.zoover.co.uk/polynesia/fiji/coral-coast/weather

Prices/rates:

The best rates for Crusoe’s can be found at the Aussie website wotif.com but if you reference these rates you can negotiate a pretty good deal directly with the resort. However, beware of two major snags. First, they charge you a 4% fee if you pay with a credit card. Since you are making an international purchase, either VISA or AMEX will charge you a 3% surcharge and give you their usual poor exchange rate, so another 4% fee by the Resort is a bit of a blow. Unfortunately it doesn’t end there. If you take US Dollars cash and use this to settle your bill, Crusoe’s rips you off really badly on the exchange rate. I could have gotten $1.49 at the airport but crusoe’s gave me $1.35 – a 10% differential !! Change your US Dollars at the Nadi airport going in…… or find a bank if you take a day trip.

Summary:

Very, very friendly; ‘homely’ environment; totally relaxing; good food; good diving; priced right; SUPER staff. But if you want 5-star luxury and pampering, you will be disappointed – it is not that kind of place.

  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Australia
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2009

We are family with 2 toddlers and found our time at Crusoes enjoyable. The drive into Crusoes is stunning and after a drive past numerous road-side resorts (e.g. Rydges Hideaway, Naviti & Warwick) it was great to know we were not going to sleep with trucks going past our window. In fact the only sounds at Crusoes is the gentle lapping of the sea or happy chatter from relaxed guests - it was VERY quiet. The setting is stunning, however the resort itself is looking a bit weary. The pool needs a major makeover, most of the furniture is well worn and would have been replaced at a "richer" resort a long time ago. The tennis court is only for the very very committed player - it puts new meaning into "grass court". The rooms show their age. That said, everything is very functional and once we relaxed our expectations (i.e. remembered we were paying 3 star prices not 5 star) we saw the amazing charm of the place. The kids loved the old home made playground, swam for hours in the big-foot pool, delighted in the beach area and loved kayaking and swimming in the sheltered waters out front of the resort. The food and drinks were a bit overpriced but so are all the resorts - it's still a lot more reasonable than the Shang-ri-la which is a total rip off. The breakfasts were included in our rate and were fantastic. Best of all our 2 little ones ate free as long as we were eating.
We stayed in a family bure. Gorgeous view out our front windows. Comfortable beds. Most importantly there were no holes in the window screens or mosquito nets. The fit out is very dated but tidy and functional.
Don't come here if you want to have an action packed or super indulgent holiday. Activities are available but don't expect anyone to come drumming up business each morning. You could easily speak to noone all day at this place if you wanted to. We went out to the reef and thought it was great - good visibility and plenty of coral and underwater creatures to talk about afterwards with other adventurers. Virtually no "beauty treatments" available - unless you are there when the masseus visits.
This place is all about chilling out. Perfect for our little family get away.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Dorset
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2009

After spending weeks looking for our honeymoon accommodation on Fiji, we finally decided on Crusoe's Retreat.

Several driving holidays prior to our honeymoon resulted in us wanting two weeks of relaxation and zero stress before visiting relatives in New Zealand and Australia.

What a fantastic place, if paradise is a place on Earth then we can honestly say we’ve been there and got the T-Shirts.

As per other reviews, the staff at Crusoe's who are all from the Namaqumaqua village next to the resort are the friendliest and sincere people you will ever meet, and during our two weeks stay we can honestly say they became good friends.

From start to finish everyone makes you feel welcome and part of the community which simply makes your stay all the more memorable.

We met lots of great people including guests, staff and local villagers who will invite you into their homes for a chat if you choose to visit the village.

There was plenty of activities to keep you occupied and various trips should you wish to venture out. The scuba diving at the resort which is run by Don Woods and his team of dive master all local to the village is first rate. The kit is top notch Mares gear and the dive sites fantastic. If you want to see sharks, turtles, barracuda, rays etc then going out with Don is a must.

On our last night, the staff sang the sad 'Isa Lei goodbye song' and said farewell to us. Salema (apologies for the spelling) who is the nicest, friendliest girl you will ever want to meet was so emotional at our leaving she started to cry and I can honestly say that it was a sad feeling to know we were to leave the following morning.

I am sure you will read the odd review that has little to nothing good to say about Crusoe’s, however, some people would probably complain even if they won the lottery.

Crusoe’s Retreat does what it says on the can. If you get the chance go and see paradise.

Gary and Helen (Weymouth, Dorset, England)

  • Liked — Staff, Location, Relaxation....what's not to like
  • Disliked — What's not to like
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2008

I must say that Crusoe’s Retreat was a fabulous place that we (my wife and I ) never wanted to leave. When we first arrived it was late and we were exhausted. We had dinner, and basically went straight to bed. When we woke up in the morning and went to breakfast we knew that we were in for a serious treat. Crusoe’s is neatly tucked away off of the road. The place has spectacular views, awesome activities and we found the food to be absolutely wonderful. The room was exceptionally clean and the gardens that surround Crusoe’s were simply amazing.

Our most favorite part of Crusoe’s is very, very simple. The Staff. Every single staff member that we met became an instant friend. They were always smiling, laughing and seemed as if they were on vacation with us. Between my wife and I, we have traveled far and wide across the globe and never have we met such a genuinely happy and out going staff. The activities staff went above and beyond our expectations. The housekeeping staff was so very pleasant and friendly. The wait staff was wonderful; and the boys in the band….Well they rocked every single night! I just wished that they could join us for lunch. The way Crusoe’s is set up is to allow to you maximize you adventure and Fiji experience. Everything is very well thought out and when we knew our time was coming to head home we were extremely sad. If we could we would have extended our stay another week.

We highly recommend doing as many activities as possible, snorkel, hand line fish, mangrove tour, fish feeding, coconut tasting, skirt making…Heck do everything!! It is all awesome!! We also highly recommend the massages, we did it twice each! Mary is a most talented masseuse and she is a wealth of information! We also highly recommend sticking around after dinner for the evening activities; they are a great way to end the night! And if you are there on a Sunday, you must…what ever you do; go to the church service at the village next door. There are simply no words in the English language to express what a wonderful experience the church service is and how glorious the singing is.. Absolutely stunning.

Above all, Crusoe’s is set up for you to relax and spend your time enjoying the fruits of Fiji. The only thing you really need to take to Crusoe’s is a smile… Like the saying goes, and it is very true, Crusoe’s really is the best kept secret in Fiji.

Additionally, my wife and I had a travel transfer mix up/error that management took care of quickly, exceptionally and far above what we expected. We will be coming back to Crusoe's for years to come and look forward to the day when we have children and get to bring the here. Crusoe's is the perfect place!

  • Liked — THE ACTIVITIES, FOOD & AWESOME STAFF!!!!!
  • Disliked — Leaving!
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes
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Melbourne, Australia
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2008

We have just returned from 15 superb nights in Fiji, the first 7 of which were spent at Crusoe's Retreat. What a place ! It is nice to think there are still places left in Fiji with real character and a total feeling of peace. If you want complete relaxation without all the five star bits and pieces, crusoes is for you.

During our week there my two children, 9 and 11 years old just spent time being real kids. They found hermit crabs and had crab races on the beach, they gathered coconuts then tried to open them or grabbed a kayak out to sea. Happy hour was between 6-7pm and they too shared in "mocktail" hour with us. They interacted with the adults because there are no kids clubs at Crusoes. But instead they met some wonderful guests from countries all over the world.......wales, germany, italy and america.
Being a small resort, guests socialise which is a big difference from the bigger resorts. The cocktails were delicious and happy hour was a great social time to share with others by the pool. We met guests who travelled by themselves too as it is the type of place you would feel good at alone.

The evenings are very well organised with dinner served at 7pm followed by bula hour. During this time they would welcome the new guests by name and location then say goodbye to guests also by name and location. They would then call the activities for tomorrow....from mangrove tours to cooking classes etc... After all this there would be an activity and they were always fun because everyone knew everyone unlike the big resorts.

We loved the beach. It was next to the villlage and there was so much to do with exploring. The snorkelling was beautiful off the beach. We did the mangrove tour and this was fantastic.

The staff were great.....thankyou to Seleima....she did bula hour and the fun at night. We were called by name and my 2 children got lots of cuddles from staff on our departure. We enjoyed our whole stay and I can still hear the sea at night as the waves break against the reef. This is a sound to relax anyone to sleep in their bure at night.

There are of course many places to visit in the world....but I said to my 9 year old daughter....one day we will come back to the crusoes because for me it was a holiday with special memories, total relaxation and meeting some amazing people....my husband says we had a lucky week with great guests...yes true I say but crusoes happened to be the place for a true holiday.

  • Liked — big rooms, great views and hearing the sea
  • Disliked — When I had to leave it !
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Crusoe's Retreat

Address: nr Pacific Harbour, Viti Levu, Fiji
Location: Fiji > Viti Levu > Coral Coast
Amenities:
Beach Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#10 Top resorts Hotel in Coral Coast
#11 Spa Hotel in Coral Coast
#17 On the Beach Hotel in Coral Coast
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Crusoe's Retreat 3.5*
Number of rooms: 29
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled amongst lush tropical gardens and fronting a palm-fringed sandy beach and stunning lagoon, Crusoe’s Retreat is a friendly, intimate, traditional Fijian resort. Featuring only 29 Fijian-inspired Bures, Crusoe’s truly embodies all that is wonderful about the Fiji Islands: world-famous hospitality, an unhurried pace, fresh island cuisine, lots of complimentary activities, and a dedication to local culture and traditions. Crusoe’s Retreat truly is Fiji. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Crusoe`s Retreat Hotel Coral Coast
Crusoes Retreat Coral Coast
Crusoes Retreat Hotel
Crusoe's Retreat Fiji/Coral Coast

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