We recently spent 3 nights at Botaira and here are my thoughts.
- situated on a stunning beach with amazing snorkelling and coral straight off the beach
- great dining area with views of the beach
- bures are nice and spacious with beach front bures having great views and a short walk to the incredible beach
The not so good
- There did not seem to be any visible resort management or daily manager. There was no daily announcement of activities on offer and the activities board didn't look like it had been touched for a very long time. Now I have always avoided places where activities are planned by the minute and you are all expected to participate - my idea of hell. But it would have been nice to have had some communication with regards the manta ray dive, village visit or even a small thing like providing the tides for the day.
There were even a few occasions at dinner and breakfast when there was no one around at the bar to get a drink.
On arrival we were not given any information on the fact that the waters off Botaira are a marine reserve which should be a huge selling point.
After leaving Botaira we went to Barefoot island resort which is essentially a backpacker operation and they did everything amazingly well with a full brief of the island on arrival, updated activities board and tides, breakfast briefing on days activities and dives. There was clear management and a clear activities organiser. Given that Botaira's client base is not backpackers it seems odd that backpackers at Barefoot are getting a better more informed service than anything on offer at Botaira.
There is also no tropical marine life information or reference books!! Ideally there should be a guide book in each bure but at the very least one reference book in the main dining area as was the case at Barefoot. But there was nothing at Botaira.
- Whilst the staff were friendly (george and Misi) they seemed to be just going through the motions of politeness and tolerating guests rather than really enriching the experience.
Again this experience is contrasted with Barefoot where the staff were very friendly and proactive in asking your name and remembering it - calling you by name from that point on. I don't think a single staff member asked me my name at Botaira and I only got to know their names by asking them. If I hadn't had done this I probably would have left after 3 days without anyone there actually knowing my name.
- the dining area was nice with amazing view but they are really missing an opportunity to take advantage of the location. The lights are spotlight bright and not very atmospheric. This could easily be improved by using dimmer bulbs, candles or even using some paraffin lanterns as they do in african safari camps.
The best time on the deck was when there was a brief power failure and you could actually hear the waves and see the stars...perfect ....
To the left of the dining area there is this large area of wasted space currently being used as a furniture stacking/storage area which is both unsightly and a real waste of good space.This could very easily be turned into a great chill out/lounge area with a few comfy sofas and a good library of books.
- for some unknown reason there seemed to be some need to have very loud music at dinner times and breakfast to the point where you couldn't actually hear the person next to you. I turned the music down 3 times and the next day it was up again?
At Barefoot they had a couple of fijians strumming some pleasant quiet tunes in the background which was great. Again this is what is being provided to backpackers so i am not sure why they could not offer this at Botaira to higher paying guests?
- the food was ok but oddly enough was served cold on a regular basis which was puzzling.
We initially thought this was a fijian custom but again in comparison to the backpacker fare at Barefoot which was more plentiful, very good and always hot!
At breakfast they had some electric food warmers but only 1 plug socket so if you wanted to use the toaster then you had to have cold scrambled eggs and beans! Not a compromise you should be having to make at a place where you are paying over AUD200 per night! and again something that is very easily remedied by getting a double adaptor!
The generator gets turned off at midnight which results in a very sticky nights sleep if there is no breeze, which invariably there isn't.
Again at barefoot they ran a small generator all night to power fans. If Barefoot could do this for their backpacker cliental I'm not sure why Botaira can not do this for it's guests.
So in conclusion, Botaira has a stunning location and could be absolutely amazing with a little more attention to detail and some dedicated staff...
I hope Jerry the owner (who was never there) reads this and does something about it as right now, given our experience I think there are currently better places to go in the area for the same or in some cases less money...which is a real shame as Botaira has so much potential.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- BOTAIRA RESORT is located on a tropical island and consists 10 private Fijian Bures with ensuite facilities on a white sand beach in the beautiful Yasawa Islands in FIJI. All inclusive vacation packages of accommodation and meals. The perfect honeymoon and wedding destination. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Botaira Beach Hotel Naviti Island
- Botaira Beach Naviti Island
- Botaira Beach Resort Fiji/Naviti Island