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Mai Dive - Astrolabe Reef Resort
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Ono Island
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 11, 2010

What else can we say that doesn’t repeat everything already said?
We stayed for 12 nights and had the pleasure(!) of sitting out a cyclone but the family were more than calm and helpful with their constant updates on the cyclone moving in and when we needed to bunker down for its final arrival after days of dreadful pre-cyclone weather. Before we rose the following day the staff had already started the clean-up and although it was a few days before the sea settled and the viz even started to clear, we still were able to do some boat rides and jungle walks etc to fill the time. So all was not lost but we are returning in December again to do the diving we missed out on and try to have an uninterrupted, sunny and warm holiday!
The family and the staff are the key to the magic of this place and the best way to enjoy all of them is to put the fast-paced, unfriendly world behind you, open up and start getting to know them all as soon as you arrive. Jason, Danielle, little Georgia and Jack, Joe, Clayton from Texas (he’s a particularly colourful feature at the moment), Filo, Vara, Tabua, Marica, Mere, Ita and Kesa, Petero, Siwa and Kuki, and Jovalesi – thankyou all for being so helpful, cheerful and welcoming. They are very happy to talk about their families, their villages and their way of life and we particularly look forward to hearing news of Tabua’s wedding and Petero and Vara’s and Filo’s new houses when we return!
The facilities are basic and delightful. I didn’t use a hairdryer for 2 weeks and didn’t even miss it. On the other hand there are great surprises: we had plenty of power points for our laptop, camera charging etc and the bedside lamps are a soft and romantic bonus often overlooked in style and design in this type of resort, but obviously carefully chosen here for their ambience. Everyone has already commented on the outdoor hot water showers and yes they are a pure luxury. The food can’t really be described adequately - it is so good and the quantities so lethal! Again another surprise was the quality of the coffee. Peter is a very fussy coffee drinker and he was very happy!
The Beach Bungalow description doesn’t really do it justice in that the amount of space for chilling out was so varied and so BIG yet private enough – there is the choice of inside with good space to potter around and spread out the jigsaw on the coffee table; the huge verandah at front (makes you feel like Grandma and Grandpa sitting in the chairs watching the birds and the lagoon tide coming and going) and then the table and benches on the sand in front as well as the hammock. And that’s before you spread yourself out to the dining room lounge area from time to time when you want to browse the library and have a cup of tea.
The girls in the kitchen are constantly laughing and joking and are always happy to see you and nothing is ever too much trouble. We were given fresh limes every afternoon straight off the tree for our home-made gin and tonics – very spoilt.
But don’t expect the girls to make the bed and tidy up until you are well and truly out of the way for the day. They are so concerned for guests’ privacy and just not to interrupt your relaxation that they won’t go near the bungalow until you’re off in the boat for a trip somewhere – oh and by the way do take up the chance to be stranded on Vuro for the day with deckchairs, lunch, snorkelling gear and a kayak – bliss!
Now – the village visit: having taken a crateful of clothes and school supplies for the local village we were keen to have a visit and to anyone who might think this is a ‘touristy’ thing to do please think again. It has nothing to do with you being a tourist as far as the village is concerned. You are a guest who is visiting their ‘family’ around the corner – and you are treated as such. We had a lovely time and felt very honoured at the greeting we received and the formal thanks for our contributions to the village; the kava ceremony was executed with a lot of joviality and conversation too. We would encourage all visitors to remember the remoteness of this place and that the village truly appreciates any small gifts but mostly what they can get best use from is school supplies – just remember to try to avoid plastic pens etc as they only contribute to the garbage whereas pencils are safer. Oh and fishing hooks! But if in doubt just ask Jason and Danielle before you go what they need at the moment in the village.

We have had some pretty remote and basic holidays and they all achieved what we were looking for: no in-room telephones, TVs, radios, newspapers, internet or email. (if you are addicted then there is a central guest one to use but why would you?????) This place is special and well worth the effort to get here…but don’t tell anyone!

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank jeweldiver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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200 - 206 of 238 reviews

Reviewed December 2, 2009

Mai Dive was an amazing destination for our honeymoon. From the moment Kuki pulled the boat up to the beach in front of the resort we could sense this place was special. Danielle and all the staff greeted us and showed us to our beachfront bungalow. The room was immaculate! There were flowers and a bottle of chilled champagne to greet our arrival. The resort only got better from there...

The ladies are amazing cooks, wait staff, and housekeepers. Each meal was a special event served by kind and attentive new friends. Fresh fruit and vegetables are picked daily from Joe's garden and, joined by incredible baked goods, enhance meals ranging from fresh lobster to chicken curries. Lunches were especially good and a welcome respite after a morning of diving or snorkeling.

Siwa is a dive master extraordinaire. He knows the reefs around the area like a familiar neighborhood and has a knack for spotting even the most elusive sea life. We spotted sea turtles, black tip reef sharks, eels, and a myriad of fishes among the soft and hard coral reefs around Mai Dive. If there's a swim-through anywhere in the area it's sure that Siwa's been through it!

Joe and Danielle were thoughtful and caring hosts...always attentive and looking for ways to maximize the enjoyment of our stay. Danielle arranged some wonderful excursions for us and was always sure to follow-up on how we enjoyed the experience. Joe has an amazing array of stories about, and knowledge of, the area that touches on the spiritual. His accounts of his life and the cultural history of the islands would make a noteworthy book...and his garden is a destination event in its own right.

The resort is spectacular but it's the people that make Mai Dive such a special destination. Everyone greeted us with smiles and a friendly 'bula' whenever we met. The staff seemed truly happy to have us as guests. We strongly suggest you experience it for yourselves. You won't regret it!

Vinaka Mai Dive! Steve and Karin Taylor

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Paugus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 17, 2009

Danielle and Clayton I thought you were joking when you said something about this website after visiting the Island with the Hotel and Licensing Board.

I am still in my office after arriving back from Kadava and it is past 9.00pm. I am hooked on this website.

This website is incredible and I got to say that the photos do no justice to how beautiful the place is...one really has to come there to see for themselves what you try to capture about Mai Dive. Joe you really are incredible, your love and belief in Mai Dive can be seen from the beauty of the place, the wonderful staff that you have and what you have done to those rocks. You are indeed a very patient man.

Thank you very much for your hospitality and oooolala the smiles, priceless!!!

I hope to get that secret water catchment another time.

cheers

G

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled on business
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Thank Goingforgold
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 17, 2009

Well as the reviews stated an absolutely amazing place. Our own piece of paradise. Hospitality was excellent, Food 10 out of 10 a good mix of flavours and always more then enough available, The Bungalow was simple yet beautiful and extremely comfortable. Because the resort is small they'll do just about anything you ask. The garden and it's traditional owners are absolutely fascinating, Oh and don't let me forget, the view from here is superb.The most important thing for us the diving. This was incredible so much variety of different reef structures, corals and fishes, and most within a 15 minute boat ride from the resort, including fantastic protected reef just out the front. Mai Dive in one word, Wow!

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank JutnNomi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 17, 2009

Mai Dive is one of Fiji's hidden treasures. While many tourists to Fiji flock to the Yaswas and Mamanucas I can't imagine a more relaxing place to stay than Mai Dive. If you are looking for something off the beaten track then Ono (and Mai Dive) is for you. The bungalows are simple but beautifully done, but you won't spend much time in them because you'll be too busy doing other things - diving, snorkelling, kayaking, or simply lazing away the day with a book in one of their very inviting hammocks.

The staff are a big part of what make Mai Dive special. Jason and Danielle treat their guests as if they are part of the family, the dive guides are excellent and the girls in the kitchen produce meals and snacks that are delicious and made from the freshest produce (try stopping at just one slice of the banana bread!). Joe is one of Fiji's living treasures with a ready smile and many stories to tell about his time living on the island and in Australia. I can recommend a visit to his garden, where many of the ingredients for the meals are grown, as well as taking some time out of your break to simply have a chat to him.

The highest praise I can give is the fact that while I was there all the guests lamented the fact that they were having to leave at the end of their stay, as did I. All commented on the food, the diving and the incredible hospitality (and the food again). One couple was already trying to figure out when their next leave from work was available! Fortunately I am only a short flight away so I'll be back soon.

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled solo
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2  Thank Baggygreen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 14, 2009

I, like " '77 ", have been blessed enough to dive in some pretty exotic locations. I gotta tell you though... after staying with Jason and Co., exotic takes on a whole new meaning.
Yes, you ARE off the grid, but then, that's why you're reading this, now isn't it? Book now, you won"t be sorry.
Accomodations are comfy - your bungalow will be new and spotless. The beds beg you to sleep in, but don't because you *gotta* dive with these guys! (And missing breakfast would be criminal) The surface intervals on deserted postcard beaches with hot tea aren't too bad either.
The quality of the diving is simply jaw dropping (hold onto that reg!) and each dive seems better than the last. I amused the crew because after each, I was... ummm... enthusiastic... stating that "THAT was my new favorite dive site". Let 'em know what your favorite flavor is, they've got it all. Walls, nice fast drifts, or mellow shallow dives with critters all over the place. Swim-thrus, pelagics, nudis, and corals in impossible colors. Wow. (Hint: Alacrity Rocks, trust me on this one.)
Come home to hot showers and meals that are incredibly fresh and plentiful. I actually am having trouble re-developing my taste for food that isn't fresh... just doesn't taste... right. Be sure to spend a little time (and maybe have a bit of kava) with Joe. He's part of the reason that you feel more like family and less like a guest!
Incredibly pleasant little oceanfront seating areas, and, of course hammocks from where you'll be able to smell those wonderful kitchen smells. While enjoying a frosty Fiji Bitter of course.
Off the grid - yes, but you sure won't want to plug back in...

Vinaka, Guys.

Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
1  Thank dive360
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 11, 2009

Mai Dive is an incredible resort. Joe, Jason, Danielle and the rest of the Mai Dive staff go above and beyond to ensure a wonderful holiday experience. The resort has a great relaxed feel and guests are made to feel like old family friends. I have been fortunate to dive all over the world and this is some of the best diving I have ever experienced. Mai Dive is low key, romantic and relaxing. The meals were superb. I simply cannot recommend this place enough. As an extremely seasoned traveller - this is one of my new favorite places in the world. Thank you for a wonderful holiday!

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank DiveTraveller77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mai Dive - Astrolabe Reef Resort

Address: Fiji
Phone Number:
Location: Fiji > Kadavu Archipelago > Ono Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Ono Island
Price Range: $329 - $333 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Mai Dive - Astrolabe Reef Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Remote Adventurous Pristine Fijian Resort on Ono Island in Kadavu Fiji. The closest resort to the Great Astrolabe Reef. All facilities are new and absolute beachfront. Eco Resort with solar power, fresh water spring, vegetables garden & fresh seafood. PADI Certified dive operator & plenty of non dive activities. Maximum of 14 guests, as this is a low key relaxed family run resort. Fantastic facilities and even better food with full board included - come and stay with us a while..... ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mai Dive - Astrolabe Reef Hotel Kadavu Island
Mai Dive - Astrolabe Reef Resort Fiji/Ono Island

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