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“A wonderful and unique vacation”

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Turtle Island Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Turtle Island
Certificate of Excellence
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
25 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“A wonderful and unique vacation”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 25, 2010

My wife and I recently traveled to Turtle Island to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We'd thought about visiting the resort for years and finally got around to it. We had a fantastic time - a gorgeous location, friendly and attentive staff, great group of fellow travelers, and a unique opportunity to re-connect with your spouse. It's not a place for everyone and has some rough edges but we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and would love to return.

First the highlights:
- Absolutely the highlight of the trip was the picnics we had on the various beaches around the island. We were dropped off around 11 with a cooler of various drinks ("Would you like champagne? How many bottles?") and our lunch (lobster, chili shrimp, etc) and then picked up around 4 and would literally not see anyone else all day. Our favorites were Devils and Honeymoon Beach. I don't know of anywhere else in the world that offers such an experience and in our opinion was much of what we were paying for. One bit of advice: make sure and use lots of suntan lotion for those places that normally don't get sun!
- The Fijian staff was wonderful: friendly, constantly smiling and laughing, interactive with the group, and always looking for ways to make guests comfortable. Unlike most resorts, the staff interaction with guests is an integral part of the experience. There's no formality, everyone uses first names and makes you feel like part of an extended family.
- Our bure was clean, comfortable, and always stocked with whatever we wanted. Our bure mama was fantastic - she decorated our room and bed for our anniversary and would figure out what we liked and make sure it was always available (in our case a constant supply of fresh squeezed lemonade and brownies).
- Snorkeling was easy (equipment in your bure) and the scuba diving (through a nearby resort) was effortless and world-class. Make sure and go snorkeling with Arthur - he's knowledgeable and hilarious. Deep sea fishing was also easy and fun - we caught a small tuna, others did better or worse but all enjoyed it.
- Other activities (horseback riding, etc) were fun and very flexible - no need to book way ahead or get in line - our bure mama took care of everything.
- We loved getting to know the group of guests through the communal dining.
- The seaplane ride back was terrific! For the first half of the flight we were no more than 100 feet above the water (sometimes much less!) as we swooped around past beaches and over lagoons. Just ask the pilot to do this - I think they enjoy it as much as the guests do.
- There are a lot of small touches that make the trip special, such as the book of photos that our bure mama put together for us, a DVD of videos taken thru the week, and a CD of photos. One of the highlights for us was having drinks delivered to the middle of the lagoon while we relaxed on foam floats.

A couple areas for improvement:
- Most guests felt that the sales pitch for the "return plan" was somewhat annoying (they pre-sell return trips at a 20% discount). With that said, they took our "no" without much pushback and at least a couple of the guests did re-up so I doubt they'll change.
- The food was spotty. Their raw ingredients (fresh seafood and produce from their garden) sometimes came together perfectly, at other times not so much (overcooked lobster, almost inedible anniversary cake, etc). Overall more than acceptable, but don't expect world-class dining.
- The complimentary massage was nice but far too much oil... we both felt slimy for hours afterward (there was talk about bringing in more spa services in the future).
- Good wine assortment and plenty of it.

Perhaps the biggest thing for potential guests to understand is the "casual elegance" of the island - it's NOT the Four Seasons with it's well known formality, punctuality, and perfection. Things happen on "Fiji time" (plus or minus a half hour or so), meal orders are often mixed up (sometimes comically so), questions are often answered somewhat mysteriously, and the resort shows some age and the effect of being so remote. Anyone expecting perfection runs the risk of being disappointed, but those who can forgive these imperfections and laugh off small problems will have a great time. Ultimately much of what you're paying for is the privacy of the beaches, gorgeous remote location, and friendly and attentive staff - all the other stuff isn't as important.

We thoroughly enjoyed our week on Turtle Island and would absolutely like to go back, perhaps for our next big anniversary.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
7 Thank beb123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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287 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (67)
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phoenix
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 9, 2010

My husband and I traveled to Turtle Island in July 2010 and the trip was simply amazing. From the moment we landed, the staff was so welcoming and the service was top notch. From our bure mama to the heads of the island, our every request was met and surpassed. The food was wonderful! The attention to detail on the island was impectable. I would strongly recomend taking a trip to Turtle Island--while its not the cheapest option available, it is worth every penny!!!

Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
4 Thank Staycationsrule
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
australia
Level Contributor
17 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 2, 2010

No, I am not easily convinced that the entire staff of an island love their guests normally, BUT I really actually felt like about 80 staff were friends and that other guests, some of whom will be friends for a long long time, were just great. I couldn't mention people by name, because there are so many lovely folk there that I'd leave someone out for sure. Having said that, Bill takes a bit of beating for maddest, and Oni =========no, I'm not going there, because I loved so many of them. Being the Kava Queen has nothing to do with my effusive review. Their friendliness was real. Anish the chef turned himself inside out to be helpful and friendly, and it's impressive seeing the owner still working on a tractor early in the morning. Lots of great things there, but the overwhelmingly strongest feeling, is that they became friends. They take and give lots of abuse, and just listening to their genuine laughter takes a bit of beating. Notable unusual extras apart from the expcected, the photo' album that is SO PAINSTAKINGLY AND WITTILY put to-gether, and also the D.V.D. of one of the best birthdays I will have, with the entire staff singing Isa Lei. Very moving and thank-you for not boiling me in the stock pot!

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank weeflea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
29 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 28, 2010

My husband and I spent a week on Turtle Island. Because of work commitments we had to visit during family time even though we were without youngsters. Initially apprehensive about this, we were assured at the time of booking that families with young children would be situated at one end of the resort while we, along with honeymooners and other couples, would be at the other end.

As things worked out, the children presented no problems. In fact the few times we saw them we were happily reminded of our own family vacations when our daughters were little. We witnessed their joy at catching a fish, watching firewalkers and participating in a fashion show. Delightful!

My husband and I were operating on different action levels - he likes to "do", I like to rest. Turtle Island easily and happily accommodated the two of us. We were taken in caring hand and gently organised by our Bure Mama Ala to make sure our holiday was exactly right for us. She organised private beach dine-outs, massages (heavenly), and looked after my husband when he joined staff and other guests at their nightly kava evenings.

Dining on Turtle was a delight. A couple of minor misses, but Anish, the Head Chef, and his staff worked miracles with fresh produce, predominantly grown on the island or sourced locally. This is not a destination for the gourmet who wants the type of food delivered by the world-renowned chefs at culinary hotspots, and nor should it be. If you come to Turtle expecting that, you will be disappointed. There are plenty of other places offering that sort of experience. But if you want to eat lobster three times a day, prepared well, with absolutely garden fresh salads then you will be happy on Turtle. For us, breakfasts were a highlight, as were the Mongolian barbeque, baked freshly caught fish, and the beef, which was cooked perfectly to order including, impressively, my husband's "blue" steak. A personal favourite was the Fijian rou rou spinach prepared as part of the lovo. I praised it and Anish personally brought me a second serving! If you choose to dine privately your wishes are respected, for example, on a pontoon or at the end of the dock. However, the camaraderie afforded by dining with the other guests and with Oni and Felipe, the island's managers, was, for us, an integral part of the Turtle Island experience.

I mentioned before the Kava nights when Turtle Island staff welcomed guests to share this nightly (except Sunday) ritual. This activity allowed us to enjoy the company of the Fijians in a relaxed setting and share their love of music - guitars and ukuleles were ever present. In fact, we will always remember the warmth and happiness of Turtle Island staff whose laughter, singing and smiles were evident in great abundance.

There was no spa and no pool, but we neither needed nor missed them. Plenty of other resorts offer those amenities if these things are important to you. The beauty of the lagoon and the excellence of the snorkelling was enough for us and fitted perfectly with our ideal of the perfect island getaway. The rooms were spacious, clean, luxurious and well-maintained, with a day-bed on the verandah next to a pond. Cookies, popcorn, coffee,tea and a stocked mini-fridge were all provided.

Great holiday, great memories, great plans to go back. Thank you Turtle Island.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank Cmsalt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
26 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 16, 2010

My spouse and I and our three-year-old just returned from a week's holiday on Turtle Island, and if you read nothing else of this review just know that we found it to be the best family holiday week we could imagine. For about 95% of the year Turtle Island is an exclusive couples resort however we took advantage of what seemed to be a well-thought out and comprehensive kids' week on the Island - and Turtle did not disappoint.

From the moment we arrived by charter seaplane (how cool for kids is that?) we knew we were onto something special. Nearly two dozen Turtle Island staff and about 20 kids were on the beach waiting to greet us, complete with big signs and Fijian singing. Our Bure Mama Nani and nanny Rarawa were there to greet us, and even though it was quite an overwhelming experience for our son we soon were all swept up in the excitement of being on Turtle. Within the hour our son was off to the kids camp with his nanny and Mama Nani was ensuring that we were looked after during the short wait for our bure to be finished from the previous departure. They provided us another bure to relax in and soon we enjoyed a lunch on the beach - the first of many memorable meals on Turtle.

So at this point, let me make sure that I help any other people interested in going to Turtle understand what it's all about. And this is not easy, because everyone we met on Turtle - whether they had been there one time or ten times - all said the same thing: "Turtle is such a wonderful place, but so hard to explain if you've not experienced it for yourself." This is true, but I think I may be able to help out a bit.

To me, Turtle Island is a truly different form of luxurious relaxation from other five-star resorts. At those resorts, you are "Mr. Smith" or "Miss Jones" but on Turtle you are "David" or "Catherine." The entire Turtle staff (80+ people for only 15 bures, mind you) knows who you are by name, and also by what you like and what type of holiday you are after. This is nothing like any other place I have ever been to, and it takes some getting used to. But if you just let yourself go, get into the Fijian way of hospitality, and realise that this Island is a true wonder in tourism, then you'll enjoy yourself immensely.

Don't be afraid of the community feel that Turtle works hard to create - by the end of our week we knew at least half the staff by their first names and have already made several wonderful friends that we hope to see here at home in Australia and our kids will talk about their Turtle friends for years to come. It's also a place that we will be coming back to and will plan future trips around when our Turtle friends will also be there. I have travelled a fair bit to dozens of countries and hundreds of hotels and none of them leaves you with this kind of feeling.

As I said before, Turtle is a completely different type of luxury. The bures are enormous, well-appointed and lacking no amenities, and the food is extensive, well-thought out and nearly all of it completely self-sustainable through the Island's self-built infrastructure. There is no celebrity chef here, as s/he would just not fit in with the place - Turtle is all about YOU and not some hot-shot chef. That being said, the head chef and entire kitchen staff went out of their way to prepare a great variety of meals with a huge focus on their own produce grown not 100 meters from the kitchen, and that is something you don't get at big-box resorts. Come ready to try new things and be open to new foods and you'll have a great time, if you come expecting Michelen-star haute cuisine then this isn't the place for you. If you're thrilled by the idea of eating chilli prawns with a glass of great white wine while sprawled out on your own private beach (which is pretty much what we did every single day) - now you're getting the hang of what Turtle is all about.

The last things I'll say about Turtle is that if you are busy parents and need a break from the kids but don't want to leave them behind, I couldn't recommend kids week at Turtle enough. This isn't a "resort day-care" where a few carers watch over a couple dozen kids. It's a truly caring and thoughtful experience for your child. Each child's nanny along with the kids camp staff spends each day with your child playing games, taking them on excursions, showing them Fiji culture and so much more. To see both our son and our nanny in tears when saying good bye is a testament to the focus on the kids that Turtle has, and again I can't imagine getting this level of attention and downright comfort with a resort caretaker anywhere in the world.

All in all, we are only 24+ hours back at home and miss our Turtle family and friends and have nothing but positive memories of our time there. And although we were there with the family week, several honeymooners were also on the Island with us and I can say they too had a wonderful time and enjoyed all that Turtle has to offer them as well. And last but not least, we met two couples who had been to Turtle 7 and 10 times each - where else in the world can boast that kind of loyalty?

Please feel free to contact me for more details and information on Turtle as I am keen to ensure others get the chance to experience this wonderful place.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank kcknacks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
melbourne
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 15, 2010

turtle island you are amazing, where do i start, i start by saying i was not that excited about going to turtle as we had just done 6 weeks in usa in dec/jan 2010.
how wrong was i, this place let me tell you is absolutely astonishing, from the moment we arrived by seaplane with the staff singing and dancing on the beach as we made our way to shore to the moment we departed with the staff singing to us again as we boarded the seaplane it was the best holiday/ experience we as a family have had.
from our gorgeous bure mama to our 2 year old daughters nanny we were treated so so well, everything was just so easy to do or organise. the rooms all of which are made from materials on the island are just so amazing, the food was delightful and if you needed any special requirements they were catered for no problems at all. the kids even had there own chef. the kids club was the best i have seen, each child has there own nanny and fiji buddy dedicated to them, the activities the kids were involved in was so much fun that next time i am considering going to kids club myself.
dining was fantastic as you could dine with the other guests, by yourselves in a romantic place or if you feel tired in you bure. each night there is a different theme as well as cocktails. drinks are in abundance with whatever your choice may be.
the swimming & snorkelling is fantastic as is the lagoon. let me finish by saying this place is amazing and Richard Evanson you have got it so right with what you have done to this island, thank you again and see you next easter 2011.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank aceplace
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
olive2bruiser
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 23, 2010

Love it love it love it! Can't wait to go back.....we went for our honeymoon and I can honestly say not a day goes by since that I don't daydream about being on the turtle island beach.

Everything was so beautiful but the staff was the best part....We already bought another trip to return. It may be expensive but you can't get the same experience at a chain hotel whatsoever.

  • Stayed April 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank olive2bruiser
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Turtle Island Resort

Property: Turtle Island Resort
Address: Yasawa Islands, Fiji
Phone Number:
Location: Fiji > Yasawa Islands > Turtle Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Turtle Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Turtle Island Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to Turtle Island - located in the Fiji islands. You have found one of the most unique all-inclusive private islands in all the world. Be one of only 14 couples sharing the most beautiful and lush 500 acre private island resort… where each couple can have their own private beach and is assigned a dedicated personal concierge, your bure mama. We provide our guests one of the most intimate, private and romantic experiences. Your private island includes private beach picnics, romantic private dine outs, spa treatments, horse back riding through the winding island trails or on your own private beach, scuba diving, champagne sunrise breakfasts, an amazing and friendly Fijian staff is ready to make all of your dreams come true. This exclusive private island paradise awaits you and your partner for a romantic week to remember. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Turtle Island Hotel Turtle Island

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