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“Snorkeler's Paradise”

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Namena Island Dive Resort
Ranked #10 of 12 Hotels in Savusavu
Reviewed August 14, 2009

If you want pristine water, soft and hard coral, and thousands of colorful reef fish, then go to Moody's Namena. This is a unique and intimate resort with six comfortable bures (bungalows) perched on a hillside with ocean views. This ten acre paradise offers privacy and service from the wonderful staff each day. The food was excellent and the house keeping services included fresh flowers daily. The highlight of our trip was enjoying snorkeling twice a day. The coral reef that surrounds the island was only a ten minute comfortable boat ride away. I have snorkeled around the world and have rarely seen so many colorful and exquisite fish. Most of all we enjoyed the hospitality of Tom and Joan Moody who thirty years ago had the vision for creating Moody's Namena.

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank The_Shipps
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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55 - 61 of 78 reviews

Reviewed August 7, 2009

When my husband suggested spending half of our Fijian vacation on an island without electricity, communal meals and not many activities, I was a bit apprehensive, but I'm so happy that I agreed to go! We have stayed at 7 different resorts in the South Pacific, and Moody's Namena was by far the best-the service, food, views and snorkeling were fantastic, not to mention the fascinating company of Tom and Joan Moody and our fellow guests.
The thing that I loved the most about Moody's Namena was the thoughtful service. They anticipated all of our needs and anything we could have wanted was already in place. There were towels and water bottles on the snorkeling and fishing boats for each guest, every time we went out. One of our fellow guests had a difficult time getting around, but Tom Moody drove him and his wife around the island, and the diving staff spent extra time with him to make sure he could enjoy snorkeling with the rest of us. This same guest had a birthday while on the island, and the chef made a birthday cake for him and we all sang "Happy BIrthday." The employees, who were all from nearby Fijian villages, were genuinely friendly.
The snorkeling here was the best we've ever seen, and it's all within a 10-20 minute boat ride from the island. The snorkeling boat goes out twice a day-morning and afternoon. We've never seen such a great number and variety of fish, and the coral is healthy and colorful.
In addition to the snorkeling, you can hike (to secluded beaches, or along the entire south side of the island!), lounge on the beach, kayak (around the entire island if you're up to it!), or just enjoy the amazing views from your porch. I was worried that there wouldn't be enough to do there for 5 days, but when we left, I still felt like there was so much of the island to explore.
Our bure (cottage) was stunning. It had 2 bathrooms, a large bed which was decorated with flowers during the day and surrounded by mosquito nets at night, and 5 floor to ceiling doors that allowed a breeze into the bure, giving great views of the ocean and trees. It felt like sleeping in a tree house. I loved making tea on our hot plate and sitting on the deck watching the waves.
The food at Moody's was simple, but delicious. We went fishing one day and caught a large mackerel, which we had for dinner that night. The next night, they used the remaining mackerel to make ceviche, and the following day they used it to make delicious fish cakes. They also make a fantastic pecan pie with coconut in place of the pecans (and I don't like coconut!) As I mentioned, I was worried about the communal meals, as my husband and I both tend to be shy, but Tom and Joan had such wonderful stories, and our fellow guests were fascinating, that we got over that fear quickly!
Although we travelled for 24 hours to get there and stayed for only 5 days, I felt rejuvenated and could have gone home happy. Moody's Namena is a warm and welcoming place and I hope to return some day.

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank 2PhillyTravelers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 29, 2009

As other reviewers note, it’s hard to compare Moody’s with any other small tropical resort. It’s not a backpacker resort, by any means, nor is it a super-lux, look-at-how-much-money-we’re-blowing-through sort of place. I counted them up; over the years we’ve stayed in 47 different tropical pacific resorts, and I still can’t complete the sentence “Moody’s is like the ___ Island/Resort.” It’s created its own niche of unspoiled tropical island/wildlife & marine preserve/family-run resort. It’s got some budget touches, some luxury touches, but is most notable for wonderful service in a unique setting.

Despite the somewhat nerve-wracking logistics (never-on-time-LAX-NAN to a tight connection for a (also, thankfully, never-on-time) Twin Otter flight to SavuSavu for the boat to Namena...That’s a lot of moving parts), this was still a great way to start a Fiji trip. Going straight from travel to a routine of Eat, Snorkel, Rest, Eat, Snorkel, Hike, Happy Hour, Dinner, Bed, Repeat is a perfect decompression routine.

It’s one of the most efficiently-run places we’ve ever stayed. Every day, our room was discreetly made up, including some creative sulu origami, while we were at breakfast, which made us wonder why that’s so hard to pull off elsewhere. Other places seem to wait until you really need to use your room, right then, to start housekeeping. The service overall is what I took to calling “petulant rock star” service. Not that you’re likely to run into any petulant rock stars here (try Wakaya), but whatever you needed, whatever you asked for, someone figured out or kludged together a way to take care of you. This “petulant rock star” service was also available at the other excellent small resorts we stayed at in Fiji, but it was really striking here, given the limited resources of the island. (It was also striking in its absence at the giant Sofitel Denaru, but that’s a different review)

The bungalows are larger and nicer than the website pictures lead us to believe. The no-AC-power angle is an interesting exercise. The reading lights and little fan in the bungalow (a bit noisy, but absolutely necessary) are powered by a solar-charged battery; the main lights are low pressure gas. It’s interesting how little adjustment it takes to run a house—everything but the kitchen—without AC power. Made me rethink how to power the “little cabin in the woods” I want to build…someday.

I don’t dive, so I can’t comment on the diving. Besides, this isn’t “dive advisor”. When we were there, just by chance, nobody was diving; it was all avid snorkelers, so the twice-a-day trips to the marine reserve were optimized for shallow water viewing. It turned out to be some of the best snorkeling—the best, healthiest coral, the most, and most unique fish—of any of the places we went in Fiji, and some of the best in today's Pacific. Better than Cousteau’s, better than Qamea, better then Novutu.

Tom and Joan are a trip, and have enough stories of their own at keep the conversation moving at the family-style meals…something that’s always important when we-who-don’t-do-small-talk-well are part of the mix. The food itself is quite good and varied enough over the course of a week to hold your interest. Even had a Mexican-style lunch, with roti used as tortillas. You won’t leave hungry. (We left needing to diet.)

It’s hard to say if my favorite activity was getting face down in the water or sitting on the verandah just before sunset watching the thousands of red-footed boobies and tropic birds returning thru the gauntlet of frigate birds. Both activities are worth the trip, as is walking thru the birds in the nature reserve. The long sand beach on the windward side looked nice too, but frankly, we didn’t leave ourselves enough time just to lie out on it.

Most enthusiastically recommended. It’s not the poshest resort in the pacific, but it’s one of my favorites.

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank TwoAmps
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 11, 2009

We stayed at Moody's in November 2008 and were blown away by the whole experience. Looking for a romantic getaway, we found so much more at Moody's. From stories with Tom over dinner to Joan's help arranging our trip to volleyball with the staff, it was a truly personal experience - we felt like family!

I haven't even mentioned the diving yet which is by far the best we have ever done. It honestly felt like every day we did the greatest dive of our lives’ and we've been all over the world to dive.

If you are looking for room service and hot tubs Moody's is not for you, but if you’re looking for nature at its unspoiled best, home cooked meals and total relaxation this is the place you've been looking for!!

Thanks to Tom, Joan and the whole crew!!


Matt and Nicole
Scottsdale, AZ (USA)

  • Stayed: November 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank PalletKing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 21, 2008

Our holiday wish-list for 2008 was to find somewhere that offered privacy, peace, quiet times, relaxation and tranquility, with fresh air, warm weather and beautiful, natural scenary thrown in. We thought the Fijian islands was a good place to start so began researching a few short listed locations on Trip Advisor and that's how we came across Moody's Namena.

Namena provided everything on our wish-list and more. Other reviewers have most ably described the uniqueness and beauty of the island. It truly is place to relax and recharge batteries. We spent five nights there in early November and left wishing we had five more.

Our bure, perched high on the side of the island provided us with an amazing outlook and we took full advantage of this and kept our doors wide open, both day and night. The location of the six bures ensured this was possible, while still providing privacy. It was magical to return to our bure after dinner each evening to find mosquito netting had been draped around our four poster bed, and the quaint gas lighting added to the charm. Nights were so peaceful and quiet, with the only noise being the sound of the breeze stirring through the trees and the waves on the shoreline below us.

Namena is popular with divers and a number of fellow guests had travelled considerable distances to experience the diving, some of them visiting for the third and fourth time. We don't dive, but had our first snorkelling experience during our stay. Nigel and the boat staff are fantastic and took particularly good care of us raw beginners!

Tom and Joan are wonderful hosts, and unique people, and we enjoyed hearing their interesting stories. One of us has special dietary requirements and Joan and Kiri were exceptionally helpful ensuring that needs were met.

We'd highly recommend Moody's Namena to anyone wanting to escape the rat-race, and recharge their batteries in a unique and truly tropical paradise.

  • Stayed: November 2008, traveled with family
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2  Thank Shellshane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 18, 2008

In October 2008 we spent amongst the most wonderful 10 days that we have spent anywhere in the world, but the first thing to understand about Moody’s Namena is that it isn’t like most other places so normal comparisons don’t work. It’s an island about 1 kilometre long, about 250 metres across and about 100 metres at its highest point. It’s 1 hour off the mainland by boat and around 70% of it is still virgin forest. Almost all the lighting is gaslight and there is no mains electricity though laptops etc can be charged at the main bure from solar power. There is no natural ground water, which is why the island has never been inhabited for any length of time (the Fijian name for it is Namenalala – lala meaning empty). All the water is captured rainfall. The resort grows a lot of its own food and it is almost completely self-sufficient.
There are only 6 bures on the island so the maximum number of guests is 12 and each bure is out of sight of its neighbour except for the odd twinkling light visible through the trees at night. The bures are sort of hexagonal and four sides of the hexagon are sliding doors, which means it’s almost always possible to create a through breeze. All bures are on stilts, one bure being down towards the beach and the others at varying heights along the island. Each has a king bed, shower room and 2 toilets and a balcony that runs around the ocean facing front sides.
All meals are in the main bure at two large circular tables. Breakfast is fruit, eggs and bacon or omelette, lunch is buffet style, dinner is three courses and they have a great New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
Our main purpose going to Namena was to dive the very long reef that surrounds the island, just 10 minutes boat ride off shore. We have been fortunate enough to dive in many locations around the world and this was some of the best diving that we have had – anywhere. It was best in terms of variety of dive sites including walls, bommies, coral gardens and sand channels. The extent and health of both the hard and soft corals was excellent. The variety of fish life was amazing from manta rays and other pelagic species to over 20 of the possible 27 butterfly fish that can be seen in Fiji. There are 2 dives a day and a night dive if you want it. The dive operation is, like the rest of Namena simple and basic – there is no fancy dive shop here. But most importantly Nigel and his team who run the diving know every dive site in detail and they were great as were the boat crew. For 5 days of our 10 day stay there were only two other guests who were mainly snorkellers and the dive staff took equally good care of them putting a dive master in the water with them wherever the boat dropped them.
A unique aspect of Namena is that Tom and Joan Moody, who took a 99 year lease on the island 25 years ago and built everything here themselves by hand, still live there. Tom, Joan or both are at every mealtime and make you feel very welcome. Tom doesn’t walk quite so well these days (the story of being shot by Panamanian Indians is extraordinary) so gets around the island trails in what looks like a supercharged golf buggy. If you are interested he will take you on a tour of the place. It takes about 1 hour and you realise that this guy was doing ECO before it was defined let alone before it became a trendy claim for some not very green resorts.
The wildlife here isn’t quite Galapagos tame but the nesting Red Footed Boobies merely gawp at you as you walk past, we were woken every morning by a Collared Kingfisher calling just off our balcony and from the balcony we saw in the sea below us Hawksbill and Leatherback Turtle and Black Tipped Reef Shark. This is virgin forest so there are mosquito nets on the beds because you need them so don’t come expecting the regularly sprayed insect free grounds of a hotel chain. There are walking trails that take you to either end of the island and depending on the tide it’s possible to walk almost the length of one side along the beach.
In the dining room there are hundreds of books that you can borrow but if you’re wondering and worried about what you are going to do with all the down time you probably shouldn’t be going. This is the most fabulous place.

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled with family
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3  Thank butterflyfish13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 17, 2008

We spent the first week of our honeymoon at Moody's Namena --
and were absolutely blown away by the island's natural beauty and the care, attention, and warmth we received from every single member of the staff. It was, hands down, our favorite destination.

The diving blew us away. Excellent dive masters and staff and there was no doubt in our minds that we were in safe hands. Beautiful hikes, excellent snorkeling, and definitely treat yourself to a private picnic on the beach. The resort has an impressive library or bring your own book to read in the hammocks or on your deck chairs.

With just six burres, the resort offers unparalleled natural beauty and privacy. In contrast, the communal meals offer an opportunity to meet the very few other guests on the island and, more important, Joan and Tom, the wonderful and charismatic owners.

First thing every morning, we'd throw open all our sliding doors, marvel at the aqua blue water, spot sea turtles surfacing and diving, watch the birds, and get ready for another beautiful day in paradise. We feel so lucky to have been able to spend a week at this magical place and we can't wait to return.

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank writersbloq
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Namena Island Dive Resort

Address: | Namena Island, Savusavu, Vanua Levu, Fiji
Location: Fiji > Vanua Levu > Savusavu
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Savusavu
#4 Romantic Hotel in Savusavu
#5 Family Hotel in Savusavu
#8 On the Beach Hotel in Savusavu
Price Range: $235 - $470 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Namena Island Resort is a privately owned Fiji island resort. 6 Bure's (cottages) strategically located to maximize ocean views and enjoy the ocean breezes. Maximum guest capacity 12 people. 3 gorgeous private beaches. Namena is rated the "Best Dive Destination In Fiji" and ranked as one of the "Top 10 Dive Destinations in the World". Namena Island is surrounded by a reef designated as a marine reserve with over 22 world famous dive sites all within a 10 minute boat ride from our boat jetty. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Moody`s Namena Hotel Savusavu
Moodys Namena Hotel
Moodys Namena Resort All Inclusive
Namena Island Dive Resort Fiji/Savusavu

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