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“Lacked atmosphere”

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Volivoli Beach Resort Fiji
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Rakiraki
Certificate of Excellence
Manchester
Level 6 Contributor
659 reviews
141 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 281 helpful votes
“Lacked atmosphere”
Reviewed November 14, 2011

There is nothing much wrong with Volivoli Beach, but when we stayed there the lack of atmosphere was a disappointment. Most of the guests were friends or family members of the owners and this led to a slightly clubby/cliquey feel which the staff didn't do much to alleviate. Some of the daytime staff were so brusque as to be rude and there was little enthusiasm for providing information or encouraging guests to get involved in anything that was going on. In it's favour, the accomodation was fine, some great views and the pool area was lovely. We stayed four nights and I think that as non-divers two would have been a better choice.....

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
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1 Thank Howellsey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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taree, australia
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed November 4, 2011

We LOVED this place. Jennifer at Volivoli arranged transfers for us in advance. Pravin was waiting at the arrivals hall. 1/1/2 hours to Tavua, where Pravin was happy to take us to a market, so we could get some supplies. One more hour to Volivoli. Pravin was friendly, and told us a bit about things along the way. He even stopped so we could take photos of nice scenery, and the fantastic sunset.

When we arrived, just at dark, Vinnie was waiting for us at the carpark. She showed us to our room, let us get settled, and said just to check in at reception when we came down for dinner. We stayed in one of the Private Vales, it was beautiful. Photos on the website are accurate, but don't do the place enough justice. It was new, immaculate, crisp white linens and cotton blankets, tile floors, gorgeous timber doors and windows. Splendid shower and huge bathroom. Washing machine and your own clothesline. Full kitchen. Plunger coffee pot. Bring your own coffee if you drink alot, some is provided, but not quite enough. Covered tile veranda with wooden lounges with comfy cushions. Great place for morning coffee or afternoon drink. Daily housekeeping service, including a 1 1/2 liter bottle of Fiji water daily. We bought 12 liters of water in duty free at Nadi airport, as well as a carton of beer. That lasted us perfectly for the week we were there.

No TV or phone in the room (yay!) but wide screen TV in the restaurant. Wi-fi is available for a nominal fee, also in the restaurant, not in the room.

The restaurant was beautiful, open air, overlooking the sparkling pool. Food was tasty, basic but good quality. Breakfast was reasonable, for $9 FJD you got 2 eggs any style, sausage or bacon, and 2 bits of toast with jam. $4 more got you a plate of fresh fruit that was plenty for two. For lunch or dinner, we enjoyed stir fry dishes, chicken or beef salads as meals, fish burgers, pan fried fresh fish, yummy hot chips, and fresh side salad as well, with a great house dressing. Every meal was nice. From toasted sandwiches for $6 each, to burgers with chips and salad for $12, and full meals for $20-24 (all FJD), we felt the food was good value for money.

The beach itself was small, and it came and went with the tide. There was a stone wall, and a sandy beach with lounge chairs, but walking along a long stretch of beach isn't really possible. You could walk down into the water, even when the tide was high and the beach disappeared, and the water was shallow enough to walk around for a good ways, and little fish swam around your feet. We saw a ray swim off as we walked near it. The grounds are lovely with stone walls and beautiful flowers. There is at least one resident mongoose, very elusive, but look early mornings and you might catch a glimpse.

Be sure to check with Soni for cultural tours. He can arrange and guide you on any number of interesting tours, from a few hours to all day, where you can meet the locals, see their lifestyle, and experience their genuine hospitality and rich culture firsthand. Soni told us legends, shared history, and gave us a great introduction to Fiji. Check with him early in the week, and perhaps you can join a tour already planned.

We don't dive, but evidently the divers there thought it was way above average. Plenty of other activities are possible. Snorkeling is best when you take a trip with Splash Water Sports. We went out on a nice little powerboat, to the far side of Nananu-I-Ra Island, which is visible to the north of the resort. He dropped us in at one end of the reef, and waited for us down the other end, and the gentle current took us to him after about an hour. It was simply fantastic. Clearest snorkeling I've ever done. We saw a wide variety of fish, including clown fish (we found Nemo!) and large blue sea stars. We also snorkeled at the reef in front of the resort, but the water was much clearer at the Island, so I recommend it. Jet skis are available, parasailing, and others. Sea kayaks are free to use, and it was lovely paddling along the coast.

My husband did a half day deep sea fishing trip, with Ra Divers, and had a blast. He caught several Barracuda, a Giant Trevally, and a Spanish Mackerel that we kept, and it fed us for three days! He gave his other fish to the great staff of Ra Divers and Splash Watersports, they are a delightful group of helpful, hard working young men. We went with Soni to the market in Rakiraki, and got fresh fruit and veggies for next to nothing. I learned to make a traditional Fijian dish called Kokoda, with some of the Mackerel, and that was truly delicious. Most of the staff are very willing to share their Fijian legends, stories, and recipes, if you ask. No one was pushy about anything, but everyone was accommodating and friendly.

I can't say enough about Volivoli. It was a perfect holiday for my husband and myself, relaxing, plenty available to do, or not, as you choose. We loved the gentle kind spirit of the Fijian people we met, and we can't wait to go back.

Room Tip: Every private Vale is set up on the hill, and has it's own spectacular view, each slightly diffe...
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank rosetaree
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Christchurch, New Zealand
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed October 10, 2011

Returned to Volivoli again this year, mainly for diving, during the last two weeks of July. As in 2010 the people of the Resort and Ra Divers were just fantastic.
Had seventeen dives, some welcome repeats of last year; many new. A number of these sites just blow your socks off - Wheatfields, Instant Replay and Black Magic Mountain stand out in my mind. Convinced me that I must invest in a good underwater camera.
The Resort continues to develop with Water Sport facilities and local tours having been added since my last visit.
I thoroughly recommend that you do one of "Soni's Tours". The day tour to the Church at Navunibitu to see the murals painted by Jean Charlot followed by a visit to the mountain village of Nasau was truely memorable. The murals are spectacular. The warmth and friendliness of the people at Nasau was just incredible. You will love the welcoming and farewell Kava Ceremonies.
Just love the place!

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank bodster49
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nevada, USA
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed September 14, 2011

Ra Divers will take you to fabulous Vatu- i- ra passage, weather permitting, to dive 2 or 3 tanks on pristine reefs. 3 tanks by divers majority vote, however there is no minimum number of divers. A huge releif when there are not many people diving. Two large, comfortable boats get to the passage in 45 minutes to 1 hour. On board head, designated camera rinse bucket, dry area if you must change batteries, etc. When I was there in July 2011, they had plans to take delivery of a new boat for fishing charters sometime around December. Also check to see if they have NITROX around year end.
You will see walls and bommies covered in soft corals, sea fans, and millions of anthias. Lot's of beautiful tropical fish everywhere. Schools of fusiliers, barracuda, and jacks were common. We saw many white tip and grey reef sharks on some dives, and several large dogtooth tuna and turtles. Inside sights are lovely, with walls of soft coral, grey reef sharks and tropical fish.
There are a variety of choices for rooms. My spotless vale had a very comfortable queen bed, air con, dual sink bathroom with shower, and a great little kitchen with fridge, stove, microwave, dishes, etc. A large deck provided views of the ocean and well manicured grounds. There are hotel style accommodations with the same layout, but 2 queen beds and minus the kitchen. There were several people staying inn the backpacker dorms, and the comments were all positive.
The restaraunt was nice, with good food and a full bar. There is also a huge swimming pool for relaxing. The owners are on site, available, and checked in with me on several occasions to see how I liked everything. I had an excellent time here, and highly recommend Volivoli.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank diver115
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Byron Bay, Australia
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed September 4, 2011

Our first impressions of volivoli were the impeccible gardens/rooms. We booked the cheapest option and the views and gardens from that room were great, then we were upgraded due to construction going on.

I can tell you that it was the best upgrade of accomodation I have had, the views from the bures are magical and the rooms with the lovely timber work adds to the feel of the place. We loved the relaxed style and short strolls to the restuarant and bar or even better the perfect ocean for some swimming.

Volivoli is close enough to town - very cheap cab ride although we hired a car to drive all around the island although there is plenty to do as a couple @ the resort.

We would have loved to have more time there and may return one day with the family.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Tim E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Devon, UK
Level 4 Contributor
21 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed September 1, 2011

After months of researching for my solo trip to Fiji I decided I would stay at Volivoli for a rather long stint of 3 weeks - 1 week for a dive course then 2 weeks to go off and explore. I actually only stayed for 13 nights and in hindsight after seeing the rest of Fiji I should've left sooner.
I don’t think Volivoli warrants a bad review, I just would not return for a holiday after my experience there as a backpacker where I left feeling more like an annoyance in comparison to those staying on private dive holidays. Speaking with other backpackers, this was the general feeling amongst the other dorm boarders.

Getting There.
I took the public bus from Nadi and had to change at Lautoka. The total journey from Nadi to Rakiraki took four hours. The buses are an experience in themselves, by the end of my time in Fiji I loved them! You'll notice that the term 'express' is used very loosely, but just sit back and take in the sites, you see lots of tiny villages on the Kings road (which is still being developed). I found the bus driver and ticket man very helpful, he asked where I was going and organised for his cousin (a taxi driver) to take me the 15 minute journey from Rakiraki to Volivoli for a good price of 12$FJD, usually 15$FJD.

Check-in / Check-out.
As he drove down the long dirt track off the main road to Volivoli I couldn't help but be stunned by how beautiful it all was. He dropped me off and I headed down the steep concrete path with my backpack, it was a little unclear as to where I was meant to go at first but no big worry. Everything looked clean and well maintained, the place itself felt quiet – it was low season. There was some confusion at check in as I had been e-mailing prior to my arrival about booking a special dive deal, despite stating I was a complete novice I had been booked on advance dive offer of 10 tanks plus free accommodation - the original pull as to why I book for so long. Jenny told me not to worry and she would sort it out later, I had to really push for this to get sorted as I was eager to know how much more out of pocket I was going to be; Fiji Time, price wasn’t sorted until the day I was stood at reception waiting to check-out by which time I just had to pay what was asked of me.

Dorm Accomodation.
From reception there is a steep concrete incline to the dorms, watch-out after it has rained as it can become a little slippery – especially in flip-flops. At night you will need a torch as this path is not lit.
The dorms themselves are lovely, each 'room' consists of 8 spacious bunk beds with two sinks and toilet/shower rooms and a ceiling fan. I was in dorm four and did not ever have a full room of 8 people, if you were staying with full occupancy I think it might be a little cramped. There were enough power points during my stay, but again this might not be the case at full occupancy.
I had no personal experience of bed bugs here but did see multiple cases of it from others who were on the Fiji Experience and staying in dorm rooms 1 and 2.
I felt safe in the dorms but did always lock my things up as one traveler had their hiking boots pinched one afternoon. You pay a deposit of 10$FJD for bed sheets, these seemed to be changed regularly, and the maids clean daily. You also pay a deposit of 20$FJD for a 'kitchen kit' which consists of a plate, bowl, cup, sharp knife and cutlery.

Food.
Food is where I think Volivoli was a real let down for me, no food is included with accommodation where as everywhere else I stayed in Fiji offered a small complimentary breakfast. I felt that the meal prices were expensive and the menu distinctively western offering items such as chips, burgers & Caesar salad, at the time it was a minimum of 21$FJD for a meal which is relatively cheap, but not so much if you are planning to eat three meals a day. There was a cheaper option of a toastie at lunch, but one cannot live off toasties alone!
You order at the bar and then they call your name out to collect – unless you aren’t staying in the dorms then you seem to get table service. Go figure.
You can’t drink the tap water at Volivoli and at 12$FJD a bottle a lot of us opted to drink rainwater instead or buy from the market in Rakiraki – a round trip into town to buy your own supplies costs 30$FJD, if I had known I would’ve stocked up as soon as I had gotten off the bus, I advise you to do this! Luckily I was able to split the cost with other travelers a couple of times, but once I got stung for the full 30$FJD.
There is a basic kitchen facility for the drom borders to use, for my time there it was fine but there is no-way this could cater for full occupancy. There are two gas powered stovetops, a sink and a fridge freezer. There is an old fashioned toaster that sits on the stove, some pans and a wok. My biggest complaint about my stay at Volivoli was the theft of my and others food, again since speaking with other travelers this seems to be an on-going issue for the dorm boarders.
I cannot say if it was the staff or locals coming on to site, but it was quiet and only three of us (me & a couple) staying in the dorms at the time when our food was disappearing, we knew it was not either of us! A real upset when it costs 30$FJD to replace it. I resorted to locking dry food away in my locker but you are told not to as it attracts ants, leaving only my perishables in the fridge which were then subsequently also pinched. Reception were sympathetic but also seemed none to bothered about our food going missing. After a week of daily reporting what had gone missing we were allowed to use the fridge behind the bar.

Location & Amenities.
There is Internet via the use of pre-paid Global Gossip cards but the service was absolutely awful while I was there, dropping every 60 seconds. A real frustration as the price is expensive for only short periods of time. Reception said they couldn’t do anything about it and I was left having to call Global Gossip myself to get some sort of resolution. By the end of my stay there was an engineer working on the connection so it should hopefully be better by now.
As you can see from the pictures, the pool is lovely, large and clean exactly what you want. The beach is non-existent, the infamous sand-spit is only visible when the tide is right out and then the rest of the beach isn’t that much to see. Offshore snorkeling wasn’t great.
Dive course was ok for the price. I felt rushed, as they wanted to get me in with others who were already a day ahead of me so we could all go out in the boat together. This resulted in me having to read the PADI book and do the exam in one day, which wasn’t fun.
Only entertainment I experienced was when the Fiji Experience bus rolled through, otherwise fairly quiet with a pool table and dartboard – both of which cost to play. There is a sad looking volley ball court which I think would get better use during peak season.
Once at Volivoli, you are pretty limited to your surroundings as it is so far away from everything else, not a party resort which I didn’t mind, but also nothing close-by to keep you interested.

Staff.
The staff are local and friendly, everything is very much Fiji-Time which some people found hard to get used to. As with any resort you get some good staff and some bad, nothing notable. Volivoli is family owned from what I could tell by a couple, their sons and respective family. The sons were all very approachable and made you feel welcome, but the older couple [I presume the parents] put an atmosphere about the place and amongst the staff. One traveler was eating lunch at a high table in the corner and he was asked to move abruptly as the family wanted to eat/drink and that was ‘their table’. Bit off we all thought! It was nothing in particular, but there was a general feeling of it being a high-end resort not wanting backpackers present, but needed their custom to keep ticking over. A shame, as the people I met during my time there were great! Hope this helps someone with their plans to visit Fiji.

Room Tip: Try to get a locker near the floor, it'll save heaving your bag up & down.
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  • Stayed February 2011, traveled solo
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Helpful?
4 Thank LittleLaughingBuddha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mt. Cook Village, New Zealand
Level 2 Contributor
1 review
Reviewed August 25, 2011

We went to Volivoli for a wedding, and wow what a great week we had! Looking at the photos makes me want to go back now! The rooms were beautiful, amazing views, great pool and delicious food! The partying was great too, with a large selection of beverages available. What I was most impressed about was how immaculate everything was, and how friendly the staff were. All staff remembered our names very quickly and were very polite and obliging. I look forward to being back at Volivoli in the future, and thank you for a great time!

Room Tip: If staying in the backpackers - have at least one night in a Vale.
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Glentanner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Volivoli Beach Resort Fiji

Property: Volivoli Beach Resort Fiji
Address: Volivoli Road, Rakiraki, Viti Levu, Fiji
Phone Number:
Location: Fiji > Viti Levu > Rakiraki
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Rakiraki
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Volivoli Beach Resort Fiji 4*
Number of rooms: 28
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Volivoli Beach Resort is a dedicated SSI and PADI dive Resort on Viti Levu, Fiji. It is owned and operated by the Darling family, 16 year veterans of the area. Dive facilities are world class and on site. All accommodations have ocean views. Nearby Bligh Waters are renowned for an amazing display of fish, pelagic creatures and soft corals. Guests enjoy snorkelling, kayaking, beach volleyball, fishing, village culture and sunset cruises. The Darling philosophy is simple - “We spend time talking to our guests, whether on a dive trip or over a cold beer,” says Nick, “This helps us fine tune the Volivoli experience.” ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Volivoli Beach Hotel Rakiraki
Volivoli Beach Resort Fiji Rakiraki

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