We have just returned from Fafa Island with two small children (age 2 and 3). We have always holidayed in Fiji before, and Fafa looked like it had everything we wanted - beautiful beaches, great food and superb accommodation without any of the more commercialsed aspects of a big resort. And in almost all ways, we were very satisfied.
We were very unlucky with the weather. We were there for a week, and it rained heavily for 5 and a bit days. On the one perfect day, it was plain to see that we were in a tropical paradise. On the rainy days, trying to entertain the kids detracted from the experience somewhat!
The fales themselves are glorious. Be aware, that they are open to the air -- the windows are not screened, and while entirely waterproof, they do not hold out anything else. We loved the geckoes as great entertainers of the kids, but they are everywhere (quite cute really).
The rooms are huge -- we had one of the superior (ie entry level) fales with the extra room attached. The main room is enormous and has a desk and a daybed (where our son slept). The second room also has two single beds in it and is a good size also.
The beds all have mosquito netting which you will want to use as the bugs come out at night. HAving said that, the kids (who went to bed at 7) got no bites at all, so the netting must work well. The beds are really comfortable -- they are foam squabs on a slat base, and the linens are cotton and are changed daily (great when you have sandy little feet clambering through them.)
The bathrooms are superbly romantic - they are semi-outdoors -- the toilet and vanity are under a roof and then the shower and (sunbathing?) platform are in the open. The vanity has a power point and a shaver point.
The one sore point of the room was the shower. It is solar powered, and I don't know whether it is a design flaw, or simply bacause we had very little sun while we were staying, but there was very litle hot water. A morning shower was out of the question, but by 3pm there was normally enough warm water to have a bit of a spray down each -- there was no real pressure to speak of.
There is also a large wardrobe off the main bedroom with hangning space, shelves and a refridgerator. There is another powerpoint in here (we used it to recharge things like a portable DVD player which came in very handy for half an hour's sanity time when it was very wet).
The standard of the food was pretty good. Certainly varied with an abundance of fresh seafood. They also tried very hard to cater for vegetarians (we gave them lots of advance notice).
Our one gripe (and it was quite a big one when you have littlies in tow) was that nomatter whether you arranged for meals at a set time, or whether you ordered off themenu in the retsurant, you always had to wait at least 40 minutes. We had to wait an hour and a half for our breakfast to be served after ordering one morning.
The food is also very expensive. I thought that $35 for a fish main course and $8 for a hot chocolate and $25 for a cocktail was pretty bad until I realised at the end that these prices are in US$, not Tongan dollars! However, we had ordered the meal plan for ourselves and that proved to be good value. The portions are large, so we generally ordered just one plate of something for the kids and that was heaps -- the kitchen was very good about making up whatever we wanted for the children, tey were particularly partial to the homemade fish and chips. The kitchen was also happy to heat up our own food too -- I took a few long-life pasta meals for them too.
The cocktails are good, but the wine is dreadful. We had been prewarned by another Tripadvisor member, so we took our own wine each night from Duty free. I think we paid a one off corkage fee of $5, so this proved to be a godsend, as a wee glass of somethingw as very welcome at the end of the evening!
The island is beautiful -- glorious coarse sand white beaches (great for sandcastles!) fringed with palm trees. The fales are all set back, so from the beach, the island looks unspoilt. You can walk around the island easily in half an hour (reef walkers are useful).
Apparently there is some good coral off of the island for snorkelling over, but daily snorkelling trips will take you further afield as well if you want.
There is a daily boat service to the main island -- I would recommend just arranging a taxi rather than a standard tour as it gives you more flexibility, and I hear mixed reviews of the Island's recommended tour guide.
The island is both perfectly child compatible (what more do they need really than a bed and a beautiful beach!) and at the same time not particularly child-friendly. Cots are available, and excellent babysitters can look after the littlies while you eat, but there are no special resources for them. Take all your own gear -- buckets and spades, snorkels, rubber rings etc, as there is nothing available on the island. Also be sure and pack plenty of wet weather diversion, as you never know! We also took our own life jackets for them for the boat trip over.
All in all, had we had good weather, this would have been an ideal family holiday. As it was, we found the slow service a bit of a niggle as it wasn't possible just to send the kids off to the beach while we watched them from the bar and had to put in some serious entertaining. If the kids had been older, it would have been a different story too. So, I suppose we took our chance with the weather and got a good day and a half out of it, and those were pretty perfect!
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- Also Known As:
- Fafa Island Hotel Fafa Island