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“I'm only working to save up for my next trip to go with the flow at Matava”

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Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Kadavu Island
Certificate of Excellence
sydney
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“I'm only working to save up for my next trip to go with the flow at Matava”
Reviewed April 22, 2009

Where do I start. My husband (non diver/fisherman) and I met and married in Fiji in 99/2000 and have come back to Fiji over 20 times. We’ve been to most regions and love it. We came across Matava 4 years ago when recommended during one of our other trips. I did communicate with the staff via email for sometime prior to our first visit just to get a good understanding of what to expect, heat, mosquitos etc. The communication was fantastic and my expectations were set for a hot humid stay with the potential of assorted wet season bugs. With this knowledge in hand we chose Xmas/New Year as our first trip (wet season).
From the minute we landed at Vunisea’s quaint airport we knew we were in for something different. We loved the ride from the airport in the old truck with a few stops to get supplies before meeting our transfer boat. The 40 minute trip from Vunisea to Matava is absolutely mind blowing and after 4 return visits to Matava I still can’t get sick of travelling around in these transfer boats. Rain or shine.
Upon arriving on my first visit I was a little disappointed that there was not the traditional golden bar of sand out the front, but that disappointment faded within about 5 mins. Matava is primarily a dive resort however, there is so much to do, including some great snorkeling at the reef right in front of the resort,which incidentally is a marine park thanks to the resorts owners agreement with the local villages, bush walks, guided canoe trips, surfing, game fishing, just hanging out on the deck, having fun with the staff or just chilling on your stunning deck with a good book/ipod whatever.
Our stays have generally been 2 week visits at Easter or Xmas/New Year (so we can have more time off work to spend at Matava) and there are lots of fun festivities to be had with the guests, staff and villagers. Last Xmas/New Years was the absolute best. Our stay was initially 2 weeks, we extended to 3 then extended to a 4th and final week (reality – need to get home to start saving for the next trip). I would have thought that after 4 weeks we may have got a little tired of the best diving I’ve ever experienced. I hooked up with some great dive buddies and seriously, for 3 weeks straight (in the wet season) our chant after surfacing was “that was the best dive ever!”. I managed to pack in 40 dives this trip and could have still done some more, but I’m also a fan of the game fishing.
Bite Me, the 31ft Blackwatch is a fantastic boat completely equipped with all you need for a great day’s fishing. Adrian and Joe are just fantastic and I’m sure they enjoy it just as much as the punters who head out past the reef for some deep sea fun! I’ve been lucky enough to get some Fiji National Records which always puts a smile on everyone’s face. I’ve shared charters with non-fisherpeople who’ve always had a fantastic day and come back for more. I recommend always take plenty of sunblock, shades, a hat and a sarong to cover up when it gets a bit hot.
During the 4 trips to Matava we’ve chosen to try all the accommodation. We love it all. From the budget oceanview bure right on the water’s edge (very traditional) to the medium budget with own bathroom, to the awesome Honeymoon Bure’s on the top of the hill. We loved the deck at the Honeymoon Bure and the fact that you can keep the bathroom door open, stand in your shower and enjoy the most wonderful view of all.
I could continue to go on and on more than I already have however, I would like to list a few points which make us keep coming back:
1.Remoteness – means that guests who travel here are doing so for like minded reasons
2.Great Company – we’ve hardly met a guest we didn’t have great fun with
3.Awesome diving, you name it (apart from wrecks) they have it, drift, no drift, deep, not deep, big fish, little critters, manta’s, sharks, day/night. The local dive team really know their stuff
4.Game fishing, activities, chillin (from someone who usually can’t sit still for 5 mins)
5.Staff – Maggie and the team just do everything they can to make your trip the best – they truly make you feel like one of the family (not a cliché in this instance)
6.Food – and lots of it! Fresh, diverse, GREAT deserts (and I’m NOT a desert person) and cold beer
7.The new Bure – we loved the character of the old bure but the new one is something else
8.The Deck – a great place for those cold beers and stories at sunset, before dinner, and for just chillin
9.The most amazing blues and beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen – I will NEVER get sick of those waters

I SOOOO wish I was back there right now....

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank Jeepchicky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Juneau, Alaska
Level 4 Contributor
38 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
Reviewed March 23, 2009

I had a hard time writing this review of Matava, and I would have given it a rating of 3.5 if that was possible. There were several things that we really liked about the place, and some that we didn’t. The Fijian staff (Maggie and Joe especially) were really great. The staff and the unspoiled Island of Kadavu, make the resort as special as it is.

The snorkeling was amazing. We went on the dive boat in the morning and really enjoyed Joe and Drex. They were a lot of fun and definitely knew what they were doing. The other guests were a lot of fun and we had some really good laughs. However, it is a small place and everyone eats meals together so personalities can really change the dynamic of the place.

What bothered me, is the management including the outdated website and lack of enthusiasm of the owners. Richard and Adrian would sit in the bar while the rest of us had dinner. It was very awkward.

Our room, especially the bathroom, was not as pictured on the website. It was up a slick trail and located next to the trail to Richard and Adrian’s houses as well as the path to the garden and beyond. So, there was foot traffic and you could hear quite a bit of noise from the houses above and people passing by. You had to access the bathroom from the deck, which could be seen from both paths, so bring something to cover up. The view was very good, but the deck, especially the stairs and railing were starting to rot. It really wasn’t worth the extra money for the “Honeymoon Bure”. Going in, we understood that there would not be power available. But it was very hot and humid and the lack of a ceiling fan made sleeping very difficult.

The rooms did include mosquito coils, even though the website says they are available for purchase. And they did have a charging station set up in the renovated main bure for cameras and laptops that could be used around the clock, again not as described on the website. I used the packing list on the website, but there is one huge omission. Bring a sulu or long skirt for village visits, long pants aren't adequate. Kadavu is very traditional.

It is advertised as an eco-resort that grows their own vegetables and serves fish caught each day. The garden was overgrown while we were there and was in the process of being cleared and re-planted. The only fish served was that caught by another guest during our stay, otherwise the meals were chicken, lamb or sausages. The food was very good, with the exception of desserts, and there was always plenty to eat.

We knew to expect an open skiff and an hour ride, so that wasn’t a problem. On the return trip to the airport, heavy rain started as we neared Vunisea. They gave us torn, mildew covered rain coats to put on. At low tide, you also have to walk through 4-5 inch deep mud to get to the beach at Vunisea. This wasn’t the high point of the trip.

It wasn’t until we got to the second resort of our trip (Nanuya Island Resort) that we really understood that Matava just isn’t as good as it could be, especially for the price. Kadavu is amazing and we will probably return.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
15 Thank SunnyinAK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed March 3, 2009

Matava is a tiny eco resort with room for only about 22 guests. All guests eat together and we made some great friends this way. The staff are unique and funny. The location is so lovely, by the sea and very remote so it feels like a real adventure to actually be there. Great snorkling and I wasn`t bored at all just soaking it all up. Fill up on the real fijian experience!

  • Stayed June 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank mariannea76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago
Level 1 Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed February 16, 2009

I began my stay at Matava only planning to stay a week or so before venturing onward to explore the rest of Fiji. However, in the end I stayed just over 3 weeks and now I wouldn't have planned my holiday any differently. I chose Matava because I wanted to dive the Astrolabe reef, and I was looking for a remote and fairly rustic resort (to weed out the people that expect chocolates on their pillows) with some interesting people to drink some beers and chat with during dinner. Also, as a solo traveler, costs at most resorts were out of my budget, so accommodation was also an issue.
Given that it was the wet season, the diving did not disappoint. Colorful hard corals, some soft corals, nudi branches, and great shark and manta dives. The dive staff are wonderful and do a great job of keeping things organized and efficient while maintaining a fun atmosphere - and catering to the particular needs and desires of the divers that come through and whatever nature had delivered for the day. Due to the sheer size of the reef there is a lot of diversity in the dives that are offered – and the “exploratory” dives were some of my favorites.
I was fairly impressed with the grounds of the resort given the remoteness of the island and the inherent challenges that comes with the humidity. They have just added (sometime in 2008) a lovely main bure with a nice bar and a deck where most meals are eaten. There is no beach actually attached to the resort - so you do have to motivate to paddle to the nearby island (15 minutes or so). Meals are served on a (mostly) fixed schedule - although they will keep your food for you if you for some reason miss it. As a fish-eating vegetarian - they did an excellent job feeding me. Most of the food was handmade and the most memorable dishes featured fresh fruit, produce from the organic garden, and whatever fish was caught that day (bit of luck required here) with some chilies thrown in for good measure. And I discovered that even fresh tuna gets tiring after three weeks! Although the toasted coconut chips served during happy hour never got old.
My stay was really made so enjoyable by the staff. When I came down with a bad cold on my second day (perfect for a diving vacation!) I was immediately force fed fresh pineapple and given a selection of sudafed from their personal stash to ease my suffering. Most of the guests that came through were friendly and fairly adventurous – and made for some enjoyable evenings. Due to the lack of electricity at night (bring a headlamp!), and the long days in the sea and sun, most people went to bed fairly early. The nights were normally hot and humid. There were usually lizards rustling the thatching, mosquitoes lurking around the netting with spiders waiting in anticipation, and occasionally a crab or some other creature would make its way into my bure. But that’s the fun of sleeping in the tropics! Luckily I could also hear the water and there was usually a breeze to help with the heat.
Overall, I had a fantastic stay at Matava. I loved the remoteness, the basic and natural feel of the place, the amazing staff, and the friends I made during my stay. So I recommend it for the adventurous people of the world that want a relaxing holiday with some good diving and fishing without the crowds or the frills and the expectations of fancy resorts.

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank jen137
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Torbay
Level 3 Contributor
24 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed February 3, 2009

If only we had known about Tripadvisor before we booked our honeymoon, we would not have chosen this resort. We left feeling that our stay was not about us having a memorable experience but rather we were there to support the life style choice of the owners.
The boat trip from Kandavu to the resort took over an hour, we were not told this and therefore had no water with us or sun block. As the boat has no shade we both burnt, not a great start to your honeymoon!
On arrival we found were greated by the wonderful Maggie, the rsorts saving grace, may he never change.
Whilst there we shared the resort with a couple who were clearly friends of the owners, consequently we felt excluded from conversation at meal times. It was almost like we had gate crashed a private house party.
We experienced some bad weather through our stay, not a problem, however the resort offers no comfortable place to sit and relax with a book or your i pod. No loungers, not even a cushion for the wooden chairs. We appreciate this is being run as an eco resort, but eco does not have to be uncomfortable.
As we were there to dive not fish, one of the owners Adrian, did not even give us the time of day. We did not have a single conversation wiht him in the whole 9 days we stayed.
This resort has the potential to offer its guests an amazing experience, however it has a very long way to go before it achieves this.

  • Liked — Local style Bure
  • Disliked — No escape from mosquitoes
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
15 Thank Angelica1964
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bowral, NSW
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed February 1, 2009

We spent the most amazing 5 days in early December at Matava's Eco Resort, Kadavu island, located next to the Great Barrier Astrolabe Reef. We chose the resort particularly for the game fishing as well as it being a small eco resort off the beaten track that only accommodates up to about 24 people. It was the first time my husband and I had stayed in an eco resort and we were not sure what to expect. If we had any doubts before arriving they were quickly dispelled as we were greeted so beautifully by one of the local staff at the resort who insisted on providing us with lunch at 3pm as she knew we would not have eaten due to our journey from the mainland. Other guests staying there also welcomed us with abundant information about Matava and we immediately felt part of a very special environment. The resort is cleverly designed with various thatched bures dotted throughout the beautiful garden. A central bar and dining area looks out over the water where we had drinks from a well stocked bar and shared our meals with the other guests, which was really fun. The food was outstanding with just about everything being locally produced from either the ocean or the vegetable garden located within the grounds. A favourite dish for us was Kokoda, (raw white fish cured in lime juice with garlic, chilli and coconut milk and no doubt some other secret ingredients). Being an eco resort electricity is generated by solar panels with a back up generator enabling guests to charge cameras etc. A lantern is provided for each guest to light the way back to your bure after dinner, with lights operating within the bure during the night.
The fishing was outstanding despite a false start on our first day with a total no show. The resort’s boat Bite Me is well equipped and special mention must go to Joe, an amusing fun loving Fijian whose local and general knowledge of fishing is exceptional. We were expertly guided on fishing adventures resulting in us landing large Spanish Mackerels, Barracudas and Yellowfin Tuna to name a few. These were taken back to the resort and prepared for the guests and they also provided meals for the locals living nearby. Additionally there is a catch and release policy in regards to certain species and of course there are size limits also.
Having not dived for years, I was a little nervous about taking the plunge after so long. However, due to the high standards in safety and in instruction at the resort I experienced a wonderful dive in what is known as Coral Wonderland, with crystal clear water, unbleached coral, beautiful sea creatures and the water temperature was like a warm bath.
Every member of staff that we met over the course of our stay was exceptional and leaving was very hard to do. Adrian, one of the resorts owners also made our time at Matava utterly enjoyable and relaxing and we will remember our short time there with superb and happy memories and we hope to return very soon.

  • Liked — Fishing, diving, eating, drinking, fun
  • Disliked — Not enough time spent there
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank Aggieandco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Captain Cook, HI
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed November 11, 2008

We spent 3 weeks diving in Fiji. The first week, we went to Taveuni (touristy). The second week, we were on Vanua Levu (Dolphin Bay Divers Retreat), and the final week was at Matava on Kadavu.
Matava was the best of the 3 places by far. It's really beautiful, and the bures (cabins) have thached roofs and are very clean.
The food is cooked fresh each day. You can smell the freshly baked bread at 6am! Fresh everything! Lots of fresh, organic veggies from their own garden, and other foods brought in from the village just above the 'resort.' We went there to dive, and we had a fabulous time. The dive spots will not disappoint you; there are plenty of corals (soft & hard) and plentiful varieties of fishes. There's even a daytime manta dive which was wonderful. The dive masters, boat captains, and EVERYBODY at Matava go out of their way to help with anything you need. These folks know their waters like the back of their hands. Although electricity is through solar, the owner always had my batteries charged for me in plenty of time to put my camera and strobe together for each dive. It's a beautiful, though very isolated property, that I would recommend to any divers who are considering Fiji.

  • Liked — Beautiful & great diving
  • Disliked — no internet
  • Stayed May 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank ScubaSue49
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort

Property: Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort
Address: Vunisea | PO Box 63, Fiji
Phone Number:
Location: Fiji > Kadavu Archipelago > Kadavu Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Restaurant Room Service Spa Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Kadavu Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Find your adventure as you experience the magnificent beauty of a remote unspoiled tropical Fijian Island. Plunging volcanic rain forest slopes meet azure coral lagoons and the Great Astrolabe Barrier Reef, a rare untouched slice of nature unfolds before your eyes. No roads, no noise, no stress and no carbon footprint. Traditional thatched Fijian Bures hug the jungle fringes. Private sun decks gaze over the turquoise lagoon. Dive the reef from the multiple award winning PADI 5 Star Dive Centre, snorkel the marine reserves, explore the jungle trails, or just pamper yourself in the Spa. Relax in the splendor of your private en-suit bure as you contemplate the stunning sunset and anticipate the evening's dinner of fresh fish, fruits and organic vegetables, grown right before your very eyes and served by lantern light on the ocean deck. Far from the maddening crowd, unplug and recharge at Matava, Fiji's premier Eco-Adventure Resort. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Matava - Fiji`s Premier Eco Adventure Hotel Kadavu Island
Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort Kadavu Island

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