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Mana Island Resort
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$871
Expedia.com
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Certificate of Excellence
  • Free Wifi
  • Breakfast included
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Reviewed October 4, 2011

This is a delayed review for Mana Island Resort as we returned in July of this year, but I wanted to write this review to let everyone know what a wonderful place Mana is. Before we travelled to Fiji we did a lot of research using trip adviser and found very mixed reviews for Mana. We therefore decided to split our time between both Mana Island and Castaway Island and although we had a marvellous time at both islands, we needn't have done so, We had an amazing holiday on Mana and wished we could of stayed longer!! On arrival to the island we were greeted warmly and were upgraded to a beachfront bure for the length of our stay. These bures are absolute beachfront, with a private jacuzzi room which opens straight on to the beachfront, making for a beautifully relaxing hideaway after a great day spent out in the resort or beside the pool. In addition the resort staff are friendly and helpful and the food (both buffet & restaurant) was great. In particular, the housekeeping staff made an effort to make our 3 year old daughter feel special by putting fresh flowers in her stuffed bunny's ears to greet her on her return to the room. The rest of the resort staff were also wonderful. I enjoyed a wonderfully relaxing package at the day spa, the diving in the area and resort dive staff were fantastic. Our daughter had a fantastic time at the nightly bingo games and at the kids club. All in all I would recommend Mana to anyone with kids who is wanting a relaxing family getaway. We left the island both relaxed and rejuvenated and have already rebooked for july of next year.

Room Tip: Go the beachfront bures, the view is to die for.
  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
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5  Thank nmcbain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 30, 2011

We travelled to Mana Island with our 13 and 8 year old for 3 nights after spending 4 nights at the Naviti Resort on the mainland. Although we all enjoyed the Naviti we knew from travelling to Fiji 20 years ago that you really need to spend time on an island to really experience what Fiji has to offer and we weren't disappointed with our choice of island. Our biggest disappointment was that we only had 3 nights here, a couple more days would have been perfect. Mana is a much smaller resort than Naviti and although it is also a family resort it is smaller and has a much more relaxed feel to it. The arrival/orientation is very helpful for newcomers such as we were, and check in was run smoothly considering there were many groups arriving at the same time. We had an island bure (108) and loved it. The bure's are spacious and modern and the outdoor shower is a lovely addition (although the water is very temperamental so keep an eye on kids here as the water can change from freezing to boiling quickly).
The island bure's are located centrally with a short walk to North or South Beach
Our tips for staying here:
* Check the blackboard daily for any activities you or the kids may want to try. My 13 yo son loved both planned and impromtu sports such as volleyball with the Fijiians and watching RWC on the big screen with the staff and guests in the games room. My 8yo chose which times to go to kids club based on their activities (loved frog hunting and frog and crab races) and we also enjoyed attempting basket weaving (Eunice is a lovely patient teacher!). $1 bingo at Happy hour at the pool was a highlight for us all and we always made sure we were there for this as the staff make it very entertaining.
* Eat at least 1 meal at South Beach restaurant as both the food and staff are fantastic and sitting on the deck is a perfect spot for a lovely meal. Having said that we thoroughly enjoyed the buffet meals. Although we enjoyed the meals at the Naviti the food here is of a higher standard. It is fresher, plentiful and the chefs are friendly and cook eggs etc to your liking.
* We had a breakfast/dinner plan and went over to the backpackers for lunch each day which was much cheaper (approx $15 FJ for a meal) for both food and drink. You can wander around the tables of souvenirs from the locals and you can also book tours from the backpackers as well. Don't be put off by the staff member at the gate out of the resort. He is friendly and just needs to know your room number as you leave the resort area
* The water at North Beach is quite a bit warmer than at South Beach. We snorkelled at South Beach only and took advice from staff on the best places to go. The kids (and my husband) loved the pontoon to jump off and we both loved the sunlounges dotted all the way along the beach. If we had more time we would have liked to do some kayaking at South Beach.
* Take plenty of drinks and snack with you (there is a supermarket at Port Denarau). We took water and snacks but wished we had taken beer and soft drinks with us as they are quite expensive at the resort
* Take a walk up to the lookout for great views of the island and resort.

Overall, apart from the location the greatest asset this resort has is its staff. We met some wonderful people - Sami from Reception who took us over the the school in the village so we could show our children and take school supplies to them (thank you also to the wonderful teachers and children who made us feel very welcome there and involved us in their class), Simon from the bar who we all loved and were sad to say goodbye to, and 'Cinderella' and the ladies from kids club who my daughter adored, just to name a few of the wonderful people who smile their enormous smiles with a big 'Bula' whenever you see them, and go out of their way to ensure your time there is memorable.
The only thing we regret is booking a flight that left Nadi at 9am, meaning we had to leave the island the day before and spend a night in Nadi, wasting an extra night we could have enjoyed on Mana. If we did it again we would fly out of Nadi with a different airline that leaves in the afternoon. We left on the 10.30am boat from Mana and many of the other passengers on the boat were going straight to the airport for an afternoon flight home.
We have been home for 2 weeks now and several times have said 'Wish we were back at Mana'.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled with family
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6  Thank thepages4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 25, 2011

It's with a bit of apprehension that I write this. I know there are people who absolutely love Mana, and they were so helpful before we went, and I almost feel guilty that I failed to feel the same love for and attachment to the place as they did. I wish I could give it 3.5 stars!

First of all, just to clarify, we had a really nice time, and it was relaxing and warm, which of course were our main priorities. And we were on a budget, which was why we chose Mana. In hindsight, I think going into debt a little and staying elsewhere, and therefore not feeling regret today would have been preferable to having a few feelings of disappointment.

When we first arrived, the tide was not ideal, and the South Beach as you walked along the jetty looked very weedy and not all that inviting. One of my daughters was a bit shocked, as we'd all been led to believe that we'd be stepping off the ferry and looking at postcard-quality crystal clear water. It just didn't seem that amazing. I should mention here that my husband and I have been to Malolo, and that was absolute perfection to me, and as I'd heard the beaches at Mana are better than Malolo, I really was expecting something spectacular.

The check-in procedure was informative, but lacked a certain warmth.

Our first morning there, the tide was in, and the beach looked beautiful. It was still quite weedy near our bure though. I'm not sure if this is seasonal or wind-related, or if down that end it's just always like that, but around the dining area outside the buffet it's gorgeous.

We stayed in a Deluxe Oceanview Bure, in the 500 block on the North Beach. It was - as we had been told - a fair walk to the restaurants and pools, so be aware of this if you have a toddler. Going to the South Beach was also a big distance, especially as we had a toddler to either carry or walk slowly with. Our Bure itself was great – spacious enough for us all, and clean and fresh. Don't expect your room to be serviced early. It can be any time up until 5pm. Also, the showers do go scorching hot and ice-cold, so if you have a young child showering, just keep an eye on this. Don't leave your screen door open at night – the spiders and cockroaches are scary!!!

I don't recommend staying in an island bure, as they definitely had a caravan park feel to them in terms of placement.

Snorkelling was great – the kids loved it, and my husband and the kids went out on kayaks which they really enjoyed. The pools are awesome, with the exception of one little thing … there's a section of the pool that's shallow and fenced in for babies, but beware of a gap where the rail doesn't quite meet the other safety barrier, as they can squeeze through and fall into the deep water. Our son tried to squeeze through on the first day, and luckily we were actually in the water with him and not supervising from a sunlounger. The infinity pool that's meant to be adults only always had kids in it. This didn't bother me at all, but I'm just pointing it out in case it's an issue to childless adults!

We ate at the buffet most nights, as unfortunately we didn't book the South Beach Restaurant early enough on all but one night. The buffet food was fine, but the food at the South Beach Restaurant was lovely and I recommend eating there more often than at the buffet. Dining outside there is gorgeous. The meal plan is well worth it. You will definitely save money.

The main thing for me that disappointed me is that the entire resort seems devoid of any soul or atmosphere. It's just way too big to get that personal feeling, and because of the large number of employees and guests, it's almost impossible to build any sort of relationship or recognition with the staff. In the restaurant there's no time for the staff to chat, because they are working their butts off at a hectic pace, and I found that a real shame. One thing I had been looking forward to, and telling our children about (it was their first time in Fiji) was how warm and welcoming they are, but for the most part, we seemed to miss this vital element of our holiday (with the exception of only a few beautiful staff members), probably due to the size of the resort. We are certainly not reclusive, unfriendly people, so I know that it was through no fault of our own that we felt like just another number on the resort. Also, in the information pack in our room, it said direct tipping is not encouraged, and that the resort prefer us to contribute to a kitty that is divided up between all employees, but we found out on our last day that if we had wanted to tip individuals, we could have.

Unfortunately my children all came home with high fevers and had to have time off school. This of course may be no fault of the resort's, but a lady in the pool on one of the days warned us to be careful not to let the kids swallow any pool water, as her daughter had been throwing up the day before from swallowing it. There was also a little boy in the pool with bright green snot running out of his nose, which was just disgusting!! I hope the pool hygiene was up to scratch - but I'm not convinced. We only drank bottled water and still my children got sick. My husband and I have also come down with headcolds, and I had an upset stomach on our last day there, so that's definitely not a great ending to our trip.

Sorry to not be able to say all positive things about it – there obviously were great aspects, as we got to swim and relax and enjoy the sun and snorkel and see beautiful fish, but unfortunately I wouldn't choose to go back there. It's all personal opinion though - my husband loved it and would go back!

If anyone wants any further info, please don't hesitate to email me.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled with family
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10  Thank AucklandFi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 24, 2011

Stunning location with amazing coral, teeming with fish & crystal clear water. Excellent breakfasts & buffet with superb selection of cuisine nicely presented & frequently replenished. The a la carte restaurant also delighted us with generous servings from a diverse menu with well priced wines & very friendly service. Definitely will return here.

  • Stayed: September 2011
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Thank Dee H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 22, 2011

We had a great time at this resort .My son actually got married here and all went without a hitch. The people here are beautiful they love the children and treat them like royalty.The kids club was a great help and the children all put on a fijian night show from the kids club for the rest of the resort . What a surprise to see them all in there grass skirts singing and having the time of their lives. The kids loved it and so did we .We stayed in the south beach beachside rooms and they were really nice . The food buffets were not excellent but the friendly staff made up for that.The South beach restaurant was good and the food was good quality there but costly . Our stay here was too short i would like to do it again more so with the kids because they have such a great time.
This i would say is a good family resort.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with family
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2  Thank jenny23454
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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