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“Shockingly bad buffet”
Review of Mana Island Resort

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Mana Island Resort
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Mana Island
Reviewed June 21, 2013

We stopped at Mana for lunch while on the Island Hopper day trip from Musket cove. All I can say is, if you do this, eat at the a la carte restaurant, DO NOT bother with the buffet restaurant. Lunch on Mana Island was the low point of our 5-day stay.

We were tempted by the promise of the 'fresh BBQ' buffet, even though it was a relatively expensive $FJ30. The only good thing is you can stuff yourself with as much average food as you can stand. The actual BBQ was not bad but very tiny portions you had to queue up for, the rest of the food we sampled was either average or just plain bad. We ordered a beer and a softdrink and asked for water.

Then the real fun began - after we sat down with our food we were mobbed by a waitress who told us we were meant to pay for the buffet before we got our food. And that we should pay for our drinks after we ate. Fine. We handed over our cash and ate our food, waiting for our water. My husband tried to pay for our other drinks with a $20 note, but we were told they'd have to go looking for change - mind you, only $7 change. By the time we'd finished our dessert, after waving down several staff, we still had no change and no water. Finally they brought us water - turns out water here isn't free, they brought us room temperature bottled water we were expected to pay for. My husband was so tired of dealing with them we took one bottle, bringing our drinks bill to $18, and told them not to worry about the change just so we could get out of there.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Alexa_Melbourne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 20, 2013

The bungalows were comfortable to stay in. They were quite well appointed and I especially loved the outside bathroom. It was very cool. The staff were great!. The food was expensive! I hated the fact that the restaurant did nto serve any local cuisine. They will tell you there are only 2 restaurants on the island but in actual fact you can wander through to where the locals live and the back packers stay and you can buy local food from there. Unfortunately, we did not discover that until we were leaving. Apparently they are not allowed to advertise the little local cafe over where all the 'resort' people are. The first night we were there one of the restaurants was booked out and the other had an 'oriental' buffet. My question is why???? The second night we managed to get into the a la carte restaurant and again were disappointed to not find any local food on the menu. The boat transfer fees are way too expensive so don't consider just going over for a couple of days. WIth the hefty price of the bungalows added to the transfers, well it makes for very expensive accommodation so if you are going to go, then go for at least a week to get your money's worth. It was a pleasant enough stay but it was just a bit too 'plastic' for me.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank pamana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 19, 2013

Mana Island Resort's best aspect, apart from the warm seas, balmy breezes, fantastic sunset and gorgeous location, is its staff. They are so friendly and welcoming and gracious is sharing their homeland with visitors. We travelled as a diverse family group of 20 for a wedding. Our group included a 90 yr old , a 17 month old, a young paraplegic man and an older man ill in a wheelchair. There was always some one to lift, carry, help and advice. Everyone was shown love and respect and such warmth.
The resort itself was a bit rundown in places, the paths not always wheelchair or pushchair friendly, but the location and facilities and staff catered for everyone.
Our group had various rooms around the resort, the best was where I stayed... Deluxe ocean view bure. A stand alone bure, spacious and cool with beautiful views and close to the beach . The island bures were hot and stuffy, no breezes or views.
The resort is spread out and you are never aware of being among a lot of people, except at the buffet!
The only negative I would have was the food in the buffet restaurant... It is to be avoided... Certainly not worth the money they charge.
Tastier and cheaper food was found at Ratu Kini's Backpackers just outside the resort on the South beach. We went there for all our meals, after one dinner and one breakfast at the resort.
Overall, a fabulous holiday and I would love to return one day.

Room Tip: Bures 400 to 520 are the best
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank lankalass
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 18, 2013

Very dissapointed with this place, aside from the fact that it is quite expensive for what you get, with regards to accommodation, pool, food, the fact that we weren't even allowed to buy a coffee, the resort and Island management simply care not for anything.

My two biggest gripes. were the way they treated the reef and the treatment of animal life.

The short story goes like this. Wanted to go fishing, so we went out on the boat to the outside of the reef. Fishing away, there were two young girls, age 6 and 8 maybe, who were there also. The captain seemed to think it was funny to smash the fish we caught against the side of the boat while laughing his head off. The little girls didnt seem to think it was funny, there dad had no idea what to do. I looked on in shock horror and proceeded to avoid giving him any of my catch from then on. Why he couldn't have just used a knife or icky stick I have no idea.

Next, due to the fact that they had not planned it very well, instead of going back the way we came, the captain took us around to the other side of the island, where there is a large beach and a coral reef separating us from the beach. He had arranged to pick up some more people and drop us of there. The issue here is there was no way to get to the beach. Bombshell drops, he says to us to get out and walk, I said what over the coral, he said yes. I could see others walking over the coral to get the the boat, his new customers. I said I didn't want to because it was coral, he said get out and walk, guess he didn't understand right? Anyway so we got out and walked, dropped my camera in the water, obviously it was a destructive walk, and I'm not referring to the camera.

Tortured by these two episodes I blasted the manager who assured us he would address the issues. Found out that the island resort is run or owned by some Japanese company. Go figure. The Fijians get nothing, The business gets everything and the Fijians are left with a pile of garbage island with a dead reef.

And all of that is without discussion of my third gripe, the rubbish, personally sunbathing next to a battery poking out of the sand is not my idea of paradise.

Ill never go back, and to be honest, The government should do more because Ill probably never go back to Fiji in general so If it is tourism that funds the place then good luck to you.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank rakisnz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 17, 2013

Like other recent TripAdvisor reviewers, I left for Mana a little bit nervous about the reviews I had read here, however we neeedn't have worried. Yes, the cyclone did some damage, parts of the resort need updating, the food is not fine dining, but none of these issues are bad anough to detract from a fantastic Fiji Island holiday.

Accommodation: We stayed in an Island Bure. We have three children 12 and under, so there was really not much room to do anything apart from sleep. The only time that was a problem was when it rained for two days in a row, but luckily we were with extended family so we could make use of more than one bure. We had a few maintenance issues, such as a towel rail that kept falling off, and a broken clothes line, but apart from that I thought the room was very nice and exceptionally clean. The decor is probably a bit dated but there is nothing wrong with it. It suits the island style. Housekeeping did arrive quite late in the day sometimes, but they were very accommodating if we were in there and they did a very thorough job.

Food: We bought the breakfast and dinner package before we left home, because we didn't want to be continually thinking about where we were going to eat and how much it was costing us. It worked very well, and our children were able to have lunch for free each day as well, which was great because it was the only way to get them out of the pool for a few minutes! The adults had a drink or a coffee and some of the snacks that we brought with us - cheese, crackers, chips etc. We all enjoyed having our eggs cooked fresh at the egg nest for breakfast, and seeing what food each theme would bring for dinner. I'd say the dinner buffet was a mixture - there were a few things I wouldn't eat but a lot that I did and really enjoyed (BBQ night, coconut pannacotta, fresh pineapple, the little bread rolls). We never went hungry!

We had a special occasion dinner at the South Beach restaurant (which was in the conference room at that time) and the food was lovely. We ordered a cake for my parents' wedding anniversary and the staff served it to them complete with singing and guitar playing which was wonderful. We used credit from the buffet restaurant to partly pay for this dinner.

We didn't have any issues with our plates not being cleared, in fact, the staff were very attentive. We did find that you had to book early in the day, or even the day before, if you wanted to eat outside on the deck, or at the South Beach restaurant.

Activities: We enjoyed a number of activities, including volleyball, cooking, coconut icecream, kava, Bingo and crab racing (highlights for our competitive family!), and the Bula Bus. We did have a few experiences of "Fiji time" here, but you have to get used to the relaxed way of life and just go with the flow. If something is really important and needs to be done, talk to a manager and you can usually get a result just by having a friendly conversation.

The kids loved the pool and there were no issues with maintenance here. The adult infinity pool is lovely too. We enjoyed snorkelling on both beaches and loved the fact that when one beach is a bit windy the other always seems to be perfectly calm! It is a great place to introduce children to snorkelling as you just walk out off the beach and the fish are right there - you hardly need to swim.

The children joined up to Kids Club, then each day we would have a look at the activities and see which sessions they wanted to go to. It is great that there a three separate sessions each day, so you can pick and choose to suit each child. The staff there were lovely and our children warmed to them very quickly.

People: It is the people of Mana who make the holiday so special. We never got tired of giving and receiving a warm "Bula!' as we walked around the resort, and built a rapport with some of the staff while we were there. They were always willing to help us out when we needed it and we had a lot of fun with them. We enjoyed a visit to the village where my girls got their hair braided and we were all were able to experience a bit of life in Fiji, and we also visited the Mana Island SDA school which was a highlight of our trip. The children sang for us and we played sport with them which my son loved, and if we go back we would probably do a lot more of that .

This was my first trip to Fiji and I can't wait to go back! Mana Island was a bit more expensive for us than the mainland would have been, especially when you add in ferry transfers etc, but our family loves beaches and the Mana Island ones are just beautiful. It was the most relaxing holiday I can remember having. Often when we go away we are either sightseeing, planning our next meal, emailing people at home etc. At Mana our toughest decision was deciding which cocktail to have each evening - we didn't have any worries at all, but spent our days relaxing and enjoying time together.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
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8  Thank LisaNewZealand
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 15, 2013

Not much else to do but if this is your itinerary then Mana is a good choice. Although one of the older island resorts in Fiji, Mana has been well maintained over the years. Located only about a 1.5 hour ferry ride from Port Denarau, the island is a good compromise between expense, travel time and experiencing the smaller islands. The resort spans the north and south shores so people are spread out, you never feel crowded. Lots of beach front but some areas are rocky at low tide. Snorkeling off the north shore is excellent once you get out 100 yards (highly recommended) but limited to 2 hours either side of high tide, too shallow otherwise. South shore is OK and can be snorkeled all day. Non motorized water sports are free. Dive shop seems well run. Staff are all very friendly and helpful but service could be better at times, not bad but often slow at mealtime.

TIPS:
Bring snacks and booze as both are expensive on the island. Buy liquor at duty free when you arrive at the airport, much cheaper than the shop at Port Denarau. Buffet breakfast/dinner are FJD $35/$65 (I don't think the meal plan saves you anything) with a good selection of eats. No other choice for breakfast but if you are not a big eater go for dinner at the ala carte restaurant where you can eat for about $20-$30/plate. Food at both was ok but overpriced for what it was. Soft drinks are about $5, beer $8, glass of wine $12. Go through the gate to the backpackers for large beers priced the same as small in the resort. Although snorkeling on the north coast is excellent, we did a snorkel trip from the dive shop where they took us to an offshore sand bar with a different environment and a few other fish.

Room Tip: We stayed in a beachfront bure which are somewhat removed from the resort center, nice and quite, cl...
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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Thank John S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 15, 2013

What can I say about Mana island... it was amazing. Before me and my partner left to Mana, we read the reviews and we were a bit worried but i have to say this place doesn't deserve a bad review. Me and my Partner stayed in an ocean View bure and i have to say pay that bit extra and its truly worth it, We had the best view from our room and it was wonderful waking up to the ocean just outside our window. The room was always cleaned on time, and had great air condition. The snorkeling was excellent, one of the best. The food at Mana was good, we ate at the buffet and it was great atmosphere and they had different themes on each night, i would recommend to eat at the buffet. The people at Mana island were the most friendly, helpful people i have ever met, always willing to go that extra mile to help you. In the evenings there was lots of music and a Fijian night and the crab racing was a load of fun.. your never get board here. Yes the place needs some updating but this didn't ruin our holiday at all!! broken tiles, and shatters here and there, but this is an island, getaway after all. We recommend to have a walk up to the look out.. an amazing view. We loved our stay at mana so much, and are thinking of going back there later in the year.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Grace H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mana Island Resort

Address: P. O. Box 610, Fiji
Location: Fiji > Mamanuca Islands > Mana Island
Amenities:
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Mana Island
Price Range: $148 - $439 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Mana Island Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 160
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