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Mana Island Resort
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  • Breakfast included
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Reviewed April 20, 2008

After a somewhat exhaustive search and hours of research, my girlfriend and I decided to take somewhat of a punt on Mana island. I lived in Fiji for about 5 years in my teens, and never got to go to Mana, which is why I guess, we decided to take the leap.

I say "leap" because we read many mixed reviews of Mana.
We were mainly concerned about the food, because after all, if you can't relax on an island in Fiji, you got problems more than an island holiday can fix. So that should take care of itself but food is always an issue.

I knew the climate, the weather the people...it just depended on delivering on a few important elements and WOW! did Mana deliver!

We booked an Ocean front bure on the North side of the island (one up from standard accommodation) and were prepared with expectations in check.

We also knew the renovation as advertised for that time might be an issue but we were assured by our lovely travel agent that it would have next to no impact on our experience.

We still don't know what we did, but on our arrival we noticed on our reservation, we had been booked into Bure No.5.
We had an hour before our room would be ready so we decided to go and look at our bure and see the lay of the resort....but couldn't find it in the area we thought it was supposed to be on the map.

We asked one of the friendly girls where bure No.5 was. "It's not here sir, it's the Honeymoon bure over the other side of the island"

Our hearts immediately went into overdrive as we knew that this was THE BEST the island had to offer in terms of accommodation AND the bure came with it's own Golf Buggy to get around the Island !!!

When we got to our Honeymoon bure, well suffice to say, we were floored. Private beach, outdoor bathroom, HUGE room, king sized bed....everything you could want in an island bure, and much more.

The food was average/good but the traditional Lovo nights, easily nade up for the rest. But you don;t go to Mana for the food.

You go for the beaches, which are spectacular; the weather, beautifully hot with a nice cool breeze in all the right places; and the people, they are perfect.

It rained like crazy on the last of our 6 days in paradise, but you know what?...we figured that just made it all the more perfect.

If you're traveling to Mana, upgrade to the exec suites or the Honeymoon bures' ......it is absolutely and totally worth it.

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank shades12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 17, 2008

Having travelled to fiji many many times and loved each and every time until now.We just spent the last week at mana island resort and are glad to be back home.i assume from the many positive reports that most people have not stayed at many other resorts in fiji and this could be why they thought mana was so good.well..........we arrive on the plane to mana...waited 20 or 30mins for someone to bother to meet us,finally picked up and checked in.we opted for the meal plan which was a fatal mistake,the same lunch day after day after day bbq.i enjoy meat but the servings were just an embarrasment unless you were staff working there whom received without exaggurating 5 or 6 times what we were served,you spent more time swatting flies away from the food area and around your table and face,it was just revolting.the dinners you had to be in early or there was very little left.the room was nice but very pricey,we had a ocean front suite.the air conditioning dripped the entire night onto the wooden floors which you may think is me being ridiculas,but it was honestly torture.......you could not sleep at all.every day we asked them to fix it and every night for 6 nights this dripped all night.yes of course i stuffed towels in it and tried turning it off and both cases it then ran like a tap onto the wooden floors.everything seemed to be a hassle for the staff except the kids club staff whom were fantastic :-)
All in all it was the worst holiday we have ever had and i have never ever had a bad holiday in fiji.
i don't want to go on and on but i would suggest that you try other places before mana,as it is very overpriced for what you get.to top off our bad stay we were dropped off at the airstrip,no one waited to see us off and they just left us there until the plane arrived an hour later.always in fiji the welcome and goodbyes have been a great experiance until visiting mana.

  • Stayed: April 2008, traveled with family
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3  Thank jappas1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2008

My boyfriend and I went to Fiji in Nov/Dec of 2007. We live in Melbourne, so took the midnight flight and arrived in Nadi at about 6am. We took a taxi to the Marina stopping in Nadi to go to the supermarket.

We took the boat to Mana from the Marina, which was about a 90min trip and stayed 7nights at Mana Island Resort.

We opted for a meal plan during our stay, mainly because my boyfriend is diabetic and we thought that we should try to eat regular meals. In hindsight, we probably didn’t need lunch, as breakfast was filling.
Breakfast is typical hot/cold options, with an egg bar where a chef makes eggs to order in a variety of ways.
Lunch was BBQ, salads, make your own sandwich. We went and had lunch at the South beach restaurant a few times. The south beach restaurant had burgers, fish&chips etc at a reasonable price and good sizes. We expected to have a few dollars put on our tab because we were told only $15 was allocated for our lunch from the meal plan and we were spending between $17-20 at the restaurant, but in the end they never charged us.
Dinner with the meal plan is the buffet, but you can eat at either restaurant, the staff generally tell you how much you can spend at the restaurants. Each night the buffet is a different theme. Mongolian, European, BBQ, Chinese, Japanese, Meke etc. We didn’t try the Japanese night because we tried the restaurant, but each of the other nights were good. We really liked the pasta bar on the European night as the pasta was fresh, tasty, and the chef great.
Drinks seemed to be ok prices seeing as your on an island. We brought some snack food over from Australia, and purchased some more snacks and drinks at the supermarket in Nadi on our way to the Marina.

Our room looked onto the west end of the North beach. I would not recommend swimming at the South beach as this is where the water sports are located and a few times we saw people almost hit by boats, jet ski’s and hobby cats. When we arrived, the beach was a little messy with washed up seaweed and rubbish, but by the next morning it was all cleaned up. The water was crystal clear and nice and warm. Although im not too fond of snorkelling, I will admit it was a nice place to snorkel, my b/f enjoyed going out past the drop off and taking photos of the fish while I watched from my lounge chair on the beach.
We did the walk to the Sunset beach via the airstrip and then along the beach to the North beach. I was a good walk, and we took our time, taking photos along the way, but after about 3 days of just relaxing we needed our arvo naps when we got back to our room!

Did the Island hop to Casterway/Malolo/Plantation/Musket Cove. It was nice to see other resorts, although we have stayed at Musket Cove twice before.
Went on the Sea Spray, which im sure almost everyone does. We found it worth doing. Nice day out on the water, meeting people and hearing about where they were staying. Morning tea, lunch, Afternoon tea is included as well as all drinks while on board (beer, wine, soft drink, water).
Tried our luck with hobby catting. We were not very good at this. We tipped the cat over about 500m from the beach, but as we are both swimmers, we towed it into the beach where we could stand up and tip it back over. There were people on the beach watching us do this, they didn’t help, but I think they were too busy laughing at us. One of the water sport guys came in his rubber dingy to help tell up how to steer it back to the right spot on the beach, but somehow we managed to ram his dingy into another boat. The other water sport guys had to be helped off the sand after they had finished laughing.
They sport guys were always happy to help you decide what to do for the day. There was plenty of snorkels, fins and kayaks available

We were in the 300 block. Hotel style rooms. They are nothing flash. But we were not expecting 5star accommodation and in truth we didn’t spend that much time in our room. I wasn’t a fan of the bathroom, it needed the bath/shower to be redone, it was looking old, cracked and a little mouldy. The beds are just two double beds and a little hard to get used to if your normal bed is bigger. the room size was good, we have been to places where two beds take up the whole room, but here we still had plenty of space. We had a room on the top floor, it was in the middle of the 300 block, but at the end of the first of the 300 block, which meant our balcony was huge as it wrapped around the room.
The newly renovated island bures look great! We had a look at them. They have an outside shower, and look modern. Even though they were still renovating some of them, there was very little noise from the building.
Didn’t get a look at the other types of accommodation.

Went in Nov/Dec, so it was warm. Yes it was wet, but for us it rained three times and only from about 4pm onwards.

Other things:
Staff where nice. We didn’t have too much to too with some of them, as were where off doing our own things each day. They were friendly and always helpful. When we wanted an extra pillow, they were straight on it. Same as when our front door wouldn’t open cause it was jammed and we couldnt get out of our room.
I’m in absolute agree-ance with other reviews, DO NOT expect 5 star meals, or accommodation, you don’t pay for 5 stay, so it’s a bit much to be expecting 5 star.

We had a wonderful time, greatly enjoyed our time at Mana Island. we were a sad to leave, but then again, there is always next year!!

  • Stayed: November 2007, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Swimmer_7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 7, 2008

We are a young couple (mid 20s) who have just returned from our first trip to Fiji, a week at magical Mana Island Resort. Before arriving I was a little concerned about Trip Advisor reviews reporting poor food/weather/accommodation. For the most part these concerns were allayed by our fantastic experiences. Overall, I would rate Mana 4-star by Australian standards.

Here’s what we thought;

Mana is a 90 minute ferry from Nadi through the sparkling Manamuca Island group. The Island is quite large, with grassy hills and pockets of coconut trees and rainforests. South beach is the busiest part of the Island. Visitors offload at the jetty several times a day, along with tour boats and jetskis using the lagoon. Three backpacker lodges are at one end of the beach, with the honeymoon bures at the other. We didn’t swim on the South Beach, as it was a little hectic, but the water was fairly clear, tides are not a problem, and the beach is cleared of seaweed every day.

North Beach, however, is stunning. A few hundred metres of white sand sprinkled with washed up coral, framed by two beautiful headlands and a handful of other islands dotted on the horizon. When the Seaspray sails past each morning, your mind throws back to the 18th century explorers sailing through the Fijian islands for the first time. At sunrise triggerfish come in to feed on the coral at low tide, their tailfins sticking out of the water ( I thought they were turtles for the first few days!). The only negative was that North Beach seemed to be cleaned only once a week, thus lots of seaweed and plastic bottles from careless tourists built up. One morning I collected over a dozen water bottles and a few stray sandals!

During the day families descend on the beach, sunbaking, swimming in the warm shallows or taking a Kayak out deeper. You never feel terribly crowded though, and there’s always deckchairs and beach bures to lie under.

In the water you’ll find fantastic snorkelling at either North or Sunset Beaches, only 50m out to sea. There is an amazing array of colourful fish (including the odd Nemo!) but the coral lacks colour. In many parts the reef is white or brown and appeared bleeched, but this may just be during summer, as the water was very warm. The colour did appear to return a little during the cooler, overcast day we had. In any case, visibility is always good, even when its raining! The best colour and diversity is near the dropoffs into deeper water. Watch out at low-tide and bring reef shoes – in the late afternoon it is quite hard to get back to shore without treading on coral (ouch!).

We stayed in an Oceanfront Bure (401) on the gorgeous North Beach. Being the first bure in the ‘horseshoe’ we were just metres from the sand and, unlike the other Bures, didn’t have a footpath or gardens winding between us and our gorgeous view. The Bures are open and airy, with a big window looking out to the ocean. Polished wooden floors, air con (not always needed) and plenty of space. Outside we had our own deck (and deckchairs) where my girlfriend could laze about in the afternoon drinking wine while I cracked a coconut from a nearby tree!

The only negative about our Bure was the bathroom. It was a motel style bath/shower combo, and didn’t look or feel too clean! A bit of renovation wouldn’t go astray, as it was a stark contrast to the rest of the Bure.

After all the doom and gloom predictions about the weather, mother nature was kind to us. Out of 7 summer days we got 3 with beautiful sunshine, 3 overcast with the occasional shower (usually very early morning or evening) and a windy, rainy day as we were leaving, caused by the tail of cyclone off Vanuatu apparently. It made for a hairy boat ride back to Nadi!

The land activities, organised by Ben and Eunice, were a lot of fun. During the day we tried hat weaving and a kava ceremony. At night we watched a traditional Meke show, enjoyed a bonfire sing-along, raced crabs and gambled our hard earned on bingo during happy hour.

If you want to do your own thing, there’s plenty on the island to explore. There’s short hikes to lookout point and a tree-house lookout which peers down on the lagoon, or you can take a longer stroll to the wedding chapel. Through a cutting in the North Beach headland you can wander past the staff quarters and along Sunset beach.

The only day trip we took was on the Seaspray sailing ship – highly recommended, if for nothing else than the ‘all you can drink’ beer and wine! First stop was Yanuya Island for a village visit and traditional kava ceremony. The village was part-flooded and the chief had passed away just days prior, so the mood was fairly sombre, but we got a quick sense of village life and a chance to buy bark paintings, shells and kava bowls from the locals, rather than the commercial operators! The visit felt quite rushed and a little contrived though. The locals didn’t seem too enthused and the kids were well conditioned to the daily tourist visit, posing for photos at every opportunity.

Our second stop was the uninhabited Mondriki Island, where Tom Hanks filmed Castaway. The snorkelling here was unmatched, with the coral and fish life more colourful and diverse than at Mana. A perfect example were the anemone fish (Nemos) – at Mana we spotted 3 or 4 single fish over an entire week, yet at Mondriki the anemone itself was much larger and healthier, meaning there were dozens of Nemos playing in families. We spent most of our time at Mondriki in the water, but had a quick look around the island – its hard to recognise any scenes from the movie, other than the summit perhaps. Light rain set in as we sailed back to Mana, but all in all a wonderful experience.

This part is all about expectation management! If you go to Mana expecting gourmet, you’ll be disappointed, but if you think about what you’d otherwise be eating at home – the food is perfectly fine! There was great variety at breakfast, including fresh fruit and omelettes. The ham and sausages looked dodgy – but I still ate them everyday! Lunch and dinner buffets were passable (and plentiful). Lovo (Fijian) night was definitely the best. The Manamuca Restaurant’s standard was a little higher, with the steak and coral trout dishes above average. We went to the “fine dining” South Beach Restaurant for lunch on a few occasions and found the food to be disappointing, particularly for the prices they were asking if you didn’t have a meal plan!

We did have a meal plan, however, which I would recommend as it’s decent value ($60 AU per day for all meals) and you don' t have to think about your hip pocket during your holiday. In comparison we saw many people (particularly families) complaining about having to pay $41 each for the dinner buffet.

On the whole, it was clear that all the staff – chefs, waiters and bar tenders – tried hard with the food, and it was great to have somebody cook for you!

A few little things that Mana Island Resort could do better;
• The staff were quite reserved and were only outwardly friendly when you made the effort to engage with them, i.e. while doing land activities.
• The Island needs a little TLC here and there – particularly the bathrooms and some of the buildings (i.e. games room). That said, the renovated Island Bure’s look fantastic and the maintenance staff are constantly working – gardening, raking leaves, cleaning the beach.
• Somebody stole my flip flops! Despite the warnings on this forum, I left them out on the balcony while we snorkelled and when I returned they were gone. I suspect the housekeeper. The resort boutique only sold pink replacements with strawberries on them. The next day I nearly wet my pants when I saw another poor guy wearing the same pink thongs as me!
• Both pools are small and fairly unexciting.
• The majority of guests were either families or honeymooners, meaning there was little night life and little interaction with other guests.

  • Stayed: January 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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9  Thank Lachiesnow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 29, 2008

As mentioned in my husbands review we generally stay in the duplex Island Bures when on Mana. These are scattered around the interior of the island rather than being beach front although are only a 60 second walk to the beach on the North or South Side. For us they have a number of advantages. Firstly they are not effected by wind which can blow stgrongly onto the sea fron bures on either side of the island, Secondally they are central to everything and thirdly they have a large lawn area around them which is great for the kids to roll out and kick a ball around etc.

The Island bures are the cheapest class of accomodation on the island and up until xmas this year have been pretty "tired" and the lack of airconditioning bothers some guests.

Mana has for the past few months been renovating the bures with half completed and the rest to follow by the end of February. Although upgraded on our last stay the resort kindly offered us the chance to try one out just after they were completed post xmas.

The bures have been completely gutted and refurnished with a false ceiling put in the A frame roof and recessed lighting installed. Outside theyhave been repainted, new windows installed meaning they are bright and breezy and a new thatshed roof installed.

Inside they are complete with a deathly quiet ceiling fan AND very effective and modern airconditioning. Flooring is now polished timber and the furniture very smart and modern complete with wardrobe, cabinets, fridge and a writing desk. Bedding is a huge improvement with either a double or two king singles ( lovely timber finish surrounds ) which are extremely comfortable ,a rollaway bed if required AND a comfortable sofa which folds out into a double bed suitable for two children. All in all the bures can sleep 2 adults and three children which neatly solves the problem of many resorts which will only allow a family of four in a room. The curtains have also gone above the bed replaced with modern wooden blinds which ensure the room remains dark enough in the morning for a sleep in!

The bathroom and toilet is all brand new with an excellent sized mirror above the vanity to check the sunburn. In a stroke of genius they have made the shower an outdoor one ( accessed from in the bure only) which has created much more space inside the bure. The shower is a generous 4 square metres with quality fittings and a pebble finish and much improved water pressure. Outside the "porch" has been retiled and has outddor furniture.

The bures are in total a generous 46 square metres which is ample and including the outdoor shower 50 square metres. The only fault I could find was that the lights by the bed and outside are not bright enough to easily read your book because of the lamp shades.

If you are travelling with another family or want to seperate the kids from the adults the bures have a double internal door linking the two bures together

Alll in all these Bures are a class act. For the price you would be hard pressed to fing better and are absolute value for money. Well done to Mana and we are looking forward to getting back in July.

Stayed: December 2007
12  Thank mrsziggystar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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