We booked in here on the basis it was a kid friendly island at a good price. We were very sceptical reading the bad reviews on here, but truthfully it is a great place to get away from everything.
We were very lucky to get an upgrade from an Island Bure to an Oceanview. These were much newer looking, good size and right on North Beach. In saying this our 3 families were all located in the 500 block which is a good walk to reception and then even further to Southbeach restaurant. Was a bit annoying if we had to go back and forth to the room.
But Mana Resort itself was good. There are 2 pools, one an adults pool. These were probably the disappointing part, a little small and really not well made out. I could imagine they would be cramped and packed during the busier times. There are always some form of activities, dancing or singing going on, or just snorkel at any of the beaches, we found Southbeach much better than North. We made use of the tennis courts which could do with a resurface, the girls went for a 2hr pamper which they said was heaven! We took a trip to Sunset beach which although small was nice to catch a sunset. The lookouts are also good to take in another look over the islands.
The food was good at Southbeach restaurant. Would say most meals were all pretty good, breakfast was also here which was ok but after a few days really lacked variety. The option of any cooked eggs did help. The dinner buffet was closed in its usual spot so was also moved to Southbeach but inside a small cramped room. We only dined there once as it was nothing great. We did venture down to the backpackers for lunch, which was cheaper and good. Definitely not spectacular and found service to be very rude. Did have a curry mud crab which was pretty good though.
Was very disappointed with Sea Fiji (control all paid activities). 1st attempt was handline fishing, we booked the day before. Turned up to the news it was cancelled due to boat not working. If they told us earlier fair enough, but still keen to go we ventured into the backpackers but all their boats were out. One guy from Sea Fiji finally got us on a boat but was the little dinghy, then we gad to go to another boat to pickup bait and lines. What a mission. Very unorganised. Then the next day we had a boat booked for island hopping. We did receive a call just before we were suppose to go saying they will be about 30 minutes late (ended up nearly 1 hr). Because of all this if we ever returned or had advice I would just go down to the backpackers, all their bookings are cheaper and seem to do the same thing.
One highlight for us was visiting Mana school. Its just behind the backpackers and best to visit at 10:15am or 12pm when they have their breaks. We were greeted with many smiling students and a friendly head teacher. They sung a song and took us around the school, then we played some rugby. We did take a few bags of school goods which they really appreciated. This was a great experience and would highly recommend to at least make a visit and a donation if you can.
Out of the 2 islands we stayed at we would have to say Mana has more going for it over Plantation resort. Cleaner newer rooms, better breakfast and better beach. With the lookouts, school, backpackers and being a bit bigger it probably has a bit more to do if you are someone who is not so much the sitting around the pool person.
So just neglect the few minor issues and im sure you will have a great warm sunny stay!
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