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Mana Island Resort
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  • Free Wifi
  • Breakfast included
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Reviewed August 12, 2009

We visited with baby and another young child and stayed in an Island Bure. It was a little on the small side for the 4 of us but we made do.

The bure was lovely and the outdoor shower was great - the room was very clean and looked newly renovated. No problem with bugs or cockies like other reviewers have suggested.

The beach is amazing and we spent most of the days there, except for a drop off at the kids club along the way, and a visit to the beach restaurant for a pizza at lunch.

We got the meal package and spent lunches at the beach restaurant and dinners at Mamanuccas which was much better than the buffet. I was scared of what the food would be like after reading some pretty bad reviews on TA but it really was fine and I had some great fish meals. It wasn't 5 star but I didn't expect it to be.

The kids club is just great and my son and I were almost crying when we had to say goodbye there. Some of the activities they did were snorkeling, crab hunting and movie night.

The resort is a bit tired around the common areas but the friendliness of the staff and the beautiful beaches make you look past all of that and you can't help having a wonderful stay.

if you are the kind of person who must have your room cleaned at a certain time each day and can't wait an extra hour or so until the beach towels are available you may not like Mana, but if you want to chill out and relax on the beach and have a couple of drinks and relax at night I think it would suit you fine.

  • Stayed: January 2009, traveled with family
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1  Thank mummybrisbane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 9, 2009

After all the negative reviews I read after booking and before departing - I was pretty nervous about what to expect, but our trip to Mana Island was lovely.

Highlights
Beaches - white sand, great snorkelling and swimming. The beaches were so vast that they didnt seem that crowded, despite the resort being pretty full.
Snorkelling - while the snorkelling was fine just off the beach on tyhe South beach, if you swam out the extra 50metres to the buoy area, there was a fantastic coral reef that you could swim round and it was far, far better than just off the beach. Feeding the fish bread brought hundreds of beautiful little fish right up to you.

General comments
Food - we got the meal plan (full board) but I think given the size of the breakfast, half board (with snacks taken out to the isalnd) would have been sufficient. The breakfast was quite good (not as good as the mainland, but you ARE on an island after all!) There was enough variety, and hubby enjoyed the freshly made omelettes every day.
Lunch was pretty ho-hum and not anything special, but BBQ style and ok.
Dinner - while some of the buffets were good - the South Beach dinners were nicer. However......as many others have commented, they restrict bookings so book as soon as you get there for whatever nights you want to go there. We missed out on one night because of this. They have theme buffets, so in hindsight we would have chosen which of those we wanted then booked in advance for the South Beach the rest of the time. Had beautiful steak and the seafood entrees (mussels and calamari were really lovely).
The food is what I would have expected from the island - not overwhelmingly great, but sufficient. It is a bit cheaper to get the food plan (especially if you are dining in the south beach restaurant) but I think we'd try the backpackers for lunch and the odd meal if we went again.

Accommodation - We booked an Island Bure but got a Oceanview hotel room. Initially we'd chosen the Island bure as they looked more central and they'd had a facelift and new shower, however, the views and proximity of the beach from the oceanview room made up for the dated, and slightly less appealing decor of the hotel room. Yes, it was very dated, and a bit smelly, but it was pretty tidy we werent there to sit in the rooms! Being 20 steps from the beach was awesome. If you compare it to Denarau or other places, then you will be disappointed, but it was fine for an island stay.

Bring your own drinks - we took a chillibag full of snacks, water, mixers, beer and alcohol. You definately should do a supermarket shop for water and mixers before going. It is not cheap to keep buying that stuff over there. We got ice from the bar each afternoon to have with our drinks on the balcony and at the beach in front of the room , and it was great!

Make sure you have enough suncream - about $50-60 for a bottle of suncream over there!!!!

Bingo and happy hour were great - good way of bringing people together and the atmosphere at the pool bar was good.

Staff - we felt that staff were just ok - no one went out of their way to help, but noone was rude either. I did think there was room to improve here. It was not of a high standard, but not enough to make much of an impact on the overall enjoyment of the trip (apart from the mixups with bookings etc which was a bit annoying)

The island is big and slightly impersonal, which was fine for us as it was the aqua blue water, white sand and isalnd experience we went for - and Mana definately delivered on this. The snorkelling and beaches were as good (if not better)than all the other more expensive islands nearby. If your priority is food or modern accommodation, then Mana may not suit - but we found the gorgeous setting and beaches well worth it.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank keentosnorkel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 9, 2009

We went to Mana on the recommendation of several unconnected friends who had both recommended it. We were looking for somewhere hot to escape a NZ winter, which was clean and tidy and was suitable for our kids aged 3 and 6. We spent 8 days there at the end of July / early august.. We had an ocean view bure and a meal plan.

Just before I left I started reading reviews here and almost had a panic attack over the number of negative reviews and thought we were in for a miserable time and chosen the wrong resort. We had an absolutely fantastic time and loved the resort. So I dont know why our experience was so different to them, but it couldnt have been more different - the staff were fantastic (with a couple of grumpy exceptions), the food was fine (I was expecting it to be horrible) and while abit older and in need of a general clean up and repaint the facilities were also fine.

Mana island itself (like many of the off shore Fijian island) is simply stunning.

In some more detail:

Arrival - we arrived late in the evening and we were met at the wharf and warmly welcomed and taken for a late dinner and then shown to our room in a golf buggy.

Room - we had an ocean view bure in the 500 series. It was clean and tidy with a fantastic view. Others have commented these bures were to far from the main resort. Again I cant understand these negative comments - it was only a 200m walk to the centre of the resort and it wasnt a problem and we did it 1/2 a dozen times a day and the children coped fine. It was services daily and the air con worked well and wasnt overly noisy. We visted several other bures and a hotel style room - all were clean and tidy. Wireless broadband was avaiable ($50F for the week) with a good connection speed.

Food - this has been an ongoing complaint on reviews here. It must have improved or my family and I dont have very good taste !! It was fine. It wasnt 5 star resturant quality by any means, but it was fresh, there was variety and there was a good selection. We had a full meal plan as part of our package and if we hadnt had that I probably would have found some of the prices would have been too high for what the food was. Breakfast was the usual lots of fresh fruit, cereal and bacon/eggs/hashbrowns. You could have eggs cooked to order and there was freshly made waffles, pancakes and juice. Lunch was probably the poorest of the meal sittings. But there was still plenty of fresh fruit, salads and the option for a made to order stir fry. Dinners were themed and there was plenty of variety. Although after 7 days we were starting to get a bit bored.

My main complaint about the food would be the desserts in the buffet - they consisted of fruit, uninspired cakes and chocolate sauce. No ice cream, nothing exciting at all. But that was our only disappointment with the food. Lots of fresh fruit and salads and some interesting and tasty dishes. I like to think I have a reasonably palate, so perhaps the food quality has improved recently? But we enjoyed it. As others have said, the South Beach resturant had a slightly higher quality (only just though) the downside was some big waits for orders and small portion size.

Spa - my wife and I had several massages, facials and other treatments and they were well priced and delivered.

Grounds - the grounds were clean and tidy and the groundsmen had obviously been very busy recently.

Gamesroom / land sports - the games room was comical to say the least and a let down - but that said we werent there to play pingpong anyway.

Watersports - the only grumpy staff we encountered were at the water sports - I dont know why - but they were always brisk and generally unhelpful. But there were the only ones. All the other staff were just lovely and helpful and friendly. The snorkling is great - not red sea or solomon island great - but still fun with lots of fish to look at. Kids had a great time.

Kids club - there are 3 sessions - 10-12/2-4/7-9 - our kids went to a 4-5 sessions over the days we were there and the staff were great and the kids had a great time. It was run in a very relaxed fijian way, but the staff were attentive and we felt comfortable leaving the kids in their care.

Over all we had a great time. We would recommend it to anyone wanting a family holiday.
I would also recommend it to small groups of family or friends. It probably isnt ideal for couples as there are lots of kids and it seemed to me to be more suitable to families than couples - but that said there were lots of couples there. I travel alot for business and have a pretty high standard for accomodation and food and Mana was fine. If you are expecting a ***** star resort you will be disappointed, but its a solid *** to **** and we had a great time.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled with family
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2  Thank bce1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 8, 2009

I would like to agree with all the comments made by previous reviewers about food, (quality) dated and in need of massive repair etc....its all true. However there is one point I would like to make to everyone. The Staff Appreciation Box at Reception where you are supposed to put all your tips at the end of your visit, is the biggest ripoff of all. Do NOT PUT YOUR MONEY FOR STAFF in here. The Management take it and then will "give" the staff a dinner or some such other insult. Take plenty of Fijian coins with you and when you get good service from the Fijians - which you will all the time - give them a tip there and then!! The Japanese have the attitude that they provide the Resort therefore they should get the tips. Not sure how the rest of the world feels about this, but all over the world, tips go to the person who give the service and in the case of Mana Island, it is not the Japanese. Of course the best thing you can do is not go there, but then that will hurt the poor Fijians, so I am not sure what the answer to this one is?
The decent Fijians are being far too compliant in the face of something that is clearly wrong and doing their country a great diservice. Perhaps its time we contacted Bainarama? He might be able to sort it!!

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank ToTravel2Live
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 3, 2009

First off, I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to write a review of this resort. This was my first trip to Fiji, and the many positive reviews influenced my decision to choose Mana Island Resort over the other island resorts in the Mamanucas chain.

Just back from 9 nights at Mana with my 2 older children (20 yr old son and 17 yr old daughter) in late July, after having spent 4 nights at the Radisson on Denarau Island on the mainland just outside of Nadi. The Radisson is a newer property, with many of the services and overall quality expected of a 4+ star hotel. Was a good starting point for us and provided an opportunity to shop in Nadi and do some day trips. The various Denarau hotels are higher end, but do not offer the great beaches and turquoise water that we traveled from Canada to to experience.

We went to Mana on the South Sea Cruises catamaran from Denarau. Very scenic 1.5 hr trip with a few passenger stops at other islands along the way. Arrived at Mana to a warm musical song welcome. Once all the new arrivals got off the boat and dock, we were led to the main lounge where the registration process and hotel services were explained. Once registered, we were led to our rooms, with the baggage already there.

I must admit that, following the Radisson stay, first impressions of the Mana Resort are that it is dated (20 plus years old) and the grounds are certainly not kept up to the manicured standards of the Denarau hotels. Having said this, the resort is consistent with the many traveler photos that accompany the reviews here, so I was not surprised. We stayed in an Ocean Front Suite (600 room series) which was very large on 2 floors with 2 full bathrooms, and approx. 25 metres from the South Beach water. The suite was clean with 2 double beds, bathroom and patio and the 2nd floor; and living area, sofa bed, bathroom, fridge and patio on the main floor. Apparently this block of suites is the most recently constructed accommodation.

HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR STAY:
1. The beauty of the island and its beaches:
Lots of coconut palms, 3 uncrowded, long beaches of white sand and wonderful warm and clear turquoise water. This is primarily what we came for, and we were not dissapointed. Staff rake the North and South Beach of sea grass on a daily basis.

2. Amazing Snorkeling:
The underwater life experience is truly amazing. Snorkeling gear is abundant and free of charge. Spent hours snorkeling every day. Bring along pieces of bread/buns from the restaurants to feed the fish of every size, shape and colour. If you are comfortable in the water, this is heaven. Favourite location was on the North Beach, swimming west around the rocky point towards Sunset Beach. Best to do this at higher tides. Also some great, easy access spots on South Beach, especially around the shallower reef near the main dock. Best to do this area at lower tides, as the boat traffic is much less. If you aren't comfortable in the water, then be sure to take the Under Sea Adventure tour for $25 F per adult. This 45 min glass windowed boat ride will give you a taste of what snorkelers experience.

3. South Beach Restaurant Food:
In spite of all of the negative comments in other reviews about the food, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the a la carte menu food at the South Beach Restaurant. This restaurant is only open for lunch and dinner. A reasonable selection of menu items, with some lunch variation and rotating daily specials. As long as you stay away from the lobster choices, most entrees are priced from $18 - $25 F and are good value. Fish and Chips or Pizza are good lunch choices, and the dinner Chicken items were always excellent. Although there is no room service, take away is available for all menu items. While meal preparation can be somewhat slow, staff service was generally above average. In my opinion, unless you are a really big eater who enjoys multiple helpings and desserts, the South Beach Restaurant far exceeds the value of the expensive buffets ($30 F Breakfast; $26 F Lunch and $57 F Dinner).

4. Wi Fi Internet:
This was a must for the teenagers to stay in touch with their friends in the real world. They had their own lap top, but there are several computers available in the communication centre. Various internet access options at a reasonable price.

5. Happy Hour:
All 3 bars have Happy Hour from 5-6 pm every night. At $3 F for a beer and $10 F for a mixed cocktail, this is a 50% pre-dinner saving not to be missed.

NOT QUITE UP TO EXPECTATIONS:
1. The Grounds
Generally neat, but definitely not manicured, the grounds and landscaping are sub par. Dirt and sand roads (with minimal concrete pathways in front of some units) connect the resort accommodations and amenities. Although the beaches are maintained daily, some of the areas could do with a more regular litter pick up.

2. North Beach Buffet Restaurant
Ate the dinner buffet on 3 of our 9 nights. As noted above, unless you are a really big eater, or get a great advance price on a meal package, the buffets aren't good value for the money, especially for children. Every evening has a menu theme night - Lovo, Oriental, Curry, etc. Lovo is worth a try. Plan to watch the meat being removed from the cooking area adjacent to the restaurant at 5:30 pm.

SUGGESTIONS TO MAKE YOUR STAY BETTER:
1. South Beach Restaurant Dinner Reservations:
Reservations are limited, so don't wait. You can make reservations for any night of your stay upon check-in.

2. Dinner Buffet Savings:
Save $7 F per person ($50 vs. $57) on the dinner buffet by booking one night in advance.

3. Bring Liquor to Island with you:
Although the little boutique store sells a variety of snacks, water, milk, juice and sodas, it doesn't sell any alcohol drinks. Other than happy hour, the drinks can add up in a hurry. Save yourself a bundle by bringing your own duty free.

4. Ants:
As clean as our room was, the small ants are permanent residents and appear to come out of nowhere. Don't leave any opened food or snacks on the counters, even for an hour, or you will be throwing it away.

5. Laundry:
The guest laundry facilities include 3 washers and 1 dryer, between 2 locations. I thought I would be smart and do our laundry in the late evening. A mistake, as staff use these washers/dryer for some of the resort laundry at night.

6. The Look Out
Take the time to go up to the look out. A beautiful vantage point.

7. Meke Night
Although much of the nightly entertainiment is uninspiring, be sure to take in the Meke night performance. A moving display of traditional song and dance by the staff. A cultural experience not to be missed.

8. Day Room upon Departure:
Check out time is an early 10 am. Our flight didn't leave until 5:30 pm. Was able to negotiate a day room rate of $100 F until our departure. Great to be able to use the room, fridge and showers during a full day of beach time.

9. Fly off the Island to Nadi:
There are several short (15 min) direct flights to Nadi daily from the Mana air strip to Nadi. Was able to book flights in advance of our visit for much less than the boat trip to the mainland. The link to Air Pacific Sun flights is on the Mana web site.

Hope that this info helps to make your stay a little more enjoyable.
Arrive with reasonable expectations, accept that this is an older resort, be tolerant of "Fiji Time" and you will likely have a fun and memorable trip!

Best Wishes

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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17  Thank vanc0uver2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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