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“Lovely resort, great location & atmosphere, gorgeous surroundings, LOTS of kids”

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Castaway Island Fiji
Certificate of Excellence
Level 5 Contributor
35 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 130 helpful votes
“Lovely resort, great location & atmosphere, gorgeous surroundings, LOTS of kids”
Reviewed December 14, 2007

Before I begin, let me just say that we support all of the positive reviews on Tripadvisor, HOWEVER if you are looking for a resort that is really quiet and has few or no children, then Castaway is NOT for you – so stop reading now and look elsewhere! This was our first holiday with our son (8 months old) so we were one of the guilty couples with a noisy child. But if we’d been there as a couple only I would have to say we would’ve been pretty disappointed because as others have mentioned, there are kids EVERYWHERE.

We arrived at Castaway for 4 days after 1 night at the Sheraton Denarau and 5 nights at Mana Island Resort. The resort itself is very well presented, and our first impressions were wow, this seems like a really nice, friendly place. It had such a warm and welcoming atmosphere. We went straight to the Sundowner Bar for registration/check-in and were given welcome cocktails which were cold and tasty. We were then personally escorted to our Beachfront Bure (number 9) which was clean and also well presented. The rooms are very basic, with no phone, TV or clock radio. Just a king sized bed (which was great) a day bed, small table & chairs, small bar fridge and bathroom with shower only – basically all the essentials you will need for a relaxing holiday.

I won’t rave on about the place because others have already summed it up fairly well. I will just reiterate what others have said, in that the service was always friendly, the rooms were clean and spacious, the views were lovely, the beaches great, the food delicious, and yes, the pool is ok but full of very noisy children all the time. I really think Castaway has attracted the family crowd, and even though they say they cater for everyone, I personally would disagree with this. Sure, they make couples more than welcome, and they do try to put limits on the children such as the adults only happy hour in the bar every night and earlier dining times and areas for children, however they still go out of their way to make children and families feel most welcome. We saw a few couples during our stay who were clearly uncomfortable being surrounded by so many kids all day, and I must say I felt sorry for them, because until recently we were a childless couple so know how they felt!

One thing that wasn't great was the number of birds hanging around the restaurant, just waiting for someone to leave their table so they can swoop on the leftovers. I have a thing about birds hanging around meal areas because they carry disease, so this grossed me out a bit. The staff did their best to chase them away, but really there isn't much that can be done when meals are served in such an open area. The food however was delicious and we never felt bored with the menu. Admittedly we were only there for 4 days so after a week I would imagine it could get boring. There are daily specials though and we always found these to be great. We took a meal plan through our travel agent where we paid $108 pp for the ENTIRE stay and could eat anything and everything – fantastic value! This deal and price is valid for any length of stay, so the longer you stay, the better value the meal. I believe this is a special they only have going during their low season though (ie, rainy/cyclone season Nov through to April). So we enjoyed buffet breakfasts, choice of buffet lunch or order anything and as much from the menu as we liked (or grab some delicious pizzas from the Sundowner Bar), and buffet dinner or again choose something from menu. The choices were not limited to certain items either, so it was a great deal. As I said, we booked this through our travel agent – Castaway does give you the option of taking their meal deal when you check in, however this deal is not as good value as the one we got, so make sure you look into it when you’re booking your holiday. The resort also has its own desalination plant so you’ll always have fresh, top quality water which is reassuring.

I had a massage in Bure Lomani and Betty my therapist was great! For $85FJ I got a 1 hour full body massage, money very well spent. We didn’t bother with any other activities or water sports, but there was never a shortage of fun if you were looking for it.

The Beachfront Bures were great, but to be honest most of the Ocean view bures were not that much further back than the Beachfronts, so if you want to save a few dollars go for those instead. The beaches were very tidy and inviting, and we felt they were better than those on Mana. I thought I’d read somewhere on this site that the beaches at Mana were better than Castaway, but I’d have to say we totally disagreed with that. Admittedly Castaway staff have a much smaller area to keep tidy, as Mana’s beaches are quite extensive, so its probably unfair to compare the two in that respect.

Cocktails were quite pricey at $16FJ, but what do you expect on a tropical island resort. The prices of items in the boutique were outrageous, again you must expect this on an island, but some were just plain ridiculous. If you’re traveling with small children/babies, make sure you come prepared!! A pack of 80 Johnson’s baby wipes in the boutique cost $19.95FJ!!! Totally insane! I didn’t even look at the prices of other items because I was too scared, but needless to say, just make sure you have plenty of everything.

Because we’d come straight from Mana, it was really hard not to compare the two resorts. I realize this is unfair considering Castaway is a 4 star resort and much more expensive than Mana, but I would have to say if you can afford it, go to Castaway and don’t even bother with Mana. We really enjoyed our time here, and would definitely return in the future if we have the chance to go back to Fiji. The staff are so friendly, they really love your kids, the views and surroundings are great, and the food is so yummy. Go and enjoy yourself, but just be mindful of all the kids!

  • Liked — Just the atmosphere of the place, along with the lovely views and surroundings
  • Disliked — Felt a bit crowded and noisy around common areas at times, and rooms were pretty basic
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
9 Thank pmrb80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Edgewood, Washington
Level 3 Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed December 2, 2007

When you arrive at the Island they have staff great you with music and send you up to the Sundowner bar where they give you a welcome cocktail (you better enjoy this because this will be the first and the last drink you will get promptly) They check you in there. We did pay for the beachfront bure and it was wonderful. The bure had two daybeds in the living area, a table two chairs, the furniture was tasteful and not out dated. There was a cabinet that held a cocktail refrigerator, a coffee maker, a hot pot and lots of choices of teas and coffee. The king size bed was very comfortable, and the bedroom area was very nice. When it came to the room Castaway did the extras with flowers on the bed and so on. I can’t say enough about this –The lighting in the bure was even well thought out. The ocean bure was special because we could leave the windows ajar the listen to the ocean outside. The beach was very nice and the sand was so soft. There did not seem to be any problem swimming at low tide, but our bure was on the other side #55 so the beach on this side was different and had less coral. Even though there were a lot of people at castaway we didn’t feel overly crowded with people. We did dive at Castaway and felt the dive team was professional and friendly. They took care of MOST of our scuba gear for us giving us the opportunity to enjoy our vacation. IF we go back to Castaway it will be nice to see the dive staff again.

So the negative part of Castaway is the food a beverage service. The staff is too laid back. We would go to the Sundowner bar to get a cocktail. At the bar there maybe 1 or 2 other couples there and no one & I mean no one acknowledged that we were there. There would be a 3-4 person staff just standing at the bar. We would sit there for 20 minutes and they still would not acknowledge us. We started going to the bar – thinking that maybe that’s how they do the ordering here --- but NO they would tell us to go sit down & someone will be over to take our order ---10 min later. Then another 15- 20 minutes before we got our drinks. Drinks were hard to come by and food was the same unless there was a buffet – You better just do the buffet unless you want to wait 2- 2.5 hours for your food. The staff does not come around and replenish your water glass and if you ask for more water it can take up to 15-20 minutes for them to come back with some. The food was O.K. The one thing I liked at Castaway was the Seafood Crepes it had Prawns, reef fish, scallops and mussels in crepes with fresh lime hollandaise - this did take 2 hours to get –but it was almost worth it. The menu NEVER changed so if you are staying here for 7 or more days the choices become very boring.
I get very frustrated when you find a beautiful place like Castaway, but with such bad food a beverage service. I felt trap. It’s not like you could just get up from the table and say I’m going to go somewhere else to eat/drink, so you just bear with it and call it part of the cultural experience of “Fiji Time” – while you get dehydrated and starve.
If I go back to Castaway, and I could see myself going back there, I will do things a little differently. I will go to the nearest market before getting on the catamaran and buy bottle water and other drinks and snacks, because this maybe the only food and drinks I will have while I’m on the island.

  • Liked — We loved everthing about our bure and the island.
  • Disliked — The slow food and beverage service.
  • Stayed September 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
8 Thank exempt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed November 2, 2007

We (me, my wife, and 2 kids aged 4 & 7) just got back late last night from 6 nights at Castaway, and had a fantastic time. As per usual, we all felt very bedraggled from the pretty inconvenient late night flight from Melbourne.
I know a lot of people are against over-development, but the shopping mall at Denarau is fairly handy - we got a few snacks for our room, plus grabbed a bit of breakfast on the run. And this time we remembered to grab some wine & beer in the duty free before going through customs.
After our welcome off the boat, we waited a while up in the Sundowner Bar, then it was off to our room. We were in number 33, which was just about the best spot you could get - except for the fact that a massive part of the beach had been washed away in a storm (??some time in the last year I believe), so we had an unattractive bit of rock wall in front of us as opposed to the lovely beach around on the north side. However, we did get a nice night time breeze most nights, which was most welcome since we aren't keen on having the aircon on all night. It was really close to just about everything (pool, kids' club, bars, restaurant etc) without any noise to speak of. Apart from the ugly rock wall, I think it was a really nice, quiet spot. Now, onto some salient points...
1. The ugly rock wall (which actually stretched all the way along the south side). I know it's nature's fault, but I'm just telling you straight.
2. Not a heap of free stuff to do - my only comparison is Plantation Island, which had free snorkelling & hand line fishing. Two of us did the Shell Village visit at $30 a pop, but at least that was properly guided, as opposed to the Plantation version, where they just plopped us there, then picked us up later. I did the outer reef snorkelling trip - but at $40 I think it was a bargain - the coral was sensational, but not a lot of fish around as the swell was quite big that day.
3. Maybe I was snorkelling in the wrong spots, but I went quite a way off Monkey Rock (and a fair way either side of it), straight out from the resort, and at various spots around the south side including way past the staff quarters, and I honestly didn't think it was all that much better than Plantation, particularly in terms of the array of fish to be seen. The serious snorkellers among you may scoff at my claims, but again, it's what I saw.
In truth, though, I am struggling to pick any serious faults. The pluses far outweighed the minuses...
1. The staff - Fin (activities) is a legend - he's a tank of a man, a mean volleyballer and rugby player (of course!), he plays guitar, weaves baskets and makes a mean lovo. And he's as cheeky as hell. A very funny man. Also Kima, Aseri, Taina and Alisi - all very funny, warm, welcoming and talented people. Eddie and Mosi in the resaurant were great, as were pretty much all the bar and waiting staff. To be honest - too many names to remember. I apologise to all for that. There wasn't a grumpy one to be found. You've heard before how great Fijians are with kids - but these people extend their warmth to us grown-ups as well.
2. Cocktails at the Sundowner Bar. Not cheap, but do yourself a favour - just go there and experience it for yourself.
3. The pool - big, safe at the shallow ends for the kids, shaded in parts, never had trouble finding a lounger.
4. The food. I can't believe I only put on 1.5 kgs. Breakfast was a huge array of things - the highlights were the scrambled eggs, the fruit and this lovely gooey stuff called lote. Lunch did tend to be a little weaker sometimes - the occasional tired-looking salad or a dodgy pasta. Dinner was great - good a la carte food, and the theme nights were excellent - curry night, barbecue night, and the lovo - oh my God, what a feast. Pizzas in the Sundowner were also good.
5. Volleyball on the beach - Aseri would laugh herself silly at anyone who mucked up, and she'd keep hanging it on them too - very funny, cheeky lady
6. The Kids' Club - our two loved it - this time they were a little more enthusiastic about the whole thing. I thought the Plantation one was a little tired & lacked energy.
7. The rooms & the gardens - nicely maintained.
The weather was mostly good - one afternoon & evening it absolutley p*ssed down, and there was another downpour for a couple of hours on one other day.
All in all we had a great time, and so did everyone else, so it seemed. It's an excellent spot for families, but it didn't feel overrun with kids (yes, even as a parent, we can sense that too). We'd love to go back again any time.

  • Liked — Staff, food, location
  • Disliked — South beach not in top condition
  • Stayed October 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
11 Thank zorcon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level 6 Contributor
89 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 225 helpful votes
Reviewed October 25, 2007

We had a great time at Castaway Island, but let me just start by setting out the following question: do you have kids or really like being around swarms of them?

If you have kids, really, this is the place for you. Look no further. I'd give 5 stars for you if you have kids
If you don't...you might want to look elsewhere because the kid factor is a negative. If you don't have kids..maybe a three and a half...all due to the kids.

First, here's what everyone will enjoy:
The island is wonderfully isolated. It has fantastic views and is the tropical island that you are probably looking for if you are reading reviews of "Castaway Island"
The food was actually quite good. It's not world class, maybe, but hey this is the tropics and they do a great job...not just for what they have, but for anyone.
The wine list is OK. The problem is that none of the wines are things that you know and there is no summary. Of course the staff doesn't know, so if you request a specific wine that you would like...forget about it. We wondered through the list and eventually found stuff we liked
The outdoor activities are nice and many are free (basically non-motor stuff).
The rooms are nice, the staff does a good job and the beach chairs are plentiful (the pool chairs are not...see kids comments!).

Even if you don't have kids, you will probably enjoy it...wish that I had other suggestions, but I don't.

Now here's the thing is you have kids: they will love it and you will love it. Their are activities and programs for all ages and I even saw teenagers having a good time. I would imagine that, because the place is isolated, you can just let the kids go free under the staff's eye and that means freedom for parents...if I was to go somewhere with family that has kids...this would be it..

BUT, if you don't have kids....you may really want to keep looking.

  • Liked — All around greatness
  • Disliked — TOO MANY KIDS!
  • Stayed October 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8 Thank gsbdiver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Collaroy Beach, Australia
Level 1 Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed September 3, 2007

We've just returned from 10 nights at Castaway Island, and we
certainly will be going back.
Thanks to those before me on Trip Advisor that recommended Castaway.
I have 2 children 4 & 2 and its just perfect for a family.
The staff are genuinely friendly.
Bula to Moses Tewua Lusi Chippy( Love your Pizza's) and Watasoni there are just too many helpful staff to mention.
Meal Plan is the go and you can BYO Wine.
So take your perfect drop to a little peice of bliss in the South Pacific.

August /Sept are the best and peak times but you dont feel crowded.
If you need TV, or to look at a watch regularly then stay at home.
This is the perfect place to relax.
Thanks to Dawn for the tip on handline fishing.
I'll be looking to get stuck into some bigger fish next year.
But take note staff will cook what you catch and Coral Trout is

Vinaka Vukalavu to my new friends at Castaway!!!

10 Thank sgibbons
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Level 5 Contributor
12 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
Reviewed September 2, 2007

Our family of 4 (two kids 4 and 5) just came back from a fantastic vacation in Fiji! We had a great time at Castaway! It is also a very special place and we are already talking about going back next year!

We arrived in Fiji on Aug 12 and stayed at the Shangri-la Fijian for 5 nights (had a great time, see a separate review), then took the seaplane to Castaway and stayed for 3 nights. The kids had a blast on the 15-minute seaplane ride: they screamed with joy when the seaplane took-off from the Nadi airport; they loved the view of the Mamanuca islands; and when we landed on the water off Castaway, the staff helped the kids off the seaplane and carried through the knee-deep water. They were in heaven!! The loved it even better on the return ride when the seaplane had a bumpy took-off from water. It was like an amusement park ride for them, just better.

There are lots of positive reviews so I am not going to repeat what the previous reviews have covered. The beach was great, staff fantastic, extremely kids-friendly, and we just had a great time. Here are some things I can think of that have not been covered in previous reviews:

1. Accommodations: be prepared that the bures are very basic, no phone, no TV, but very nicely decorated, well laid-out, very comfortable, with 2 ceiling fans, a small fridge, and AC (working really well). We booked the ocean view bure as the beach bure was not available (the resort was fully booked). We stayed on the south (quieter) side of the island. All the bures are similar in size and interior and the only difference between island and ocean view bures (at least on the south side) is the 5-10 feet of ocean view. Therefore in my opinion the island bures are really good deals since you are only 30 second walk from the beach. If you don’t mind spending extra, definitely book the beach bures -- they are all ocean-front with lounging chairs and hammocks and beautiful ocean view. I wish they would offer two-bedroom bures but am happy with the two-room configuration as it was well designed and very cozy. The bures were close together but felt private. Really no complains on the accommodations.

2. Food: food was surprisingly good and if you like gourmet 3-course dinner, you should get the meal plan. Wine and alcoholic beverages are expensive but comparable to what we would expect to pay in Hawaii and California. I am fairly picky but absolutely loved the food, especially the kokoda. Actually I lived on kokoda (fish cerviche with lime juice and coconut milk) for for three days when we were there. We ordered the wine by the glass every night and they always came at the right temperature. We were pleasantly surprised to have such a high quality wine (by the glass, which is always a hit-or-miss) served in such a remote island. We will be buying more wines from Australia and New Zealand for sure. Breakfast buffet had a small selection but good. The omelet station chef will make you whatever eggs you want, sunny-side up, poached, etc. We asked him for scrambled eggs for our kids everyday and even though there were scrambled eggs from the buffet the chef was always happy to do it for us. (Being a very paranoid mom I never had my kids eat eggs from the buffet for fear of them getting sick.)

3. Kids club: they have a small dedicated building for the kids with structured activities posted on the blackboard that changes daily. The building was small, no air conditioning, and the toys were sparse, old and worn, no TV, no video games, but our kids were in heaven! Not only were the Fijian ladies warm and loving, they also introduced our kids to their culture, which is exactly the reason we took them to Fiji, instead of our annual trip to Hawaii. They taught our kids to count and greet in Fijian, took them to the beach, taught them how to make shell necklaces, it was just amazing. One note is that you can get the Fijian ladies to babysit your child and costs only F$5 per hour. Since you pay directly to the sitter, she keeps all the money.

4. Mosquitos and the heat!! The only negative I could think of -- I became the mossie magnet and was eaten alive every day. By second day I developed an allergic reaction so the bumps were one inch in diameter! August was supposed to be the cooler month but it still felt hot! Although I have to say that our house in San Diego is only 5 minutes from the ocean and I am used to cool, 70-80F weather year round with ocean breeze so what is hot for me is probably comfortable for most people. (FYI I complain about the heat in Hawaii, too). On the other hand my husband loved the weather and said he had the best snorkeling trip ever. Needless to say he didn’t even have one single bite from the mosquitos, either.

In summary, Castaway is a very special place. It seems very well managed and runs smoothly. Lots of people have worked there for years and they do their jobs very well. They really made us feel like family. One week after we got home we received a nice hand written postcard from Castaway. What a nice touch! Can’t wait to be back!

  • Stayed August 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
12 Thank vintage2002mom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed August 19, 2007

The whole island was a welcoming lovely place. The meal plan was great value and surprisingly high quality, the staff friendly and accommodating and the bures roomy, clean and atmospheric.

Only things to keep in mind was a a first time visitor we were not aware of the very high prices charged for wine and other alcoholic beverages. Even though I am pregnant it would still have been worth bringing our own wine etc (which is welcome at meals) as the wine list prices are out of control.

Take advantage of the free kids club, great free water sports equipment and cheap babysitters.

Our three year old was just a bit too small to appreciate the kids club but we intend to return next year and feel confident she can take full advantage of it then.

Overall comment is a great holiday destination for families with young children.

  • Liked — Authentic, comfortable and clean
  • Disliked — Nothing really
  • Stayed August 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5 Thank MammaSydney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Castaway Island Fiji

Property: Castaway Island Fiji
Address: Castaway Island | Mamanuca Island group, Fiji Islands, 1111, Fiji
Phone Number:
Location: Fiji > Mamanuca Islands > Castaway Island (Qalito)
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Castaway Island (Qalito)
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Castaway Island Fiji 4*
Number of rooms: 65
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Castaway Island, Fiji provides a unique South Pacific experience - a great place to relax, unwind and enjoy life's simple pleasures. Fiji's most popular island resort has guests returning year after year to experience the magic that is "Castaway". The island's 174 acres are covered with lush tropical vegetation, and surrounded by white sand beaches and vibrant coral reefs. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Castaway Island Fiji Hotel Qalito Island
Castaway Island Fiji Qalito
Castaway Island Resort
Fiji Castaway Resort
Castaway Fiji Hotel Island
Castaway Island Fiji Castaway Island (Qalito)

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