My wife and I stayed at Qamea in Oct. of 2005. Overall, we had an OK experience -- pros and cons listed below -- but we ultimately determined that we would never go back, that it simply wasn't worth the price for what was offered.
First, the pros. It IS a lovely tropical environment. The staff are very friendly and do know your name from the very first day. The snorkeling was great. The bures were beautifully themed. It's nice that they offer spa treatments (though these were inconsistent – see below)... Staff is generally very friendly (see exception below).
OK, and now the cons. There is an employee who greets you when you arrive and gives you the brief tour -- he's the "go-to" guy with regards to schedule, activities, etc (not sure if I can name him or not in order for this review to be allowed). Well, to make a long story short, for some reason he didn’t take a liking to us (we don’t know why), and we got a cold shoulder for most of the trip (while he would sail around the dining room making conversation with all of the other patrons). Not that we wanted or needed his attention, but in particular, we had one extremely upsetting event which bears mentioning. We were scheduled to go to what they call “Honeymoon Beach” on a particular day – the last day of our stay. This is when they take just the two of you and drop you off on a small, deserted and private beach around the corner from the resort for a few hours with a packed lunch – supposedly very romantic. Anyway, we were scheduled for sure, as there is a large chalkboard on the way to the bathrooms near the dining area that lists the “daily schedule” for this trip by the name of one’s bure.
All week our bure was listed for Friday – we saw it on the board many times. Then, all of a sudden on Thursday, the name of our bure was erased and another bure’s name was listed for Friday. We wouldn’t have even known had my wife not gone to the bathroom (and you could see where it had been erased). Anyway, we went to this “activities director” guy immediately, and he INSISTED that our name was never there, that we were never scheduled to go, etc. He was not conciliatory in any way, just argumentative. At this point, after the cold shoulder and attitude from him all week, this was the last straw, and we went to talk to the manager of the resort on duty, who was a very kind American woman at the time (I think the management might have since changed). Anyway, she immediately apologized, and put us back on the board for our trip (moving the other couple who had several alternate days to choose from).
Then, when we went to Honeymoon Beach, we were left there for about an hour longer than we were supposed to be, and the tide kept rising and rising until there was no more beach left (it’s a little teeny, tiny beach to begin with), and my wife and I had to actually climb up a tree and sit on a large branch waiting for the boat. I kid you not! By the time we were sitting on the branch with the empty food basket on my lap and two wet towels balanced alongside, we were certainly a bit curious as to whether the “late pick-up” was merely coincidence…
Later that night, after dinner, there was some music entertainment, and that same activities director fellow was all-of-a-sudden surprisingly nice, and came over and took my wife’s hand and brought her out to the dance floor to dance! The over-compensation was palpable -- clearly, he had been “spoken to” by management…
The other main complaints we had were that the food – other than breakfast (which is extremely varied and delicious) -- was mediocre at best. Truly mediocre, which was disappointing, after reading reviews that the food was supposed to be spectacular. In addition, the price is supposed to be “all-inclusive” excluding bar drinks. As we were spending a fortune to be there, we really limited our bar drinks, but were surprised to find out at the END of the trip that we were charged for every diet coke, every mineral water, and even every juice (other than at breakfast)! We would have thought that basic non-alcoholic drinks would have been complementary, especially with the $650/night pricetag!
Lastly, the resort property is very small, you can walk from one end to the other in 10 minutes, so there’s really nowhere to go walking and hiking. And we found the spa treatments to be inconsistent – sometimes really good, sometimes really average. In fact, one of the restaurant gals – who took orders and served food – was also one of the gals doing the spa treatments… So was she really trained to do spa treatments, or was she just filling in when the spa was busy or the others had time off? Not sure…
And one last thing – and this is not really the fault of the resort directly – but one of the staff, a cleaning woman who had taken a liking to us because my wife was visibly pregnant, came to our bure one day offering us a straw mat she said her mother at her nearby village had woven “for the baby.” It was a surprise, and seemed a very warm and perhaps very Fijian thing to do, but then, in her broken English, she began to ask us for money. We hadn’t asked her to make us a straw mat, and there, in the moment, we felt certainly obligated to slip her some cash. Ultimately we gave her a $20 (and we don’t really regret it because clearly we are much more privileged than she), but it felt very manipulative… left a bad taste in our mouths.
So all in all, we weren’t thrilled by the experience. For about half of the cost, we would go to Kauai next time where there is beautiful snorkeling, luscious, tropical foliage, world-class luxury resorts, and many more choices of food and nightlife activities…
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- An intimate and boutique Fijian resort catering to a maximum of 34 adults in 17 luxurious all beachfront and air conditioned bures and royal beach houses. Set on 100 private acres of lush gardens, jagged volcanic mountains, and a long white sand beach, it is perfect for honeymoons, weddings, spa retreats and incredible world class diving. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Qamea Resort And Spa Fiji Hotel Qamea Island
- Hotel Qamea Island
- Qamea Island Hotel Fiji