My Wife, her Sister and I spent two weeks at Lalati from Nov.1st through the 15th as primarily a dive vacation. This wasn't our first trip to Fiji... in 2001 we spent two weeks at the Matangi island resort near Taveuni, also as a dive vacation. Upon arrival to Beqa Island, we were greeted by the Lalati Fijian staff in typical warm fashion at the end of the pier. A nice welcome after a long 11 hour flight and 2 1/2 hour van ride!
The premises are beautiful and dining/bar structures gorgeous. Pool/spa area are beachfront and looked wonderful as well. We were given a wonderful coconut milk foot massage by Fijian staff and briefed by one of the Managers, Sue and escorted to our bure which was one of the oceanfront bures. The bure was wonderfully done. Note; toilets are composting toilets and will emit a not-so-wonderful odor that will waft through the bure with the trade winds. Such is the reality of living eco-friendly!
We thought food (breakfast, lunch and dinner) was just average for a resort like this. A couple times for dinner and lunch, they exceeded average. Service was haphazard. I don't mind slow as it's "Fiji time" but typically one or two would get their food and 10-15 minutes later, the others would get theirs. It's just a minor training issue but staff were always friendly and greeting you each and every time.
Lalati is adding more bures to the premises and the dive shop is renovating so there was lots of construction going on. Whether it was 7am and trying to sleep or hammering going on while attempting to get a massage at the spa, it was bothersome.
As for diving, Sabine and Josiah as the dive masters saved the day. Both are extremely professional and did a great job. We dove with Sabine the majority of our dives (we logged approximately 20 dives in two weeks). She remained highly enthusiastic despite suffering from pretty bad allergies. Total trooper! Diving was a mixed bag. We were disappointed by the lack of soft coral growth (what Fiji waters are known for) and the lack of large animal life. You'll see plenty on the shark dive but on regular dives, an occasional white tip reef shark is what we saw. What Sabine was excellent at was pointing out the small stuff. Nudibranch city! Diving near Taveuni was superior to this region and so we were a bit disappointed in that regard.
It rained quite a bit during our second week so during dives, visibility suffered from a perfect storm of rain run-off from the main Island of Viti Levi and Beqa Island. Visibility was often reduced to 40 feet. On one of the dives, current was a bit strong and visibility was poor so my wife and I decided to cut the dive short and signaled the dive master that we were heading up. Upon surfacing, we saw that the boat ladder was not lowered into the water. We yelled out to the boat Captain (also named Josiah) to lower the ladder and he seemed startled but finally lowered the ladder.
We decided not to dive the second dive due to the conditions of the first dive so we remained on the boat with the boat Captain, Josiah. Josiah promptly went to sleep after all the other divers were in the water, which explained why the ladder wasn't in the water on our first dive. Tremendous safety breach here. We reported Josiah's incident to Sabine and Manager Sue and they promptly counseled him on it. Unfortunately, the next day in the dive shop, boat Captain Josiah confronted me on the issue. I also advised Sabine and Sue on Josiah's confrontation and they promptly acted on it. Sue had advised me that it was probably a "cultural" issue going on here where Josiah simply wanted to iron out the problem. Hard to tell how Josiah felt about me after outing him on his safety breach, though. Not good.
During our two week stay, approximately 98% of the resorts guests (including us) fell ill to a rather nasty 24 hour stomach bug. My version was 12 hours of vomiting every hour on the hour and my wife's was a bit milder. We were told by the Mangers, Sue and Mark that it was something one of the guests probably brought with them and was transmitted to the other guests. They had explained that they had changed out the water filters for the tap water and briefed staff on food preparation and hand washing. There were several different opinions from guests on the source of the illness so the jury is still out on that one.
Overall, the resort is decently run and is beautiful. Managers, Mark and Sue are hospitable and very nice people. Fijian staff are wonderful. My review rating for Lalati is unfortunately average given the above issues
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Award winning all inclusive resort. Lalati Resort & Spa sits on the edge of a protected bay in Beqa Lagoon, with world class snorkeling and diving just steps outside your door. Standard Cottages, Deluxe Villas, Premium Deluxe Honeymoon Villas and Superior Honeymoon Suites offer comfort in a Fijian-style elegance and full amenities. Kayak, trek, snorkel, scuba dive, surf, wakeboard, tube ride, SUPs, zipline, village safaris, and the famous firewalkers, all within easy reach. It's where you find the Soul of Fiji! ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Lalati Resort And Spa
- Lalati Hotel Beqa Island
- Lalati Resort All Inclusive