More about Mana Island Resort
Mana Island is a perfect destination for exotic travel, value, and cultural awareness...all of which is wrapped up in a fabulous package of white sand beaches, aqua water, and easy-going Fijian (Fee-jeeian) personality.
I traveled to Mana Island (Mamanuca Islands, Fiji - western islands off of Nadi) in 2001. I spent the first day of arrival on the main island of Fiji (just outside of Nadi) and on day 2, traveled to Mana via boat transfer. Upon arrival to Mana, a long wooden dock extends out into the aqua ocean to greet you and dozens of local Fijians are waving, singing, playing instruments and greeting you with genuine warmth and gratitude. Everyone gets laid (hehe) once you step off the dock and you get to spend the rest of the time on the island exploring, sun bathing, swimming, and having a Fee-jee experience.
The Hotel itself is actually a campus of bures (lil huts) and there is a main lodge (where the restaurant, pool and entertainment are located), a large dormitory of rooms and the exclusive suite bures. The pool is nice (not the best I've seen) but who wants a pool when you are on an island? There are tons of activities to participate in: I learning to Snuba (yes....snuba) which is a scuba diving and snorkeling combination; you are in scuba gear with a tank that is on an inflatable boat and it allows you to dive up to 20 feet down. Other activities I partook in: island hopping on a 10 person sail boat (I actually was able to see and run around the beaches of Castaway Island (Tom Hanks movie, Castaway), see dolphins swim along side our boat, drink Kava and be in an actual Kava ceremony, and of course, lay on the incredible beach and soak in the sun! Oh, I also kayaked around the island (which was pretty frightening because I kept imagining Jaws attacking me) and shimmied up a coconut tree. Needless to say, Fiji (and this resort) has a plethora of things to have fun with and experience another culture!
Mana Island, Fiji - an image of paradise...
This is one of my most favourite photos I've ever taken. It is on Mana Island, Fiji. I still can't believe my little point and click managed to capture this scene so beautifully way back in 1988.
We stayed in one of the ocean front bures. They are NOT ocean front unless you stay in one of the two bure at each end of the horseshoe configuration, as a previous reviewer has mentioned. We were told those bure are usually booked out a yr in advance by return visitors. It is a walk through the garden and down a slope to the beach from any of the other 'ocean front' bures. Having said that the acutal bure was beautiful. Large, well equipped, and generous veranda. The air-con is a must during summer.
Any of the newer accommodation blocks looked good too.
The food was as awful as most people say. We went prepared for that so not such a let down. But flies and insects were in the breakfast buffet that was served outside. All the meals we had at the buffet or inside the main building were bad. The meals at the newer south beach restaurant were much better but they were still not that good.
There should have been an abundance of water provided considering it was 88 dg or more each day. But you had to specifically order water; and only one day did they have it at the breakfast buffet drink station. Also there was no water in the bure fridge, so you would have to go across the resort to the store to buy water.
You have to sign for each individual drink you have during dinner also, rather than letting you run a tab and signing at the end.
The staff was very friendly and relaxed. The beaches and the island in general was beautiful. There were lots of colorful tropical fish. We went on the submarine to view the coral reef. The view was not that clear but still a wonderful sight.
We took the boat to the island which was great as you saw some of the other islands on the way. We flew back which was no more expensive than the boat and took 12 minutes. You get a great view from the airplane of other islands. I would recommend doing one mode of transport one way and the other back.
We were there during Valentines Day so there were probably more people there than usual for the 'off-season', ie: their summer. There was a large group of Australians there for a wedding. Most of the other guest were Japanese. Once Valentines Day week was over it seems the place was emptying out and they were closing the South Beach restauarnt for a few days since it would be so quiet. Even with the Valentines Day guests the place did not seem crowded at all. There were lots of quiet spots on the island.
The new pool is great. The old pool is not. The two pools are virtually side by side. The activities and water sports etc they have available are fun and numerous.
We can also recommend the Raffles Gateway hotel if you need a place to stay right by the airport when you arrive/leave. Rooms are adequate, pool is amazing, and just across the road to the aiport, in walking distance.
the best trip ever
Really, the best trip ever. The island is beautiful, of course. The beaches are gorgeous! But what really made our holiday great was the staff. We felt welcome from the moment we arrived and soon had many friends amongst the staff. they are simply great! Was worried about the food, but honestly, not once had to complain or regret the choice. Coming from Japan (where fish is expensive), we stuck to the Catch of the day and it was always excellent. I'd also reccommend their Lovo buffet! Excellent! Did a lots of snorkeling too(beauuuuutiful!), went to the backpackers for some cheaper beer...we are definitely going back!!!
Like so many others that use this forum we were overwhelmed by the choice of islands Fiji has on offer and as first time vistors, agonised over whether we had made the right island choice. Mana seemed to satisfy a combination of things we were looking for in our holiday and we certainly weren't disappointed. Beautiful beaches were a priority and I have to say North Beach, where our bure was located, had the wow factor - just beautiful. The first morning we wandered down to the beach we were met by crystal clear waters and a large blue starfish lolling at the waters edge. A travel brochure could not have published a better picture and it was the start to a perfect holiday. We loved the snorkeling so close to shore, and gazing out at the expansive view of the shimmering ocean and other islands from the verandah of our bure.
The island offers picturesque walks along it's beaches and easy climbs up to beautiful lookout points. (Well worth the effort, camera a must) Low tide is probably the best time to walk along the beaches as some areas are very rocky and we had to be careful not to lose our footing. We found the approach to North Beach from the east to be impassable after having just spent several hours walking around the island from South Beach, luckily for us a friendly local was fishing nearby and guided us to a path that ran up over a hill and into the area were the island locals live. The view from the top of the hill was picture postcard and the locals didn't seem to mind we were cutting through, they just call out 'bula'. We managed to take a wrong path on another day when we were walking along Sunset Beach and this time ended up in the area were the resort workers live. Two young Fijian boys guided us to a sort of pass through rocks this time from the western end of North Beach. It was a bit of an Indiana Jones experience. Fun.
A lot has been said about the food at Mana in this forum, both good and bad. We found the food to be on the whole good. The food was kept covered and in the case of buffets, the food was replenished regularly. Flies were certainly not a problem around the food but that was most probably because of the time of year we went.
The weather was fairly well perfect. We would probably choose a slightly warmer time of the year to return, but we come from a hot climate. The weather was balmy, light day time winds that we escaped on the northern side of the island and still evenings. The evenings were pleasantly warm and we found we had no need for airconditioning. The ocean was also a pleasant temperature, however I found I was more comfortable in a short wetsuit for snorkeling as we were in the water for up to an hour or so every time we went out.
Our bure was beautiful. We stayed in the executive beach front bures. Ours was an older bure, private and had the most magnificent vista. The newer executive bures are lovelier inside but it was the view we were after.
We had a very relaxing stay on Mana, it was only for six nights as we were a little unsure of what to expect. We loved Fiji and will certainly return most likely to Mana but combined with possibly an island in the Yasawas for a longer stay and a different experience.
Our flight times forced a stay on arriving and departing in Nadi. We stayed at the Mercure on arrival, this is currently being refurbished and our stay although very brief was very pleasant. We also spent a night at the new Sofitel Resort and Spa on our return - this is a very lovely resort in Denauru and it was a great place to finish our holiday.
Finally, the thing that stood out to us the most about Fiji was the Fijian people we met. We have never met more welcoming, better hosts on our travels. Finally, finally - thanks to all those who contribute to the fiji forum - especially Pub, you helped us with the info we needed to book an absolutely unforgettable holiday.
The Food was terrible.
I had been to Mana 5 years ago with my family and my sisters family and all had a great time. So we were looking forward to another great holiday together.
Four people booked into a room but only two bath and two beach towels. Told we had to go to the linen bure for the beach towels, they told us to come back after 3PM. Guess what happened at 3PM? Took two days to get the extra beach towels and then we had to sign for them with a $30 bounty each if lost etc.
Breakfast was held outdoors, no shade, flies on the food. The washing up was done by hand in a sink near where the food was setup. When there were plates there was no food to put onto them, no bowls for cerial, no cups for tea/coffee, no glasses for juice. (Hand washing - no wonder they kept runnning out, not to mention hygene) When plates did arrive the food disappeared in a minute and everyone sits around waiting for something else to be brought out. When they ran out of pancakes a cook arrives with ~1 Doz. on a small plate, guess how long they lasted - four hungry teenagers. Choice of pineapple or tomato juice, try sell those to a seven year old.
You could never walk to the food servery and obtain what you wanted easily - tea and some toast. No cup or yes for the tea but no bread or bread and no butter/margarine etc etc etc. Always a hassle. The selection for hot food was only four to five dishes. Never once did I manage to get a serve from each of those dishes at the one time.
On our previous visit the nightly bistro was value with plenty of good food. Not this time. Again the quantity, variety and quality was not there. Same story as the breakfast. How can you have a Asian buffet with no rice plain or fried? They did have fried rice, with sweet chilli sauce, for the kids! It was mostly eaten by the adults, along with the hot chips, as there was nothing else to eat. Barbecue lunch with only a tired looking lettuce for salad.
There was no one monitoring and organising the supply of food. It seemed to be up to the whim of each chef. Plates to hold the food were little bigger than the average dinner plate and therefore the food disappeared very quickly. Never did we see a chef arrive with a couple of dishes.
Even the Japanese food ran out and the guests were 90% caucasian.
Next morning we booked dinner in the a-la-carte restaurant due to worries about feeding the children and ate there each night thereafter. They had three settings 6:30, 7:30 & 8:30. We went for the 6:30 glad we did as we never managed to leave before ~8:30. It usually took until well after 7 before we got our main meal. On the second night there was a huge queue of disgruntled people trying to get into the restaurant as they could/would not partake of the buffet. If they were trying to do three settings then they really needed to get things moving.
Special of the day - veal parmigiana - was Never available the entire week. They changed the special of the day to tandoori chicken for one night, then back to the unavailable veal!! The tandoori dish was actually very nice, it was the only one. The meat and the fish were invariably all very tough and over cooked but Never Hot. But at least we were guarenteed of a seat inside and could choose what we wanted. The silly thing was it was actually cheaper to eat at the a-la-carte than the buffet!!!
We had intended to have an adults only meal for the last night at the south-side restaurant which looked quite nice. But after my wife and sister spoke to another guest we decided against it. Especially at the price and it was a set menu.
We were not the only ones to complain about the food. More than once, especially at breakfast, guests could be seen and/or heard complaining to staff about the quality and lack of food or demanding dishes be filled. Or they just plan old got up and left in disgust. On checking out we actually witnessed guests demanding to be refunded as they could not stand the food and were leaving early. Mgt actually agreed to pay for their food at the resort they were going too!
Why did they spend all that money on a new pool that is not that much bigger than a backyard pool? And place it right beside the existing tired old pool. The place has definitely been run down. There is little evidence of maintenance being done. Heaps of work needs to be done to bring the place back to life.
Beach was good, scuba great fun, so was the sailing and walking.
Wont be back though.
Mana is gold
My wife & I just got back from 5 nights on Mana.Coming out of Melbournes winter to a place I knew was going to be heaven proved to be so right. We had an Ocean view Bure right on North Beach which seemed to be deserted most of the time. Beautifull beaches, clean, clear, warm waters full of briliant coral & heaps of fish. Mana is big enough to lose yourself or get away from others, yet small enough to have that intimate feel. The theme nights were varied, interesting and value for money. The choice for food was good, although a snack bar would be a great idea for light meals that don't cost $20!
The staff (like all Fijians) are really friendly & helpful. Its not really a place for honeymooners or thrill seekers, but couples or families will love the place. Its very relaxed.
never go there
My husband and i went there for a week, lasted two nights and it was awful, the people were rude, the place was dirty and we were treated like second class because we were not asian. We had payed for it up front and cost us alot of money as we stayed in the front rooms overlooking the ocean, the room was beautiful,two story and pure luxury but as for the resort id never go back and never recomend it to anyone.We had just come over from having two weeks at Casterway so we rang them and they came and got us and we stayed there for our last week, it was that bad that i cried all the way over to casterway. We complained to management but it ment nothing. Dont go near it please.
Choose a different island
Definitely a mixed bag.. I can see why it has received such a variety of reactions..
Bear in mind, we travelled as a couple (ie without kids) and stayed only three nights here. The previous week we spent in the wonderful Nanuya Island Resort. We also spent time on Denarau and Beachcomber.
1. Location is great with fantastic views from both the south and north of the island. Easy and quick to reach from Nadi.
2. Despite being one of the largest resorts it didn't feel too busy (at 90% capacity) when compared with some of the Denarau hotels.
3. South beach two storey accommodation is modern and spacious. (see pics)
4. Dive shop is professional and friendly with knowledgeable instructors. 'Supermarket' shark dive is a must. Pretty good reefs are easily accessible from shore for snorkelling.
5. From those I spoke to with kids it's great - Kids Club for ages 3+ runs all day and costs $20 FJD for entire stay, Babysitters cost $5 FJD per hour. Under-3s may attend the Kids Club but must be accompanied by a babysitter
Unfavourable: Food was pretty atrocious in the main restaurant (both the buffet and a la carte)
Lacks the personal touch that distinguishes other island resorts
talk's new Fiji Page
In Fiji, you should enjoy the scuba diving.
I went to Mana island resort and enjoyed diving there.
It was a lot of fun. The world of underwater was
wonderful. You can see many kinds of tropical fish
and coral reef.
Plantation or Mana Island Resort??
Me and a few friends are planning a short trip to Fiji and after being initially totally bewildered by the number of places to stay have settled on either the Plantation Resort or Mana Island Resort...does anyone have any views (good or bad) on either of these resorts that might help sway us one way or the other??
Mana Island Resort or Matamanoa
This forum seems really helpful. I am also looking into travelling to either Mana Island resort or Matamanoa. Can anyone guide me with that decision?
Ratukini on Mana Island or Leleuvia ?
Well we will be leaving to Fiji in 7 weeks and have sort of decided on where we would like to stay.
Ratukini on Mana Island looks and sounds beautiful, so does Leleuvia which is on the otherside of Vitu Levu.
Has anyone been to one or both of these places?
It looks like there is more to do from Ratukini than Leleuvia - just looking for personal comments really?
I love snorkelling - which would be better?
I heard that there was a fire at Mana Island Lodge which is right next door to Ratukini - just wondered how you think this is likely to affect our stay.
Maybe we could go to both and stay 3 nights at each, then maybe a further nights on the Coral Coast at the beach house?
Many thanks in advance for any replies.
Re: Ratukini on Mana Island or Leleuvia ?
I stayed at Mana Island resort and have spent a day at the Coral Coast, but have not ventured out to Leleuvia, so can't help you there. Whilst the beaches and marine life around the Coral Coast are lovely, they can't compare to what you will find on Mana Island. The marine life around Mana Island is, for lack of a better word, SPECTACULAR!!!
Re: Ratukini on Mana Island or Leleuvia ?
I lived in Fiji for 4 years, and visited Mana Island many times. The last time was 14 months ago, and I was amazed how upgrading and renovating the Resort had improved the ambience. The great happy service remains, like the sensational snorkelling inside the reef. You will love Mana. Everyday will be a new adventure and happy memory. Please, a suggestion, don't change accomodations too often, fijians become very much "family" and you will love this unique blend of respect and informality.
Re: Ratukini on Mana Island or Leleuvia ?
Ratukini is very much a backpacker place. Nothing like Mana Island Resort and you can't use the facilities at Mana Resort either. Not a lot to do other than swim and snorkel and sunbathe. I would opt for Mana over Ratukini. I know nothing about Leleuvia. If you are looking for great snorkellling why not head up to one of the budget resort in the Yasawa Islands. Beautiful beaches and unspoilt reef for supurb snorkelling. Very reasonable too. Manta Ray, Botaira, Nanuya, Octopus and Oarsmans Bay are all great ressorts and good prices. Check out the websites. You could p robably do a couple for a few days each.
The trip up on the Yasawa is a good way to see other Islands too