More about Sonaisali Island Resort
I recommend whole heartedly...
I absolutely adored Sonaisali Island Resort and plan to definately revisit!!!
We stayed in a beachfront spa bure - the room was enormous!!! The spa wasnt as private as you would imagine, but none the less we spent many evenings enjoying some drinks watching the sun go down in it.
The resort has everything you need. You can schedule as many activities as your heart desires, or simply laze around by the spacious pool.
Food is absolutely gorgeous...I really can't fault the service or ammenities of this resort.
***It is worth noting that this resort consists of a black volcanic sand beach and doesnt have the blue waters one would expect of Fiji*** We found everything to be quite outstanding!!!
In October 2008 I stayed at the Sonaisali Island Resort if Fiji, the location is idealic, the rooms were great, the sunsets perfect and the food was to die for. This year the food was so bad that people were going of the island to purchase supplies in Nadi and bring them back. The breakfast was cold unless you got them to cook it in front of you. The main lunch and dinner meals were so sub standard that a lot were sent back. The kitchen staff did not care and somehow took 30 to 40 minutes to bring out what could only be described as a bad backpackers meals. Have been told that the lease is running out, so bloody what, the food is one of the most important and enjoyable aspect of any resort holiday. We will definitely NOT BE GOING BACK TO SANAISALI. Were bitterly disappointed and advise against anybody going there until you get a reputable, recent positive report.
Beautiful, romantic island
Sonaisali is a beautiful place with a stunning swimming pool. People are extremaly friendly and life seems to slow down over there. We chose Sonasali because of the fantastic wedding ceremony they organize. As we both culture lovers we were looking for something diffrent . Because we are quite adventurous we couldnt spent there more than 5 days, but for people who are looking for a peace and quiet holidays thats a perfect place. Especially after the season around June/July. As the wedding couple our accommodation was upgraded to ocean view bure. Our "house" was huge, with a high roof and noisy lizard on the top( it was quite funny). Accomodation was clean and comfortable. Sonaisali has a beautiful swimming pool but beach was disappointing. The water didnt look inviting at all so we decided to stick with the pool. Resort area is absolutely fantastic for couples. Its very green and plants are beautiful all around the island. There is a 24 hours boat connection with the main land so it was easy to move around. Unfortunately the distance to the nearest town was quite long and taxi wasnt cheap. So we recomment this place to people who prefer to stay in on place during all holidays. Food was good and fresh but expensive and menu was very repeatable.
just beautiful & relaxing
In addition, to reading previous articles from this site, I was very tempted to cancel our already booked Sonaisali Island Resort holiday for September 2005.
To my surprise, Sonaisali was just beautiful exactly how it looks like on the website --- . I have attached some of my photos to prove it……!!!!!
The weather was gorgeous 30 degrees every day blue sky. On arrival we were greeted by well presented friendly staff BULA!!! (hello) & given complementary fruit cocktails. Furthermore, check in time was 1400hrs, and although we arrived early that morning it was very pleasing to be accommodated before lunchtime.
The resort was spacious with plenty of opportunities to just relax, either that being your private balcony, resting in the deck chairs with Fijian umbrellas along the white sand or even laying in a hammock. Furthermore, the large spacious pool was very peaceful you could swim-up to the bar & have a few drinks or pull up a deck chair & look out at the clean, clear, crystal blue pool which looks out over the sea. The friendly staff waited on you all day, you don’t even have to move off your deck chair and it was a wonderful luxury.
The surrounding grounds were immaculate with well kept tidy gardens that contained beautiful bright flowers in particular the famous frangipanis. The sand & surrounding grass & paths are so clean we never ever seen rubbish lying around.
We had a beachfront bure with an elevated balcony which contained an outdoor spa so you could view both the beach & ocean. On the other hand, if you felt like participating in activities they offered complementary canoeing, windsurfing, paddle boats, catamaran sailing, volleyball, tennis courts, & cultural entertainment both day & night. This included Fijian dancing, music and amazing costumes. If you have family there is a kids club, so the parents can go off & relax knowing that there children are well looked after & entertained by the friendly staff.
Furthermore, we took advantage of the Meal Package which was great value and we definitely got our moneys worth. The food was so fresh with such a variety to choose from & the presentation of the meals just topped if all off!!!! My favourite was the Prawn Cocktail presented in a coconut!!!!!! We were extremely impressed with the efficient service and hospitality & the fact that we didn’t have to do any cooking at all.
Now, this is what a real relaxing holiday is supposed to be all about…..Well done Sonaisali you can definitely count us back again & many of our friends who were so impressed with what they have heard & seen from our video & camera!!!! E&A (VIC, AUSTRALIA)
We Stayed at Sonaisali Island for one week as a change from our usual destination, The Warwick, on my third trip to Fiji. It was a disappointment in many ways. While it is a beautiful location, with bures overlooking the water and a sensational pool and meal area with lovely ambience, so many problems plagued the resort that I felt I had to write this review. Firstly I didnt realise that there was no white sandy beach like The Warwick and was disappointed that it was really a "pool only" resort.You cannot snorkel off the beach at all, and it really isnt suitable for swimming. There were 3 major problems which really spoiled our stay.
1. The service - it was really atrocious. I understand Fiji Time and I love the laid back Fijian way of life, but this went far beyond that. Meal orders were consistently wrong, we waited one night for 45 minutes for our icecream before leaving without it. Bills and vouchers were wrongly processed all the time,the food was quite average and often not as described on the menu. (for example a terrine described as an ice cream roll) We asked several times for another pillow which never came.
2. State of the accomodations and fumigation. The bathroom was very grotty, and we had constant problems with bugs. We had 4 inch flying cockroaches on the warmer nights, a huntsman type of spider laid its babies in the bathroom and we spent the next 3 days killing about 100 live young spiders, and the children were absolutely eaten alive by something which caused extreme swellings that took a week to go down.
3. Everything was always broken!!! We wanted to go out on the sailing boat they advertise, well it didnt work the whole time we were there. We missed snorkelling trips as the boat was "broken" When we went on an island hopping trip, the boat was supposed to be this fast new boat and it was an old grotty thing that barely made the journey.
There were good points too, the staff were generally very good and friendly and they positively doted on the wedding parties so possibly it would be a good place to have a wedding. The spa services were good and the staff there lovely for massages and beauty treatments etc. The snorkelling was superb out towards other islands, and the proximity to Nandi made it great for shopping. They also offer paintball which my husband and kids enjoyed. If only they would fumigate, smarten up their staff in food service, and get boats that actually go. Such a pity.
We were so relived that we had a week after this at the beautiful Warwick where everything is clean and functional, and service is far better.
My husband and I stayed at the Sonaisali for our honeymoon in March/April of this year (2005). We weren't overly impressed.
We had seen many pictures of resorts in Fiji with golden sands, palm trees, crystal blue waters, and there was none of this at the Sonaisali. The beach was black sand not fit for any human to swim in. The waters were far from blue - in fact they were murky and muddy. The service at the resort was very, very slow and extremely expensive. I am a Coeliac which means I cannot eat wheat, rye, oats or barley and although I made this clear when I booked the accommodation, my reqeusts for 'safe' food weren't taken notice of, which meant I had to guess what I was eating and ended up getting very ill. The banquets are night were very overpriced - just as expensive as a dinner in Melbourne and the food wasn't anything to write home about (and as you are stuck on the island you don't really have many options to eat elsewhere). The day trips were very expensive so we spent a lot of money for the week we were there.
The good points of the resort however were the pool & the bures (we had a spa bure which was great, although we had cochroaches in our room which weren't so great!).
All in all, we would go back to Fiji but would avoid the Sonaisali.
Also, if you do decide to stay there, some big tips - make sure you slap on PLENTY of sunscreen, grab a deck chair first thing in the morning under an umbrella by the pool (otherwise you will miss out and have to lie miles away from the restaurant and pool), and don't bother booking the fire walking, as all they do is stand around yelling at a huge pile rocks and standing on them when the hot embers are actually underneath!).
Wonderful relaxing stay.
I don't know what the negative reviewers expected from Sonaisali, it is NOT a 5-star resort, nor does it claim to be. Some people obviously didn't research the place enough before they went there, and as a result had inflated expectations. Whether it's bad advice from a travel agent or their own lack of research skills, I don’t believe their criticism of this resort is founded. Yes it has a volcanic sand beach (black sand) which makes the water look murky, if you spent two minutes researching this resort you would find this out, but they do have a huge man made white sand beach and a fantastic pool. My wife and I stayed 4 nights and had an absolutely wonderful time at this resort, plenty of relaxation, and sure the service wasn’t lightning fast, but hey…we’re on holiday and in no rush anyway. As for the food, we enjoyed all our meals, again it wasn’t 5-star cuisine, if I wanted that I would have went to a 5-star resort, but everything was tasty and well prepared. I understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I believe that the people who gave this resort poor reviews were expecting a white sandy tropical island which this is not. If I went there expecting that then I would be disappointed as well, but I researched where we were staying and knew exactly what I was getting. My wife and I also spent 6 nights out on another island (Malolo) which gave us our white sandy tropical beach experience. So my final piece of advice is to research where you are going and find out what it offers (don’t just ask a travel agent...use the internet). If you want a 5-star resort with white sandy beaches go to the outer islands...but you will be paying for it! Overall, Sonaisali provided us with clean, well appointed accommodation (we stayed in a bure), and we had a wonderful relaxing time. The staff were friendly and I thought the drinks were reasonably priced. All of the people we spoke with were also enjoying there stay and had no complaints about the resort. We will definitely be returning to Sonaisali in the future.
"We wanted something a bit different this time..."
Most of our holidays are spent rushing around seeing all the sites, shopping etc.
The purpose of our trip was our wedding and honeymoon. We wanted to be completely relaxed and carefree.
On Saturday 22nd April 2006, we were married at Sonaisali Island Resort!!!
Our day was simply magical, the weather perfect and we couldnt have dreamt for a more beautiful day!!!
Make sure you check out our photos in the travelogue!
I have found the love of my life
Its not easy to make this big decision but chosing the right place is even worse. Fiji is the most beautiful, romantic place in teh world. Just perfect for a new start in our life.
We are travelers, we love nature and diffrent cultures. The last thing we wanted was having a boring ceremony. We chose our own way
Our ceremony took a place in a beautiful Sonaisali Island resort. Resort is a separate naisali island (42 hectares) just 300 m off the mainland and about 12 km southwest of Nadi
It was a beautiful, sunny day. Escorted by 4 Fijian warriors and two flower girs I started the longest sail in my life. Well, It was maybe 15 minutes but seems to be forever .I was sitted on the plastic chair , on top front of my wedding boat, only my warriors were holding the arms of the chair tightly to prevent it from sliding to very choppy this day water.
All I could hear was a drummer annoucing my coming on other side of the island.
When my warriors carried me out from the boat and I looked my fince eyes I was ready to cry. The wedding coordinator came with help. Watch your make up she said. That worked. I put my head up, walking on the beach to the minister and my very emotional Dave. Counting coconuts above his head stopped me from distoying my make up. I just couldnt look at his face.
The local choir was fantastic! They make the ceremony even more heart touching.
The only problem I had was understanding the fijian english minister. From nerves , emotion and mix of other feelings I said no " I do" nbut " I WOULD"
Well, I think it was the most scary moment for my Dave
"And travelling around Viti Levu"
We didnt stop in Sonasali too long. 6 days was more than enough. As much as we loved there, it was to quiet and to far away from locals.
We have rent the car ( about $100 fijan per day) and explore the main island.
"Cruising Mamanuca Islands & staying in the jungle"
Fiji is not only the main land. We couldnt leave without crusing between stunning islands. It was our short luxury honey moon.
The biggest and most memorable experience was our stay with the locals in villages especially Namuamua in the middle of the jungle. Both of villages Namatakula and Namuamua were fantastic and very different from each other. One basic, very traditional, poor, placed in the middle of the jungle. Other , more tolerant for tourist based on seaside.
Our Fijian wedding!!!
"6 years of waiting, nearly 12 months of planning!"
I started to think he was never going to ask...but as they say, better late than never!
15th July 2005 - Keith finally popped the question, and we set about planning the big day!
"A destination wedding!"
We chose to get married in Fiji as we wanted a small intimate wedding. We knew we weren't going to get away with that at home as we both have large families! When we announced our engagement we told our immediate families our plans, and hoped that they would join us - we were so excited when they said they would!
Choosing the venue was one of the hardest decisions. We liked several of the smaller islands, but felt we should keep the costs down for our travelling guests. We eventually decieded on Sonaisali Island Resort for its close proximity to Nadi - giving our guests the option of more affordable accomodation in town. This also saved them transfer costs to the outter islands and overnight accomodation waiting for flight transfers.
We decided to stay 7 nights at Sonaisali so we could spend time with our guests before and after the wedding. We also booked 5 nights at Matamanoa Island Resort for our 'honeymoon'.
So aprox 8 months out we went ahead and booked our flights/accomodation/wedding package. We had chosen April 22nd for our wedding date - our 6 year anniversary!
Whilst we were getting married in Fiji, we still wanted a traditional type wedding. Bridal party, location photography, reception etc.
We started communicating with the wedding co-ordinator straight away. She really was fantastic! I always got a same day response, and she was really patient (I emailed her alot).
We had various inclusions in our wedding package ie. brides bouquet, cake, dinner for 2 etc. There are all different variations on these that you get to choose. (colours, flavours etc)
We added quite a few extras to our basic package. Massages for the bride and groom, hair, makeup, bouquets for attendants, champagne and canapes after the ceremony on the beachfront, we booked a restaurant exclusively for our reception, extras flowers for our cake and restuarant and the bar tab. We also paid extra to get a tapa marriage certificate.
Whilst we booked all of this prior to our arrival, it can be organised when you get there.
We chose to forgo the included photographer and took our own instead.
"The big day!!!"
We woke up to amazing weather. Blue skies, sunshine, 32 degrees.
After having breakfast together we rushed to The Plantation Restaurant (our reception venue) and set out our seating plan. We had put together gift bags for our guests to show our appreciation so we set those out. The resort staff could have done this for us, but we preffered to do it ourselves. They had arranged the tables beautifully in a T shape, with the bride and groom at the top of the table and guests down either side. They had arranged flowers all the way down the middle. I'm not sure what they were called, they looked similar to birds of paradise. They were vibrant red and orange in colour.
Following that we went and had our massages in the day spa, which was lovely. We then went our seperate ways to get ready.
I had 1 maid of honor and 2 flowergirls. Our hairdresser turned up at 11.30 (right on time). His name was Philip and he came to the resort from Nadi. We had not chosen how we wanted our hair as we did not know what to expect in terms of quality. I just told him I wanted my hair in a bun and that I would wear a veil for the ceremony only. I wanted my flowergirls hair half up, half down with tiaras, and my maid of honor could have whatever she wanted.
He was fantastic!!! He was soo funky and nice. I ended up with a braid starting from the nape of my neck, that ended in a bun. The plait from the end of my braid was weaved into my bun. Iloved it!!! He done a great job on the other girls before coming to give me a kiss and wishing me well. Its expensive - but worth it!
Our makeup artist was 40 mins late. So big tip - book things much earlier than you need them!!! It didnt impact on our day though, so it was fine. With that we didn't have much time for makeup so she done a quick job. She used Estee Lauder products, but didn't have many colours to choose from. If your worried, probably better off taking your own make up.
Our flowers were meant to arrive at 2pm, but these were also late. Not to mind - I had made the decision to not stress and just have a relaxing day!
Our photographer arrived and us girls went and had photos out the front of our bure and in the surrounding gardens. (the boys were getting ready at the other end of the resort). We chose to fly our photographer over as we were told resort staff are the ones who take the photos (as included in the wedding package). This is not true - its actually Ramesh Studios who do the photography. The package inclusion is just for 1 roll of film, though you can pay extra to have him stay longer. We took ours as we wanted full photographic coverage.
Our bouquets arrived just in the nick of time. We had chosen red Anthuriums,as ourtheme was tropical given the destination! We wanted vibrant colours and my maid of honor was wearing a red dress. Pretty much everything revolved around our flowers. (decoration wise)
Time went so fast before we knew it the wedding co-ordinator rang to tell us the fijian warriors and flowergirls were coming to pick us up. They would be 5 minutes. We should have known better with the whole "Fiji time" thing, but none the less we shut up our room and waited and waited and waited....
This is when I started to get really nervous about maybe falling into the water whilst getting put onto the boat or something. My maid of honour and flowergirls were all excited and chatting and giggling - I was soo nervous I had to tell them to shhhh!
The Fijian escorts eventually came after about 10 minutes. (felt like hours). We were led to the beachfront to get on the boat. It was decorated nicely with palm leaves over the sides and top, and a flower arch over the front. My attendants got on first and then I was placed into a chair, and the 4 warriors lifted the chair onto the front of the boat. The chair is just a plastic chair but is covered with white material so you dont get dirty.
"The big day continued..."
Whilst on the boat I took the time to soak in the moment. It was a beautiful day and my husband to be was waiting for me just up the beach at the wedding bure. From there on in, I couldn't get the smile off my face!
As we approcahed the beating of the Lali drum started, whilst the fijian choir sang. I really couldn't remember this, it was all a blur until I watched the video afterwards. (our guests took video).
All resort guests are invited to witness weddings - I don't remember them either. I just remember waiting to see my husband to be and not being able to stop smiling!
The wedding bure was decorated beautifully with tropical flowers.
The ceremony was short and sweet. it was very emotional as my new husband had tears - I just couldn't stop smiling!!!
My maid of honor was supposed to do a reading for us which we had pre organised, but the celebrant was confused - so we didn't worry about it.
We recieved our marriage certifcate and because you don't get a commemorative one we made our own and the celebrant signed it for us so we could frame when we got home.
After the ceremony we had champagne and canapes and group photos. Then our guests were led to the pool bar whilst we had our location photography. It was perfect, we played in hammocks, drunk champagne by the pool and watched the sunset. We had just enough time before the lighting was no good for photos.
Resort guests stopped and congratulated us - so that was nice.
Our reception started at 6pm. We had picked out all our music on discs and given it to the wait staff who took care of it for us. The restaurant was really perfect and dimly lit with candles on the tables. The service was great (black tie). We chose Menu 1 and the food was divine!!! Our guests are still raving about it. The meal of the day was the duck and lobster salad. Such a flavour infusion. We ordered kids meals for the kids and they loved it. We had 3 courses, finishing with our cake. The cake was single tier decorated with the tropical flowers we had ordered as extras. Everyone had fun dancing and we finished up about 11.30 I think.
( We wook our included dinner for 2 the day after the wedding)
Overall, the day was just perfect!!! We couldn't be happier!
We have both discussed if we would have done anything differently since our return and we've both agreed - we wouldn't change a thing!!!
PS. everyone thought I was crazy for choosing red flowers to sit on a red dress (my maid of honor), I'm glad I stuck with it though as it looks beautiful in our photos.
***Professional photos now added***
Sonaisali Hotel, pool side
Getting married in Fiji
Hi, I am planning to get married in Fiji next April (07) and have narrowed it down to Castaway Island or Malolo Is? Has anyone been to either Island and would you recommend them?
RE: Getting married in Fiji
yes, i got married on castaway it is a beautiful island with a wonderful staff
if you want to relax and enjoy the great weather you will love castaway
RE: Getting married in Fiji
i just came home from my fijian honeymoon - i was married at sonaisali island resort on 22nd april 2006. i havent written my reviews as yet (will get to that later this week).
must say our wedding day was absolutely magical and better than what i had imagined :) very very happy and recommend sonaisali 100%!!!
we travelled past castaway during our stay in fiji and it looked beautiful.
we also seen weddings at matamanoa, which were very simple, but gorgeous.
let me know if you need more info.
Stressing big time about Fijian wedding booking! Need help urgently!
My finacee and I have recently booked and deposited our fijian wedding ceremony to be held in April 2006. We chose a resort recommended to us by a friend, but also the resorts websites and broshures look amazing!
The planning was all going really well until someone advised me to look at the reviews on tripadvisor. Having read the revies I was horrified and am now very alarmed and do not know what to do.
I need anyones advice/opinions on Sonaisali Island Resort, Fiji. Has anyone been married there, know someone who has, witnessed a wedding there, stayed at the resort?
I really need as much info as I can get in regards to the service, the food, the surroundings, and in partcicular the wedding services.
There were 17 reviews on this resort at tripadvisor. 8 were good, and the rest were absolutely aweful. Im worried that we have made a mistake.
Should we cancel our booking and forfeit our deposit just to play it safe...or do we trust that everything will go beautifully?
RE: Stressing big time about Fijian wedding booking! Need help urgently!
I've read reviews on that portal of really good Hotels I've stayed in...and seen some really bad reviews! I guess some people just like moaning, and are the type that are never happy. If a good friend has recommended it...I'd probably still go.
RE: Stressing big time about Fijian wedding booking! Need help urgently!
You have to take the reviews with a grain of salt. Most of Fiji is made up of "rustic" or "basic" accomdations which quite frankly to me is why you go to Fiji! I love the traditional bures with thatched roofs! I have not been to Sonaisali, I have been mainly in the Mamanucas and Kadavu. I'm sure it will be fine, it's an adventure and it's part of the Fijian culture. Many people aren't comfortable without the things they are used to or seeing things the way they are at home. I've been to many developing countries Morocco, Thailand, Bali in some pretty rugged parts and to me they are the best places I've ever visited because they are so different!! Besides Sonaisali was featured on MTV's Real World, they wouldn't put those kids up in a dump! It will be great!
RE: Stressing big time about Fijian wedding booking! Need help urgently!
My fiancee and I are also getting married at Sonasali Resort in late Feb 2006. We also booked then saw the reviews, but we arn't too concerned. We have seen many good and bad reports about it. Our travel agent had just come back from there and showed us his photos. The place lloks good. They have had a major upgrade apparently so maybe all the negatives were before this. We have been in contact via phone with the wedding co-ordinator and she seems very friendly and helpful. If you want to email me direct I can report my findings to you. We will be there Feb 21st to Feb 27th 2006. email@example.com
Sonaisali - FIJI
Has anyone been or knows of Sonaisali Resort? I would appreciate any personal experience please! Regards Jo
Re: Sonaisali - FIJI
I've been there, and it is great! The cost of a bure is not that much more than a simple hotel room and definitely worth it. If you have a child, you will find that the Kids' Club is wonderful (e.g. coconut bowling, mongoose hunting, etc etc). Also, babysitters are very very reasonable. The food is not that great, but I live in the Bay Area of California and we are hard graders on that score. I would definitely return to the Sonaisali.